Help your children develop a solid financial foundation by teaching them good money habits.
Experts agree that the earlier you teach children about managing money the better.
And by doing it one step at a time — by introducing age-appropriate good money habits over time — your children will have a solid financial foundation once they become young adults.
Here are some ideas:
Open a saving account for your child when he or she is born. This is the first baby step toward setting him or her up for a lifetime of good financial habits. Consider depositing birthday and holiday gift money into the account together to build a good base as your child grows.
Play money games with your child. From the time children are old enough to count, use jars or play games to help kids learn how to identify coins and count money. When you shop, occasionally give your child small amounts of change to spend, reminding them that it’s OK to save the money rather than spend it.
Encourage regular saving practices. To encourage a child to save, set up three piggy banks (or jars) labeled “saving,” “spending” and “sharing.” Have your child save a portion of his or her money into each jar. The savings portion can be deposited into the child’s savings account whenever the jar gets full for long-term goals. The spending jar is for short-term, more immediate purchases. And the sharing portion becomes your child’s charitable bucket to help others or a cause your child believes in and wants to support.
Pay your child an allowance for designated chores. Many parents begin paying their children an allowance starting at age 8. Sixty-one percent of parents pay their children an allowance, averaging $16.25 per week. The vast majority of kids have to work for their allowances, averaging approximately 6.2 hours of chores per week.*
Help your child learn to budget. As your children get older, allow them to spend their own money on nonessentials and expensive items that don’t fit your budget. Talk to them about smart shopping techniques, balancing wants vs. needs, comparing prices, clipping coupons and watching for sales.
Don't forget about Rockland Trust's Reading Makes Cent$ summer reading program where kids entering Grades 1-8 can earn money for reading their favorite books.
Teach your child how to use debit and ATM cards. When your child becomes a teenager or gets a part-time job it makes sense to help him or her open a checking account. Learning to balance a checkbook and using money management tools such as debit and ATM cards is a huge step in accessing and managing his or her own money.
Discuss establishing credit and the importance of borrowing wisely. Once your teen is college-bound or perhaps buying a car, it’s a good time to share how to build a strong credit history. Your teen can practice handling credit with a prepaid credit card. Or help your child apply for an auto loan or credit card. You may need to be an account co-signer. Encourage your child to pay off any monthly balance right away or to make regular installment payments on time.
Rockland Trust understands the importance of establishing good financial habits early in life. We’re here to help you steer your children in the right direction.
*Source: Harris Interactive survey conducted on behalf of AICPA, October 2012.