Have you ever wondered how young is too young to start teaching your kids about money? Will they really understand? How can they use the knowledge at such a young age? Should your kids have a savings and checking account?
Like everything else in life, the more we demystify it, the more we can use it to our advantage.
Kids are naturally fascinated by money. All the shiny coins they find on the ground, the crispy bills that they see exchanged at the grocery store, and most of all, the thrill of swiping the card.
Teaching your kids about money can be a daunting task, but what if we made it a fun adventure for the whole family? Let’s talk about some ways to ensure they are ready for their own bank account.
- Build the Foundation– take advantage of every opportunity you get to teach your kids in simple ways the value of a dollar. When out to eat or shopping, give your kids a budget for the day. For example, if a baby girl wants a dessert, then explain to her the maximum amount that she can spend for dessert. This gets the wheels turning and strengthens decision-making skills. Another way to build the foundation is, each time your child gets money as a gift, sit with him and add it all up and then stash a portion away for savings. Also, let them use some of their money when you’re out for the day. This teaches your child basic budgeting skills- input and output. You can also pay your kids a fee for chores, which establishes a good ol’ fashion work ethic and creates an appreciation for the money they have earned.
- Make a Plan– start talking to your children about going to the bank or credit union. Research local financial institutions for the best youth savings and checking accounts for your family. Even call the bank or credit union of your choice and set an appointment to open a youth account. This ensures that the staff is prepared to meet your needs on the day of your visit. This is especially important for larger families with multiple children. Ask the staff about special incentives for youth bankers, such as prizes or cash deposits for good grades, welcome bonuses for new accounts, or no minimum balance requirements and no monthly fees. Having a plan also demonstrates to your kids just how important the topic of money really is- we don’t just “wing it” when it comes to our “coins”. Consider these local financial institutions when making your plans: Delta Community Credit Union, Georgia’s Own Credit Union, or Credit Union of Georgia. Be sure to shop around and make the best decision for your family.
- Make it Fun– Kids learn when they are having fun! Let them be hands-on with gathering all of their money from birthday gifts and chores. Encourage them to ask questions while at the bank. Tell the bank staff just how special this moment is for your family, and you’d be surprised at what could happen. I took my three kids, who are ages 3, 7, and 10 to open their youth accounts at a credit union. The staff was completely on board with making this a memorable experience for them. The kids were taken to the back to see the professional money counting machine, they were given a debit card with their very own names, and they even got a chance to swipe their new cards during our visit! What an amazing experience for them! To make your banking day one that the kids will never forget, add a fun ending, like lunch or dinner and spend that time letting them tell you all that they learned while at the bank!
Opening up your kids’ bank account may seem to be a big task for such little people, but there are many benefits. Talking to your kids about money at a young age and teaching them how it works in their favor will set them up for future financial success.