As Central Texas schools stay closed, your family is probably spending more time together than ever. For the first time, you may be overseeing your child’s at-home learning. If you’re looking for ways to make the most of this time, personal finance lessons are a great place to start. Kids are often naturally curious about money. Starting a conversation about money can lead to lessons that will give your child a solid financial foundation.
Below, we’ve included some age-appropriate lessons and topics for kids of all ages.
Ages 4 to 6
Introduce the basics of personal finance, including:
Earning money: Talk about how work brings reward. To make it easy to understand, introduce a basic chore system and allowance. Show them how they can start earning their own money. Here’s an article on how to start your own allowance system at home.
Saving money: A box or piggy bank can be a great first start to saving until your child is ready for a savings account. Sometimes, watching their money fill up a jar is a great way to teach them the benefits of saving.
Spending money: Help your child figure out what they can afford with their allowance or birthday money. Introduce the basic math of dollars and cents.
Ages 7 to 10
Begin teaching responsibility, including:
Distinguish between needs and wants: Talk about how money can buy necessities and, sometimes, fun purchases.
The difference between buying goods and services: This is also a great time to introduce the importance of gratuity for services.
The importance of giving back: Discuss the importance of donations. Explain what organizations you give money to. Better yet, demonstrate the practice of giving back. Consider involving your child in helping you make a donation to a local charity.
Establishing their first bank account: Saving is a habit best learned early. Opening a savings account is a great way to help your child understand the importance of saving. It also highlights how they can afford more expensive toys or electronics in the future. Our Kids Life Savings Club offers a savings account for TFNB customers 17 years of age and younger. With fun deposit incentives, this program teaches children the importance of each dollar. No minimum deposit is required. A parent or guardian must be a joint owner of this account.
Ages 11 to 14
Start introducing more complex financial ideas, including:
How credit cards work: Talk about what responsible credit use looks like. Explain how to use a credit card to their financial advantage.
How interest works: Help your child understand how this basic financial principle affects long-term savings (or loans).
How to write a check: While checks aren’t used as much as they were, understanding this basic skill can be helpful down the road.
The benefit of a monthly or annual budget: Planning ahead is a key component of personal finance. Show how a basic household budget keeps your family on-track with spending and saving.
Ages 15 to 18
Start preparing your child for college, a career, and beyond, including:
Opening a checking account: Once your teen starts working summer or after-school jobs, a checking account can teach them how to track their money. Our Edge Tunes checking account is a great way to introduce banking rewards to your teen. They’ll receive free digital downloads each month they use their account. A $50 minimum opening deposit is required. A parent or guardian must be a joint owner of this account.
How student, personal, or car loans work: Even if your child does not need to apply for a loan now, teach them how these financial tools work. More importantly, teach them how to use a loan to their advantage later in life.
The basics of investing: If your teen is especially interested in finance, introduce them to howthemarketworks.com. This free stock market game illuminates how investing and trading works in a low-risk, challenging, and fun way.
Employment basics: Before they take on a part-time or full-time job, explain basic payroll deductions. Touch on federal income tax, social security, and pre-tax benefits.
The importance of a credit score: Explain how it’s a financial rating that follows you through life. A credit score is important to future financial success. Help them understand what contributes to their score, as well as ways to boost it.
Financial safety and monitoring: All consumers should understand the realities of fraud, identity theft, and other cyber crimes. Teach your child the importance of monitoring their accounts. Show your kids how to practice safe online purchasing to lower their risk.
Financial habits and attitudes are set early in life. That’s why it’s important to talk to your child about money early and often. If you’re ready to make your lessons a little more tangible, set up a savings or checking account for your child at TFNB. For children under 17, you or another guardian also jointly own their account, so you can guide spending and saving habits.