Whether a few bucks from the grandparents on their birthday or their first paycheck from a summer job, teaching young people how to manage their money is one of the most important lessons they’ll ever learn. They already know how to spend the money. The challenge is to show them how to earn it, save it, and maybe spend it more smartly.

To help, we’ve pulled together a few tips, some timely suggestions, and even thrown in a few good deals. Yes, because we’re a credit union – but we were young once, also. 

Earning It.

“Slow feet don’t eat.” Your kids might not miss any meals, but instilling an appreciation for the daily hustle can only serve them well in the long view. Chances are good they’ve already been introduced to the free-market economy by being paid cash for services rendered – shoveling snow, washing the dishes, vacuuming the floor, etc. Valuable stuff, but don’t neglect the flip side – don’t do the work, and they don’t get paid.

Eventually, many older kids become someone else’s employees, and nothing offers real-life money lessons better than a real-life job. First-time employees have to show up on time, work for someone who won’t care how cute they once were, and pay taxes. Oh, and one additional real-life lesson worth learning: Seeing Uncle Sam’s piece of their paycheck. 

Saving It.

If your kids earn more dollars than coins, it’s time for their first bank account. Make it theirsdon’t connect it to your account in case of overdrafts or a stolen identity. Do be the signer on the account to see spending behavior. It’s your opportunity to show young account holders how to balance their budget, track spending, and understand the long-term benefits of saving. A first car, college, that VR headset they didn’t get as a gift – if they want it, they need to start saving for it. From now until June 1st, Common Trust Federal Credit Union is offering a Youth Savings Account promotion. Open a savings account with us, and they’ll be automatically registered to win a new bike.

Now, Give Them Some Credit.

Some of those things worth saving for require not only cash but credit. Good credit takes discipline, which young people don’t always have. Hey, we don’t judge – plenty of adults learned the hard way about the importance of having and keeping good credit. An excellent plan for getting young adults started on the path to good credit is the credit-builder loan. That’s a special kind of loan specifically designed to boost credit scores. The young person  – aka “the borrower” – pays a lender in monthly installments and, in the end, receives that money in a savings account. The lender reports their on-time monthly payments to the credit bureaus, thus building (or rebuilding) their credit history. At Common Trust, it would be an honor to help a young person establish a good credit history with a credit-builder loan.