Savings accounts are great, don’t get me wrong! I had a savings account growing up, and I faithfully put a little bit of money away each month. Did it make me rich? Well, I certainly felt rich for a short bit after I had moved out on my own, but having a bit of money when you move out does not make you rich. You see, somebody had forgotten the important lessons about how to use my money, how to budget, and how to be responsible.
On top of it all, nobody told me how important my credit was, or for that matter, they never even explained it to me. As an adult it has taken a great many hard knocks for me to learn how to budget wisely, watch my credit report, and how to save a bit each month for investments. Now I’m a mom to three kids, and my most important goal is to teach them how to be responsible with their money when they are older.
Right now they have piggy banks, which is a good start. They are learning that if they save their coins they can buy the things they want, which is an important first lesson. Just as soon as they are ready we will be opening up their own bank accounts. So many banks these days have accounts for children, where it teaches the child to make their own deposits and withdrawals. These banks are often even equipped with free coin-counting machines, so kids can bring in their coins and then deposit the money they’ve earned right into their accounts.
Further down the line we will start the important lesson of taking care of their credit. I have no objection to kids having credit cards these days, as long as they learn to use them responsibly. Too many kids get out into the world, and they take out every credit card they can get, but fail to realize that the “free” money has to be paid back at some point, and Mom and Dad aren’t likely to pay it back for you. Also, at 14 there are multiple banks that have checking accounts for kids. Mind you, parents have to be on the account as well, but this at least starts to give kids the freedom of making their own decisions.
Hopefully when my children turn 18 they will be ready for the real world, and avoid the pitfall of getting into too much debt. I believe this is the best way that I can make my kids rich. Knowledge is the cornerstone of richness, and if I can instill that much in them then I will feel as though I have done as much as I can to set them up for life.