Your Kids and Money. When to Talk Finance?

Is there a right time to introduce your child to the world of finance?

It’s a common question, yet the answer is not always an easy one. During my career, I’ve seen it all—excited parents opening an account for their newborn child, the indifferent teenager whose motive for opening an account is to quiet a nagging parent, or countless incoming college freshmen opening their first checking account during the mad-rush of moving onto campus. Are any of these scenarios ideal? Or are we missing the bigger picture?

You may say that each of these scenarios is an opportunity to begin building a strong, financial relationship and I would most certainly agree. Notre Dame FCU’s mission speaks to the service act of changing lives and I cannot think of a more rewarding role than that of a financial physician helping to counsel a young adult.

Notre Dame FCU Mission Statement

However, I also firmly believe a good foundation for financial education begins long before the physical act of opening an account. A solid foundation at home can help give your child realistic information on the value of money and budgeting as they grow into independent adults.

A good first step might be introducing your child to how you manage your own household checking account. It does not matter how much money you have or whether you prefer to write checks, utilize online banking or a mobile app, the concepts are the same—money goes in, and money comes out.  Discuss with your child how you differentiate between the costs of wants versus needs, and most importantly the consequences of a money mistake.

The building blocks of financial education are best laid at home and may be at the age your child starts to save for that first “big ticket” item. It is the perfect opportunity to engage your child in the process of opening a savings account. Bring your child to the branch, introduce them to your favorite teller, allow them to perform deposits or withdrawals, monitor statements and explain how their savings can grow over time. These are valuable skills learned on a small scale.

Our youth accounts are specially designed to serve you and your child to help develop a basic understanding of good money habits.   The Dollar Dog savings is a dividend-bearing account, with no monthly fee, that is perfectly suited for any child or young adult.  Once your child is ready, bring them into your favorite branch and let us help guide them to the next phase of their financial future.

By Melissa Goins, Manager of Operations, Notre Dame FCU

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