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Teaching Money Management

True Sky’s Commitment to Students Helps Raise Financial Literacy

Buying a car. Getting a pet. Taking a trip. Preparing for unexpected expenses. For teenagers heading to college, into the workforce, or learning to live independently, how they choose to manage their money can have a profound impact on their adult lives—and teaching financial literacy can be the key to helping the younger generation making wise money choices. 

According to the Program for International Student Assessment, one in five teenage students in the United States lacks basic financial literacy skills. National Financial Educators Council statistics reveal that only 23% of teenagers say that they talk to their parents frequently about money—and more than half of adults do not have a budget to help keep their finances on track. In fact, the NFEC reports that more than 75% of college students admit that they wish they had more help to prepare for their financial futures and set long-term financial goals, including saving for college, taking out student loans, or purchasing a house. 

Statistics such as these are the driving force behind the financial literacy classes offered for students by True Sky Credit Union.

“True Sky has offered financial literacy classes in one form or another for the past 20 years,” explains Darrell Crone, marketing manager. “The goal of our program is to provide students with the basic financial knowledge and skills necessary to apply to their everyday lives.”

Geared toward students in seventh grade and above, their youth program focuses on important financial literacy topics such as budgeting, saving and using credit responsibly. Designed to work in conjunction with the Oklahoma State Academic Standards in Personal Financial Literacy, True Sky’s classes serve as a resource for many school districts looking to help students achieve the level of financial literacy required before graduation. Adult financial literacy workshops are also available. 

True Sky’s financial education programs include instructional materials, seminars and Reality Fairs. In 2019, True Sky began offering Reality Fairs to give students an interactive opportunity to explore possible financial outcomes in a risk-free environment.

“Our Reality Fairs provide participants with a career, a starting salary and budget worksheet that encourages them to live within their monthly salary while also paying for housing, utilities and other basic necessities,” Crone says.

Reality Fair participants calculate expenses, figure out a monthly budget and are offered additional choices that impact their financial bottom line, such as paying for entertainment, pets and traveling. Additionally, students face common financial curve balls such as car repairs and other unexpected expenses in a variety of “life happens” scenarios.

True Sky’s financial outreach programs are offered free of charge and are available to any school, group or organization. Kathy Kraninger, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, also meets with students.

True Sky is currently developing an online course management app for iOS and Android to work in conjunction with Oklahoma’s financial education curriculum. The free app features video courses and assessments for students, a virtual Reality Fair, a budget calculator and more. True Sky offers a Community Card program to support local high schools.

“Our Community Cards provide students and parents to show support for their school with a school-branded debit card,” Crone explains. “A portion of every purchase is then given directly back to their school.”  

Crone says the positive reactions that they receive from the students make their financial education outreach efforts all worthwhile.

“We’re thrilled to provide this service to our communities and believe the financial lessons students learn now will benefit them in the future,” Crone concludes. 

To schedule a presentation for school, church or community group, email jr.webster@trueskycu.org or call 682.1990.

True Sky Credit Union exists to empower, serve and enrich the lives of members and the community. True Sky has nine branches in the Oklahoma City metro area and has served their members for more than 70 years. For more information, visit TrueSkyCU.org.

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