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Money in Many Ways Still Remains a Taboo Subject
Tuesday, April 22, 2014 7:00 AM

Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation Executive Director Courtney Moran says she isn’t surprised that a recent online poll finds people would prefer to talk about weight than their credit card debt.

“People are just uncomfortable talking about money, credit and debt,” notes Moran. “Many consider it taboo, and others may just not want to admit that they are having difficulty managing their household finances. For those who are having financial difficulty or just want to learn how they could do a better job with money management, I would strongly encourage them to reach out to their credit union for some sound advice.”

According to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling™ (NFCC), when asked what they would be most embarrassed to admit, the highest number of poll respondents, 37 percent, indicated it was their credit card debt.

People were given five categories from which to choose. In addition to credit card debt, the options included age, weight, bank balance, credit score or none. Coming in a strong second, 30 percent of respondents indicated they would be embarrassed to admit their credit score. Since debt and credit scores can be related, it is not surprising that these two concerns earned the unenviable top two spots in the poll.

The following illustrates the relationship between credit card debt and credit scores:

  • Excessive credit card debt should be seen as a warning sign that a person is in the financial danger zone. Although credit cards may appear to be the solution to a financial shortfall, charging beyond what can be repaid each month can quickly get out of control. Debts that cannot be responsibly managed may lead to late payments resulting in fees being added onto the balance and can sometimes take years to repay. Such activity is likely to negatively impact a person's credit report and potentially result in a lower credit score.
     
  • Typically one of the highest weighted elements of a credit scoring model is the credit utilization ratio which considers how much a person owes versus his or her available line of credit. Although lenders each have their own criteria for evaluating credit worthiness, it is smart to not utilize more than 30 percent of available credit.

 

Helpful Resources: The Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation is hosting FOCUS “Train-the-Trainer” workshops throughout the years. This free one-day workshop is designed to arm credit unions, educators, non-profit organizations and community leaders with the skills they need to motivate young people into adopting positive savings and spending habits.

The FOCUS “Train-the-Trainer” workshop covers BizKid$ and the National Endowment for Financial Education High School Financial Planning Program (NEFE HSFPP). BizKid$ is a financial literacy initiative that includes an award winning TV series, free classroom curriculum, outreach activities, a website and a monthly online newsletter targeting children 9-16 years old.

Revised in 2012, the NEFE HSFPP is a turnkey financial literacy program specifically focused on basic personal finance skills that are relevant to the lives of pre-teens, teens, and young adults. Organized into six module topics (planning, borrowing, earning capability, investing, financial services, and insurance), the program includes six topical Student Guides, an assortment of 45-minute teacher lesson plans, and a growing collection of online resources and learning activities.

The schedule is as follows:

  • April 30, Dallas, Texas
  • May 30, Odessa, Texsas
  • June 6, Oklahoma City, Okla.
  • June 27, Houston, Texas
  • July 11, Arkansas
  • Sept. 19, Austin, Texas
  • Oct. 10, San Antonio, Texas

For additional information, please visit the Foundation’s website.