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Multiples and money part 3: teaching kids about money

Local company Thrivent provides these tips for getting your kids on the right track for a financially healthy life.  At events like the Minnesota State Fair, Thrivent even gives away the piggy banks mentioned in the article.  These are a great tool: they have 3-4 slots that keep your kids' money separated into categories like "Save," "Spend," "Donate," and "Invest."

Of course, you don't have to have a special bank for this purpose; you and your child could label a separate bank or jar for each purpose.  Then, help your child divide their money into the appropriate categories -- they'll automatically begin making decisions about how to prioritize.

Giving kids some control over their own money early in life helps them practice for what's coming later.  It also gives you an opening to expose them to your own budget.  If they've had to save up for something they really want, they may be more receptive when you explain that you won't buy a new Wii game on each trip to Target.

Another good tip: check to see what resources your financial institution has for kids.  Here are some links to major local banks' programs:

Wells Fargo

North Star

US Bank

TCF

Bremer

M&I*

Bank of America

*Not expressly designed for kids; check with your banker to see what they recommend.

(This list is obviously not exhaustive, nor is it intended as an endorsement of any specific program.  If I left your bank out, or if you want to know more about what any institution offers, check out their website or ask a banker.)

And, finally, check to see if your bank or your child's school participates in Junior Achievement or the University of Minnesota's Extension Programs on finance.  These resources pair financial experts with educators to help kids learn about managing money.

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