UI Extension, NW Farm Credit Services Join Forces to Promote Youth Financial Literacy

Thursday, February 6 2014

MOSCOW, Idaho – Feb. 5, 2014 - University of Idaho Extension educators have led efforts to help more than 40,000 young people learn about personal finances and credit in recent years without learning the lessons the hard way by running up debt.

Northwest Farm Credit Services recently committed $280,000 to a four-year project to help expand those efforts to four more states to improve youth financial literacy and economic prospects for rural communities.

Through innovative programs developed for the UI Extension 4-H Youth Development program, UI Extension educators Luke Erickson and Lyle Hansen give young people the chance to experiment with credit cards and budgeting. Teachers help the young people learn to become financially literate through practical, hands-on exercises that are fun, yet focus on serious messages.

Young people learn the consequences of buying “must-have” accessories like consumer electronics and others on credit, then being responsible for interest and payments.

The programs help school teachers and others prepare students to manage their personal finances.

Erickson of Rexburg and Hansen of Jerome presented their popular program “Credit Score Millionaire” Feb. 6 for FFA members attending the Spokane Ag Expo.

“Today’s youth have a lot of challenges when you think about car costs and college costs. They’re going to be paying a lot more than their parents did,” Hansen said. “We need to help them prepare for all the costs ahead so they can be successful financially.”

The new Northwest Farm Credit Services Youth Financial Literacy Program will expand the Idaho efforts. Erickson and Hansen will develop training programs for 4-H volunteers, school teachers and Farm Credit employees in Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Montana and Alaska.

The objectives for the program will include University of Idaho Extension educators working with Northwest Farm Credit Services representatives to share current financial literacy programs and assess needs for additional education.

Next year, workshops across Idaho will be geared to Northwest Farm Credit Services employees and a multi-state conference to begin expanding the program.