Rural Leader Magazine September/October 2015 - Page 53

Tips to Turn Kids into Money Masters at Any Age   Most kids start learning about money earlier than a lot of people think-and it’s usually from watching their parents.   Three out of five young adults say their parents’ advice or example had the greatest influence over how they handle their finances today, according to findings from a Bank of America/USA TODAY survey. That parental involvement had a big effect on the practice of good financial habits. Of those who say their parents did an “excellent” or “good” job teaching them about money, 74 percent have savings and nearly half make a regular budget.   “Talking to your kids about money and using everyday moments to teach practical lessons is not only important, it works,” says Andrew Plepler, global corporate social responsibility executive at Bank of America. “It’s OK to be repetitive - kids may not always remember everything we say - but this survey shows that they do lis- ten and learn from our example.”   Parents who would like guidance on how to teach kids valuable financial lessons can find help online. The website - a financial education resource by Bank of America and education innovator Khan Academy - offers easy-to-follow videos and tips to help parents teach important financial lessons to children of various stages and ages.   Elementary lessons   A child in elementary school is just learning how money works, so simple lessons are best. For example, a trip to the store for back-to-school shopping can be an opportunity to learn about how to comparison shop and save money. Ask your child to examine the prices of different folder and notebook styles and find the lowest priced items.   An allowance is another tool for teaching the building blocks of money management. Experts typically recommend parents who follow this approach to give young children 50 cents to $1 per week for every year of their age. Some parents start with a smaller amount and only raise it once they feel their child can handle the responsibility.   Moving up to middle school   At this age your child may be ready for more complex money-management skills, including saving for larger, medium-term goals such as coveted clothing or electronics. Work with them to build a savings plan around a goal and track progress. For bigger-ticket items, consider matching contributions to reward your child’s savings efforts. If she wants a new phone that costs $200, for example, you could ask her to save for half, and agree to cover the remaining $100.   This age is also a good time to talk about digital spending. All those in-app purchases, music and game downloads can add up. Instead of allowing your child to | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015 53