From understanding how to build a good credit score to budgeting basics, financial education is critical for the next generation of Kentuckians.

That’s why Fort Knox Federal Credit Union is one of several lead credit union sponsors providing the financial support to pay for a new, state-mandated financial literacy program that will be required in Kentucky high schools beginning with students entering 10th grade during the 2020-2021 school year. House Bill 139, also known as the Financial Empowerment Commission bill, was signed into law in March 2019 and is a great step toward helping our youth build strong financial futures for themselves and their families.

Tips for Teaching Children and Teens. Many of us grew up in households where our parents avoided discussing money and bills in front of the children. While financial stress is not something we want to pass along to the next generation, discussing the importance of saving, paying bills on time and not taking on too much debt is vital.

Here are a few tips to help you find stress-free ways to engage with your children and teens on financial topics:

n Make learning fun. One of the easiest ways to help kids retain information, and have fun while doing so, is to make it into a game.

As the credit union has worked with local elementary and middle schools through our VAULT financial education platform, students are learning the financial basics. At completion of the modules, we’ve used simple True/False quiz games to engage and test young students to help retain their newfound knowledge.

You can do the same as you do the grocery shopping or other tasks – ask your children about the difference between a debit card and a credit card. Which should you use to pay for your daily expenses? Why?

n Leverage technology. Your children likely are already very comfortable with digital devices and love being on their phones, tablets or laptops. There are many free educational resources available through these devices.

For example, Fort Knox Federal’s financial education tools provide dozens of interactive modules on all kinds of financial topics. These online tools were designed to help consumers of all ages succeed. Whether it’s improving your credit, increasing savings, understanding taxes or other personal finance topics, these brief educational modules can help improve financial fitness.

n Get them started saving with an account at the credit union. There’s no better way to learn about financial health than to practice by managing your own money.

As teens begin their first jobs, help them get started on the right track by opening an account to save for items they want to purchase. Help them understand the difference in needs versus wants.

For college students, help them avoid the trap of high interest credit cards by obtaining a Student VISA, with an initial limit of up to $500. This product is designed for members 18 to 25 years old.

Specialty accounts such as these, along with a basic savings account to stash away a portion of each paycheck, can help young adults learn about the responsibilities of personal finance.

We’re big believers in helping hard-working Kentucky families improve their financial lives. Ensuring our youth understand how to make responsible financial decisions is the first step toward a financially healthier state.

This summer, I hope these tips help you find simple ways to get your children thinking about some of the future financial decisions they’ll be making in just a few short years. A little financial education today can go a long way toward improving their financial futures tomorrow.

Here’s to a happy, healthy and educational summer for you and your family.

Rebecca Ates is the executive vice president of Fort Knox Federal Credit Union.