Emergency fund written on a jar with money.

Emergency fund written on a jar with money.

Between rising inflation and the ups and downs of the stock market, it isn't surprising that folks are concerned about their own financial situation. Financial literacy is one antidote to this "money stress," and an Idaho-based credit union is sharing these skills with people young and old.

Frank Alvarez, a branch manager in Walla Walla for Lewiston, Idaho-based Potlatch No. 1 Federal Credit Union (P1FCU), said his passion is teaching financial skills, and he's partnered with the local nonprofit Blue Mountain Action Council to bring them to people for free. He said one topic they emphasize is creating savings, and how it can prevent the need for borrowing money at high interest rates.

"It comes to budgeting," he said, "because while it's OK to lend against your credit and such, there are just ways of doing it without putting you behind."

According to a recent Bankrate survey, 58% of people are concerned about the amount of emergency savings they have - up from 44% in 2020.

Participants in the class have ranged in age from 15 to 65. Alvarez said he'll often teach classes to older people in Spanish. People from that class then bring their children, and he'll teach the younger students in English. He noted that it's important to have these lessons in Spanish.

"I can teach it in English as well," he said. "I just know that there is a higher need in Spanish, and it takes longer on that class itself."

He added that the financial education classes meet once a week for six weeks, with a different topic every week. Those who complete the class get a certificate and money sent to their bank or credit-union account. Participants don't have to be P1FCU members to attend.