Maybe we can teach old dogs new tricks

Regardless of how you feel about it, a new year is finally here. To celebrate, most of us are busy making our list of resolutions that we’ll undoubtedly boast about on social media, but over half of those who commit to a New Year’s resolution will abandon their goal by February.

While we’re used to the go-to New Year’s resolutions of losing weight or eating better, according to a Statista article, the top resolution for Americans going into 2024 is to save money. As credit unions, you have a unique opportunity to make “saving money” more than just a box your members will check off next December, but a lifestyle change that’ll last years into the future.

Resistance to change

Change is hard, simply put. Especially if that change involves cutting down on your morning Starbucks runs (heartbreaking). And if your members are committed to bulking up their savings account in 2024, it’s going to take a certain level of commitment and dedication on their part to achieve that goal. As a credit union, you can be there to provide support. Whether by providing tools on how to budget, financial education seminars, or financial counseling, your members can (and should) be leaning on you to help them reach their financial milestones.

Delayed gratification

We live in a world where you can order an item online on a Monday and it could be delivered to your house by Wednesday. In a world full of instant gratification, playing the long game of saving can seem impossible. Is your staff talking with members about what their future could look like as a homeowner? Or what having a solid foundation in their retirement account means? When credit unions work 1-on-1 with members to help them see the bigger picture with their finances and provide them with a roadmap to help them get there, it makes the miscellaneous purchases they may be tempted to make throughout their day-to-day, seem less necessary.

Lack of knowledge

More often than not, the hardest barrier to getting started with saving is simply not knowing where to start. With nearly three-quarters of Americans feeling some degree of stress about their finances, there’s clearly a huge gap when it comes to financial education.

So what can we do?

Of course, the problem of financial literacy is an issue that expands far beyond the credit unions; but, as an industry committed to financial well-being for all, the onus is on us to help fill the financial gaps for both our members and our communities as a whole. The task of promoting healthy financial habits becomes easier when we acknowledge that financial literacy is a topic that is relevant across all demographics and age brackets – including your young members.

Bad habits die slowly. They say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks; but, even though the task seems daunting at first glance, when we prioritize educating members on the benefits of being financially confident we’ll be setting our members up for future financial success. And isn’t that the goal all credit unions should be aiming for?


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Courtney Bravo

Courtney Bravo

Born in New England, Courtney has lived in South Carolina most of her life and has called Myrtle Beach and Charleston home before settling in Greenville and joining our team ... Web: Details