April is financial literacy month, a good time to add to your kids’ knowledge of money. Here are some suggestions.
First Steps: Piggy Banks and Tour
A piggy bank helps kids to see their savings as something visible and real,” according to How to Raise a Money $mart Child, a free downloadable publication of the Jump Start Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy.
Jump Start offers these additional suggestions for parents of young kids:
- Visit a local bank with your child. If you call in advance, some banks will give a tour. Arrange to chat with a teller or bank official. Let your child ask questions.
- Help your child open up a bank savings account. Some banks offer a no-fee and no-minimum balance account for kids. If your bank doesn’t, ask if special arrangements can be made for your child.
Banks have developed online resources to teach kids how to save money. ING Direct, the online bank based in Wilmington, DE offers Planet Orange, a website for kids in grades 1-6 that uses cartoons and games to teach fundamentals of money management. The site includes suggestions for parents and lessons for teachers.
TD Bank’s online Wow!Zone has similar features, but also includes a section for teens that discusses credit, smart spending and budgeting. A game teaches stock market terminology and lets kids track an investment portfolio and compete against friends.
Wells Fargo Advisors’ Savings Quest is an online budgeting game that challenges kids to save for things they want while paying for things they need. Another Wells Fargo site, Hands on Banking, describes the basics of finance to tweens, teens and young adults. Wells Fargo’s Stagecoach Island is a downloadable virtual world, complete with ATMs.
Teach Children To Save, an online program of the American Bankers Association Education Foundation, features lessons on the importance of savings for age levels ranging from 5 to 18 years. The Delaware Bankers Association will send hundreds of volunteers into classrooms statewide on Teach Children to Save Days, April 24 and 25, 2012.
The Charles Schwab Foundation funds a Boys & Girls Clubs of America program for teens, Money Matters: Make it Count. Its website includes tools and discussions to help teens understand and manage their money.
Tips for Tweens and Teens
Bankers offer these tips to help tweens and teens learn about money.
- Discuss your paycheck. Explain the difference between gross pay and net pay.
- Let your teen see the family budget. including monthly income and expenditures. Discuss credit card statements and utility bills to give an understanding of your financial decisions.
- Give teens a budget for clothes or holiday expenses. Let them shop for themselves. Avoid criticizing their decisions.
Cheryl Lynne Potter is a local freelance writer.