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Help your kids prepare for financial independence by having 'The Money Talk'

If you feel unprepared to talk to your teen about finances, you aren't alone. The Money Talk Guide will help make the conversation easier. Sponsored by BECU.

SEATTLE — Research shows that kids who get taught about finances at an early age develop stronger money management habits as adults, however, in a recent consumer survey, BECU found that 72% of parents are not talking to their kids about money.  

Stacey Black, BECU Financial Educator, says there’s a reason for that,  "It's that fear that, ‘Maybe I don't have my finances in order so what am I going to tell my child or my teen?’ Then lacking the confidence. We always feel like, “Maybe someone else would be better at talking to my child about that.’"

BECU’s financial guide, The Money Talk, was built as a guide to help parents bridge the gap and to start a conversation with their children or teens about money.  It’s structured around four pillars of financial health: Save, Spend, Borrow, and Plan, and it provides parents with talking points to structure the conversation.  Each pillar comes with activities for parents and teens to do together to put the concept to use.  

For example, one activity is to have your teen plan a dinner that includes a $20 budget, which teaches them the concept of spending.  Another activity involves sitting down with your kids with some of the credit card offers you get in the mail to read them over together, “I always say with the big print giveth the little print taketh away. So, read the fine print and show them how to compare those offers.”

Download BECU's Guide to the Next Big Talk - BECU.org/thenextbigtalk

As a financial educator, Stacy says teens commonly ask her about credit cards and what age is right to get one. Her first advice is, “Get a job and get in the habit of saving first.”  

Stacy tells teens that the credit score, “Is going to affect every aspect of your financial lives. Getting an apartment, a car, a job, your insurance rates, could all be affected based on your credit.”  To explain the concept, she compares it to a GPA, which helps them equate the two, “It’s that number, and that number tells lenders how likely you are to pay them back.  And then I say, your credit report is like your full report card. Mine said, ‘Likes to talk in class a lot,’ but it as a lender I could look at that and really make some decisions based off that.”

She highly encourages kids and parents to have a conversation about the realities and responsibilities of having a credit card. 

Each year BECU has a Day of Service with the community.  On Mon, Oct. 14, they are working with 18 schools across Puget Sound and Spokane to put on financial reality fairs where teens are given a new persona and job for the day. They get to monitor their finances and experience pressures or temptations to spend money. 

"What we want to happen is for these students to make mistakes in a safe environment. Most of them go over budget and then they have to come to visit us at the Credit Union Station and make smarter choices." 

Download BECU's Guide to the Next Big Talk - BECU.org/thenextbigtalk

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