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When is the Right Time to Start Talking to Your Children about Money?

young girl giving money to a teller

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When should parents talk to their children about money and how does one go about it? Just as you wouldn't throw a child into a swimming pool without teaching them how to swim or send a successful 6th grader off to university, it's essential to approach financial education with careful consideration and timing.

Many young people often find themselves unprepared to manage money effectively, despite its importance in our daily lives. This lack of preparedness often stems from a parent’s lack of financial education or their uncertainty about when to begin discussing concepts like saving, spending, and budgeting with children.

Feeling overwhelmed by how to talk about finances, or confused as to when the right time to bring up the topic of money with children is natural, but it's important to remember that it's never too late to start. Children observe and absorb behaviors from their surroundings; therefore, modeling healthy financial habits is a great way to teach them without it seeming like a lesson.

Next, consider your own financial behavior. If you're already discussing topics like needs versus wants and basic budgeting with your child as you make financial decisions, that's fantastic. If not, don't worry – committing to helping your child understand money better provides an excellent opportunity for you to develop better financial habits yourself.

When it comes to introducing banking to children, opening a basic savings account is often the simplest starting point. Taking your child to the bank to meet with a banker can make a lasting impression. Parents or the banker can explain that a savings account is a safe place for people to keep their money for future needs and wants. Additionally, parents can talk about other financial tools they use, such as checking accounts, money market accounts, or investments, in age-appropriate terms. To see the full list of products we offer, check out our Personal Banking pages.

By the early elementary years, a savings account for children can provide a practical way to instill financial responsibility. It serves as a designated space for storing gifts and allowances, teaching children the importance of saving and learning to manage money from a young age. Using a savings account to teach your child about budgeting - money to save for the future, money for fun and money for those in need - is great preparation for life.

For more resources, like the Teen Lounge or Kids Corner, and to find financial calculators to help your child with a savings goal like buying a new bike or to determining how long it will take to pay off student debt when trying to decide which college to choose, click here:

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