Written By: April Berggren-Batts
Do you remember your first memories connected to banking? When I was a child, the bank meant I would get a lollipop. This was a huge deal because my family did not keep candy in our house. Candy was a luxury not commonly in the budget. While I was observing the main purposes of having a bank account, I was also carefully choosing my lollipop flavor. Today, many individuals complete all their banking on their phone or computer, eliminating the need for parents to bring their kids to a bank building. What memories will your children have about banking? Do they understand what a bank account is used for? The digital age comes with many time-saving conveniences that don’t require children to be present. It is important to be intentional about appropriately including your children in your financial processes.
Banks and credit unions provide many types of accounts with many different purposes. They protect and store money in a checking and savings account to be used to pay bills and save for emergencies. They invest money in certificates of deposits, money market accounts, brokerage accounts, and retirement accounts. They loan money for college, cars, homes, and businesses. Instead of discussing financial institutions with your 3- to 5-year-old, start building your child’s understanding of finances by introducing paper and coin money. Then, explain how your job provides money to pay for your family’s needs.
Introduce an allowance. Remember you design the allowance system and amount that works best for your household. The dollar amount does not have to be significant. The important part is your child has opportunities to make financial decisions under your guidance. This money can be saved in plastic jars, envelopes, or a piggy bank. These options provide a visual savings system to show the different uses of money (saving, spending, giving, etc.).
Introduce the concept of banking and consider opening a bank account for your child. Explain how a bank account is more secure and can earn interest compared to the visual savings systems mentioned above. It is important to make consistent deposits and withdrawals as needed to keep the concept fresh in your child’s mind.
Open a savings or checking account if your teenager does not already have one. Teach your teen how to access the account online and how to protect their identity.
As your teen prepares for adulthood, it is important to ensure they understand how to establish a checking and savings account, how to track account balances, and how to use an ATM, debit card, and write a check. Explore job opportunities to prepare your teen for independence. If your teen’s employer provides a retirement account option such as a 401K, assist your teen in understanding and utilizing this benefit. Ensure to find out if the employer has a matching contribution limit. If the employer does not provide a retirement account option, then explore Roth IRA options. The age of majority is different based on which state you live in. Ensure you know at what age a custodial IRA can be transferred into an IRA under your child’s own account.
Random children were asked, “What is a bank account used for?” Here are their ages and answers.
19 years: A bank account holds your money for you.
18 years: They hold your money so it’s safe.
14 years: Money for you to spend.
13 years: To put money in to save or use on a debit card.
12 years: To hold money for savings, college, and pay for bills.
12 years: To store money for later money.
11 years: To keep your money safe.
9 years: Safely putting your money in it.
8 years: Holds my money for me and they are only open when I have school so they are basically holding my money hostage because I can’t get the money out unless I’m late for school.
8 years: Money.
7 years: Money to see how much you have.
6 years: You can write checks when you have money in it. If someone steals your purse, then at least the money is safe.
Do you know how your child would answer? Let’s make certain to set your child up for success. There are short videos to watch, books to read, interactive money games, and so much more to teach you and your child about the uses of a bank account.