By: Robert A. Vandenbergh
Are you a saver or a spender? If you're like most Americans, you probably think you don't save enough, and if you're a young adult, saving money may not be at the top of your priority list at this time.
Understanding the power of saving money is a key factor to achieving financial security. Many people now believe that having a substantial savings balance could have lessened some of the challenges that many Americans faced during the recent economic downturn.
The American Bankers Association points out that young adults take driver education classes before being issued a license, yet they are given a "hall pass" when it comes to financial education. At home and school, we can help change the status quo of their financial knowledge.
Beginning today, we can teach kids the importance and value of good financial habits. Here are some suggestions for parents who want to get started.
- Talk openly about money with your children. Communicating your values and personal experiences is a great way to begin a conversation. Encourage questions, and be prepared to answer them - even the tough ones.
- Explain the difference between needs and wants in terms that children understand. Discuss how the value of saving and budgeting can help them meet goals and don't forget to discuss the consequences of not doing so.
- Create a savings plan and make it fun! Set up a chore chart and pay your children an allowance for completing their tasks. Then require them to save a portion of what they earn each week. Many kids like the three-jar method, one for spending, one for saving and one for charitable donations.
- Take your children to the local bank to open a savings account, and let them make future deposits. Kids who are hands-on in their money management will have a more rewarding experience.
- Finally, be an example of a responsible money manager; be a conscientious spender and an active saver. Children tend to copy the financial habits of their parents.
To reinforce lessons-learned at home, Lakeland Bank participates in Teach Children to Save Day in area elementary schools. You can find more information and other helpful tips on the American Banker's Association website
. Together, we can make a difference in our children's financial future.