4 Ways to Teach Your Kids About Money

Mother’s Day is this upcoming weekend (Happy Mother’s Day to all our First Scoop reading Moms!), and in thinking about this important holiday and all you’ve taught your children in life up to this point – here are a few significant pointers you can teach them about their future finances.

  1. Let your kids earn some money. It’s rather difficult to teach your children about money if they don’t physically have any. Though just giving it to them without explaining the value of earning money based on hard work, won’t teach them anything either. Instead, give them some responsibilities around the house (taking out or walking the dog, age appropriate chores, etc.) and provide them with a weekly or bi-weekly allowance so they will know that money needs to be earned through consistent work.
  2. Teach your kids to save money. If your kids just spend their allowance on whatever they want, whenever they want – this isn’t helping them or teaching them about the importance of savings. Talk to your children about saving for a rainy day, retirement savings, and compound interest. You can even try setting savings goals for your kids and reward them for saving by giving them a little bit extra when they meet the goal.
  3. Allow your kids to spend some money too. Instead of just buying your children whatever they ask for, teach them the significance of making responsible purchases and to really think about their purchase before buying something. This will show them that they can get an item of their choice, but in order to do so they are also learning about saving, budgeting, and spending money too.
  4. Show your kids it’s okay to be frugal. One of the most important lessons you can instill in your children is the value of saving their money for things that really matter. Teach them to comparison shop, use coupons whenever possible, and not to buy things for the sake of just buying something.

The best way to teach your children to be financially responsible is to be an example for them. Don’t be afraid to talk to your kids about your own personal money experiences too!

Article Source: CUInsight.com

It’s National Credit Union Youth Month, Are Your Kids Money Savvy?

April is National Credit Union Youth Month, so we wanted to take a moment to highlight the importance of spending the time and energy to make sure your kids have some basic knowledge about money.

Did you know?

  • From 2004 to 2009, the median credit card debt among college students increased 74%
  • A report on the results of a financial literacy exam found that high school seniors scored on average only 48% correct.
  • A survey of 15 year old’s in the United States found that 18% of respondents did not learn fundamental financial skills that are often applied in everyday situations, such as building a simple budget, comparison shopping, and understanding an invoice.

With such a staggering knowledge gap, it’s easy for kids to grow up and fall victim to scams, high interest rate loans, and rack up an enormous amount of debt.

So, at what age is it right to start teaching your kids good financial habits? The short answer is – right now.

By age 3, your kids can grasp some basic money concepts. By age 7, many of their money habits are already forming. No matter what their age, let’s take this opportunity during National Credit Union Youth Month to start!

Does your child have a savings account or a safe place to deposit any money they receive?

Teaching your child the importance of saving money for a rainy day, should begin at an early age. If your kids don’t have a savings account, get them started with one as soon as possible.

First Financial offers a First Step Kids Savings Account for children up to 18 years of age. There are no minimum balance fees, and dividends are posted quarterly on balances $100 or greater.*

The moral of the story is the following: Take the time during National Credit Youth Month, to talk to your children about finances, budgeting, and saving money. It’s never too early (or too late)!

*As of 7/2/2020, the First Step Kids Account has an annual percentage yield of 0.03% on balances of $100.00 and more. The dividend rate may change after the account is opened. Parent or guardian must bring both the child’s birth certificate and social security card when opening a First Step Kids Account at any branch location.  Parent or guardian will be a joint owner and must also bring their identification. A First Financial Membership is open to anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties.

3 Things Kids Should Know About Money

With another school year about to get into full swing, money management is an important lesson your children can be taught right at home.

Your kids probably don’t have a deep knowledge about money and how to manage it. What they do know, they’ve probably learned from watching you. Here are some basics that all kids should learn about finances.

It has to be earned: As you were probably told when you were young (and possibly in a snarky tone), “money doesn’t grow on trees.”  While that’s only partially true (cash is made from paper and paper is actually made from trees), money is not free.  An allowance in exchange for doing chores is a great way to teach your kids about earning money.

It must be saved: An easy way to get your kids to learn how to save is to give them a goal. Whether it’s a video game system or a new toy they have been asking for, don’t just give your kids whatever they want. Have them save up for the item, and for something more expensive like a video game system – give them a savings goal and have them pay for at least a good portion of it.

