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Back To School and Financial Literacy

It’s that time of year again! How quickly the summer flies by. The kids have been hanging around the house playing video games or outside with friends.  Maybe your kids are old enough now that they started working a part-time job.  Whether your child has started working or is a bit too young, it’s never too early to start talking to your children about financial literacy.  From putting aside allowance money or a portion of their paycheque into savings, to online banking and safely using a debit card, it’s important for children to be aware of the basics.

Start saving young!

Teaching your kids to putting aside money into a saving account is a great way to teach them to appreciate the hard work that goes into saving up for something special or an emergency.  Say for example, they have saved up to buy themselves a new bike, but now their bike has a flat tire and they need to buy a new one. While it's great they were able to achieve that goal, teaching them not only to save for things they want but also have money set aside for “emergencies”, in this case, a flat tire that needs repairing is just as important.  This is especially great when they are just starting out and aren’t used to the steady flow of money into their account every two weeks.  Getting them in the habit of spending less than their full paycheque will carry forward into their financial habits when they are trying to save for bigger things like their first car or tuition.

Basic Banking 101

It is a great idea to sit down with your children and show them how to safely and securely use their new bank account.  Teach them how to access their money whether it be online or through a debit card or how to set up transfers so they can set money aside for savings each pay. If you are not sure how to teach your kids about how to use their account online or how to use a debit card, you can always talk to your local credit union and they would be happy to sit down and go through this for you and your child. Remember, most credit unions offer special student accounts to save your child money from monthly fees.  This is especially important at a time when they may not be earning a lot of money and are not using their account to its maximum potential like a working adult might. No one wants to waste money on fees!

Banking safely

Talk to your kids about debit card or online fraud and make sure that they know how important it is to keep your passwords protected and safe.  Debit card PIN’s and online banking passwords should never be shared with anyone! It’s also important for kids to know that they should be viewing their account activity on a regular basis so they are aware of any issues and can report them to their credit union right away. Keep an eye on where you are using your card and monitor that the transactions on your account match.

Looking for excellent resources to kick start your child’s financial literacy?  Visit the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada for more information.

Written by Amanda Perkins