Reaching Your Summit – Financial New Year’s Resolutions

Categories: General Tips

Throughout this year, The Summit Federal Credit Union has been helping teens, young adults and their parents figure out everything about managing their money. These financial pieces have covered what’s important to you–your goals, questions, and ways to start a strong financial future. With a new year upon us, we thought it was time to give you some ideas for New Year’s resolutions to start 2021 ready to “reach your summit.”

So we thought: who better to help than our own Summit experts who focus on these issues every day? Whether you’re a parent figuring out how to talk to your kids about money, a teenager with your first job, or a college student or grad taking the next big steps in your financial freedom, here are some ideas to get you on the right path in the new year.

Resolutions for Parents

Brought to you by Rhonda Ball, Director of Member Service Center

Rhonda is the proud Mom of two boys (19 and 24) for whom she opened Summit Youth Accounts when they were born. Here are three resolutions Rhonda believes you should consider as a parent.

  • Talk About Finances with Your Kids
    Raising kids is hard. Having conversations about money is hard. But we all want our children to be financially independent one day. That’s why it’s important to talk about money openly and teach kids critical skills and concepts that will give them a strong foundation for their financial future. 
  • Build a Family Savings Account
    Make 2021 the year your family builds a savings account together. Yes, it’s important to have 3-6 months of savings in an emergency fund, and you might be saving for a big purchase or college, but starting a smaller family-based savings account is a great way to put away some money and have everyone involved. Determine what you’re saving for (a family day trip, a new TV) and determine how much money you need to put aside each week. Then have every family member contribute an age-appropriate amount. You can also have the kids do chores around the house and have their pay go into the savings. 
  • Help your child open their first account
    If your child gets an allowance, is already making money from a first job, or just gets some regular “walking around” money from Grandma, it’s a good idea to sign them up for a checking account so they can access that money and learn about financial budgeting. [CTA: Sign up for a checking account today. 

Resolutions for Students 

Brought to you by Landon Thomas, Member Service Specialist

Landon graduated in 2018 and joined The Summit team one year later. This dedicated member of the “Bills Mafia” enjoys helping our younger members start on the right financial path. Below are three resolutions that Landon believes will get you moving in the right direction.  

  • Start Earning Money 
    It might seem logical, but… get a job. Babysitting, lawn care, dog walking, or running errands for an elderly neighbor are all good ways to start earning money. If you are between 14 and 17 and want to work in a store or restaurant, sign up for working papers at your school’s counseling office and determine how to apply at each workplace that interests you. It’s great to start earning money as a student, both to have some spending money and to save for college or other future expenses. 
  • Understand How You’re Paying or Will Pay for College
    As a student, you should be fully involved in how you’re helping to pay or will be paying for college. Talk to your parents about what they might have saved, how much your schooling will cost, and the options for paying. This might include applying for scholarships, looking into loan options, or earning money on your own or through a work-study program. Make 2021 the year you take your educational future into your own hands. 
  • Set Up Your First Financial Account
    So you’re earning money and want to take more responsibility for your finances. It’s time to open up your first checking and savings accounts. Consider opening both accounts at the same credit union or bank.  Sign up for a checking account today

Resolutions for Recent Graduates and Young Professionals

Brought to you by Emily Van Norman, Branch Manager 

Emily has been with The Summit for more than 7 years. She’s a dog mom, “The Office” aficionado, and loves working with young professionals as they build their financial goals. As a relatively new Branch Manager at The Summit, here are some resolutions Emily feels you should think over.

  • Understand your Paycheck
    Paychecks can seem mysterious at first: full of new terms, odd acronyms and perplexing line items. Learn how gross earnings, net earnings, required and other deductions affect your take-home pay and future savings. [CTA: Sign up for a checking account today]
  • Invest in a 401K
    It might sound crazy to start saving for retirement at such a young age, but it’s a super-smart move, especially if your new employer offers a 401K match. If an employer offers to match your contribution, it’s usually in the range of 2-5%, with the national average at 4.3%. Setting this up right away means you’ll be taking advantage of the matching from the start, allowing your funds to grow while you get to work.
  • Make a Budget
    Part of moving into the working world is having the responsibility of understanding how to spend, save, and build upon your money. Make 2021 the year of the budget. You’ll want to have a plan or framework in place for where your earnings should go. Check out our budget trackers for some inspiration on how to craft and stay on a budget. These are guidelines for your income, expenses, savings, and how much you can afford to spend after accounting for these. And it’s always a good idea to consult with a financial advisor to help create the best savings plan for your short- and long-term goals.

Happy New Year from all of us at The Summit Federal Credit Union. We’re looking forward to helping you reach your summit in the year ahead!

Read our tips for 5 smart money habits for the new year.