Ask Ms. Gail: How do I get my child started towards financial wellness?
I’m Gail Lewis with 121 Financial Credit Union. I’ve been with the credit union about 37 plus years, and I am the Financial Education Specialist.
Question 1: I just graduated high school. Do you guys have budgeting rules or golden rules?
Answer: Great question. Absolutely. I usually say get your spending plan, decide how you want to spend your money. It’s always about you. You take a look at what you like to do, make sure you cover some needs and some wants. Make sure that it’s a budget that’s workable for you. If you create the budget and you make sure you include some needs and some wants, you’re going to be able to follow the budget. And that’s very important. So get pen to paper, look at what you have as far as income coming in and how you want that money to go out. Put some demands on that money, what it has to do for you and that budget will work for you every time.
Question 2: How do I prepare my children, teens, or college student to become a successful saver, money smart or financially savvy?
Answer: Okay. And we all want to know that. We’re all concerned about our children and kind of give us a second chance to say we can get it right for what we don’t feel we get perfect. But I’m going to just use an example. I talked with a grandma yesterday. Very concerned about her grandchildren and building some type of wealth for them. And so what I would recommend, get an account open. If you can make some regular contributions toward that account on a monthly basis or what have you, that would be great. Once you do that, of course you’re going to talk with the parents, and others in the family would sometimes get involved, but it will begin a regimen for that child where they see what’s that like to come in to the branches, make deposits are, have that money grown. See that money grow and build up.
Question 3: How can 121 Financial help us manage our debt and or become debt free?
Answer: So this gives me an opportunity, this question to let members and the community know that beyond what I’m doing as a financial education specialist, 121 Financial Credit Union pays Greenpath Financial Wellness monthly. So you have the opportunity to call up to like nine o’clock at night on any given evening, speak with a financial counselor, certified financial counselor, and they can actually put you on a debt management plan. So they will contact your creditors on your behalf. They have relationships with these creditors. They know how to explain your situation to them, to get possibly interest rates lowered or get you out of the high interest that you may be paying and contain that debt into one payment, where you mail that payment out to them and they’ve managed that debt by getting you into one payment, as opposed to three or four.
Question 4: Do you conduct financial wellness workshops? And if so, how much?
Answer: I love, love, love this question because there’s a lot of unknown out there, there are benefits of being a credit union member and this is certainly one of them. When I say free, I see that face light up and that aha moment. So absolutely free to you. The service we provide the credit union is paying me. It’s built in the budget to have someone promoting thrift and doing community service in the way of financial education, because we want to make sure that we’re part of what’s going on in our community to eradicate financial illiteracy.
For more information on 121 Financial Credit Union, you can visit us at 121FCU.org – Thank you.