Credit Unions — More Poetic than You Think

Guest post written by Levi Dayley, Institutional Marketing Specialist at Money Concepts

Shel Silverstein, the whimsical American poet, published a poem in 1964 titled “The Giving Tree.” The story follows an apple tree and a boy who plays near it. When the boy is young, the tree offers his branches to swing from and play on. As the story progresses, the boy grows into a man. As his needs change, the tree offers him its shade, fruit, wood, and eventually its stump to the now-elderly man.  (And that’s not even counting the benefits that bugs, birds, and squirrels also get from the tree!)

In the world of financial services, credit unions are the apple tree, organized to meet the needs of all their members, regardless of whether they have two legs, four legs, eight legs, or feathers and wings. But our members are aging along with the rest of the American population, and, just as in the poem’s story, their needs have changed over time. What else do you have to offer them when they outgrow mortgages and share certificates, and now need to distribute their IRAs? They have new financial needs that many credit unions currently aren’t meeting, and both your members and your credit union are suffering for it.

Let me put some numbers to the story that illustrate how your members are closer to retirement than ever, with the average age of a credit union member being 47. The first of the baby boomers (born anytime from 1946 to 1964) reached retirement age last year. Consider these statistics, taken from the U.S. Census Bureau’s findings from the recent census:

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