How to Talk to Your Kids About Money and Savings
How soon is too soon to talk to your kids or grandkids about money?

If they are old enough to ask for a toy or a bike, they are old enough to start learning financial lessons that will last a lifetime. The best financial lessons are part of everyday experience. Look for opportunities to talk about money, read books aloud, and play games that center around spending money wisely. Be open and honest when you discuss your financial experiences—good or bad.

Here are some examples of teachable moments to help you get started:

At the bank

When you go to a bank, like First Bank, bring your children with you and show them how transactions work. Get the manager to explain how the bank operates, how money generates interest, and how an ATM works.

On payday

Discuss how your pay is budgeted to pay for housing, food and clothing, and how a portion is saved for future expenses, such as college tuition and retirement.

At the market

It’s easy to give clear examples of “needs” and “wants” using different kinds of foods at a grocery store. Milk (for strong bones) is a need; soft drinks are a want. Explain the benefits of comparison shopping, coupons and store brands.

Chores and allowances

Assign chores and give them a monetary value. Discuss ways to budget and divide allowances. Encourage children to set a financial goal, such as saving for a bike, and figure out how to achieve it.

Paying bills

Explain the many ways that bills can be paid: over the phone, by writing a check, electronic check, or online bill pay. Discuss how each method of bill pay takes money out of your account. Be sure to cover late penalties, emphasizing the importance of paying bills on time.

Using credit cards

Explain that credit cards are a loan and need to be repaid. Share how each month a credit card statement comes in the mail or via email with a bill. Go over the features of different types of cards, such as ATM, debit, and credit cards. 

First Bank offers a Genesis Mastercard® debit card, allowing parents to open a joint checking account with their child’s account. This allows children the opportunity to learn good financial management lessons, while parents can monitor spending with account alerts.

Browsing the Internet

While online, explain to your children how valuable their personal information and privacy is to you, to them, and to online criminals. Discuss the risks and benefits of sharing certain information. Then, as a family, make a list of rules for keeping personal information safe online.

Planning a family vacation
Whether you’re planning an outing to a local amusement park or a once-in-a-lifetime trip for the holidays, emphasize the value of saving as a family. Set a family savings goal that involves your children. Figure out the cost and discuss ways everyone can help to reach the goal. Bring your child with you to set up a separate Statement Savings account from First Bank to start saving toward your dreams today!

(American Bankers Association, ABA)