How to Raise a Money-Wise Child
April is National Credit Union Youth Month! At American Heritage, our mission is to encourage financial wellness in all phases of life. In celebration of CU Youth Month, we want to show our committment to our younger members by matching deposits made in Youth Savings Accounts, up to $10*!
If you want to prepare your child to live a happy and independent life as an adult, teaching them personal finance is a must. It’s never too early – or late – to help your child learn about financial literacy. Teaching kids about money has never been easier, if you stick to these 15 tips:
BABY STEPS TO FINANCIAL LITERACY (BIRTH TO AGE 4)
Financial literacy for kids starts early. You will be surprised how quickly your 3- or 4-year-old will understand basic concepts about spending and saving. Plus, there are plenty of everyday activities you already do that make teaching kids about money easy.
Look for Teachable Money Moments
Find everyday moments to teach about money. In the grocery store, show your child $3 and ask her to choose between two brands of cereal. Or, play “store” at home, exchanging play money for goods.
Teach About the Value of Money
Introduce your 3- or 4-year-old to the value of money by helping them understand what coins are worth. This is a great way to begin teaching financial literacy to kids. Give them a clear container to save their coins to help them watch their money grow.
The Right Start
It’s never too early to open a kids savings account for your child. We make it easy with the Little Patriots Account. Start with as little as $5 and we’ll contribute $10 to the account to get your child off on the right start to a lifetime habit of saving.
MONEY MANAGEMENT 101 (AGES 5 – 12)
Age-appropriate money activities at this age will help set your child on the right path to financial literacy. A great step in teaching kids about money is to give them an allowance (tied to chores) to help them understand that people get paid for providing services or creating goods.
Teach About Saving, Giving, and Spending
Be sure your child has three clear containers at home for their money, one each for saving, spending, and giving. Each time your child receives money, help them divide it into the three containers.
Go to the Credit Union Together Regularly
Take your child to American Heritage on a regular basis to deposit their money into their own kids savings account. As the balance grows, explain how the credit union rewards people with dividends for saving their money.
Make Financial Literacy Fun
See our Activities page designed around financial literacy for kids. It provides fun ways to help your child learn about money.
A Firm Foundation
If you haven’t opened a kids savings account for your child yet, now’s the time to do that. You can take advantage of the American Heritage Pat and Lucy’s Money Club for a savings account plus Certificate options.
RESPONSIBILITY RAMP-UP (AGES 13 – 15)
Now is the time to reinforce the lessons you taught in early childhood. Clearly explain what things you will provide for your child and what items they will need to buy on their own. By giving them the responsibility of paying for small monthly expenses, like their cell phone or Netflix subscription, you’ll build financial responsibility.
Get Them Earning
There is no need to curtail your child’s allowance. But help your teen find ways to earn money outside the home by babysitting, mowing lawns, or pet walking.
Teach Budget Basics
Learning to track income and budget for expenses is a vital skill for all adults. Make sure your child makes and manages their own budget for money coming in and designates amounts for spending and saving. Show them the American Heritage Savings Builder calculator to help them strategize their savings goals.
Set Up the Right Account
Transition your teen’s kids savings account to the Benjamin’s Money Club. They’ll have a savings and youth checking account (held jointly with you), plus the American Heritage Independence debit card. Their debit card gives them the convenience of a credit card but won’t build up debt because they will draw on money they deposit into their account. Be sure to review their monthly statement together, to help them see where their money is going.
LAUNCHING YOUR MONEY-SMART ADULT (AGE 16 AND OLDER)
Your teen is now approaching adulthood. Help establish good financial decision-making skills by encouraging goal setting and impulse-buying control.
Encourage a Steady Income
Now’s the time for your teen to hold a steady part-time job. Help them understand about paycheck deductions for taxes and clearly stipulate the expenses they are now fully responsible for. While it may be tempting to take over your child’s finances, let him or her take full responsibility. If the money runs out before the next paycheck, that’s a good learning experience.
Help Them Plan for Long-term Savings Goals
Your teen likely has some dreams about big-ticket purchases in their future, like a car, going to college, or getting their first apartment. Help them plan for those expenses by reviewing their budget and setting goals for these larger purchases. As a teen, saving half of every paycheck is a doable goal – this is the only time in their life when they will likely be able to save that much.
Talk About Credit and Credit Cards
Your teen will soon start receiving promotions about credit cards. Talk to your child about their credit score, how to build it, and how to protect it. It is especially important to explain the benefits of paying off their balance every month.
Support Financial Independence
Make sure your young adult has the right money management tools at his or her fingertips. Our Independence Account for high schoolers and our Young Adults Account for 18- to 22-year-olds are designed to help them be financially independent and responsible.
HELP IN TEACHING YOUR CHILD ABOUT MONEY MATTERS
No matter the age of your child, there are plenty of ways to help build their financial skills. After all, you are their best source for important information. We’re here to help. Contact the American Heritage team today for the tools and support in teaching your child about important financial lessons that will help them become financially responsible, independent adults.
From April 1, 2019 until June 30, 2019, make a deposit into any new or current Youth Savings Account and we will match up to $10*!