Learning good financial habits early on is important. WSECU offers The Vault; a free financial literacy curriculum that middle and high school teachers can incorporate into their classroom lesson plans. Click here to learn more about this program.
Teaching Kids the Financial Basics
It’s never too soon to teach your children about finances. Learning early on will help good financial habits become an ingrained part of their everyday lives, making it easy to continue those habits into adulthood.
Tips for young children:
Begin with the basics. Open a savings account for your child, make the first deposit and encourage additional deposits from allowances or monetary gifts.
Weekly allowance. Determine a weekly amount, perhaps based on your child’s age.
Rewarding effort. Tie allowances to certain chores, such as setting the table for dinner or picking up the playroom.
Divide and conquer. Consider dividing allowances into three categories: immediate spending, short-term purchase and long-term purchase. Your child can choose specific items for the short- and long-term purchases, which will add to the excitement and commitment to save.
Bonus time. When your child does extra chores or displays an extra effort, pay out a bonus.
Matching contributions. Consider matching a portion of your child’s savings account to encourage further deposits.
Tips for teens:
Peer pressure. Discuss how peer pressure may affect spending habits and encourage your teen to make smart, independent decisions.
The first job. Give your teen the opportunity to find an after-school or summer job and let the experience of earning a paycheck begin!
Hire your teen. If your teen isn’t old enough to have a job, consider paying a “salary” for additional work that is needed around the house.
Checks and balances. Help your teen open and responsibly maintain a checking account.
Establishing good credit. This is the prime time to discuss a first credit card and responsible use of it. Also include the importance of paying all bills on time and avoiding a large amount of unsecured debt.
Owning a car. Talk about the pros and cons of new vehicles vs. used vehicles and what is involved in taking out a loan. Also discuss the outlying expenses: insurance, maintenance and gas. This is an ideal topic to incorporate into the importance of saving money.
College expenses. Scholarships can help, but unless your teen can count on a full ride, it’s time to map out a saving strategy. Research expenses at colleges your teen is interested in attending. Discuss ways to save for the expenses and who will pay for what. Include the peripherals: clothing, food, transportation, etc. – then work together to put a savings plan into action.
New Market Skills Center Academy of Finance
A partnership between WSECU and New Market Skills Center provides local high school students with a prime opportunity to give a career in the financial industry a try.
The partnership between WSECU and New Market’s Academy of Finance began in 1988. An on-campus WSECU branch offers internships to students, giving them the chance to gain firsthand experience. WSECU has hired 40 students since the partnership began and several remain employed with the credit union. WSECU also contributes financially, awarding $4,000 in scholarships annually through the Bill and Jodie Brandt Scholarship program.
New Market Skills Center serves as an off-campus training site for a consortium of 10 school districts: Centralia, North Thurston, Oakville, Olympia, Rainier, Rochester, Shelton, Tenino, Tumwater and Yelm. WSECU members who have students or are students attending high school in one of these districts have the opportunity to take advantage of this partnership.
The New Market campus is located in Tumwater, just minutes from WSECU’s headquarters in Olympia. In addition to the Academy of Finance, the center offers a wide variety of career and technical training programs ranging from graphic design to automotive service. Complete details on New Market and its programs are available on the skill center’s website.
Alumni Video WSECU's partnership with New Market Skill Center's Academy of Finance is showcased in this special video, produced by New Market Media Communications instructor Brian Temple. Take a few minutes to watch and listen to the insights and comments by Academy of Finance alumni, many of whom are WSECU employees.