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Teaching Kids about Money: Financial Education Resources

October 26, 2023

Little girl smiling in front of her coins and glass jars for savings and education.

Financial literacy is an essential life skill that, unfortunately, doesn't often get the attention it deserves in our education system. As parents, guardians, or educators, it is our responsibility to ensure that our children are well-prepared to navigate the complex world of personal finance.

At Education First Federal Credit Union, we believe that early financial education is not only essential but can be fun and engaging. In this blog, we will explore the importance of teaching your children about money and how a credit union can be an invaluable resource in this endeavor. We'll also delve into the significance of involving your kids in everyday financial planning, from groceries, to bills and even to helping plan financially for the upcoming holidays. 

Why Teach Your Children About Money?

Before we dive into how a credit union can assist in teaching your kids about money, let's first understand why it's crucial to do so.

  1. Building Financial Responsibility: Money management is a skill that affects every aspect of our lives. By teaching kids about money early on, you're instilling a sense of responsibility and accountability that will serve them well throughout their lives.
  2. Avoiding Financial Pitfalls: In today's society, we're surrounded by various financial pitfalls, from credit card debt to impulse spending. Teaching your children about the dangers of these pitfalls can help them avoid making costly mistakes in the future.
  3. Confidence and Independence: Financial knowledge empowers children to make independent decisions about their finances. This confidence will extend to other areas of their lives as well.
  4. Preparation for Adulthood: As your children grow into young adults, they'll need to manage their finances, pay bills, and budget. Teaching them these skills early ensures they're well-prepared for the challenges of adulthood.

The Role of a Credit Union in Financial Education

Now that we understand the importance of teaching kids about money, let's explore how Education First Federal Credit Union can play a vital role in this process.

  1. Savings Accounts: Credit unions provide excellent savings account options for children. At Education First, we’ve developed a savings account specifically for children known as C.A.F.E (Center for Advanced Financial Experimentation). By opening a savings account for your child, you can teach them the value of saving, compound interest, and the benefits of long-term financial planning. This will also give them hands-on experience and a sense of accountability.
  2. Educational Programs: Credit unions like Education First often offer educational programs for children. These programs are designed to make learning about money engaging and interactive. Within our C.A.F.E program, we offer a series of online educational games to help kids learn about finance in a fun and engaging way, as well as a quarterly newsletter specifically for our youth members that includes interactive learning in the form of word searches, crossword puzzles, and more.
  3. Youth Incentive Program: Many credit unions offer youth banking services designed specifically for kids and teenagers. These accounts often come with educational materials and features that encourage responsible money management. When our youth members make a deposit of $5 or more each month, they receive a fun prize to reward their efforts through our Deposit Incentive Program (D.I.P)
  4. Youth Events: At Education First, we are committed to helping all of our members achieve their financial goals, including our youth members. And while their milestones may not look the same as their parents, we celebrate good grades, attendance, and working to be an overall good person. That’s why each year we host an annual end-of-school C.A.F.E Achievement Awards Celebration where our youth members are presented with awards for these achievements and get to celebrate (and bring a friend!) in a fun setting. 

Everyday Financial Planning with Your Children

Teaching children about money isn't limited to a one-time lesson. It should be integrated into their daily lives. Let's explore how you can involve your kids in everyday financial planning and, more specifically, in holiday budgeting.

  1. Setting a Budget Together: When planning for a holiday or a special occasion, involve your children in setting a budget. Discuss how much money is available for the event and the importance of staying within the budget. This helps them understand the concept of financial limits and prioritizing spending.
  2. Prioritizing Wants vs. Needs: Ask your kids what they want for the holiday and what they need. This is a valuable lesson in distinguishing between wants and needs. Emphasize that sometimes, we may need to make choices and sacrifices.
  3. Shopping Together: Bring your kids along when you go shopping for groceries, gifts or even back-to-school shopping. Explain your thought process behind purchases, such as looking for discounts or comparing prices. This provides real-life examples of smart shopping habits.
  4. Creating a Savings Goal: Encourage your children to set a savings goal. This could be for purchasing a special gift for someone or even for themselves. This goal-setting process teaches them about delayed gratification and the joy of saving for something meaningful.
  5. Involve Them in Online Banking: If you use online banking or mobile apps to manage your finances, show your kids how they work. Teach them how to check balances, transfer money, and even set up a savings account for their goals. This introduces them to the practical aspects of managing money in the digital age.
  6. Reflect on the Experience: After the holiday or special occasion is over, sit down with your kids and review the budget. Discuss what went well and what could have been improved. This post-event reflection reinforces the lessons learned and helps them make better financial choices in the future.

The Long-Term Benefits of Financial Education

Teaching kids about money and involving them in everyday financial planning isn't just a one-time endeavor; it's a lifelong process. Here are some long-term benefits:

  1. Financial Independence: As your children grow, they will become more financially independent. They'll be better equipped to handle their expenses, savings, and investments.
  2. Responsible Borrowing: They'll understand the implications of borrowing money, whether through loans, credit cards, or mortgages. This knowledge will help them make informed decisions and avoid debt traps.
  3. Stronger Work Ethic: Financial education can also instill a strong work ethic in children. They'll appreciate the value of hard work and the connection between earning and spending.
  4. Wealth Building: The early lessons in saving, investing, and budgeting can set your children on a path to wealth building. They'll be more likely to grow their money through investments and savings accounts.
  5. Less Financial Stress: With a solid foundation in financial education, your children will be better equipped to handle financial stress and emergencies. They'll know how to create a financial safety net.

Teaching your children about money is one of the most important gifts you can give them. It's an investment in their future and their overall well-being. At Education First Federal Credit Union, we're here to support you on this journey. Our educational resources, savings accounts, and personalized financial advice are just some of the ways we can help you and your children build a strong financial foundation.

Involving your children in everyday financial planning is a practical and engaging way to impart essential money management skills. The lessons they learn will benefit them throughout their lives, ensuring they're financially savvy, independent, and well-prepared for the challenges of adulthood. So, start the financial education journey today, and watch your children flourish as confident and responsible money managers.