Last Minute Spring Break Ideas

March 26th, 2015 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

It’s that time of the year again! SPRING BREAK! Wahoo! Time to go nuts! It’s the week of relief when you wake up when the moon rises above the earth and you fall asleep when it tiredly departs from the horizon. Well only sometimes. Sometimes you don’t have the time, money, or…friends…to do the typical foolish partying that is usually associated with this time of year. So instead of just making Sweatpants Sunday every day while eating ice cream and binge watching seven shows for the whole week, you can make spring break your own fun, bizarre, and inexpensive entity. So, whether you are in the beginning of your spring break, the end of your spring break, wishing it was spring break, middle aged and living vicariously through their child on spring break, or shivering in December wrapped up in a blanket next to your heater and just wishing it was spring, you can take these interesting alternatives to the week:

Have an “Alternative” Spring Break

It’s 2015 and the spring break for the new millennium is starting to become less about beachin’ it and more about spending your own free time helping those in need. The Habitat for Humanity organization has terrific options for you like helping to build a house for someone else. It will even give you a new skill to show off to the friends and family. If building a house isn’t your thing, they are plenty of charities around your area that would love for your assistance. There can be SO MANY charities that you may need some more guidelines on how to make your spring break helpful and self-satisfying.  Cross-Cultural Solutions is just the thing to get tips and to participate in great volunteer work.

Find a Last Minute Deal

Let’s say you do have friends. You can still go on a vacation with them and spend very little money. Yes, it is possible. No, we’re not kidding. There are companies such as Priceline and Last Minute that specialize in helping you find that perfect last minute deal. Get the lowest prices of vacant hotels, the cheapest cars to rent, and the most inexpensive airline tickets. If you are in the college demographic, the company Contiki has last minute specials such as an Alaskan trip, a European bus tour, or a week spent traveling some of Europe’s most popular cities. Even if it is a week alone driving around unseen places and sleeping in your car, you can easily make the most of your experience with the right deals, and it’ll be a great story to tell at the next dinner you go to.

Pitch a Tent and Star at the Stars

Nothing is as fun and costs the least amount of money than spending a few days in the great outdoors. While this year has been particularly breezy, that isn’t something a fire and some warm jackets can’t fix. Most sporting goods stores have everything you could possibly need for the trek out. From sleeping bags to tents to lights to stoves, pitching in with a group of your friends for the necessities keeps the costs low and not much planning needed. So, bring on the bug spray and take a hike!

Explore Your Own Town

Next time you are lying in bed, grumpy and on Netflix, complaining about how boring a spring break you’re having because there is nothing to do in your town, how about spending a night in the town. Yes, your town. Even the seemingly dullest of towns has a few hidden pieces of gold in it. Maybe not literal gold, per se, but metaphorical gold. From trivia nights at a local hang out spot, to an unexplored path in a woods near your house, to a well-liked restaurant you never took time out to go to, to a night at your town’s spooky cemetery, to karaoke night at the hopping town bar, to bingo night at the town church or fire station, to a special presentation on an interesting subject at your town’s public library, there are TONS of cheap to free activities to keep you busy.

For more information on last minute spring break ideas, you can read the full Travel Channel article here.

~Bobby

How would you feel if one day you were purchasing a brand new 46” TV, feeling on top of the world, all of your finances believed to be in perfect, wonderful harmony, and the very next day you credit card is being cut at the grocery store in front of your family? Possibly crying on the ride home wondering what went wrong. We recently had a blog about the signs in your life that warned you that you are making a poor financial decision. Those signs included listening to nonprofessionals, stress, and spending for want and not necessity. These were the actions that are very noticeable and can be easily avoided. But let’s say you DID avoid those disasters. What happens if you were spending for necessity, weren’t under stress, and really were listening to the right financial experts, yet still overextended your finances that lead to huge problems you didn’t see coming? These are the signals that even the more financially savvy persons either don’t spend enough time paying attention to, or just ignore that can lead to financial disasters:

Struggling to Pay Bills

Here come all the bills in the mail. Oh boy…. This bill here? That one’s important. We should pay this one right away. This bill? Hey. Let’s put that one off. We don’t have the money every week to pay THAT one. It’s not a big deal and we can even save a little extra money by keeping it off. Leave it to the late fees. We’re already paying a lot anyway, may as well just pay the little extra amount when the time comes to it.

