Personal Finance Homeschool Style

Now that the boy is 13 we've opened a teen checking account for him. Before this he had a prepaid card and I just put his scant allowance on it each month and pressed forward. The problem was, he still wasn't figuring out what to do with his money. Since we are getting our house in financial order I figured it was a great time to teach him too.

We don't have a curriculum. For things like this all you need is perseverance, patience, and something else that starts with a 'P'! I kid - just some common sense helps.

He has a savings account already, so when he was old enough we made our way to the bank to get that checking account started.  When we got home I made a separate budget for him in our budgeting program, taught him how to make categories for things he wants/needs (ok just wants at this point - we take care of the needs, he is still a kid after all), and how to check how much money he had before he spent it. When the statement came we reconciled.

We opened the account in February and he is very good about checking his balances. He still needs to be reminded to reconcile. We're getting there though. Hopefully by the time he's ready to spread his wings he'll have a good grasp on spending only the money you actually have. I'm not afraid to talk to him about credit card debt. He understands how sales tax and interest works. He even remembers to add sales tax when he's figuring out if he can buy something.

None of this stuff is life shattering math. Simple addition, subtraction, multiplication. But when we started we got so many comments about what we are doing. How it's not taught in school, it's a skill all kids should have, and how great it is that we are taking the time to do it.

With all the online banking out there, I'm glad we chose a local branch to work with. He's getting to know the tellers and sometimes I have to do the throat clearing thing to get him to quit being so chatty. Those personal connections are as important as the financial information he's learning.

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