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Kids and Money
People’s Credit Union has made it a priority to help teach kids about financial literacy. Our Youth & Teen Accounts are a great way to get your youngster started on the road to success. Contact any of our branch locations today for full details or call us at 800.498.8930.
Keep it interactive: teaching kids about money
Children are aware of money at an early age, long before they go to school, according to Philip Heckman, Credit Union National Association's Director of Youth Programs, Madison, Wis. Interactive discussions--rather than lectures--are most helpful.
Heckman says parents should allow kids to ask questions, express opinions, and have input to decisions.
With young children it's better to wait until they initiate discussions; even older ones may be more receptive if they ask the question. Sometimes, however, important matters require a sit-down discussion. Says Heckman: "Be reassuring and assess, based on the age of the child, how much they'll understand and how much detail to offer."
"If the change will affect the child, such as a cutback in the family budget, that's something that needs to be explained," says Heckman. "The child will understand and relate to that." Indeed, parents often are surprised at how supportive their children are when cutbacks are required. If you discuss how you'll reduce spending, children may volunteer to cut their own spending.
Talk openly with your children about things you'd like to buy but can't afford. If you save for an item, let kids see you doing so. If you buy something you haven't budgeted for, discuss what you'll give up buying in exchange. "Show that it's not just kids that have to go without--parents have limits too," advises Heckman.
Guiding your children toward financial independence
That's the average report card 12th graders earned for financial literacy in 2008. For about a decade, the Jump$tart Coalition® has been surveying high-school seniors about personal finance.
What our youth don't know is shocking. For example, only 27% understand that interest/dividends on savings accounts may be taxable. Only 40% realize they could lose their health insurance if their parents become unemployed.
Achieving economic prosperity is difficult.
It's especially hard for young people who've never learned how to manage money. Your credit union is ideally positioned to respond because we believe in the power of education. We're here to help you launch the youth in your life toward financial independence.
As a start, open a savings account for each child in your family at the credit union. As soon as your children can write, have them fill out deposit and withdrawal slips. Guide teenagers through using a debit card and balancing a checkbook.
Include your children in your household finance discussions. Show them how you budget income and expenses. As their skills improve, give them challenges—such as finding a better cell-phone plan, calculating the total monthly cost of owning a car, or sticking to a budget with back-to-school or holiday spending.
Remind your children to ask for help when they need it. And turn to your credit union when you want help.
Kids.gov offers wealth of kid-friendly knowledge
Looking for fun and educational internet resources for your kids?
Kids.gov has more than 1,200 Web links to kid-friendly sites--from government entities like the CIA and the Library of Congress, to private organizations and businesses like National Geographic and Visa--all designed to fit the interests and learning levels of youth of all ages.
Managed by the Federal Consumer Information Center (FCIC), Kids.gov is the youth counterpart to USA.gov, the official portal of the federal government. FCIC's consumer information and outreach director Mary Levy explains that Kids.gov was created so youth, parents, and teachers would have a safe place to find the wealth of information the government has to offer. FCIC reviews all Web links--private or public--on kids.gov.
"As someone who's worked to share useful government information with consumers for more than 35 years, it's crucial to me to let our kids know they can turn to the government for practical, helpful, trustworthy information," explains Levy. "And they can get it online in a format that's fun."
The links are organized into different topics: social studies, science, math, money, and more. Kids can explore the history of ancient Greece, learn how to build a solar car, or discover how maps are made. They also can learn to be money savvy with games and activities that teach them to save and spend wisely.
"There's a lot for kids to learn about money on Kids.gov. Our hope is that if they learn about money now--how to earn it, save it, and spend it--they won't have the kinds of credit and money-related problems that so many adults do," says Levy.