This is NOT the proper way to go about your finances, yet 24% of Americans are consistently late with paying their bills as stated in National Foundation for Credit Counseling’s 2014 Financial Literacy Survey. Little by little the bills will pile up more and more, the overdraft fee because more worrisome, and the debt will just keep rising. What happens if your car breaks down on a ride to a very important business meeting, and you no longer have the money to get it fixed? You’re going to start regretting relying on your scapegoat of a work check that kept you from sending the money to pay your bills.

Not Putting Money Down On Purchases

Here’s the American Dream. Getting exactly what you want and paying the most desired price for it. $0. Well, not much is really free. Maybe for the time being, at least it feels great to not put any money down, but if 100% financing becomes your routine, your future bills are going to be 100% horrifying. Put some money down on your next purchase, and your debt will be that much lighter.

More Credit Card Spending than Credit Card Paying

Do you sometimes go month to month with unpaid credit card debt? A lot of people do. 1 out of 3 Americans actually, according to the research the previously mentioned National Foundation for Credit Counseling’s 2014 Financial Literacy Survey. This was conducted by asking over 2,000 adults just last year. It is a nice dream to think that you are making purchases with invisible money, but every purchase has its own consequence. Even a small purchase here and a small purchase there adds up.

Not Monitoring Your Credit

If you have multiple of credit cards or lines of credit, GREAT! Right? It means that you are trusted by your creditors. Well, you won’t be trusted by your creditors for long if don’t properly monitor your credit. That could lead to your credit card being maxed out, problems owning a home, paying a loan which leaves you in potential financial ruin. Always be safe with your finances so you won’t be sorry months to come.

For more information on the signals that you are not in control of your own debt, you can check out the full US News & World Report article here.

~Bobby

There are several common knowledge dangers of owning a house. Yes, some are more easily fixed than others, but at least they are all widely known to still be dangerous. The scariest dangers are the dangers that aren’t as well known to the public. They may be known to have caused trouble here and there, and even maybe looked at on a semi-regularly basis, but these hazards may have caused more trouble than many realize. For your safety and the safety of your loved ones, here are the hazards that come with home owning that you should be more aware of:

Stoves

Lightweight stoves are pretty convenient for everybody. Contractors don’t have to take much time to install them, and the residents don’t have much trouble if they want to replace or remodel them. It is an inconvenience though those lightweight stoves are no problem for tipping over on small children. These types of stoves have the ability to open all the way down and their handles are accessible to a child. It is even possible for a heavy pot of water to be able to tip your stove over. Sears has had a court settlement of millions of dollars due to over 100 deaths caused by inadequate mounting mechanisms. Market Watch has reported recently that it is possible for over 20 million homes to still have this danger with their stoves. Check it out the first chance you get. While checking your stove, be careful of your television as well. These flat screen televisions have caused deaths of over 100 children. It is important to safety check your television every few months.

Gas Lines

Do you know if your house was built between the years of 1860 and 1915? If you do not, then it would be in your best interest to check. If your house was built during that time, then there is a chance that you have a gas line that used to supply natural gas used for lighting. While a good amount have been converted to electric or capped off for safety, others remain dangerous. Market Watch has even reported in the recent article that one live gas line was used as a towel rack. The other danger with gas lines is that over 2 million homes in the United States have corrugated stainless steel tubing which is one of the cheapest options for gas piping. Now this doesn’t have great danger unless the unlikely chance of getting hit by a lightning strike. If hit though, Hole in the piping will burn and a fire may be caused.

