Credit Union Spotlight: Junior Achievement of Greater St. Louis
Children tend to pick up their parents’ habits-both good and bad. Growing up, my family certainly taught me several financial lessons, but now that I’m on my own, I know that all of these lessons were not necessarily good lessons. For example, my grandparents taught me “cash is king” as they paid cash for everything, even their house. They’ve lived a life without debt, but now that they’re, well, old, they wish they’d have taken out an auto loan or opened a credit card to keep their cash balances higher for emergencies. Not to mention, they have no credit history, which is scary in today’s market.
And then I have the lessons my favorite cousin taught me: You don’t have to pay full price for anything. You CAN go broke from “saving money.” And, you don’t need three of the same sweater just because it’s cheap. As I continue to navigate the “adult world,” I see me writing my own lessons on money management, but where’s a kid to learn these tough financial lessons?
At AECU, we support our community with financial literacy. That’s more than just one of our brand promises-it’s a way of life for our employees. One of the organizations we support through service is Junior Achievement of Greater St. Louis. Junior Achievement (JA) teaches children a variety of skills at different ages. For instance, younger children learn basic financial skills like budgeting, whereas older kids have the opportunity to learn how to start their own business-from research to distributing stockholder dividends.
We’ve been involved with JA for about ten years, and this year, we became a Finance Park sponsor. The JA Finance Park program is geared to high school students and the experience includes a simulation where students create a family budget recognizing the impact of credit history on budget planning and purchasing options. Students explore savings and compare investments, examining risk and insurance. They discover the importance of spending money wisely and recognize planning and budgeting as valuable tools, especially when it comes to planning for a mortgage.
If you ask me, that is definitely more than I got from my cousin and grandparents! Here’s the bottom line: Everything we know, we learned from those closest to us. It’s important to remember that old ways don’t open new doors, and financial education through programs like Junior Achievement make it just a little easier to forge a new path.
What’s the best way to educate our youth on financial literacy? We’d love to hear your feedback below!