Summer is unofficially coming to a close. Kids are going off to college. High schools that follow the college semester structure are opening next week. Despite the fact that the solstice gives us another month and a half of technical summer; for kids – it’s just about over. Don’t let your beloved offspring jump off into their own lives and worlds without taking the time to educate them on their own financial responsibilities.
The State of Illinois, where I live, requires one semester of Consumer Education. Unfortunately, many teachers dread teaching this course, most students take it knowing it’s required, and enthusiasm on both ends is completely lacking. This equates to a waste of time unfortunately. This is probably one of the most important classes you can take in your entire lives! But parents, don’t allow the schools to teach it all. Since conditions are never perfect and kids need repeated prompts to learn anything, it is most important to teach financial lessons at home. Now.
For example, I took my high school senior to the bank to open a high school checking account. He already had a savings which we linked to his new checking. With his part-time summer job, I explained how to put the money in the ATM machine, 1/2 into his checking and 1/2 into his savings account. Because he is under 18, I have access to both accounts. He was given a debit card that will only be used from his checking account. Therefore the money in his savings is untouchable. All personal spending that he chooses to do will be with his debit card so that we can monitor and keep track of it. I explained every step, process, and reason. This has given him the independence and responsibility that boosted his self esteem and promotes his self worth. He is not just learning the concepts of earning and saving, he is physically doing it.
As we continue to use and monitor this account, I will also make certain, he analyzes what he is spending to make great choices and decisions now and in the future. By giving him this responsibility, he will learn early on the concepts of saving, necessities, wants and delayed gratification. We won’t go anywhere near the $0 mark as to avoid all fees. In this learning process, that is my job as the parent to cut it off if that should happen. This is a fantastic financial independence step into adulthood. Every bank offers a high school checking account that has no or relatively low fees and a minimal balance. Start this process now.
Use this last week to deliver values that will benefit your children for a lifetime and beyond. As you teach kindness, gratitude, consideration, responsibility and values, always include finances. The world will be a better place for it.