Smoke Detectors

The U.S. Fire Administration reports that over 100 million houses in the United States have at least one smoke detector. That is 96% of all US houses. According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost all smoke detectors placed in US homes are ionization alarms. Joseph Fleming from the Boston Fire Department has reported to Market Watch that ionization alarms are responsible for around 30,000 deaths since 1990. Ionization alarms have more trouble detecting fires that are smoldering or slow burning. These alarms are chosen over the safer photoelectric alarm due to their price and their batteries last longer. Fleming also reported that ionization alarms can take twenty to fifty minutes longer to activate than photoelectric alarms. If you do not have photoelectric alarms, it would be a wise choice to invest in a few. Also as reported in Market Watch, it is preferable to have your alarms hardwired by an electrician than relying on your smoke detector’s battery.

Lightweight construction

According to the Wood Truss Council of America, around sixty percent of construction in the United States uses a type of wood truss. Lightweight wood truss is a savior when it helps bring the cost down on many entry level homes, but it is a nightmare if a fire starts within it. Because there are no nails, bolts or screws the heat can just pop off the metal gusset plates used in their place. Fortunately for the safety of everyone, almost all building codes require that when these gussets are used, they must be protected by a sprinkler system. It will keep you a little safer knowing if you are protected by nails or gussets.

For more information of the most dangerous home hazards you don’t notice, you can read the full Market Watch article here.

~Bobby

Mortgages, taxes, loans, cars, vacation, retirement. There are hundreds of financial decisions you will be making in your life. Some of them are going to be significant. Some of them are going to be SO significant that if your decision takes a turn for the worst you will be sitting in your cardboard box outside of the nearest Market Basket thinking about where you possibly could have gone wrong. Alright, it won’t be THAT BAD, but looking on your past decisions, you will notice that there were clues all around you that lead to your poor financial choices. To keep yourself from making one of these decisions and avoid taking up residence in your homeless cardboard box, we have four of the biggest warning signs that you may want to double check your decision:

You Are Spending for Want Not Need

Spending with your heart as opposed to your brain can lead to a whole world of trouble. As the US News & World Report reported, having a convertible is nice, but when you handed the thousands of dollars over and you are driving the car home from the dealer in windy, rainy Seattle, Washington, you have realized too late that you just made a poor choice. Buying on impulse is a major factor when it comes to poor spending habits. Eating a dozen boxes of chocolates after a breakup seems like a good idea at the time, but in the long run it isn’t going to make you feel any better. Next time you see a something you don’t own that starts to make your mouth salivate with desire, first ask yourself if it’s a life or death purchase.

You Are Taking Lessons from a Non-Professional

Ever tell a group of friends or family members about some ailment you have been suffering from and everyone from your date to your clownish best friend to your grandma to your ten year old niece has the correct cure? You may love these people, but you don’t want their lack of medical expertise be the opinions that will treat you. You shouldn’t want that for your finances either. We have financial experts here that have degrees, certifications, and years of experience that dedicate their lives to helping you make the best financial decisions possible for you. Sorry, Grampy. You’re no financial consultant.

You Are Under Stress

When we are in a state of panic we can tend to make a LOT of bad decisions. Some of them, of course, are financial ones. If there is a breech at a store, a stock is plummeting, or loans and bills are piling up then you might make a rash decision. Talk to a financial advisor and come back clear headed so you can take the appropriate action in a stressful situation. This will save you some sweat, tears, and sleepless nights when it’s all said and done.

You Haven’t Done Your Research

We suspect (with good reason to boot) that you are literate. Otherwise it would be pretty difficult for you to be reading this right now. The real question is that are you financial literate? 2,016 adults took Harris Poll for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling’s 2014 Financial Literacy Survey. 41% of survey takers gave themselves a C or a lower grade. Reading up on the top vacation spots is much more fun than smartly planning your vacation finances, but the latter is more important for you the rest of the weeks of the year.

