Teaching Children to Save: Three practical money lessons for your kids

Janel Chaix Evans, April 23, 2021

Recently, financial professionals across the country celebrated "Teach Children to Save Day" in an effort to help young people develop savings habits early in life. There’s no doubt that children learn lessons in a variety of places—in classrooms, online and on the playing field, but some of the most impactful lessons happen from family conversations.

As the mother of a teen and a "tween", I know first-hand just how important money conversations are - especially now that the oldest will soon be driving and it seems like every other day we are talking about options for college. From piggy banks to pension plans, conversations with kids during their formative years are vital to helping them build the confidence they need to shape strong financial futures.

Do your children understand the cost and value of an item, how to keep money safe, and how to make financial goals? We asked some kindergartners their thoughts on these topics, and their insights and our tips might prove valuable conversation starters with your own children.

The value of money

While sharing every detail of your finances with children may not be appropriate, do let them see your money management skills in action. Write out your budget in front of them, have them help you compare features and prices for large purchases or let them help track progress on your family vacation fund. This will help them understand and appreciate how much things cost even at a young age.

Storing money safely

Piggy banks are a great start, but as children get older, explain how banks provide safety and security for hard-earned money. When deposited into a bank, money is protected from theft and natural disasters, and insured by the FDIC.

Financial goals

Depending on the age of children in your life, financial goals may look drastically different—from the hottest toy, to the newest gaming console, to the sought-after first car. But one thing will remain the same, the basics of goal-setting. As adults, we can help youngsters identify their goal, determine what is needed to reach their goal and generate ideas on how to accelerate accomplishing their goals.

Hancock Whitney Financial Cents

Remember, you are the most influential financial mentor in your children’s lives. If you don’t feel confident in that role, there are a number of free resources to help you learn more such as personal finance blogs or online lessons like Hancock Whitney Financial Cents for Adults.

No matter if you implement one or all of these lessons, you can help set a young person on the path toward financial wellness.