MSUFCU Youth Programs Give Kids an Edge with Financial Management Smarts

MSUFCU financial tools for kids Brooks

Kids grow into adults in the blink of an eye, and teaching money management is one of the best gifts we can give them.

Thankfully, MSU Federal Credit Union’s free mobile app programs and youth accounts make it easy and fun for kids to learn how to use money wisely.

MSUFCU Makes Talking About Money Fun & 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 world of parenting. 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 as simple as opening a savings account for our children?

If teaching your kids about financial literacy feels overwhelming, you don’t have to do this alone and you don’t need to have all the answers. MSUFCU is ready to partner with you to help you 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.

Set the Trajectory of Your Kid’s Financial Journey NOW

How 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 figure out on your own.

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

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

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

However, they didn’t teach her strategies to budget for groceries, clothing or bills.

My own parents told me to get a credit card to build credit but didn’t get to the part where you save for the item before you charge it so you can pay off the card balance each month and save on interest charges.

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.

Easy to Use Youth Finance Tools from MSUFCU

My husband and I learned money management from wrong turns and mistakes. 

We want our kids to avoid that. 

MSUFCU believes that creating a culture of saving and learning how to make 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 fun (yes I said fun – skip down to the app section to see how), easy-to-use tools, tips, and resources for your kids ages 0-17. 

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.)

MSUFCU recommends talking to kids about financial literacy when they’re two years old ! 

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

MSUFCU Gets Kids Excited About Money Smarts

Helping kids and families acquire 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) MSUFCU Teaches With Free, Innovative 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 kids a budget and items or cars to purchase teaching them how to save and make good financial choices. 

MSUFCU Youth finance games

Both of my boys really like the “Saving Draggy” game where you 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 MSUFCU’s game apps through the App Store or Google Play.

2) MSUFCU Visits Area Schools to get Kids Excited About Saving Money

Financial educators visit K-12 schools 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 year. On specific days, he could bring in coins and cash for his account. 

Volunteering on days the kids brought in their savings was truly telling! You would have thought their quarters were $100 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, visit their community and financial education pages at MSUFCU.org.

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 blast and come with a bonus: you and your kids will learn important nuggets of gold to take home.

4) MSUFCU Gets High School Students to Practice Real World Budgeting 

Maaaan, I wish the Financial 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.

Using the Financial Reality Fair forum, MSUFCU helps students prepare for their financial journey ahead of graduation.

Students get to select careers and then figure out their expenses for one month, including:

  • 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!

A combination of community members and Credit Union employees volunteer to facilitate this “real-life” experience. The Financial Reality Fairs help alleviate the stress of anticipating budgeting for all of this, and in some cases, introduce this concept for the first time.

“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,” says Sexton High School teacher Kathy Hubbard.

“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!”

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!”

Haslett high school student

“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.”

haslett high school student

Read more from Haslett High School students here.

Free Resources from MSUFCU

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

Robust Youth Accounts 

Robust Youth Accounts 

These kids accounts grow with the member and offer:

  • Educational contests
  • Special events
  • Free gaming apps
  • Online Youth Store

Wallet Watch Podcast

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

Seminars and Presentations

Seminars and Presentations

Topics include:

  • Fraud and identity theft protection
  • Tax changes and planning
  • Home buying basics
  • Estate planning

Seminars are free. Visit msufcu.org/events for a full list of events and to register.

Local Loyalty Discount with Davenport University

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 Easy With MSUFCU

My jealousy and straight-up envy were at 100 when I learned about these resources I didn’t even dream of having as 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.

WIN – $150 Visa Gift Card from MSUFCU

No active MSUFCU giveaway is happening now. Check back, though – we’re always adding new giveaways to the website. For current active giveaways, check here.

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