For more information, check out the full US Money News and World Report article here.

~Bobby

Ever spend a night lying awake in bed, eyes closed, trying to get you brain so stop racing, then you look over at the clock. 4:35am. An exhausted moan lets past you lips as you clamp you eyelids shut and turn away from that ugly, treacherous, unending hour of the morning. Hopefully turning away from it will make it not exist. Then your brain acts up even faster. You start thinking about how busy your day is tomorrow and this lack of sleep is going to make you a shambling skeleton. Just trying to think makes you head hurt, and trying to focus on the day makes the back of your eyes ache. Even starting with a freshly brewed cup of coffee from Dunkin Donuts will not prepare you for the eight long hours you have ahead of you. Yeah. We’ve all been there. We love how committed you are and we want you to be as active and successful as you can be, but we don’t want you suffering an early heart attack. Stay productive, but keep your stress levels down. Here are the best techniques to do so:

Learn to Reschedule

It’s true that crossing out that cancelled meeting you were dreading off of your daily calendar can be quite relieving, it is far more beneficial towards you and all of the working professionals connected to the meeting that it is rescheduled. This meeting was important enough that your poor, tired hand pulled open your top desk drawer, reached into, picked up a pen, closed your desk drawer, released the ink tip from its indefinite hibernation, and then stretched out your overused dominant wrist to write it down on your calendar. All of this effort that you had put upon yourself has to have a payoff, right? Rescheduling instead of forgetting about if it’s cancelled gives you enough flexibility in your schedule to relieve stress, but more importantly shows that you will not let important things just drop out of your job.

Strategy is Key

Your strategy should be refined by your calendar. Yes, your calendar. Get the biggest calendar you want if you’d like. If you do not have a calendar, get one. The more tactical strategy you can execute is by starting to fill your calendar by writing in your most important tasks first. After that you then fill in your secondary tasks which can fall wherever they best fit. Pretty easy, right? What this does is gives you priority of your work. By writing in each appointment or meeting, or report due without priority, you are giving every single task intent to overbear you.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

While overbooking your schedule, it may look nice to show how overcommitted you are to your job, but exhaustion will catch up to you sooner rather than later. Leave short periods to take a breath, gather yourself, and get your thoughts in order. Look over your speech, presentation, work, or topics of discussion one more time. When more prepared for situations, you are less likely to get overly stress from the lack of readiness, and less will be accomplished because of it.

Relax

As a philosopher once said, “Relax, don’t do it. When you want to, go to it.” Okay , that was actually Frankie Goes to Hollywood, but it is a message we can apply to here. How are you supposed to get all of your work done when the words on your report are getting hazy, the phone keeps ringing, and ringing, and ringing, and the room is spinning? You may need to step out of the building for a minute or ten just to alleviate the pressure you feel starting to bear down on you. Then when you come back, you can go back to your work clear headed.

For more information on how to have exceptional time management, you can read the full Entrepreneur article here.

~Bobby

Today we discuss one of the oldest questions in the past hundred years. It is a question that people have debated, fought, explained, denied, changed opinions on, stayed awake during the long hours of the night wracking their brains about, or even traveled long distances on a journey to try to obtain the definite answer. The question that has daunted philosophers, theorists, psychics, and scientists for so long is a simple one: “Banks or credit unions?” It’s the second oldest question behind, “What came first: The chicken or the egg?” To help guide us through the theoretical mayhem of this debate is a recent article from MoneyTalksNews.com. They listed their reasons why they believe credit unions are better than banks. Naturally, we agree with them, and we listed reasons why we agree with them. Here are some reasons that apply to us and also to you:

Our Convenience

As MoneyTalksNews.com correctly states, though credit unions may not be open every hour of every day, we still use every hour we are open to help you with whatever financial issue you may have. You can be rest assured that you have a friend in us. Most of our branches’ hours are Monday to Thursday from 8:30am to 4:30pm, Friday from 8am to 6:30pm, and Saturday from 9am to 12pm. Our Cross Point branch is open Monday to Friday from 7am to 3pm. You can check out our website for drive thru hours, as well. If you don’t want to drive to us, that’s fine too. You can seek help from us from the comfort of your own home. While our branches are open, you also have an option to contact our Member Care Center who is always more than happy to take your calls!

