Banking Tips for Parents

Learn Together.

Don't feel like you have to be a financial whiz yourself, or even that you have to have a good handle on your own money situation. Pick up a good book, ask your bank or credit union about their youth programs, and take a family finance class at your local library or community center. There are even money camps that you can send the kids to. Don't assume kids will learn about money in school.

The Allowance Debate.

Allowances are probably the hot-button topic when it comes to financial literacy for kids. Nearly everyone agrees that kids need to get spending money from their parents. The issue generally comes down to expectations. Many parents have their kids do certain chores to earn the allowance, arguing that this system teaches children about earning. Others say that allowance shouldn't be tied to chores, because taking care of a home is simply part of being a family. It's up to you to weigh the pros and cons and decide what's right for your family.

Divide it Up.

Many experts suggest that kids have a system for allocating money, whether it's from allowance, job income or cash gifts, generally along the lines of 70 percent for spending, 10 percent for saving, 10 percent for charity and 10 percent for investing. You can vary the proportions however you want, perhaps dividing "saving" into long-term and short-term goals, or "spending" into self and gifts.

Let Them Make Mistakes.

While it can be tempting to swoop in and save the day, let your child make mistakes with their money. (Better to be disappointed with a junky $20 toy than a junky $20,000 car.)

Look for Teachable Moments.

Have your child save receipts so they can see where their money is going. Open a bank account with them and go over the monthly statements together. Look at interest earned on investments like government savings bonds. These are great opportunities to talk about budgets, interest, bank fees and disposable income. Use easy to understand language and make sure they understand what rich people do. For example, you have to milk the cow, not eat it. People who live paycheck to paycheck eat their cows and they’ll never get ahead. People that put money away, so that they have it to invest are on the right track. The end goal is to invest enough money so that you can live off the dividends. That’s “milking the cow.” Teach your children this before they get caught up with trying to pay off debt.


About Children's Online Privacy

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