Credit Unions are Investing in Financial Literacy to Strengthen Communities
In recent years, a push for financial literacy has become one of the top initiatives in schools across the country. The need for a solid understanding of personal financial behaviors and tools to make better decisions has gained traction in K-12 as well as college and university classrooms.
How Credit Unions are Helping
Local, regional and national credit unions are adding to the financial literacy movement as well. Because credit unions are designed to give consumers a different way to bank, one based on account holders acting as owners, credit unions have a big incentive to help educate the community.
Each credit union takes a different approach to its financial literacy programs, but generally they offer three main avenues to instill financial education to their account holders.
Financial Literacy for Adults
Credit unions are stepping up to the plate to combat the low level of financial literacy within their communities by offering no-cost seminars and events to credit union account holders. Seminars range in length and topic, but the most notable presentations revolve around planning for retirement, understanding various financial and investment vehicles, and managing household debt.
Financial Literacy for Students
Credit unions are investing in financial literacy initiatives aimed at assisting students with gaining a better understanding of financial topics and how financial decisions impact their lives for the long-term.
Per a study conducted each year by the National Financial Educators Council, the average score on a financial literacy test was 60% for individuals 15 to 18 years old. Most struggle with understanding how basic financial literacy plays a part in lifetime success and how financial products and services work in the real world.
Some credit unions have focused their financial literacy programs on helping this widely underserved demographic.
Financial Literacy for Educators
Although there are several statewide initiatives in public and private schools which promote financial literacy among students, many teachers feel ill-prepared to implement programs in the classroom. To empower educators, some credit unions that serve large teacher populations offer seminars on how to introduce personal finance into the curriculum in an easy, engaging way.