by Chris Steffes, Remote Services Consultant
I have a confession: I am a SPENDER. When I think back to my youth and how I learned my personal spending habits, I didn’t need to look any further than my parents. I didn’t understand the advantages of saving as a youth and didn’t apply personal financial management to my life. As a result, I used poor judgment more than a few times growing up, opting for the instant gratification that comes with purchasing a trendy outfit over saving for the future.
Fortunately, I eventually learned healthy money management, but it took external forces – student loan debt, car loans and credit card debt – to motivate me to change my behavior.
It seems my experience is not unique, as research from Harvard University suggests that patterns of consumer behavior are learned through family socialization, including money management. The Harvard study found an inter-generational consistency in spending habits, which may be part of the reason why so many people in the U.S. are in debt today.
Credit unions are in the unique position to motivate and educate young members, especially teens, about financial management and how to realize their dreams by becoming “financially empowered.”
Here are a few ways to encourage active membership and financial empowerment within your young members:
- Set up a branch at the local high school, and stimulate membership
and savings through annual scholarship awards and contests.
- Create a positive brand image with youth members through social
media campaigns and contests.
- Create a teen youth board to your credit union, where kids can
learn about sound spending behaviors, provide insight to your board on youth
trends with money and technology, and become ambassadors to other youth
regarding personal finances.
- Conduct financial management programs geared toward teens’ future
goals – college, cars, travelling - and include successful youth members and
their stories as role models within the program. Set out some food, offer
prizes, advertise on social media and through mobile messaging, and teens will
- Millenials love their phones. With mobile wallets requiring a link to a debit/credit card, lead a seminar that provides teens with a path to obtaining responsible credit, and how to responsibly manage purchases from retailers who use mobile wallet technology.
Because mobile banking has fundamentally changed the way people bank, young people gravitate to this channel for the convenience and mobility it provides. As a result, young members who learn financial habits from their credit union have a good chance of becoming long term members because of mobile banking. By investing in youth education and community programs, credit unions will receive dividends today and tomorrow when it comes to attracting and keeping youth members.
CU Solutions Group not only offers a popular mobile banking app to reach your younger members, we also have turnkey youth websites and marketing programs to grow those demographics at your credit union.