There are many personal finance activities that we engage in as adults that are almost second nature, from working to saving to borrowing and building credit. We’ve compiled some simple actions you can take (and when) to increase your child’s financial success as they mature.
Grade School Age +
1. Encourage them to get experience with a job (in or outside the house)
> Let children get experience managing their own cash flow – learning about how much money comes in (and when), how to spend wisely, and how to save for future expenses both large and small.
Junior High/High School Age
1. Help them open their own checking & savings account (& obtain a debit card)
> In addition to learning about how to manage money with a bank, this is a critical step before engaging in any future lending.
> Provide experience for managing money the way most of us do today (digitally).
2. Open a secured credit card (or make them an authorized user on your card) – build credit!
> Building credit is an often-overlooked aspect of setting young people up for financial success.
> A secured credit card allows you to build your credit with significant guardrails in place
– Allows for building credit with very low (and secured) credit limits
– Available to people with poor or no credit
> To start, authorizing a child as a user on your card may be a good way to allow them to learn to make purchases, build & manage credit, while still allowing you to monitor their spending and ensure their success.
3. Go through a tax return with your teen
> At school, kids learn a lot – however, as you may have experienced in your own life, the intricacies of a tax return is not one of them. Help your younger generation understand what taxes they are paying & why.
1. Understand the difference between “good” debt & “bad” debt
> With credit, comes the need to discern how to use credit wisely. Teaching young people the difference between high interest rate credit cards, auto loans, and federal/private education loans is critical to making informed decisions about debt.
> Review the costs and benefits of particular schools & majors when determining when (and how much) to borrow for school – it’s critically important as college costs & student loan debt continues to balloon.
2. Take them to a meeting with your financial advisor
> Be open about your financial journey & allow them to learn from your successes & failures.
> Make the most of the resources available to you – we would be more than happy to help be a part of your young person’s financial success.