Ways to teach your kids to be smart with their money

Ways to teach your kids to be smart with their money

It is never too early or too late to start teaching your children about financial responsibility. To help your children be smart with their money and get excited about watching their savings grow, use the age appropriate tips below:

Kindergarten/elementary school

  • Save money in a clear jar and count it weekly
    Piggy banks are traditional, but kids can’t see their money grow when it is hidden. Help your child learn about saving by storing their money in a clear jar. This is a simple and effective way to help a younger child learn to appreciate money. Teach them about the different bills and coins and their value. Make it a game by teaching them how to make change for items you purchase at the store. Not only will this activity help your child have a better understanding of money, but it will also enhance their math skills.

  • Show that things cost money
    It’s almost guaranteed when you take your child to the store, they are going to see a toy they must have. Instead of telling your child how much the toy costs and that he or she can’t have it, show that things cost money. Let your child take some of the money from his or her savings jar to the store and hand the money to the cashier for the purchase. The act of paying for the toy with their money will teach them more than you telling them a toy is too expensive.

Tweens

  • Teach that money is earned
    Allowances are a great way to start teaching your children to save money, but help them appreciate the money by letting them earn it. Set up a chore list and assign payment for different tasks. Pay them accordingly for doing the work to your standards. You have the opportunity to teach your child that money is earned, it is not just given to them.

  • Teach about opportunity costs
    At this age, your child can understand the consequences of their financial decisions. For example, they may have to choose between buying that pair of sneakers they have had their eye on or that new outfit. If they can only afford one, allow them to make a choice. 

Teenagers

  • Help open a bank account
    Teenage years are a great time to help your child establish good savings and banking habits. When your child is old enough to have a savings or checking account, you can teach them how to balance a checkbook and manage their money. Your teen will learn to actively watch their bank account and start to understand how they are spending their money. Opening a first checking or savings account at this age is a great way to start smart money management.

  • Encourage them to find a job
    If you want your child to truly understand the value of a dollar, encourage them to find a job. Summer and winter breaks are great opportunities for them to earn money and understand how much time or effort it takes to make and save money to buy the things they really want. Having a job at this age also teaches your child to respect their money, and yours.

  • Protect their digital footprint
    The beauty of technology is we can conduct much of our business and banking online with our smart devices and computers. While highly convenient and appealing, there is risk in sharing your personal information online. As parents, we are responsible for teaching our children to be good digital citizens. Teenagers are very tech-savvy, but like adults, they tend to overshare when they are online. Start teaching your child early about being responsible with the information they share online. They should avoid sharing personal information such as their Social Security number, birthday or banking information to avoid identity theft.

Providing fundamental life skills

By teaching your child about money, you are providing a fundamental life skill, helping them learn and understand the relationships between earning, spending and saving. 

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