Friday, February 19, 2010

Guest Post - Kerrie Davis of Rogue FCU on financial literacy and families

I am very excited to post our first guest blogger, Kerrie Davis, the Community and Education Outreach Coordinator at Rogue Federal Credit Union. Kerrie is an incredibly talented woman with whom I have worked to develop The Money Mammals Saving Money Is Fun Kids Club. Kerrie has been involved in youth financial literacy for kids of all ages (as well as adults) and she brings a unique perspective to the importance of involving families in the process.

So, here's Kerrie...

Many people don’t equate sharing as a money management concept. However, it is an essential part of money management. In order to share you need to save or give of your time. In light of today’s economic fallout, I can not agree more that we need to teach our youngest kids the concepts of money management. There is a direct connection between those that are financially savvy and their awareness of basic financial concepts. Granted, this economy has thrown many people off track and in many cases certain financial institutions added to the financial burden that they are experiencing. There are so many factors that have created the perfect storm for so many folks. Between the sub-prime loans, cheap and easy credit, the rise and subsequent fall of home values, the declining economy, increased unemployment and questionable lending practices affected many families who were not prepared for what lay ahead. However, I recently received an email from a young adult that has a college degree, his dream job and is trying to save his home in the foreclosure nightmare. He stated that “he did not know that an interest only loan was the worst method to pay his mortgage.” We have gaping holes in our financial knowledge that has had a direct affect on the financial success of individuals especially in this economy.

Kerrie presents @ Building Hope foreclosure seminar

For the past year, we have been helping our middle class and upper middle class families with their financial struggles. Lack of savings combined with the loss of jobs and industry declines have affected the majority of families living in the counties we serve. Many of them looked at their homes as a source of borrowing. I often ask myself if the majority of folks had been taught financial concepts from the time they were 2 or 3 years old would we have as many families in trouble as we do in our nation. Recently a father said to me that his 16 year old did have the competence to understand how to handle money! If we start at the high school level we are too late. They have already formed habits and they have been watching their parents and relatives struggle with their own money issues. How different would it be if everyone at age two were taught the very basic of sound money management concepts? They would grow up to understand needs vs. wants, how to set goals, saving, sharing with others and how to be a smart consumer. Kids need to learn about saving for goals, giving back to others and using common sense in their spending decisions. I think we would have fewer families losing their homes, using all of their savings and retirement money to “stay afloat” and more prepared for rough times that they are experiencing today. The affect on our families, our communities and our nation would be much brighter and we would have a more stable financial future. My question is how long is it going to take for us to understand that financial literacy is a life skill as important as looking both ways before we cross the street?


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