We are at the tail end of Financial Literacy Month in the US for 2013, with the week of April 21–27 tagged as National Credit Union Youth Week.
April was named National Financial Literacy Month in 2003 by the passing of U.S. Senate Resolution 316. During the month, non-profit financial educational organizations and credit unions hold events that share learning about managing money, and dealing with debt. Since one of the cooperative principles credit unions operate under advocates providing education, training and information to members, Financial Literacy Month is a natural fit for credit unions.
In a coordinated effort on behalf of credit unions that don't have the resources to launch a full-on Literary Month campaign, CUNA offers The National Youth Saving Challenge™ each year. The program is free to affiliated credit unions, with CUNA supplying marketing materials, forms, and creative ideas to encourage youth to open saving accounts and set saving goals at their local credit union. In 2012, participating credit unions reported a total of 146,000 young members taking up the challenge, which resulted in $28.5 million in saving account deposits and 9,058 new accounts. This is an increase over the previous year, so the campaign seems to be successfully raising awareness with youth. It will be interesting to see if 2013 sees increases across the board as well.
Year-round free options for youth financial education
One online resource that could be a year-round help for credit union youth members is www.LivingYoungandFree.com (or www.LivingYoungandFree.ca for Canadian credit unions.) It's a seven-chapter online guide to helping youth understand basic money management, identity theft, budgeting, loans and how to get help with major life purchases. Your members can download a free iBook or pdf for their devices by visiting the website.
A further option for your credit union members is to subscribe to the weekly Living Young & Free Show on blip.tv. There are over 80 episodes offering practical advice that youth care about, such as ideas for side jobs you can actually do, how to make concert going more affordable, and tips when you're renting.
As a credit union, you can link to these resources from your website. Just contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll share the details with you.
From around the U.S.
Here's a snapshot of what others were up to for National Financial Literacy Month:
- California Financial Literacy Month (CAFLM) has existed since 2001,
posted an incredible number of resources, news items, and links on its
site which are available year-round. You can find a huge assortment of
articles on this page.
- Southwest Airlines Credit Union promoted the week in their newsletter, with fun offers for new Kid's Club Account and teen checking account members.
- Marshal Community Credit Union hosted a Kids Day event with games, face painting and giveaways. Youth members were eligible for draws all month.
What did your credit union do for youth during Financial Literacy Month? Do you feel credit unions are doing enough about financial education? Tell us in the comments.
Sandy Pitkethly is the Vice President, Marketing for Currency Marketing and manages new business development and overall client service. She has over 20 years of marketing experience, and will stop at nothing to turn you into a curling fan. If you are interested in Young & Free, Money Mom, or finding out what curling is all about, Sandy's the one to talk to.