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Children and Money: Start Teaching Early

With credit cards and debit cards so common place in American life, it can be a challenge for parents to teach their children the value of money and saving. However, it is possible for children of all ages to begin learning about money even at a young age, especially those who receive allowances. The University of Minnesota has a financial literacy program aimed at teens which has found that teens spend 98% of their money and 1 in 5 have their own credit cards or access to their parents’ cards. Here are some guidelines that can be useful for parents.

A piggy bank is something every child should have. Simply putting extra change in it periodically will get children excited about saving. A few words of encouragement go a long way. When it’s time to empty and count it, have the child help. Allow the child to keep some of it, or spend a little of it on something they need, like a new box of crayons. Open a savings account in your child’s name and go to the bank together to deposit their money.

If you’re one to give your children an allowance, it is important to make sure they have real ways to earn the money. Don’t just dole out money on a weekly basis for nothing, or for things that should be done anyway, such as keeping their room neat. Give them a list of age appropriate duties to be completed by a certain time. This can even be discussed and agreed upon. It should also be determined how much of the allowance will be saved. As the child gets older, allow them to save for a particular toy or item they may want. This will teach them to set goals and work towards it.

Using debit cards and automatic teller machines on a regular basis makes it more challenging for parents to really show how items are paid for and where the money comes from. Take the opportunity while at the atm machine to explain where the money came from and why it is at the bank. When paying by debit, explain where the money is.

Remember, children learn best by example. Regardless of incomeFeature Articles, it makes sense that teaching good spending and saving habits early will only be a benefit resulting in financially stable adults.

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