Want To Teach Your Children About Money? Start By Including Them in The Conversation

It’s never too early to start teaching your kids about money. The lessons will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
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How to manage your finances is not something you want to learn the hard way. Yet many young people can find themselves in debt very quickly by not understanding the basics.

Jodi Presloid, director of branch banking for S&T Bank, answers some of the most frequently asked questions raised by parents.

Q: You see a lot of people who make mistakes with their money. What advice can you give parents who may be a bit hesitant about discussing money with their children?
A: Start the conversation early! A great way to do this is with birthday money. Talk to your child about saving versus spending and the difference between a want and a need. You can even introduce a simple budget to help them understand where their money goes. S&T offers a Moola Moola Savings account option for children under the age of 13, which can help start the savings conversation young.

Q: What is the best age for my child to open a checking account?
A: Our Smart Start checking account is available at age 14. This is a great age to open an account and start to teach money management, the maintenance of an account, and how to use a debit card and check register.

Q: As parents, we often find sports metaphors work well when we’re trying to teach a lesson to our children. Any ideas? 
When it comes to managing money, parents are equivalent to a coach. Along with others on the financial team, they provide the necessary tools and education to be successful in money management.

Q: Parents know it’s important to read books to their children in their formative years. How early can they start teaching their kids about money? What kind of language should they use?
It’s never too early to start teaching kids about money. At S&T Bank, we have participated in teaching financial literacy in early elementary school classrooms though the ABA Teach Kids to Save program. We talk about principles such as, “You can only spend what you have.”.

Q: You must talk to a lot of parents who have family finances on their mind. What kind of concerns do they have about their children?
I see most concerns arise when the children start opening checking accounts before the parents have discussed any of the basic principles. This increases the pressure to teach the children — quickly! — the basics of managing a checking account and debit card just as they are heading off for college. Children who have limited experience in budgeting can fall victim to that instant gratification mindset that is so prevalent with today’s youth.

Q: I’m concerned about my child having a debit card. They will probably lose it!
This is an understandable concern. First of all, teach your child about keeping their debit card and information safe. If a card is lost or stolen, the debit card can be shut down and fraudulent charges stopped. Misplaced cash, on the other hand, is not replaceable! At S&T Bank, we have many digitals tools available to support debit card usage.

Q: How should I introduce the idea of managing a budget to my child in a way that is relatable?
Visual is best. List the “want to buy” items and compare with the cash in hand.  When kids need to pay for something, have them hand the cash over to a parent or to make the actual purchase.

Q: When it comes to credit scores and credit history, I don’t have all the answers. What can I do to help them?
Credit history starts at age 18, and it is very important to get started at that age. Joint loans are a good way to help build a credit history with a parent supporting the accountability to make the payments. Maintaining regular payments over time will build credit history. Paying things off quickly limits the time to build monthly payment history and can minimize the credit score process.

Q: Can you share any success stories that will resonate with young people?
Over many years of proactively visiting schools to teach about financial literacy, I have seen success in teaching money management and maintaining good habits at a young age. We hear stories and gratitude from those who have participated and in turn, developed good habits for years to come. At S&T, our Smart Start account has supported this initiative and helps us partner with students and parents early.

Q: Can technology help me teach my family to have a healthy money mindset? Are there any tools or apps you can recommend?
Digital banking is the way to monitor your accounts daily and know real-time balances. These tools also help prevent fraud, especially by setting up alerts for various activity, such as low balance, debit card purchases, etc. The use of mobile banking apps provides immediate access in the palm of our hands which, to younger generations, is priceless.

Learn more: stbank.com/personal/plan/students/

J Presloid 1970 4x6Jodi Presloid joined S&T Bank over 19 years ago as a branch manager in Punxsutawney.  After 15 years as a branch manager and business development officer, Jodi was promoted to regional manager and lead a group of 14 branches in S&T’s Northern PA market area.  At the end of 2022, Jodi was promoted to the director of branch banking and now leads and oversees the success of 71 branch locations in Pennsylvania and western Ohio.

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