But money management skills are something that parents should be teaching children early, said Angie Lewis, president of Citizen’s First Bank and a mother.
“I think in general we tend to shelter children from conversations about money,” Lewis said.
Lewis and her husband are both certified accountants and they have been teaching their children about money since they were toddlers, Lewis said.
“We talk about bills and how much things cost,” Lewis said. “We have always let money be a general conversational topic.”
Rome mother Lynda Carroll Edwards says a great way to teach children about money is to start a small savings account.
Lewis says Citizens First sees about 50 minor accounts opened every year, but it has been a downward trend.
“They are down about 30 percent overall,” Lewis said. “There’s obviously a pattern.”
One reason may be the economy, but Lewis says another reason is “everyone’s so consumed with everything else.”
“I deposit different amounts for different occasions,” Edwards said. “When they get old enough, they deposit half their allowance or other monies earned. They are allowed to spend the rest on what they want. After they see their savings grow, they will usually deposit more than half.”
Teaching children about money is also a great math lesson, said Bernita Smith of Rome.
“My husband took both girls to the bank to open savings accounts,” Smith said. “They both were taught to roll all loose change, count up all of it, fill out their own deposit, take it to the bank, get balances, and they keep their own ledgers. They do all the transactions.”
Christy Lewis said children should learn to not depend on anyone but themselves.
“You earn what you want. Put some in savings,” Lewis said. “If you earn it, buy things with what you earn. Then you will appreciate it more, and you will take better care of whatever you buy. If you let someone else feed your pool of money, it will take you longer to appreciate what you make.”
Making children aware of money and the family finances can help children in the future, Lewis said.
“I think the more they can be aware, the more prepared they will be for the real world,” Lewis said.
For parents who want resources to help, the American Bankers Association sponsors “Teach Children To Save” every year.
This year the official “Teach Children to Save Day” is April 24.
You can learn more at www.teachchildrentosave.com.