We know that teaching kids to save when they are young can help them develop strong, healthy money habits for their financial life. The American Bankers Association offers these tips to help parents get started.
1. Talk openly about money with your kids. Communicate your values and experiences with money. Encourage them to ask you questions, and be prepared to answer them — even the tough ones.
2. Explain the difference between needs and wants, the value in saving and budgeting and the consequences of not doing so. Are you buying groceries online? This would be a great place to practice. Get kids involved loading the online cart. When the cart exceeds the budget, have them help decide what should be removed and why that is the best choice. You can also download this free coloring page about needs and wants.
3. Set up a chore chart and give your children an allowance for completing their tasks. Require them to save at least a small portion each week. The three jars method, one for spending, one for saving and one for sharing charitable contributions is a good way to impart a sense of responsibility. If you don’t have cash right now, introduce your children to online banking. Transfer their allowance to their savings account online. Then show them their account online, where the deposit was made and their current balance.
4. Open a savings account for your children and take them with you to make deposits, so children can learn how to be hands-on in their money management. Do this even when you are banking remotely and depositing checks using your mobile app or a bank’s night deposit. Call your favorite banker for the details on what you will need.
5. Be an example of a responsible money manager by paying bills on time, being a conscious spender and an active saver. Children tend to emulate their parents' personal finance habits. Go a step further by managing money as a family - paying the bills together, discussing purchases made, and determining how to save money whether it be for a vacation or an emergency fund.
Taking time to involve children and teens in money management will require extra time and patience, but it will pay off as you watch your children grow into financially healthy young adults.