Our Structure

We may be workers here, but this is YOUR credit union. You own part of this. You have a voting right along with every other member at this credit union. We are a not for profit organization, so we are here for you, not what’s in your wallet or purse. All of the products and services we offer are for your benefit and convenience. Lastly, credit unions generally have excess funds returned with higher dividends. Don’t understand what the means? We have people here to walk you through that and whatever other benefits you are entitled to!

Our Fees

Lower expenses? No overdraft fees? Count us in! To become a Member here at Align, all you need is $25. That is a business weeks’ worth of coffee, and that makes you a Member for life. Banks can sometimes start throwing nonsensical fees every which way at you, but us credit unions like to treat our Members with respect. No worrying about your minimum balance. We won’t charge you a monthly maintenance fee. MoneyTalksNews.com praises credit unions lack of fees, and we are proud to stand behind that notion.

Our Motive

Do you know our tagline? Say it! No cheating!

Correct! We are very proud of you. Go buy yourself something nice. You deserve it. Our tagline is: “Connecting all your banking needs.” What do you take away from that? To us, it explains to our Members that we will use our expert guidance to give each and every Member the customized banking experience that fits your lifestyle. It’s our tagline, it’s our mission, and it’s our vision. MoneyTalksNews.com writes that it is credit unions that make sure their Members needs and interests come first where banks abide more by their own financial needs, and we couldn’t agree with them more.

For more reasons why MoneyTalksNews.com considers credit unions better than banks, you can read the full article here.

~Bobby

5 Things to Know About Mortgage Insurance

February 12th, 2015 | Posted by admin in Mortgages - (0 Comments)

In general, there are 2 types of mortgage insurance.  Mortgage insurance available through the government for FHA and VA loans and mortgage insurance for conventional loans which is purchased from a private carrier (this is called private mortgage insurance or PMI).  The type of mortgage insurance required will depend on the type of mortgage you get. Private mortgage insurance is required on loans where the borrower is putting down less than 20%.  This insurance protects the Lender in case the borrower is unable to pay the mortgage but also has borrower benefits! Keep in mind, an individual CAN purchase a home without a 20% down payment but they will required to purchase PMI. So what other questions do you have about mortgage insurance? Here are some of the answers you may be looking for.

1.    Who is required to have mortgage insurance?

On a conventional loan, if your down payment is less than 20% of the value of the home or purchase price (whichever is lower) a lender will require you to carry mortgage insurance.  Usually you pay these mortgage insurance premiums until your loan to value reaches 78%; at that time the PMI fall off.  On government loans (FHA, VA) mortgage insurance is normally required regardless of the LTV (loan to value).

2.    What does mortgage insurance cost?

Conventional mortgage insurance rates vary… usually the lower your down payment and/or the lower your credit score the higher the monthly premiums will be.  FHA loans have an up-front MIP (mortgage insurance premium) AND a monthly premium.  VA loans have an up-front fee but no monthly premiums.

You will pay your mortgage insurance premiums monthly as part of your monthly mortgage payment.  Lenders may also allow you to pay your PMI as a lump sum at closing, this is called single premium mortgage insurance.

3.    Why do I need mortgage insurance?

Your lender requires you to have mortgage insurance so that if you can no longer make payments on your mortgage, the lender will still get paid (through the insurance policy). Mortgage insurance is protecting the lender in case the borrower defaults.

4.    How can I avoid paying mortgage insurance premiums?

If you put down 20% or more when you are buying a home, you can avoid paying mortgage insurance on a conventional loan. Once you’ve built up enough equity in your home, you can request to cancel it. There are other programs available; contact me to discuss those with you!!

