[custom_frame_left][/custom_frame_left]As your children get older, teaching kids about money is even more important. They become increasingly more able to understand the value of money and how to manage it responsibly. It is also an important time to teach them skills they will use for the rest of their lives – paying bills, banking, using credit or debit cards, and planning for the future.
Ages 14-18: Banking, Checking, and Credit
Children at this age are increasingly aware of purchases they want to make and they are likely to ask mom and dad for money often. It’s a critical time to teach them about earning money and making purchases they can afford.
Take them to the credit union and allow one of our representatives to assist you in explaining how a checking account works and how to document purchases and balance the account. Assist your kids in depositing their allowance or any money earned through work in the account. Discuss the importance of continuing to deposit money into a savings account.
Debit or Pre-paid Credit Cards
Along with a checking account, help your teen get set up with a debit card. Be sure they have a firm understanding that the funds available to them are only equal to what they’ve deposited in their checking account. Teach them to keep their receipts and document purchases. You can also set them up with a pre-paid credit card and deposit their allowance into it. Give them control of the card, with a firm understanding that there is a finite amount of money on the card and once it’s gone, there will be no more funds available to them.
Encourage a part-time job
As long as it doesn’t interfere with their schoolwork or extracurricular activities, a part-time job will not only teach them about money management, but also taxes and work ethic. Even jobs such as babysitting, cutting grass, or other odd jobs can teach them the value of their work.
Ages 19-22: Planning for Financial Independence.
As your children enter college, it’s important to help them understand that the financial decisions they make today will directly affect their future.
Loans, Credit Cards, and Debt Education
Most kids are forced to enter into some kind of debt to complete school. Be sure you’re a part of their financial aid decisions – discuss interest rates, monthly payments, and the other components of obtaining a loan. Some may also need credit cards. When possible, use this as a last resort, but if it’s a necessity, encourage them to use it only in emergencies and pay off the balance monthly. If possible, encourage them to sign up for a money management course
Support from Parents
If you are continuing to support your child while they’re in school, be sure that you continue to foster independence. Deposit money into their account monthly or bi-monthly, but make them responsible for paying their bills. Talk to them about budgeting. Work together to list their monthly expenses and their total income (which should include loans, allowances, or wages). Subtract expenses from income and if the expenses outweigh the income, work together to trim expenses until the budget is manageable.
Continue to Encourage Savings and Planning for the Future
Have frequent conversations about what will happen when they are done with school – if they want to move home, live on their own, travel, or get a job right away. Discuss what steps they can take now to be sure they can fund the life they’re envisioning after school.