Our kids learn about ancient history, biology, and trigonometry in school, but most students graduate without any idea about financial planning or how to use money wisely. 

It’s up to parents and caregivers to give kids the tools necessary to become fiscally responsible adults and set them up for success in the future. If you don’t do it someone else will, and that should be a scary thought!

Learning smart spending habits can have a big impact on a child’s life. The financial lessons children learn can last well into adulthood.

April is National Credit Union Youth Month, and the team at TruWest Credit Union would like to share everyday lessons to help kids learn about responsible money habits at home.

Here are five easy ways to help teach your children fiscal responsibility:

1. Switch the piggy bank for a clear jar: This way your child can actually see how the money adds up when they save instead of spending right away. Watch the money grow and let them spend it on something bigger, like a video game or a nicer toy.

2. Give an allowance for chores: Don’t just give your child money for no reason. Show them that – like in the real world – they can earn money depending on how hard they work and how dedicated they are to their jobs. Set a certain amount for cleaning their room, helping with the dishes, etc.

3. Set up a lemonade stand: This may sound cliché, but letting your child set up his or her own business is a great way to show them how our society operates. Let them see the fruits of their labor (no pun intended) when they sell their product and bring in the cash. 

4. Open a bank account for your child: Many credit unions (like ours) and banks let parents open a checking or savings account in their child’s name. Take them to the credit union with you and involve them in the process from start to finish, and eventually teach them how to use it themselves. Opening an account in their name can also help give them a jumpstart on earning good credit.

5. Set a healthy example: Your kids are always watching you, and your money habits are no different. Talk to your kids about the price of food at a grocery store, show them how to pay bills, write a check, etc. Your kids don’t need to be involved in the serious conversations about money troubles, but it’s important to set them up with realistic expectations for the future.

For more information on financial tips or to learn more about TruWest Credit Union, visit TruWest.org.


Alan Althouse is the President and Chief Executive Officer of TruWest Credit Union. TruWest Credit Union is headquartered in Tempe, Ariz., and operates as a cooperative to provide its membership with a lifetime of quality financial services and a culture of caring for its members, employees and communities. TruWest is a strong and sound financial institution with more than 85,000 members and assets totaling more than $1 billion. TruWest Credit Union has 13 branch locations—nine in metro Phoenix and four in Austin, Texas. For more information, visit truwest.org.