Students learn personal finance from school-based credit union

The major motivation behind “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” for Robert Kiyosaki is to highlight the importance of financial literacy and the general lack of it in the mass population.

Whether Robert Kiyosaki’s books have contributed significantly to the rising awareness of the need to improve on our financial knowledge or not, it is always heartening to know that not only are schools making an effort to educate the youngs, even finance related institutions are also taking an active approach to support this movement.

SHARON SMITH – The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News

It isn’t part of the lesson plan, but students at Susquehanna Township High School are getting an education in managing their personal finances, thanks to a credit union.

Members 1st Federal Credit Union opened a branch last week in the high school. It’s the third school-based branch for Mechanicsburg-based Members 1st. The goal is to teach students how to be financially responsible.

Members 1st also has branches at Mechanicsburg High School and Northern High School near Dillsburg. The branches are more about education than attracting business, said George Nahodil, spokesman for the credit union.

“Quite honestly, it’s not a moneymaker for us,” he said. “It’s something we feel very committed to. It’s good for all of us, for everyone in society, that people are responsible with their money.”

Housed in the same room as the school store, the Susquehanna Township High School branch offers students and faculty members the same types of products and services available at a regular branch: checking and savings accounts, loans and other investment options.

Perhaps the most noticeable difference is a sign indicating that students can only withdraw $40 a day from their accounts. Faculty members can take out however much they want.

David Volkman, superintendent of Susquehanna Township School District, sees it as a good opportunity to teach students one of life’s basics: money management.

“I look at it as an early intervention program,” he said. “What we’re about in education is preparing kids for the future.”

That’s where Anne Bednar, who manages the Members 1st branch in Linglestown, comes in. She spends Mondays and Fridays with Lowe at the school branch. Bednar might supervise the operation, but her true purpose is to teach students how to save and build good credit.

For example, she can help students figure how much money they would need to save if they want to buy a car in the next two years. It’s the kind of lesson she never got when she was in high school.

Not to be a wet blanket, but I cannot help myself not to give doubt to what Member 1st described the branches as “are more about education than attracting business.”  I am quite sure that they would have given deep thoughts as how such a program would actually benefit them, obviously in the long run.  Off my head, I could guess that starting off with the young, Member 1st will be looking at “locking them in” with them and building long term relationship with this group of potential loyal customers.  Nevertheless, it is still a win-win situation.