Teaching Your Children About Money As They Mature
Do you talk to your kids about money? It’s a topic that families often overlook or avoid and that’s understandable. Money can be a confusing topic for young minds and a stressful one for grown-ups. However, money is a vital part of daily life and financial literacy is a skill that will make their lives much easier as they age. Think of teaching your kids about money the same way you teach them to brush their teeth when they’re little and how to drive when they’re teens.
FOR YOUNG KIDS
Needs Versus Wants - We sometimes visit classrooms to teach financial literacy to local children. When we speak to elementary students, they are typically quick to understand the difference between a need and a want. They need a winter coat but they want one like their friends have. They need food but they want a kids meal with a toy. Not only do they embrace this idea, they are often excited about saving money for a goal. Incorporate this needs versus wants topic into your daily conversations.
Make Saving Money Exciting - This can be done in so many ways. First, you can be excited that they “get to” save their money. Your enthusiasm will be contagious. You could also set savings goals where they get a small reward every time they hit a milestone. They’re kids! Make a game out of saving money in their bank savings account or out of feeding the piggy!
Give Them Places To Save - This could be a cute piggy bank, a simple jar or even a fancy bank that counts money for them! Put it somewhere special that they can see it and remember that saving is fun. Also, be sure to open a Passbook Savings account for them at VCNB. Make it an event when they come to the bank to deposit their savings. Let them give their money to the teller and get a sucker for their hard work. We love to see a kiddo bring in their savings so we can write in their passbook!
Give Them Money To Manage – How do your kids get money? Do they earn it doing chores? Do they have an allowance? It’s important for youngsters to have some money of their own to manage. Then you can help them learn the benefits of saving and the consequences of overspending. They will also gain a sense of independence through making decisions about their own money.
Chat About Why They Might Spend, Save And Give – What are some ways they might spend their money? Why should they want to save money? What could that money be used for someday? Do they want to donate to a good cause?
WHEN THEY’RE OLDER
When our bankers visit a high school classroom, we talk to students about things that are relevant to them now or will be soon. We revisit the concept of needs versus wants and why saving money is important but we expand the conversation to cover budgeting, borrowing money and having their own checking account.
Revisit The Needs Versus Wants Conversation – As enthusiastic as little kids are to talk about needs versus wants, we find that teenagers are equally disengaged from this conversation. They often passionately believe they need the things they want. Many of these students we see would benefit from your help in this department. Being teenagers, though, they might not agree or take your advice but they may remember your words later.
Places To Save – High school students often already have a savings account that was started for them by a parent or grandparent when they were small. We recommend opening one soon if they don’t have one. Keeping money in the bank is safer than having it at home where it can be lost, stolen or easily spent. Besides, they will need a savings accounts as they transition into adulthood and jobs with better pay.
Ways To Spend – It’s smart to teach teens to use a checking account. By opening one now, you can supervise and help them learn good habits. For students ages 14-17, VCNB offers a Student Checking account with access to tools like debit cards, online banking and direct deposit. Restrictions on this account prevent overdraft so it’s a safe way to learn before they need it. We also recommend that everyone carry some cash as well as a card. While debit cards are wonderful, there are times in this world where cards aren’t accepted or don’t work.
Teach Them To Budget – Your teen will launch out into the world in a few short years. That means they will soon start jobs or move on to higher education. Whether they’re starting a job or stretching student loans and a part time job to cover everything, the ability to budget the money they have will be imperative. Start out discussing household bills and expenses and how these bills influence other choices like how much can be spent on family fun. If they have a job or allowance and things they buy, help them make their own budget.
Remember when you were young? What do you wish you learned before you were on your own? What are your weaknesses in the world of financial literacy? Your children need to know these things too.