MSUFCU Youth Programs are Giving Kids an Edge with Financial Management Smarts

Kids grow to adults in the blink of an eye, and teaching them money management is one of the best gifts we can give them. Thankfully, MSU Federal Credit Union’s free mobile apps and programs make it easy and fun to teach kids how to use money wisely.

This article is brought to you by MSU Federal Credit Union (MSUFCU) and is a collaboration with Lansing Family Fun and GRKIDS.

CRADLE TO COLLEGE

MSUFCU Makes Talking About Money Fun and Interactive at Every Age

The first conversation I had with my kids when they were born was, “Ok, let’s talk financial literacy – it’s time to start saving money so you can be ready for the real world.” 

Just kidding! 

When our babies arrive we think about keeping them fed, giving snuggles, and navigating this whole new life we’ve added to the world. Money management is not at the front of our minds!

So when should we start talking to kids about money, and where do we start? Is the answer just a kids savings account?

If teaching your kids financial literacy feels overwhelming, you do not have to do this alone and you do not have to know all of the answers. MSUFCU is ready to partner with you to teach your kids about money with free resources that will make parents feel like finance pros. 

Bonus: MSUFCU’s tools conveniently fit into your family’s day-to-day life and leisure.

MONEY ED STARTS YOUNG 

You can Help set the Trajectory of Your Kid’s Financial Journey

Where do people learn how to handle money?

The family you grow up with has a profound impact on your financial literacy, and many of us as kids were not taught much about money management. It’s one of those things parents assume you just figure out on your own.

But without a solid foundation, it’s easy to fall into financial pitfalls.

My friend Amber’s parents told her that the way to avoid being broke was to just not spend money. So easy, right?

However, they didn’t teach her strategies that would help her buy groceries when her fridge was as empty as her wallet or for affording shoes when hers wore out.

My own parents told me to get a credit card to build credit, but didn’t get to the part where you only use it for things that you’ve saved up for and can pay off every month. 

While Amber and I learned through the school of hard knocks, we’re hoping to send our kids to a different kind of finance school. One where they start younger and smarter.

boy stacking money for his kids bank account with MSUFCU youth programming.

MSUFCU YOUTH FINANCE TOOLS

My husband and I gained money management tools from wrong turns and learning from our mistakes. 

We want our kids to avoid that. 

MSUFCU believes that creating a culture of savings and making financially smart decisions by using their tools at a young age can help kids build a foundation for future financial success. 

It can change the trajectory of your kid’s financial path. 

MSUFCU has provided fun (yes I said fun – skip down to the mobile app section to see how), easy-to-use tools, tips, and resources for your kid’s ages 0+. 

If you’re thinking, Sweet – I’m in! Now what?!, keep reading. MSUFCU has a lot of exciting ideas for teaching our kids about money. (And, they’re super supportive of parents, too.)

Age Two: Start Teaching Your Kids About Managing Money

MSUFCU recommends talking to kids about financial literacy as early as two years old

If your kids are older or you’re a few years in, no problem. Jumping in now is still great and much better than never.

MAJOR MONEY MOMENTS 

MSUFCU Does More Than Provide Kids Bank Accounts

Helping kids and families learn money management tools is a lifelong process and MSUFCU is there for milestones, big and small. Some of their teaching tools are like sneaking vegetables into meatloaf, and others are more overt.

Here are four ways MSUFCU gets financial literacy messages across to kids.

1) They Teach With Free, Clever Apps

These MSUFCU apps teach kids how to earn and save money.

Do your kids play games on your phone or iPad? If so, add MSUFCU’s gaming apps to the mix. 

My seven year old may not be saving for a car or planning a monthly budget, but these tools have given him a greater awareness of how money works. 

Dream Racer gives them a budget and items or cars to purchase teaching them how to make good financial choices and how to save. 

Both of my boys really like the “Saving Draggy” game where you can pick your outfits then clean up your room by filling your piggy bank with cash, change, and rare coins. 

I wonder how my financial journey could have been different if I had had these building blocks as a kid.

You can find their game apps through App Store or Google Play.

msufcu gaming apps

2) They Visit Area Schools & Get Kids Excited About Saving Money

Financial educators visit schools K-12 and higher education classrooms to discuss a variety of financial topics starting with creating a savings account.

When my oldest was in Kindergarten, MSUFCU visited his classroom and helped him set up his own savings account. He received a green MSUFCU envelope and piggy bank to save up throughout the weeks and on specified days, could bring in coins and cash for his account. 

