In 2nd grade my parents opened my first savings account. They placed the entire $200 I had received from my First Communion into that account, and I became a credit union member.
My name is Meghan Sink. I’m a summer intern with Callahan & Associates, and I’ll be taking over the My Generation blog on CreditUnions.com.
Up until high school, I considered the credit union a regular financial institution. I could withdraw money from my account. I could make deposits. That was all I needed, and I did not care to learn more about the credit union.
All that changed when I started taking control of my finances.
I am a 19-year-old from South Bend, IN. In the fall, I will enter my junior year at DePauw University, majoring in psychology and classical civilizations. My responsibilities at DePauw include being a first-year mentor, vice-president of Eta Sigma Phi (a classics honors society), and event chairman for Kappa Kappa Gamma (a women’s social fraternity). I am interested in pursuing a law degree or advanced degree in psychology — maybe both — and I love to read and golf.
As already noted, my relationship with credit unions started early. I’ve been a member of two different credit unions, both for reasons involving my family. Each of my parents studied finance and their careers followed suit. My dad is in the finance department at a hospital and my mom works for a credit union.
My parents are my role models who have fueled my knowledge of financial institutions and services. Although I was reluctant to immerse myself into the world of finance, I am now realizing I have been surrounded by financial questions and struggles my entire life.
I remember the parents of team members in my 12-and-younger softball program pushing their children to improve on the field because they needed an athletic scholarship for college. Now, I watch my peers struggle to become financially independent and afford graduate school.
Fortunately, I’ve relied on scholarships rather than loans to pay for my undergraduate degree, but I realize student loans for my higher education are most likely in my future. Additionally, I want to one day own a house and get married, and I know these will require the support of my financial institution.
I recognize solutions exist for the financial hurdles I will face, and I believe credit unions have the capability to decrease financial stress on those in my generation.
However, my peer interactions lead me to believe connecting with them will not be easy for any financial institution. Many millennials are reluctant to trust financial institutions and are twice as likely as the general population to hold no bank account or credit card, as impossible as that sounds. My boyfriend — who is 21 and lives in St. Louis — says he’d prefer to keep his money in a bag in his room rather than deal with a financial institution, but that's not practical. I don’t think he’s alone in that mindset.
That said, through this blog I hope to represent and interpret the variety of struggles millennials face, provide firsthand perspectives into these struggles, and use my knowledge of credit unions to address the problem of obtaining millennial members and — more importantly — their trust.