Tips for Teaching Kids about Money

Credit Union of Colorado and Youthentity Offer Advice as Kids Head Back to School

As families across Colorado gear up to head back to school, Credit Union of Colorado has partnered with the local nonprofit, Youthentity, to offer tips for teaching kids valuable life lessons about money. Youthentity provides financial literacy education for more than 6,000 students throughout Colorado.

“From youth sports teams to movie nights, concerts, and county fairs, we aim to support each community in a way that’s beneficial to both our members and the community,” says Madeline Sears, Fort Collins at Credit Union of Colorado. “The Credit Union of Colorado Foundation is also proud to provide grant funding to Youthentity in support of the organization’s important work on the western slope.”

“Our programs cover the core concepts of personal finances and money management – including credit, debt, savings, interest, and more,” explains Stephanie Stahle, director of personal financial literacy for Youthentity. “While our elementary and middle school workshops are a fantastic introduction to these critical life concepts, the largest influence, and indicator of future money management comes from our student’s parents and guardians.”

While talking to your child about money may be intimidating, it doesn’t have to be. Youthentity has a few tips for families who want to instill smart money management skills in their kids.

Tip 1:   Be a financial role model – kids are always watching and listening. If the conversations kids hear at home about money are negative, they often learn to view money as a stressor and will be more likely to avoid money management. If they hear money spoken about positively, it is more likely they’ll view it as a tool used to achieve goals through responsible management. When concerns around money arise, take that opportunity to discuss the issue with your kids and how you plan to address it. The old age adage “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” certainly applies to personal finances.

Tip 2:   Meet your kids where they are. It’s very likely they know a lot more about money than you think. Keep in mind that kids are exposed to many different messages about money on TV and online. Find out what they already know and what they’d like to learn about, then build on that. Avoid treating any topic as if it’s over their heads; oftentimes kids are eager to learn about money, as it makes them feel more mature. Money can be complex and multi-faceted, and it’s ok if you don’t have the answers to all your child’s financial questions. If this is the case, simply find an expert or reputable online resource who does.

Tip 3:   Incorporate money lessons into daily life. One way to do so is by establishing an earned allowance or reward for completing chores, which ties the value of hard work to the accumulation of funds. Another is to involve kids in grocery shopping, which is a great way to teach basic budgeting skills. Have them help write the grocery list, then cost out the total and compare it to your established budget. If you are over budget, have your kids help determine which items to remove from the list to achieve your budget goal.

Tip 4:   Open youth bank accounts. The best way for kids to learn about savings and money management is through banking, and it’s never too early to start. Begin with a savings account where kids manage their own deposits and withdrawals; as they improve their cash management skills, introduce them to plastic with an ATM card. After several years of responsibly managing accounts, they can graduate to youth checking accounts with a debit card. The more practice they have managing bank accounts and plastic, the more prepared they will be to start building credit with a credit card when they turn 18.

According to Youthentity, it’s never too early to start teaching your kids basic financial principles. “The sooner they understand that personal financial literacy is an important lifelong skill, the more likely it is that they will use that knowledge to guide them toward future financial stability and success,” says Stahle.

Credit Union of Colorado offers youth banking services to help with the learning process. At the credit union, kids can set up a youth savings account or a Teens ‘N’ Charge checking account. The Teens ‘N’ Charge account is specifically for kids 8 to 18 and is designed to teach them how to be financially responsible. By using this no-fee checking account with a linked debit card, kids learn the skill of managing their own money.

“By using the youth banking services available at Credit Union of Colorado, kids can learn financial know-how with a safety net. Each youth account is set up with an adult co-owner – usually a parent – who is able to oversee all the account activity,” explains Sears. “Whether kids are earning income from a part-time job or receiving an allowance, parents can use our available youth accounts to help them establish a plan for their money and start becoming financially savvy. Learning about money and establishing good savings habits at an early age can help kids build a successful financial future.”

Credit Union of Colorado in your community:
Founded in 1934, Credit Union of Colorado is one of the largest credit unions in the state and is deeply connected to the communities where its members live and work. The credit union’s “here to help” culture is demonstrated by its strong support of local communities through financial donations, promotional sponsorships, and employee volunteerism. Credit Union of Colorado offers the latest in banking with 18 full-service locations throughout the state featuring lobby service centers, safe deposit boxes, drive-up tellers, and surcharge-free, drive-up ATMs. The credit union also provides its members with the convenience of digital banking with remote check deposit and access to Zelle®, a fast, safe, and easy way to send money right from your mobile banking app or online banking account.

With more than 85 years of experience, Credit Union of Colorado is a stable, member-owned financial institution with more than $2 billion in assets serving more than 140,000 members. The Credit Union of Colorado Foundation supports education and emergency human services programs through college scholarships and grants to nonprofit organizations.

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