Volunteering on days the kids would bring in their savings was truly telling! You would have thought their quarters were a hundred dollar bills as their faces lit up so proud of their saving accomplishments.

That opened the door for me to talk to my son about what it means to save in a fun, exciting way.

To learn more about what MSUFCU is doing in our community, two great resources to visit are their community and financial education pages.


3) They Bring Bounce Houses & Learning Games to Kids’ Day Celebrations

These super fun kid-centered events have inflatables, games, a photo booth, and more. 

The games are based on educational platforms like science, technology, and financial education.

These celebrations are a time to have a blast and bonus: both you and your kids will learn important nuggets of gold to take home with you.

4) They Get High School Students to Practice Real World Income & Budgets 

Maaaan, I wish the Reality Fairs were around when I was in high school. I took economics which was great but beyond learning how to balance your checkbook (did I just age myself?) the real-world hands-on financial education was lacking. 

MSUFCU has an interactive way to help fill that gap.

In this forum, MSUFCU helps students prepare for their financial journey ahead of graduation.

Students get to select a career and then figure out their finances for one month:

  • Rent 
  • Student loan payments 
  • Groceries 
  • Car payment, gas, insurance
  • Credit cards 
  • Gym memberships 
  • Cell phones and plans
  • …and as we all know very well, so much more!

Volunteers are combined of community members and Credit Union employees to facilitate this “real-life” experience. The Financial Reality Fairs help alleviate the stress that may come with anticipating all of this and in some cases, introduce this concept for the first time.

But what do high school students think of these fairs?

“This was really fun. I enjoyed learning about finances by playing a game. I am going home to thank my mom and dad –  adulting is expensive!”

“The reality fair helped show me things I didn’t think about before. It showed me certain things I need that I forgot I needed in real life.”

“I am a nervous person about money and the Reality Fair helped boost my confidence about money.”

Read more from Haslett High School students here.

Sexton High School Teacher, Kathy Hubbard, says:

“I think that the MSUFCU Reality Fair is not only organized and run extremely well each year, but it also is an excellent opportunity for our students to gain some real awareness as to how to maneuver through life after high school.

It gives them each a little insight as to all the good and potentially bad things that can happen to you as you go through your daily life as a working adult with bills, responsibilities and experiences for which you may or may have not planned.  When the students truly get into the activities and think about their choices, it can be life-changing!”

Here’s where you can learn more about when and where these fairs take place.

If you’re interested in an MSUFCU Reality Fair at your school, please email financialeducation@msufcu.org.

MSUFCU Resources  

Take your money management skills to the next level with MSUFCU’s free tools and resources.

1) Robust Youth Accounts

These kids accounts grow with the member and offer:

  • educational contests
  • special events
  • free gaming apps
  • and more!

2) Wallet Watch Podcast

Topics include:

  • scams to avoid
  • paying for college
  • credit education
  • how to nail that first interview

Download the Wallet Watch podcast for free on Spotify, Apple Podcast, or Podbean

3) Seminars and Presentations

Topics include

  • fraud and identity theft protection
  • tax changes and planning
  • home buying basics
  • estate planning

Seminars are free and are held both at daytimes and evenings. Visit msufcu.org/events for a full list of events and to register.

4) Local Loyalty Discount with Davenport University

This discount offers MSUFCU members and eligible dependents 20% off tuition!

Preparing our Kids for the Real-World is as Easy as M-S-U-F-C-U

My jealousy and straight-up envy were at 100 when I learned about these resources I could have only dreamed to have had when I was a kid! The plethora of help and interactive teaching our kids have access to now is a true gift – and we get to give it to them.

Thankfully, and most importantly, my kid’s journeys can look a lot different than my own, and implementing these tools early means our kid’s transition into the “real world” can be smooth. 

Although we will make mistakes as parents/guardians, and no one is perfect, we can still get many things right – I’m excited to make financial literacy one of them.

QUIZ TIME 

Q #1

Would you like MSUFCU to visit your child's class?

Yes?

If you’re interested in an in-class presentation, Reality Fair, or virtual presentation, email financialeducation@msufcu.org.

Q #2

What's the right age to start learning financial literacy?

It's never too late or too early to learn!

Financial literacy can happen at any time – we’re still learning as adults! 

Q #3

Name 2 Learning Tools MSUFCU Offers Families.

MSUFCU's free financial literacy gaming apps and mobile app/website.

 Visit msufcu.org/youth to learn more.

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