It should be spent: While it’s important to save your money, it’s also important for kids to understand that money is meant to be spent. You have to spend money in order to live your life. But when learning to spend, they should learn how to spend wisely. Teach your kids about coupons, sales, and generics brand items. Saving and spending may seem like opposites, but spending wisely is also a great way to save!

Need a great way to teach your children to save? Open a First Step Kids Savings Account! Available for kids up to age 18, there are no minimum balance fees, and dividends are posted quarterly on balances of $100 or greater.* Get your kids on the path to savings today, we’re here to help!

*As of 12/12/2012, the First Step Kids Account has an annual percentage yield of 0.05% on balances of $100.00 and more. The dividend rate may change after the account is opened. Parent or guardian must bring both the child’s birth certificate and social security card when opening a First Step Kids Account at any branch location.  Parent or guardian will be a joint owner and must also bring their identification. A First Financial Membership is open to anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties.

Article Source: John Pettit for CUInsight.com

First Financial Hosts 1st LIFE Fairs at MCVSD and Neptune High Schools

Press Release

(Pictured above: Neptune High School Business Department members along with First Financial staff and Jackson Academy of Business advisory board members work together to introduce the LIFE Fair Program to the Neptune School District).

Freehold, N.J. – On May 29th and June 5th, First Financial Federal Credit Union held two high schools’ first LIFE™ (Learning Independent Financial Education) financial reality fair events at the Monmouth County Vocational School in Freehold Borough and another at Neptune High School.

While the credit union has hosted financial reality fairs in the past, these were the first to be held at both schools. At Neptune High School, a group of financial literacy and entrepreneurship students successfully helped to facilitate the fair to the participating students from business classes. At MCVSD – career ready cosmetology, HVAC, and plumbing/pipefitting high school seniors all participated in the fair in two different sessions. Approximately 200 students between both schools shared in this hands-on version of the “game of life,” during which they were required to make several on-the-spot financial decisions.

The LIFE™ Fair consists of a full day hands-on experience where students, after identifying their career choice and starting salaries, are provided a budget sheet requiring them to live within their monthly salary while paying for basics such as housing, utilities, transportation, clothing, and food. Once the students visit all the fair booths, they balance their budget and sit down with a financial counselor to review their expenses and get a “financial reality check.” First Financial staff members work at the financial review tables with each of the participating students to provide insight into their budget and point out lifestyle choices they may need to change.

(Pictured above: Neptune High School students experiencing their first LIFE Fair).

In regard to the school’s experience with their first ever LIFE™ Fair, Tara Stephenson, Neptune School District’s Business Department Chair stated, “The Neptune Township School District was beyond fortunate to partner with First Financial Credit Union to host the LIFE Fair on June 5th at Neptune High School.  This event was an invaluable experience for our students and opened their eyes to the real financial world that awaits them after high school.  Students were provided supportive guidance and assistance on many levels from the First Financial staff.  We are thrilled to begin planning another event for the upcoming school year and to have the opportunity to work with such an amazing team from First Financial!”

Niurka Coy-Bush, MCVSD CTE-Math teacher stated, “The LIFE Fair was immensely educational and very realistic. It was a huge success! The students were completely engaged in the process as they visited the different stations. The entire simulation was very well thought out and planned, and at an appropriate level for our students.”

(Pictured above: The wheel of LIFE and a few stations at the MCVSD plumbing and pipefitting classroom).

While the LIFE™ Fair was certainly full of temptations, the students had to spend their money wisely in addition to being able to save and budget themselves for the future – while also enjoying everything life has to offer.  First Financial President and CEO, Issa Stephan, concluded, “Our mission for our LIFE™ Fair events is to help students understand the value of money and how to manage their money, so as they grow as an adult they’ll become more financially responsible. These fairs are able to show our local high school students in a hands-on way, about the financial realities of the real world. Our credit union puts a high priority on financial education, after all – that’s how First Financial began 83 years ago, with a group of schoolteachers in Asbury Park.”

Additional photos from the events can be seen on First Financial’s Facebook page. To inquire about or set-up a LIFE™ Fair for a Monmouth or Ocean County, NJ school or business – please contact First Financial’s Business Development Department at  business@firstffcu.com.

