If you’ve got some little spenders running around the house, it might be time to start teaching them a little about saving and responsibility with cash. A little work while they’re young can go a long way towards encouraging solid spending habits and a lifetime of benefits.
When you ask around with your friends about when they started having their own bank account, you can bet that those who are better with their cash now, had a good early start. Getting the jump on personal finances can start with a quick ten minutes.
I would recommend front-loading the financial experience with a little bit of work. Whether you’ve got an extra project around the house, a neighbor who needs some help or just some house cleaning you’ve been putting off for a while, it’s great to show kids how they can earn money through hard work (great concept, right?).
Work out a deal with your child that they can keep half of the money to spend on something fun, while the other half goes into their first bank account. This will sound impossibly grown up to them, and the responsibility of it will feel awesome.
Not only are you giving them the opportunity to earn money, you’re opening up the first piece of the adult financial world. Getting my first bank account meant scraping the old paint of our fence (for what seemed like days, but was probably only part of an afternoon) and receiving $40. $20 was for my Spiderman wallet, and $20 was for my first credit union account.
While I don’t remember what I bought with that first $20 bill, I still remember the first time I went into the bank and didn’t just have to sit there, staring at grown-ups’ legs. Signing the paper, getting a bank book and feeling that power has helped me save a lot more than $100 over the years – and it only took my folks about 10 minutes.