If they are old enough to ask for a toy or a bike, they are old enough to start learning financial lessons that will last a lifetime.
The best financial lessons are part of everyday experience. Look for opportunities to talk about money, read books and play games that center around spending money wisely. Be open and honest when you discuss your financial experiences - good or bad.
Here are examples of teachable moments to help you get started:
At the Bank
Bring your children to the bank with you, and show them how transactions work. Explain how the bank operates, how money generates interest and how an ATM works.
Discuss how your pay is budgeted to pay for essentials and how a portion is saved for future expenses, such as retirement.
At the Market
Give clear examples of “needs” and “wants,” using different foods in the store. Milk, for strong bones, is a need, and soft drinks are a want. Explain the benefits of comparison shopping, coupons and store brands.
Chores and Allowances
Assign chores, and give them a monetary value. Encourage children to set a financial goal, such as saving for a toy, and figure out how to achieve it by discussing ways to budget their allowance.
Explain the ways that bills can be paid and how each method takes money out of your account. Be sure to cover late penalties, emphasizing the importance of paying bills on time.
Using Credit Cards
Explain that credit cards are a loan and need to be repaid. Share how a monthly statement comes in the mail with a bill. Review the features of ATM, debit and credit cards.
Planning a Trip
Whether an outing to an amusement park or a once-in-a-lifetime trip, emphasize the value of saving. Set a family savings goal that involves your children. Discuss ways everyone can help to reach the goal.
Remember: Encourage your children to ask questions about money. If you don’t know the answer, research it together or ask your banker.
Crest Savings Bank has locations in Wildwood, North Wildwood, Wildwood Crest, North Cape May, Cape May, Sea Isle City, and Villas. Call (609) 522-5091, or visit www.crestsavings.bank for more information.