As I reflect back on my years in high school and even college, one thing has become readily apparent: learning financial management wasn’t part of the plan.
Admittedly, the constraints on the education system these days are tremendous. Veritably every parent has an idea of what their child should be learning in school. But, when push comes to shove, America’s kids are woefully unprepared for the real world when they graduate with respect to their financial knowledge.
A financial literacy survey conducted by the Financial Industry Regulation Authority, or FINRA, that was released last year demonstrates just how much trouble our nation’s young adults could be in when it comes to their finances. The five-question survey covered relatively basic topics such as interest, savings, and investments. A passing score was considered four or five questions out of five answered correctly. Less than a quarter of millennials aged 18 to 34 passed.
Arguably a lot of these issues could be solved if they taught basic life skills in school as it relates to our everyday finances. Here are six things that I should have learned when I was in school, but didn’t until after I graduated and sought the answers out for myself.
1. How to balance a budget In terms of basic money management skills, nothing is more critical than understanding your cash flow. Most people have a pretty good bead on how much money is coming in via paychecks, but when you ask them where their money went by the end of the pay period you’re liable to get a shoulder shrug.
Students in school should be taught early and often about the basics of keeping a record of their financial transactions. This means recording cash flow into and out of a checking account, and understanding how to properly formulate a budget. Operating on a budget will teach critical money management skills that should allow students to save money and not live paycheck to paycheck — something that could come in handy if they graduate with student loan debt or don’t land their dream job right out of high school or college.
Keeping an emergency fund is a very good idea. Unexpected things are always going to crop up whether it’s a car repair, unforeseen medical expenses or the sudden desire for a weekend away. Some people just stash cash in a cookie jar or under the mattress, but these are not the best places to keep money, for several reasons. Keeping emergency money in cash means that you are not earning any interest on your funds. In addition, if your home is burglarized or there is a flood or fire, your money is just gone and you have no recourse to recover it.
Ideas for Keeping Cash at Home
Luckily, you have options for taking care of your emergency savings. If you still want to keep your money at home, disguise is the way to go. If you have a fish tank that is large, get a waterproof, solid colored jar. To be on the safe side, put your money in a plastic baggie, then inside the jar and hide behind the tank filter or among the vegetation. You could also get a waterproof envelope and put the money inside and lay it on the bottom of the tank, under the gravel.
For book lovers, consider buying a “book safe” that looks like an ordinary book and can be concealed among others on the bookshelf but actually is a hiding place for money and valuables. Of course, you could also just go with a regular safe. To prevent a safe being stolen, consider purchasing a model that is very heavy and can be bolted to the floor.
Take your cash outside. If you have room, consider burying your emergency fund in a small lockbox in your yard or garden. Just don’t forget where you buried it! Also, put money in a plastic bag or wrap before putting it in the box for extra protection from the elements.
This is a classic way to store your money, and for good reason. Banks insure your funds up to a certain amount, and you are guaranteed to get at least what you put in back out when you want your money. Depending on the interest rate and how long you keep money in the account, you will probably get back more than what you put in. It’s simple to open a savings account, and you can link it to your checking account if desired.
We could all use a hand with our finances from time to time, and it’s never too late to change the way you budget or spend for the better. At Eastex it’s our goal to help you manage your finances and achieve financial security through smart financial choices.
A little bit goes a long way
Not every financial decision needs to be a total paradigm shift or complete change of lifestyle… Often a few subtle changes can add up to a very marked improvement over the course of time. That’s where this blog post series comes in to play. Some of our “Finance Hacks” may be more dramatic, but many of them will be small, easily implemented changes to the way you approach your finances on a day to day basis.
Eastex Credit Union now offers Pay By Phone. This service allows you to take care of many expenses with one call – such as paying your Auto Loans, Visa Credit Card Payments or Depositing Money into your account from another institution via ACH/Debit/Credit Card for a low fee of only $15/per transaction.
To start making payments contact us at:
Call Center – 409.276.2525
Toll Free – 866.445.9622
Not only will you have peace of mind regarding the service’s safety, you’ll benefit so much that paying your loan notes will almost be enjoyable:
Be more secure with Pay By Phone
Make payments from anywhere by simply calling into our Call Center
Eastex Credit Union is now offering Mobile Check Deposit. We understand just how busy life can be and that is why we are trying to make things simple and easy for you! Now you can make check deposits anytime, anywhere. The best part is, it is FREE! All you need is a smart phone and our Eastex Credit Union App.
This new feature is secure, easy to use and convenient. Just point, click and deposit… It’s that simple!
You can contact a friendly representative at 409.276.2525 for any questions concerning the app or with help logging in.
Sign into your account through our mobile app under the “Accounts” option.
Choose the “Mobile Deposit” button from the right hand menu.
Enter all required information (account you would like to deposit funds in, amount of check and email).
Capture the front and back of the check by pressing the “Capture Image” tabs and choosing “Yes: Use” after each capture. (Please sign the back of the check and include the words “Mobile Deposit” under your signature along with the account number you wish to deposit the check into.)
Then choose to deposit the funds by pressing the “Submit” button.
Once the image has been submitted you will receive an email showing that your check is pending. Once it is accepted you will receive another email that the transaction was submitted. You will be able to view your “Account Balance” & “History” to confirm your funds were deposited into your account.
If for any reason your check was held, you will receive a notification by email once it has been reviewed.
Eastex Credit Union has a strong connection to the communities we serve and we are well positioned to support the growing demand for a financial institution that cares about its community‘s financial future.
Our 2014 results illustrate that Eastex Credit Union is a strong, sustainable, and efficient financial institution.. But we are far more than an institution that offers financial products and services.
We have a real presence in the communities we serve. Here are a few differentiators that make Eastex Credit Union special; in 2014, we:
We raised $747.00 for the Southeast Texas Food Bank
We delivered 10 financial education seminars in 4 schools and we supplied academic calendars to the teachers at Silsbee ISD, Evadale ISD, Kountze ISD, Kirbyville CSD and Buna ISD.
Participated in Hero Day at MeadWestvaco
Sponsored The Magnolia Festival, Red Bud Festival and the Silsbee Cruise
Sponsored Evadale Fire Department Car Show
Sponsored Evadale HS Shattered Dreams Program
Support the Lions Club in Silsbee, Kirbyville and Buna
Supplied Silsbee Middle School with bags and charging carts for the notebook computers for their students.
Supported the Buna HS and Evadale HS fishing teams.
Supported the local teams that made it to the playoffs with dinner expense.
Provided a tent for the Silsbee track team and a T-shirt shooter and Flag for Evadale.
Sponsored Friday Night Lights Radio Broadcast for Silsbee HS Football team
As we grow, we will keep our focus on doing what’s right. Locally, we will continue to provide better services and more convenience for our members. And in the end, make our community a better place. Follow us on Facebook to learn more about our community support in your hometown, or become a member today!
At Eastex Credit Union, we want to keep you informed and we value our members privacy. For ALERTS concerning how to keep your account or personal information secure, please subscribe to our eNewsletter and check the ALERT box at the bottom. These emails will provide you with scam warnings and helpful information that will benefit you – not only in case of an emergency – but general tips that will help you keep your finances safe and secure in 2015.
If you have any questions or need help subscribing, please contact a friendly member representative at 409.276.2525.
If your Eastex CU Visa debit card has been lost/stolen or suspected of fraudulent activity, CANCEL YOUR CARD immediately. During business hours call 409-276-2525. After business hours call 1-888-263-3370.
*Annual Percentage Rate. Rates based are based on creditworthiness. Contact credit union for details.
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