Unity One Credit Union

Show, Don't Tell: Teaching Teens Money Skills

Thu, Aug 15, 2019 @ 10:11 AM / by Alyssa Guillory posted in financial education for teens, teens and money, saving money, Unity One Credit Union



Originally posted on the CUNA Financial Resource Center. Written by Laura Varela. 

Do conversations with your teenagers about money begin and end with "How much do you need?” Then stop right there. If you want your teens to learn how to manage money successfully, show them how it’s done.
Being a good financial role model may prove challenging to some. According to a Debt.com poll of 1,000 American, 92% believe everyone needs a budget, but only 70% said they were using one. Many who do budget admit to slipping during holidays or on special occasions, sometimes undoing all their careful work during the year.

But don’t give up hope. You can still teach your teens how to manage their finances and brush up on a few skills yourself. Here are a few activities you can do with your teens that can help both of you:

  • Check impulse buying. If your teen wants something expensive, have him or her wait 24 hours before buying it. If the item isn’t as important to them by that time, then the money can be better spent elsewhere.
  • Comparison shop. Ask your teen to research the item with you to find the right one at the best price.
  • Show them how to create a budget. Debt.com has good instructions their website. There are some free budgeting apps you can use as well.
  • Compare credit card offers. Review with your teens several online offers or those you get in the mail so they can evaluate different interest rates and fees.
  • Warn them about the minimum payment trap. Choose a desired item that costs, say, $1,000 and use an online credit card repayment calculator to show how long it would take, and how much extra they'd pay in interest, if they pay only the minimum due each month. Or show them the table on your credit card statement that shows the cost of only making minimum payments.
  • Brace them for college sticker shock. Rather than telling your teens to save for college, show them why they should save. Have them choose three schools they're considering, then have them check the net price calculator required on all college and university websites. Discuss how financial aid, scholarships, and grants reduce the sticker price.

Finally, know that the real world is a far better teacher than a high school math assignment. Make your teens responsible for personal items, such as new clothing, hair and face products, and snacks. This teaches them how to search for bargains to stretch their dollars.

Open a Savings Account for your Child

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Teens and Money

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 @ 05:01 PM / by Erayne Hill posted in credit union, teens and money, financial decisions


teen mowing lawnTeens and money don't always go together, but your credit union has some solutions. Here are three ways your teen can earn some cash, begin acting responsibly and make financial decisions for himself/herself.

  • Lawn Care: Chances are your teen is already helping out in the yard. Take it a step further, and encourage him/her to ask neighbors if they need any help pulling weeds, mowing the lawn or planting flowers. You can also help by driving him/her around the neighborhood to look for yards that need mowing or extra care. Create fliers listing services at low prices, and build a client base.
  • Pet Sitting: People always want to make sure their pets are well taken care of. Tell your teen to offer his/her services to make sure pets are fed, nurtured and cleaned. According to about.com, pet-sitting fees can range $5-$15 per visit, depending on the number and type of pets, the number of times visited and what the client will want.
  • Tutoring: What's your teen's favorite subject? He/she can help others succeed. So, why not charge for the help? Advertise in the neighborhood, through friends, at church or at activities.

Finally, remind your teen to PYF or "pay yourself first," and always use his/her Unity One account  to keep money safe.

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Teens and money: What's the disconnect?

Thu, Jul 26, 2012 @ 05:05 PM / by Erayne Hill posted in credit unions, teens and money


Teen and moneyMoney doesn't grow on trees, no matter how much we wish. Why is it that teens and money can be such a hard topic for parents to approach? Perhaps it's because talking about money for ourselves can be difficult.

However, financial health and responsibility touches many parts of our lives and can affect our general well-being. According to a 2011 survey by the JumpStart Coalition, 29 percent of teens said the economy is causing them anxiety. Teens and money should go hand in hand, especially since many teens feel a financial responsibility to provide for their futures. Seventy-five percent of 16-17 students say that it's their responsibility to fund part or all of their higher education.

Here are more reasons why financial education is needed now more than ever (source: JumpStart Coalition):

  • Fewer than 50 percent of the students surveyed consider themselves knowledgeable about how to budget money (41%), how to pay bills (34%), how credit card interest and fees work (26%), or whether a check cashing service is good to use (24%), how income taxes work (14%) or what a 401K plan is (13%).
  • Sixty percent of high school seniors did not know that they could lose their health insurance if their parents become unemployed.
  • Sixty-five point five percent of teens that took a 2004 finance survey failed.
  • The lack of time, lack of state curriculum requirements and lack of demand are the top three challenges to teaching financial literacy topics, according to teachers.
  • Also, according to teachers financial literacy skils are lacking among young people in the U.S., and many say that their students need to be exposed to the basic financial skills they will need to function in society.
  • Fifty-two percent of teens are eager to learn more about money management, but only 14 percent have taken class on the topic - 35 percent would like to learn from parents.

Credit unions are great partners in financial education, and they can provide resources for parent. At Unity One, we support materials from the National Endowment for Financial Education that is designed specifically for teenagers. Click below to reserve a handbook today.


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