Are Your Kids on the Right Track to Financial Independence?

From a young age, we’re taught to wear our seat belts, eat our fruits and vegetables and make our beds. In school we learn math, science, communications and health.

But few of us are taught the importance of budgeting, saving and investing. According to TD Ameritrade’s 2019 Young Money Survey, more than half of the 1,027 15-21-year-olds surveyed said they expected to be more financially successful than their parents, yet 1 in 3 are not saving any dollar amount in a typical month.

For many of today’s young adults, the weakest link lies in learning the basics. Only 35% of teens know how to balance a checkbook or manage credit cards. During the past five years, a decline in overall financial knowledge is especially pronounced among 18-year-olds, and 13% fewer teens have bank accounts.*

In addition, 1 in 3 15- to 21-year-olds say they don’t have a budget either because they are too young or don’t know how.

Achieving economic prosperity is difficult. It’s especially hard for young people who’ve never learned how to manage money. Your credit union is ideally positioned to respond because we believe in the power of education. We’re here to help you launch the youth in your life toward financial independence.

Join. As a start, open a savings account for each child in your family at the Mountain Community. As soon as your children can write, have them fill out deposit and withdrawal slips. Guide teenagers through using a debit card and allow them access to their online banking accounts. Have them look at monthly statements and compare to daily spending.

Share. Include your children in your household finance discussions. Show them how you budget income and expenses. As their skills improve, give them challenges—such as finding a better cell phone plan, calculating the total monthly cost of owning a car, or sticking to a budget with back-to-school or holiday spending.

Coach. Remind your children to ask for help when they need it. And turn to your Mountain Community when you want help.

*Teens and Money Survey, Charles Schwab