MONEY MANAGEMENT SKILLS FOR KIDS
Lori Z. Bahnmueller
Michigan Credit Union League - Your Money matters
If you're a parent, you strive to give your children the proper care and attention as they progress through childhood into adults. Providing them with proper nutrition, shelter, clothing and the best possible education are usually at the top of the list of priorities.
However, many parents don't think to train their children in the principles of good money management, and some even keep the subject of finances a secret from their kids in hopes to avoid creating fear or stress in them.
You can help your children become smart consumers, regular savers and responsible borrowers by teaching them basic money management skills while they're young.
Start talking about money with your kids when they turn about age 3. Set up coin banks to help them learn to identify and count coins and begin good savings habits. The savings habit for small children is best established through rewards, so tie saving to spending. Let them save for and buy what they really want.
At around age 5, begin giving a weekly allowance after discussing your children's interests and expenses. Provide opportunities for them to earn extra money by performing household chores above and beyond their regular duties.
Help children open their own savings account. Many credit unions and some banks offer special low-cost or no-cost savings programs for youngsters.
From age 11 on, help your children learn smart shopping. Let them share in meal planning and shopping for groceries and other products. Encourage them to use their own money to buy beyond-the-basics clothing and accessories.
Starting around age 15, begin to discuss savings plans for long-term goals such as college and their first car. Encourage part-time work if it doesn't interfere with their school work. You may even consider helping older teens to open their own checking account.
With today's financial world becoming more and more complex, it makes sense to prepare children for the financial demands they will face on their own in the years to come. Many of the habits and attitudes they form now will stay with them for the rest of their lives. In the long run, teaching your children about sound money management might be one of the best things you'll ever do for them.