- Take your kids with you to your bank or credit union. If you model a healthy relationship with your financial institution, your kids will grow up feeling comfortable and knowledgeable about the resources inside a bank or credit union. Making a point to say hello and interact with lenders or tellers teaches even young kids to associate positively with their financial institution. Next time you go in to make a loan payment or deposit, take your kids with you so they can learn how each process works. You’ll know their comfort level is strong when they ask you if they can open their own savings account!
- Give kids an allowance and teach them to save. Growing up, I received an allowance every week. It helped me understand the value of money. When my kids are old enough to save for an allowance, I will add one important twist: they will have to set a percentage aside to save. Over time they will learn the importance of budgeting and planning for things they want to buy. Most importantly, it teaches them to always prepare for a “rainy day.” Many Americans do not have enough savings to cover six months of expenses if they were to lose their job. I wonder if these same hard-working Americans had parents instilling the strong value of saving.
- Encourage your kids to get a job early. One of my most valuable experiences is when I turned 16 and got my part-time first job at Wendy’s. In addition to learning a good work ethic, I saw the impact of payroll taxes and how it affected my pay check. I actually “connected the dots” regarding the hours I worked versus the money I earned each hour. When I was given an allowance, I didn’t make the connection of earning money for each task. The job at Wendy’s deepened my understanding of the value of money. Working inspired me to ask myself, “How can I earn more money per hour?” And, “How can I keep more of the money I earn?” Both very valuable questions adults struggle with on a regular basis.
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