Tips for Teaching Kids About Money
Any parent knows how important it is to teach kids about money, and it is. The future of our world depends on “these crazy kids,” which is why events like Credit Union Youth Month are so important to parents! I see me and my wife teaching money lessons whenever we can and striving to set a good example for our two young boys.
Sometimes I have to take a step back and remember that teaching about saving is a marathon, not a sprint, which is something I think families struggle with. How do we, as parents, teach the areas of personal finance we struggle with? It can be hard to be a good role model, because life gives adults so many surprises kids might not understand!
I’m lucky because I work for American Eagle Credit Union and have ready access to all sorts of financial literacy activities and resources I can use for my kids, but for those of you who don’t have the same luck, here’s some of my family’s best practices:
Take small steps toward building an emergency fund: Right now, my eight-year-old is saving $10 for a game app. Even though he’s close to his goal, I’m trying to teach him that if he saves $30, he can buy the game and still have money if some other eight-year-old emergency pops up. As he gets older, I imagine that I’ll be explaining the same principle about a car or college.
Teach about donating money wisely: My wife and I believe in donating to charity, so we try to instill the same knowledge in our boys. Whether it’s a dollar in the church offering or selecting another charity or cause to donate to, we try to show saving and spending are okay, but it’s also important to put money aside for causes we believe in and those in need.
Put your money to work: Every kid has a different temperament and personality--especially when it comes to money, but teaching responsible money habits at a young age will only benefit them as they get older. For instance, we help our boys deposit their money into a junior account here at American Eagle. They earn interest on their deposits, and also don’t have money available to freely spend at school in the snack line! It’s a small step, but it gives them a sense of accountability and pride knowing they have such a grown-up account.
When it comes to money lessons, we know we’re not perfect, but just starting the conversation is important. And, if you don’t know how to start teaching your young ones about money, we can help here at the credit union. We offer a variety of youth accounts (that earn interest and come with various incentives) and frequently host financial literacy activities for our young members.
Do you have a best practice when it comes to financial literacy for kids? How do you “C.U.” changing them over time as your kiddos grow older?