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4 Things I wish I would have told my younger self about money as told by RVCU staff

Let’s take a nostalgic trip back to our childhoods. Picture this, you’re six and grandma just handed you an envelope on your birthday. You are certain that it’s cash because grandma’s just get it! Immediately, your mind begins racing as you think about how you’ll spend all that money.
Maybe, it’s getting that Walkman, or Tamagotchi you’ve always wanted. Or maybe it was going to the candy shop for the biggest sugar rush you could dream of. Making smart financial choices as a kid is tough! Luckily, you’ve got Rock Valley Credit Union (RVCU) to help your smallest scholars grow up to financial geniuses.  We asked a few of our own financial experts for their best financial tips they wish they would have known as kids.

Tip #1: The Magic of Compound Interest

Speaking of Tamagotchis, six-year-old you probably didn’t realize you could have invested grandma’s money and watched it grow like a virtual pet. Turns out, compound interest is the real MVP. Who knew that letting your money make baby money while you sit back, and sip lemonade could be so lucrative?

Tip #2: Budgeting Isn't Just for Grown-ups

Ah, budgeting. If only I’d known that setting a budget doesn't mean giving up on fun—it just means you get to decide how much fun you can afford. Imagine all the candy and comic books I could have bought if I'd only been a little more budget-savvy. Instead, I learned the hard way that a wallet full of cobwebs doesn't make for a good time. A fun and easy budgeting calculator we like to use for kids and adults is this one by Banzai.

Lesson #3: Credit Cards Are Not Monopoly Money

As a kid, many of us may have thought that buying something was a swipe away. The siren song of instant gratification. "Buy now, pay later," they said. "It'll be fun," they said. Spoiler alert: It's not fun when you're drowning in debt faster than you can say "interest rates." If only I'd realized that plastic rectangles aren't a free pass to buy whatever your heart desires. Trust me, future you will thank you for learning this lesson early.

Lesson #4: Saving for a Rainy Day (or Unexpected Expenses)

Life has a funny way of throwing curveballs when you least expect it. Car repairs, medical bills, emergency visit to the vet—you name it, it'll happen. That's why having a rainy-day fund is crucial. A little savings can go a long way in saving your sanity when the unexpected strikes.

RVCU is here for kids and kids’ art heart.

Many of us couldn’t wait to grow up and we likely didn’t understand how much finances would affect our adult lives. Adulting is hard and being able to budget, save, invest, and be overall financially savvy doesn’t happen overnight. As a member of RVCU, you have access to free personalized financial coaching. Whether you’re just starting out on the path to a better financial future or need advice on your next step – we are here for wherever life takes you! Today is the best day to take that step, so call us at 815.282.0300 or schedule a virtual appointment. Little you would be so proud!