As summer begins and things continue to return to normal, it’s time to think about the future. There are important life lessons every day and this month, we want to share our ideas on one of the most important – helping your kids learn how to handle and manage their money. Even if they’re just starting to receive an allowance, it’s not too early to begin teaching them about being responsible money managers.
Five important things to help them know about managing their money:
#1 It’s not how much you make, it’s how much you keep.
This lesson is particularly important as your tweens become teens. Understanding that the bottom line number is just that – a number – will help them to see that living within your means is important. Even a $200,000 salary won’t go far if you’re spending $250,000. Help them create a list of possible expenses to let them see how little things add up
#2 Interest is your friend!
Starting to save even $5 a month out of a middle schooler’s allowance will grow exponentially by the time they reach adulthood. And if they continue to increase the amount they add to their monthly deposits, it will grow even faster. There are several online calculators available that will help you show them just how fast their money can grow. Try http://www.bankrate.com/ or www.cnn.com (look for the CNN Money section).
#3 Be careful with credit.
Learning to use credit wisely is very important. Charging no more than you can pay off each month, paying your bills on time and keeping track of everything you charge will pay off as your teenagers head to college and beyond. Credit scores are checked for things beyond just determining whether someone qualifies for a loan. Insurance companies, apartment complexes and hiring companies all may look at credit history when making decisions. Remember that credit is not the enemy but how you use it can be!
#4 Protect your financial information.
Emphasize the importance of carefully protecting passwords, debit cards and checks. If you give your kids their own debit card, remind them to not share their passwords with friends or acquaintances. Be sure they understand that losing a debit card or being careless with passwords can lead to money being taken directly out of their account.
#5 Check your accounts on a regular basis!
Even though people write very few (if any) checks these days, accounts still need to be checked and balanced on a regular basis. Teach your kids to review their accounts online to be sure that all withdrawals are theirs. If they see something that doesn’t look right, be sure they know to call their bank right away. The bank is there to help them and the sooner the bank is made aware of possible fraud, the better. No one of any age should hesitate to call their bank if they have a question on a withdrawal or charge. The bank can provide further details on a particular charge to help determine if it’s just something they forgot OR if it’s an indication of fraud.
If you have a group you think could benefit from a “Banking 101” session, Quantum has a team of people who can provide that lesson at no charge. Whether it’s a school group, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts or a social group, we’re happy to come out and share our knowledge. We can create programs for all ages. Just call us at 770-945-8300 and let us know you’d like a lesson!