KINGSPORT - They may just be middle school students, but Eastman Credit Union marketing representative Kindle Horton wanted members of the Ross N. Robinson Middle School Scientia program to learn that it's never too early to think about their financial future.
"Right now you are in one of the most amazing times of your life because right here in the palm of your hand you hold the possibilities for the rest of your life," Horton said. "And you are in control of what happens to you. You have to remember that the decisions you make today are going to impact you - not only personally, professionally ... but (they are) also going to affect your financial future."
Horton spoke to students in the Scientia program after school Tuesday as the group took a tour of Eastman Credit Union's MeadowView offices. She also gave the group a little financial education.
Among the day's topics were the "Three C's" of credit.
â€¢Character - "Will you repay the debt?"
Horton said character includes the decisions someone makes and how trustworthy someone can be with money. Included in this category would be paying bills on time, working a steady job, etc.
â€¢Capital - "What if you don't repay the debt?"
This category includes any possible collateral such as property, savings and investments.
â€¢Capacity - "Can you repay the debt?"
Horton said a lender will take a look at other debts, income, etc.
Horton also stressed the importance of staying away from high-interest credit cards and saving money early.
"When you turn 18, you're going to get on all kinds of mailing lists, and you're going to get all kinds of credit cards," Horton said. "The first thing you're going to want to do is spend it (money on the card). But you know what? You're going to have to pay it back."
Those are lessons sixth-grade students Kyanna Howes and Sarah Byrne took to heart. And they're starting early - both said they already have savings accounts.
"(We learned how) to manage your money right," Sarah said.
"I'm going to tell my mom about it (tools that ECU offers)," added Kyanna.
For more information and for financial management tools, visit www.ecu.org.