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Gaining Perspective on Financial Education: A Walk Down Credit Union Memory Lane

written by: uncommn
Man walking path from 1970 to 2023

About 88% of U.S. parents with children younger than 18 say it’s extremely or very important to them that their children grow up to be financially independent and have jobs they enjoy – far higher than the shares who prioritize their children eventually getting married or having children of their own. This is according to a recent PEW Research Center survey.My how things have changed through the generations. But it’s also interesting how things have not changed within our credit unions. As the needs of young families have evolved, the way we approach our products and services, and especially financial education, has not.

Catch My Drift?

Let’s throwback to the 1970s for a moment. Most young parents born in the 1990s were raised by parents born in the 1970s. And the conditions they were raised in play a big role in how they think about money.

Income Levels: Average household incomes were higher in the 1990s compared to the 1970s. The median household income in the United States increased to approximately $35,000 to $40,000 per year, which, adjusted for inflation, would be equivalent to around $60,000 to $70,000 today.

The 1970s experienced economic fluctuations, including an oil crisis and stagflation (a combination of high inflation and stagnant economic growth). Unemployment rates were higher than in previous decades, averaging around 6-8%. Wage growth was relatively modest during this period. Compare that to the 1990s when we experienced a period of economic growth and relative stability. Unemployment rates were lower than in the previous decade, averaging around 5-6%. Wages grew steadily, and some industries, such as technology and finance, experienced significant growth, resulting in higher-paying job opportunities.

The cost of living continued to rise in the 1990s, but at a more moderate pace compared to the 1970s. Housing costs remained a significant expense, but transportation, healthcare and education expenses also increased. However, advancements in technology and increased competition led to reductions in the prices of certain consumer goods, such as electronics and telecommunications.

Oh Snap

Traditional savings instruments like savings accounts and CDs remained popular in the 1990s. However, the stock market experienced a period of significant growth thanks to the dot-com boom. Many families invested in the stock market and mutual funds, benefiting from the bull market. Real estate continued to be a popular investment choice, and property values increased in certain regions.Now, reflect. How has your credit union’s approach to financial education changed in the last 20 years? In the last 5 years? There are many viable alternatives out there to some of the outdated programs currently in use. Take into account just how much has changed since you last refreshed your approach to financial education, especially for the mobile native next generation of credit union members.

What’s the 411?

Particularly during financially tumultuous times, consumers require extra empathy and sense of control. Sometimes they want to start that search for information or a trusted financial partner privately, like on their computers or iPhones. At uncommn, we relieve your stress and about relieving your members’ stress by providing a truly delightful website experience for your team and your members. You can even choose to supplement your website with financial education materials through our Dollar Dog Kids Club and our latest partnership with Kiddie Kredit! We are the preferred web development partner for innovative credit unions seeking to control their online presence. 
Are you ready to lose the stress and take control? Grab some uncommn time!


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