5.     When does mortgage insurance “fall off” the loan?

Once the borrower has built up 20% equity in the house, the mortgage insurance policy usually may be canceled.  The lender won’t automatically cancel PMI until you’ve reached 22 % equity base on the original appraised value or purchase price.

If you have any questions about private mortgage insurance or purchasing a home, feel free to reach out to me at 978-275-2755!

Stay Warm and Think Spring!

~Amy Spindler

Sr. Home Financing Consultant

To some, maybe even many, a dollar store is a miraculous safe haven for savings. A mecca where men and women, young and old all come together looking for the beguiling savings that these dollar stores bring to the world. The second you walk through that freshly cleaned glass door and smell the sweet scented aroma of the inexpensive gems, the excitement pulses throughout your veins as pick up your shopping basket ready to put your dollar bills to good use. In here, a dollar can get you food, water, equipment, shelter, anything you could possibly dream a dollar bill can give you. While there are cheap treasures surrounding you every which way you have the pleasure of looking in, there are some items you do not want to buy anything but brand names in. Here are some things not to buy in the dollar store:

Shampoo & Toilet Paper

One thing you cannot complain about at dollar stores is that you get what you pay for. When it comes to shampoo, the size and quality of the product just isn’t for only a dollar. We are talking about your soft, luscious, beautiful hair after all. We don’t want that hair to not get the treatment it deserves. Stick with couponing at your local drugstore if you want to keep the price down on shampoo. There isn’t much we can say about the problems cheap toilet paper brings that is appropriate for this blog. Please indulge yourself with expensive or at least more expensive toilet paper. The more quality toilet paper brands contain more fibers and therefore sturdier and more pleasurable.

Electric Devices

Electric devices tend to be dangerous. So dangerous in fact, that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has warned the public that faulty electronics, such as power strips, should be stayed away from when you are doing your shopping Please, Members. We don’t want you to electrocute yourselves. Better safe than sorry.

Toys

With dollar stores regularly recalling products from their possession, the last thing you would want for your or someone else’s child is to have a toy with a choking hazard. Cheaper made toys don’t go throw the same product safety measures as bigger toy companies have the ability to do. Parts could start breaking off between the dollar store exit to your car. Buy your child something nice. They deserve it.

Batteries

What’s the name of that battery keeps going and going and going and going? You know the answer to that. Most people in the United States know the answer to that. The reason why the company can state that without hesitation is because they are absolutely right. Brand name batteries have far more juice in them than the unreliable voltage of dollar store batteries. Unless you need batteries for only a short period of time, it’s for the best you buy more reliable batteries.

For more items to stay away from at dollar stores, you can check out the full Money Talks News article.

~Bobby

What Scams Hit Your Bank Account

January 29th, 2015 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

You get it. Credit cards are a serious matter. You already know this. This information has been getting drilled again and again in your head by the likes of us for quite some time. So why do we keep doing it? Because the situation is far worse than most Members can imagine (and most of them imagine that it’s pretty bad.) Data breaches are numerous. NUMEROUS. Millions of people a year get affected by their finances getting wiped clean. These millions of people unknowingly got taken to the cleaners, bought out the cleaners, and are now paying for everybody’s laundry on the house. We don’t want you in that situation. To make you a little more careful so you never get into that horrible predicament, let’s go over some of the most common scams that hit you right in the bank account:

Winning an Award

As unfortunate as this may sound, if there is a situation that you think is just too good to be true, it’s typically because it is. When a hard working American citizen, close to retirement, world weary, and desiring that little miracle to come sweeping them off of their tired feet, gets notified that they have an abundance of cash coming their way without having to lift a finger, it is easy to get caught up in a scam claiming to be a foreign lottery. The relief of believing all of their financial woes have disappeared is far more thought consuming than the question you should ask yourself of if you even entered a lottery in the first place. Money isn’t free. Remember that no matter how good a jackpot is claiming to be. That way you will never be giving a scammer a checking account to drop all this fictitious money in.

