Give a Hoot About Saving!

Learning to save for what you want is a crucial life skill, but it’s one too few young people are learning.

That’s why for financial literacy month in April, Oklahoma Educators Credit Union will focus on helping young people develop good saving habits.

The theme of the program is Give a Hoot About Saving. “Owls represent wisdom, and nothing is wiser than learning to save for one’s future goals,” said Cindy White, OECU President.

“The most effective way to teach is by having frequent discussions and don’t ever lecture,” said Ted Beck, president and chief executive of the National Endowment for Financial Education, in a recent Wall Street Journal article. “Look for teachable moments and always be willing to answer questions.”

Unfortunately, this can also be one of the hardest conversations to start.

A 2015 T. Rowe Price survey found that 72% of parents experienced at least some reluctance to talk to their kids about financial matters, and 18% were either very or extremely reluctant. The most common reasons given were that the parents didn’t want their kids to worry about financial matters or thought they were too young to understand.

However, personal-finance guru and radio host, Dave Ramsey, encourages parents to be more open with their kids about money, even their failures. In his blog, Ramsey remarks that parents’ biggest regrets are often not saving enough or going into too much debt. Being honest about that in an age-appropriate way, he states, can be a powerful lesson.

So how do we spark this conversation?

Ask questions. If you’re out to eat, talk about the price difference between the options, and ask them which they would choose. If they select the more expensive, talk through what you might have to give up later.

Make them part of your budgeting. If you’re doing any kind of financial planning for the year, solicit input from your kids. Enlist them in your saving goals—no one watches you more closely than your kids, so they’re natural accountability partners!

If you’re uncomfortable revealing too much of your financial picture, you can keep the discussions at a high level, but involving them makes money less abstract.

Then, help your kids start saving for their own future.

Stop by any OECU branch to help your kids set up a Kirby Club Savings Account. All Kirby Club members, new and existing, who make a deposit into their account during the month of April will get to write their name on a paper owl and post it with the rest of our “flock” of little savers!  Putting your conversations into action is the best way to help them learn to save. A lifetime of good saving habits can start now!

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