Help Build a Foundation for Your Child’s Money Skills Today

By the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

In this series, you can help your kids get on the right financial track—without being a financial expert yourself!

Most adults can trace the development of their financial lives back to childhood. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau researched more about this topic to determine what the most helpful activities are for children and youth as they learn and grow. This three-article series provides tips for parents of young children, elementary and middle school students, and teenagers and young adults. The first part in this series is for parents with children, ages three to five.

As you choose your family’s benefits, help build a foundation for your child’s money skills.  

Kids learn from you, whether you’re teaching them or not

Children absorb habits and information from their parents and primary caregivers. If you’re like most parents, you believe in helping your kids learn about money. But it can be a difficult subject to talk about, so be on the lookout for opportunities to build a good financial foundation.

Money skills don’t always mean dollars and cents

You probably wouldn’t think of including your young child in complicated decisions like benefits open enrollment. (And of course it won’t work to try explaining the details of co-payments or flexible spending accounts!) But there are parts of your decision-making process you can share, and these can help build the basic attitudes that even young children need for a solid financial future.

Here are a few key concepts that young kids can start to understand and use in their own lives:

  • Planning ahead: You’re thinking about the upcoming year and what the family will need.
  • Staying focused: You’ve got decisions to make, and a deadline to meet, so it’s important to concentrate.
  • Setting priorities: You make choices based on what’s most important to you.

You don’t have to do anything new or different. But you can share a money experience with your child. You could do the same for paying bills or checking your bank statements—routine tasks you do on a regular basis. Over time, these help your child form good money management habits and attitudes. 

For more ideas, visit www.consumerfinance.gov/parents.

Tip of the Day

  • Written by Guest Blogger | September 30, 2014

    Develop a long-term plan and foundation for financial readiness by establishing a spending plan. More tips at: http://ow.ly/sCvQQ

Saver Stories View all »

A Plan for Success

Written by Super User | April 26, 2012

I’m Staff Sergeant Robert Zuniga and I have been an active duty Air Force medic for eight years. I plan on staying in long enough so that I can retire at 20 years. I have always been interested in personal finance and would like to share how it IS possible for me and my stay-at-home wife and two kids to not only save and invest a ton of money but also have a lot of responsible fun as well on 'low' enlisted pay. You CAN do it too!

First off, we write down our goals and separate wants from needs.

Read more...

Making Savings a Part of Marriage

Written by Super User | November 26, 2010

Capt. Rob Eckhardt is the first to admit that he hasn’t always been responsible with money. But less than 10 years after a rocky start to saving, Eckhardt reports that he and his wife are free from credit card debt, have a down payment on a home, and are saving regularly for retirement. And, as the Military Saves representative for his Air Force squadron, he’s helping others make similar progress.

Read more...

A Disciplined Approach to Saving

Written by Super User | November 26, 2010

I just recently retired after 30 years of service with the Marine Corps. I truly enjoyed my time serving the Corps and I flourished in the disciplined environment. I also took a disciplined approach to saving. Here are some of the tactics I used-they are very low to moderate risk.

Read more...