Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver
Although there are several opinions about whether or not kids should get an allowance, and, if they do, whether or not the allowance should be attached to chores, I think that most parents would agree that all children should learn how to handle their money wisely. Learning the concept of saving money at an early age will, hopefully, allow our kids to thrive financially (or at least be wise about their spending) when they are adults. Personally, if my boys learn how to spend and save wisely, I will be thrilled!
So, what’s the first step?
Determine where you want to “store” your children’s money. Should the money be stored in a piggy bank or a jar, so our kids can watch their savings grow; should they open an account at a local bank so they can hand deliver their loot; or should an online account be opened so that their money is out of sight and out of mind?
Again, parents will differ in their opinions on the best way to help their children learn about saving, but I think all of the options listed above are good ones. I also believe that parents may want (or need) to tailor the method to their particular child. For example, I have one son that cannot stand to see his money – it burns a hole in his pocket – but my other son loves to watch his money pile up. So, to handle the different money relationships of our boys, we’ve had to alter our teaching style, for savings, with each of them.
Piggy banks might be the way to start. If your child is young, you may want to start with the piggy bank or jar method. This way, your little one can physically watch their savings grow at home. Also, coins are easily found and can make a big impact on how quickly the jar or piggy bank fills up.
Interest gets interesting as the savings pile up. Older children, who have a real concept of numbers, will really enjoy learning about simple and compound interest. It will be fun for them to watch their money grow faster and faster because they are earning “extra money” just for letting the bank borrow their money temporarily. A good resource for teaching children about interest (simple and compound) is this article on The Mint: Saving & Earning Interest…How Savings Works – It’s all about interest.
Deposits…online or in person? Whether you use a physical or online bank will depend on your child’s relationship with money, their age, and their ability to grasp the concept of where their money is going. A younger child might learn more about savings accounts by hand delivering their deposit to the bank…allowing them to grasp the idea that their money is going to an actual place. An older child, who is undoubtedly familiar with computers and the idea of a virtual, online existence, will not have a problem with handing their money over electronically.
A big advantage to online banking is the fact that most of them offer a better interest rate than physical banks. Also, there is a tremendous amount of financial learning that can be done online. If your child is interested in learning more about their money, it’s all right there for them to pursue.
Teaching our children about money, early on, can only be helpful to them in the future. I wish I had learned to have a better relationship with cash as I was growing up. I tend to be the “money burns a hole in my pocket” type, which hasn’t always been helpful.
What about you? How do you handle money? Also, have you started teaching your children about a good, healthy relationship with money? If so, do you have tips you’d like to share with us?