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How to Prevent Your Child from Becoming a Victim of ID Theft

It probably seems ridiculous to worry about identity theft happening to your children. They don’t have a driver’s license or a credit card in their name – it’s impossible for their identity to be compromised, right?

Wrong. The risk of a minor having their identity stolen is 51 times higher than the risk to an adult. On average, identity theft affects 15 million U.S. residents per year.

Keep reading to learn why minors are considered perfect targets for identity thieves, and how to prevent your child from becoming a victim.

What Kind of Person Would Target a Child?

A smart one. While children lack credit or debit card data that can be stolen, or savings accounts that can be depleted, they do have a credit history that is as clean as a whistle.

Generally, a minor’s credit history is left alone until it is time for them to apply for student or car loans. This gives identity thieves over a decade’s worth of time to target a minor’s information without anyone taking notice.

Then, that exciting bridge into adulthood when your child takes on the responsibility of applying for loans and credit cards is shattered when you realize he or she is denied due to a less than perfect credit history resulting from years’ worth of unpaid debt.

As an adult, you can understand the time it takes to repair a bad credit history. Your child shouldn’t have to go through this “repair phase” when they haven’t done anything to harm their credit in the first place.

Be in the Know – Recognizing the Warning Signs

The following are some tell-tale signs that something is amiss with your child’s identity:

  • Suspicious Preapproved Credit Card Offers Addressed to Your Child If you begin receiving offers for preapproved credit cards in your child’s name, this could be an alert that there may be a credit file associated with your child’s name and social security number.
  • You are Receiving Calls from Collections Agencies If you’re contacted by a collections agency trying to collect debt in your child’s name, it’s a red flag that that their information has been compromised and is being used illegally.
  • Your Attempts to Open a Financial Account for Your Child are Denied If you try to open a student savings account for your child only to realize an account already exists, or the application is denied due to poor credit history – you should take immediate action.

Take a Stand – What to Do if You Suspect Your Child is a Victim of Identity Theft

1. Contact All Three Credit Reporting Agencies

  • Ask that they run a free “Minor Check.” If the check returns no results for your child’s social security number, you can rest easy that no illegal activity is taking place.
  • If the check does return results, ask that all three agencies remove all accounts, inquiries, and collections notices from any files associated with your child’s identity.
  • Ask that a fraud alert be placed on your child’s credit report.

2. File a Fraud Report For Your Child

  • This can be done online through the FTC or by calling them at 877-438-4338.
  • The police may need to get involved if the fraud relates to medical services or taxes.

Moving forward, be very selective about who you give your child’s social security number to. This will help to protect your child’s identity and give you peace of mind as you work to build a strong future for your child.

Article Source:  Kara Vincent for Lancaster Red Rose Credit Union

3 Bad Money Habits You’re Passing on to Your Children

It can be easy to forget in our busy day-to-day lives, that our children are paying close attention to our words and actions. They emulate what they see around them and grow increasingly impressionable with age. It’s important to positively influence them by demonstrating proper behaviors and habits they can learn from. When it comes to finances, there are a variety of ways you can properly educate your children, including discouraging them from practicing these three bad money habits.

Impulse buying

When you go shopping do you follow a set shopping list? If your answer is “no” and you shop with your children, it’s time to start sticking to your plan. When you’re shopping, and grabbing things without any forethought, you are showing your children that sticking to a budget is not your priority. They may also view your impulse shopping as disorganized and unstructured. Instead, instill in them the importance of writing down a plan and getting only what’s necessary, to stay on the right track with spending.

Not talking about money

As children get older and they begin to understand the value of money, it’s important they are taught to be open about financial issues. Some view money matters as difficult or awkward to talk about. But, when it comes to building confidence in your children, it’s vital they learn the skills necessary to effectively manage their personal finances. Developing healthy financial habits from an early age is extremely important and it begins with everyday conservations.

Living above your means

If your child asks for something at the store, but you don’t have the money to buy it, it’s okay to use that old saying, “money doesn’t grow on trees.” So many Americans live outside of their means in an effort to “keep up with the Joneses.” Instead of raising entitled children that expect everything no matter how tight funds are, teach them the importance of differentiating between “wants” and “needs.” Help them understand that it’s okay to splurge on occasion, but it’s more important to budget and save in order to maintain good financial standing for a happy, stress-free life.

Article Source: Wendy Moody for CUInsight.com