Get real with financial education, and you’re going to see real results.

We need Financial Education for those not-so-happy times

When members come to your credit union for a mortgage or a car loan, it often feels amazing. Helping someone start a retirement account feels smart and safe. But there are a lot of life events that don’t give us those warm-fuzzies.

If you spend any time on the r/personalfinance subreddit, you’ll see a lot of what I’m talking about. People ask questions about all sorts of anxiety-riddled topics such as crushing debt, nasty divorces, losing a family member, losing a job, and more. Of course they have questions. I mean, these are convoluted, complicated financial situations.

No one should have to Google this stuff

In short, a lot of your members need help with all kinds of unlucky, unfortunate life events. Are they coming to their credit union with these questions? Why or why not?

A post on Reddit shouldn’t be Plan A. Discussing personal business online is no one’s first choice. But they are, which means they’re not finding the answers they need elsewhere.

If your credit union claims to put their members first, you should put their problems first. They need to know where they can go for answers.

Your members have real problems

45 million Americans carry student loan debt, which often keeps them from major financial milestones. Between 40% and 50% of first marriages end in divorce. 100 million Americans owe $10k+ in medical debt. And then there’s unemployment, fraud, death…

Don’t get the wrong idea. Talking about unpleasant events is not my idea of a good time, either. But knowing how to help your members when bad things happen will make a difference.

The key here is providing accessible, helpful financial education so that your members know where to find a lifeline when they need it. When something wonky happens in their lives, they’ll come to you first because they know they can trust you with this sort of thing.

Be honest and authentic

When it comes to creating this content, the best advice I have is to tell the truth. You don’t need to scare your members into action, and you should avoid anything that sounds like a sales pitch.

Be informative, and try to only offer advice or help you can stand behind. For the things your credit union can’t do, provide links to trusted resources and organizations.

In the days of misleading statements and misinformation, authenticity is worth its weight in gold. Get real with your financial education, and you’re going to see real results.

It can be pretty difficult to get someone to take their financial future seriously when they’re not looking at a happy ending. Just like your members, you can always ask for help.

Sam Dicken

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