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Get financially savvy this October

What: After one of the worst economic crises the U.S. has ever experienced, Americans are getting serious about their finances. Young people were especially affected, with many facing a tough job market, as well as the heavy burden of student loans. Being financially savvy is vital for success in the current economy, and understanding financial terms and rules can put young people on the path to a better future. Help educate adults and young people alike on how to manage their credit and make smart financial decisions on Get Smart About Credit Day, celebrated on Oct. 18.

Background: Sponsored by the American Bankers Association Education Foundation and first celebrated in 2001, Get Smart About Credit Day aims to teach the public about how credit works, how to use it, and how to become more financially savvy. It also addresses issues specific to young people, such as applying for and using a first credit card.

Story Pitch: Many companies and organizations dealing with finance and financial literacy have an opportunity to pitch during Get Smart About Credit Day. Credit unions and local banks will want to promote their services and educational programs while welcoming new members. They will also want to share what makes them useful for younger people, including any special programs for students. Financial service companies should focus on planning services for younger people, including starting a retirement fund, getting a first mortgage, and paying off student loans. Other institutions that have financial and credit literacy courses, such as libraries and community colleges, may offer advice for financial issues common to local communities. Retailers of financial products, such as budgeting software and advice books, also have the chance to promote their goods around the day.

Story Hook: Good credit is vital for receiving favorable loans, especially mortgages. To make credit card terms more understandable and fair for consumers, the Federal Reserve established new rules for credit card companies in 2010. The protections have changed how young people can apply and receive a credit card. What is the best way to begin establishing credit as a young person? What should applicants be aware of? Also consider the following as you make your pitch:

  • How are credit scores calculated? What goes on a credit report?
  • How can consumers check their credit report and calculate their credit score?
  • What are smart budgeting tips to help consumers stay on top of their credit charges?
  • How should consumers compare credit cards and get the best rates and perks?

Tips: A financial planner or adviser is a great contact to talk about the decisions young people should make to achieve their financial goals. An adviser who helps people manage and reduce debt or a credit counselor is also a good person to speak on ways to avoid credit card debt and use a credit card wisely. Additionally, a young person planning for a secure financial future may speak on how to choose the right financial plan.

Resources:

American Bankers Association – Get Smart About Credit
(800) 226-5911
www.aba.com/abaef/pages/getsmartaboutcredit.aspx

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – Money Smart
(877) 275-3342
www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/moneysmart

Federal Trade Commission – Free Annual Credit Reports
www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/freereports/index.shtml

National Credit Union Administration
www.ncua.gov

 –Researched, compiled & written by Kristina Elliott
Event Dates  from CHASE’S Calendar of Events

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