Overpayments

Here is one of the most popular scams on the internet, and is a very prominent problem for online sellers and advertisers. How it works is like this: If the buyer of your object of selling is a scammer, what they will do is to send you a non-cash payment that overpays the cost of the item. The buyer will want you to immediately deposit the full balance and then wire them the difference.  DO NOT DO THIS! The fraud check will bounce, you will be charged for the wire transfer fee, and you will be responsible for the fraudulent check even though you are an innocent party. If you are put in this situation, call the bank where the check is from. Even a simple Google search can save you thousands of dollars.

Charity Donations

Luckily this scam will die more down with the dying out of landline phones. Until then, the idea of donating to worthy causes rose tints the precautions one usually takes when talking on the phone with a stranger. Telemarketers rarely get fifteen words in before they are rudely interrupted by that troublesome dial tone. Yet, when asked to make a donation to the fire department, a children’s organization, or even efforts for the homeless, that intuitive knowledge of not talking to strangers you learned from your guardian in childhood wanes a bit. These people represent charities darn it! They would never represent a false charity. Actually, they would. And they do. If you want to donate to charity stick with charities you know and trust and you should be fine.

For more scams that target your bank account, you can read the full US News & World Report here.

~Bobby

The more the years pass by, the worse the financial literacy of the youth gets. Time Magazine has reported, “…states that require a personal finance class fell to 14 from 15…States that require student testing in personal finance fell to five last year, from nine in 2009.” If the education system doesn’t give your child the proper financial education they deserve, then it is up to you to make your children financially stable adults. Here’s how to do it:

Kindergarten

This is the time to create the foundation of which your children will be set up for the further building of their financial education that will last the rest of their lives. It is important to get them to learn the key basics at this age. This is where they need to learn what money is, what to do to earn money, and spending money on things you need and not always on things you want. Kids are impressionable in their young age. If they can start to learn to be more financially stable then, it is more likely to carry over into the future. To start off, there is no easier or more proficient answer than getting them their very own piggy bank. This iconic symbol of smart financial planning continues to be relevant today thanks to its success. This gets them into the saving habit that will be useful in the future.

Sixth Grade

It is about that time when your child should understand the full concept of saving their money. It is also very important for them to understand the difference between debit cards and credit cards. They need to learn that a debit card is their own money, and a credit card is money that they are just borrowing. Though it may seem a little rushed to start a youth account at a credit union, it is a perfect start for them to understand the importance of where to keep your money. Creating an allowance for your child that they then put in their bank account shows them that money is given to them if they earn it and saving it will help them have more money. If you are confident in your child, you could even try explaining interest to them. The earlier they understand interest, the better their financial education will be in the future.

Ninth Grade

Here is the most difficult parenting time of your entire life. No one can predict the moody swings of a teenager. You’re never right. What do you know anyway, mom? The slam of a locked door could start happening more often than an actual conversation with them. Now, let’s not get completely ahead of ourselves. This isn’t always the case.  When reasoning with your teenager, this is the perfect time to teach them to start structuring their finances to achieve their life’s dreams. Money is important for goals. Also, they are old enough to understand the risks that come with online hacking and breaches. They must always have complete faith where they keep their money.

Twelfth Grade

Your baby is heading to college…. Hold back the tears for a little while if you can. While driving them to their future dorm rooms you may want to lay down some information like student loans, paying bills, mortgages, keeping a job, fees, and car payments. They are more on their own now so it’s the time to become more financially independent. Even things like the temptations to order a tray of wings on a Wednesday to their suite rather than walking to the subpar cafeteria is important for them to realize.

These are the tips that will help your child become one of the more financially savvy members of society, and you would have done a fine job parenting your child.

For more information on when to teach your kids what about finances, you can read the full US News & World Report article here.

~Bobby