National Credit Union Youth Month and the Science of Saving

Saving your money isn’t always easy, especially when you’re younger and—let’s face it—you don’t have a lot to spare. If you’re a pre-teen, you don’t have much coming in, aside from maybe an allowance or whatever odd birthday or holiday money you might get from family members.

Teens might have part-time work during the school year, or during the summer, so they’ll have a little bit more consistent money, but what happens to it?

As earners continue to grow, they learn that in many cases, after paying all your usual expenses, there may be very little “fun” money at the end of the month. When we do find ourselves with some extra cash, like a tax refund, many of us rush out to buy those shoes or that electronic gadget we’ve been eying for months instead of putting it into our savings.

So, the question is, why?

Well, we can blame it on our brains, at least in part. Behavioral science has shown that humans are hard-wired to act on impulse and that it takes conscious thought to delay gratification. It’s also much easier to focus on the present than our future.

To help you save for your future, some experts suggest visualizing how your life might look when you’re older. For instance, if you want to save for retirement, imagine yourself at age 67, living comfortably, maybe travelling the country, or having the time and the means to do something you’ve always wanted to do.

Another way to help you save for your future is by making it a habit. Start with small goals. For instance, commit to putting a certain amount, say $10, into a savings account every week. If you have direct deposit, you might want to consider setting up an automatic transfer of $10 into your savings account every time your paycheck is deposited. Over time, you can gradually increase the amount by a dollar or two.

Younger members here at Arbor Financial can also take advantage of savings rates we’ve made available through our new Volt account bundle. The Volt Savings Account pays 5% interest on balances up to $1,000, so you can see how quickly your money adds up.

Teach Your Children How To Save

To help your children get into the savings habit, start by having them cut out pictures of something they’d like to have someday and post the images where they’ll see them often. Then help them open a savings account at Arbor Financial Credit Union. You can open an account with as little as $5. Encourage your child to make regular small deposits each week. Tell them their money will earn interest while it’s in their account. If they keep this routine going, they’ll quickly see their savings grow.

Arbor Financial is also invested in helping our younger members understand the ins and outs of personal finance. It’s why we frequently hold lunch and learn events where we invite students to the building at our 9th Street main office and hold presentations showing them the basics of banking. How debit and credit cards differ, the differences between accounts, savings strategies, and more.
 
We are also active in the schools, where we put on events with the help of the Michigan Credit Union League that show students the financial realities of the world with exercises like buying a (mock) house or car, creating a budget, and so on.

No Time Like The Present

This April, we’re celebrating Youth Month. As part of our celebration, we’re giving away six $50 cash prizes to our young members. Every time a member under age 18 makes a deposit at any Arbor location in the month of April, they’ll be entered to win one of the prizes. We’ll be giving away three prizes to our Explorer’s Club members (up to age 12) and three prizes for our older members, ages 13-18. We encourage you to bring your children into any of our branches to potentially win prizes, and learn more about the Science of Saving.
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