One of the most important things you can do for your kid is to teach them good money habits. From infancy on, your kids are watching what you do and how you interact with the world – and this includes your relationship with money. You can start teaching your kids about money from the time they’re toddlers until they reach financial independence, and help form habits that will set them up for lifelong financial success.
Young kids (ages 3-5) can start to learn about what money is and how it works. You can teach them that the things they want cost money, and show them how you pay for things at stores. When they’re old enough, you can let them hand over cash or a card to cashiers, and make sure you explain that a debit or credit card is also a way of paying with money.
At Piscataqua Savings Bank, our family-friendly approach to banking includes a special deposit counter for our Kids’ Bank (featuring our friendly banking bear, B.A. Saver!). Piscataqua Kids’ Bank accounts feature a special interest rate just for kids. There are no monthly service charges and each child receives their own passbook and a Kids’ Bank Membership card. Plus, an account can be opened with just a penny!
Elementary & Middle School Age Kids
When your kids are old enough to do chores (6-12), you can start providing them with opportunities to earn money. This will help teach them the “price” of money, and also give you a chance to explain budgeting to them and help them start saving. Give your kids an allowance that they have to earn by completing certain tasks, or start paying them for helping out with chores around the house. By earning their own money, they’ll gain a sense of accomplishment.
Explain to your kids the importance of saving money – for example, talk about a short-term goal, like saving enough for a special toy or treat they want. They’ll learn that earning and saving money makes them feel good and helps them get the things they want.
You can also start talking to kids this age about charitable donations. Help them find a cause they care about – maybe your local animal shelter or homeless shelter – and make a donation from their own money. They’ll feel good about being able to help out, and this can lead to lifelong charitable giving habits.
At ages 13-18, you can expect to help your teen achieve some level of financial independence. When they’re of age, getting a part-time job in order to purchase things they want is a valuable lesson in financial independence, and an important coming-of-age moment for most people. Being transparent about the costs of things that are important to them, like their phone bill, can help them understand the amount of work necessary to support their lifestyle. By the time they’re 17 or 18, teenagers can be paying for most of their social activities themselves using money they’ve earned.
The teen years are also a great age to teach your kids how to grow their money – help them open an investment account and show them how to research investment options. By investing in industries or companies that they care about, they can watch their money grow while supporting their values.
Lead by Example
The most important thing you can do to teach your kid good habits is to lead by example. Your kids will pick up on the spending decisions you make and the financial values you model – so think carefully about the examples you’re setting for them. Having regular conversations about managing money throughout their development is the best way to ensure a strong financial future for your kid.Back to News and Insights