As a local banking professional and a mother of young children, I think about financial literacy often. Whether it is through my daily interactions or my own experiences, it is clear that our children benefit immensely from learning about money and saving from an early age.
During Community Banking Month, we celebrate National Teach Children to Save Day on Thursday, April 22, which is a perfect opportunity for both parents and caregivers to begin having conversations surrounding financial literacy.
Teaching kids about the value of money really starts at home and you have to lead by example. Children watch what their parents and other caregivers do, so I believe we are their first role models when it comes to money management. Like my parents did for me, I try to do that for my children. We discuss needs versus wants so they understand we can’t always buy exactly what we want at any given moment. I’ve always taken the time to explain saving up for those items my kids really want, while making sure needs are met along the way.
One of the easiest ways to have conversations related to saving is around birthdays and holidays. When my children get money from things such as birthdays, holidays, the tooth fairy, or money they’ve earned from doing chores, they have learned to save some of that money. Some of the money gets put right in their bank accounts and then the rest I allow them to use at their discretion. The bank accounts are used to save for their future while the money they keep at home is used to save so they can buy things they may want.
Another easy way to build good habits - don’t underestimate the power of a traditional piggy bank! When we have loose change around the house, I show my kids the difference between quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies, and encourage them to put the money in their piggy banks. They each have their own piggy banks that are used for specific reasons. For example, they started saving up for our future trip to Walt Disney World.
I am proud to take part in the American Bankers Association’s annual Teach Children to Save initiative because it encourages bankers to visit schools to talk about money management. These sessions usually take place at a Berks County elementary school every spring. We love watching the kids participate in the activities we plan for them, and hope that they’ll continue to practice what they learned as they grow older.
Again, teaching kids about the value of money starts with the adults in their life. Always lead by example, and remember, it’s never too early to help the children in your life develop good and sustainable financial habits.