Seattle — If there were an emergency, would you be able to come up with $400 cash on the spot?
For nearly half of Americans, the answer is no. Financial issues cause strain that takes a toll on wellness. Stacey Black from BECU stopped by New Day to uncover tips and tricks for financial planning.
The first step is to start saving young.
For one day every October, BECU closes their doors and invites employees to volunteer at high schools to teach healthy financial habits to students.
"This year we were at 16 high schools across Washington state doing what we call Financial Reality Fairs," said Black.
Students are given the opportunity to live through financial boundaries they may face as adults. They are assigned different personas like police officers and zoologists, and some of them are assigned children and spouses. The BECU employees work as salespeople at different stations that the students make purchases from. In the end, they are able to see how much money they have left.
Although it's all pretend, the goal here is for them to gain budgeting skills they can use when they go into college and full-time jobs.
Another activity BECU facilitates for students is around credit cards and the borrow principal. They compare interest rates of different cards and help students understand the importance of reading the fine print.
Parents shouldn't just rely on the formal education system to teach students how to budget. BECU want parents to talk to their kids and teens about finances. The Next Big Talk is a guide that will facilliate that conversation. It proposes questions parents can answer to help their kids understand the truth behind budgeting. It also prompts teens to think about their allowance and making unnecessary purchases.
BECU offers free webinars and seminars on financial planning for both teens and adults. These are available to everyone, whether or not you are a BECU member.
"I do webinars on budgeting credit, buying a home, things like that," said Black.
For parents, BECU's goal is to eliminate the pressure of talking with their teens about money, and to give them the tools to do so. For teens, it's crucial they learn how to manage money responsibly.