It’s never too early to start teaching your kids about finances. After all, it is a topic they will use for the rest of their life. Breaking down some the key financial terms will help them have an understanding of a few fundamental concepts.
Here are some terms you can teach your child and why it’s important for them to know.
What is a budget?
A budget is a plan that helps you keep track of your money and where it goes. One way parents like to teach kids how to budget is to categorize money into three “buckets”: give, save, and spend.
Why is a budget Important?
A budget allows you to plan out your finances for the future and ensures you’ll have enough money to pay for all your “needs” and, if you have money left-over, to pay for all your “wants”. It provides structure towards reaching a financial goal, such as saving for a video game system, a vacation or even a college education.
What is a Checking Account?
A checking account is a contractual relationship between you and your financial institution where you can make day to day transactions. The financial institution holds your money in a safe place and helps to facilitate your purchases. You are responsible for handling your account wisely by not overspending the money you have in your account.
Why is a Checking Account Important?
A checking account makes your money accessible and serves as a way to keep track of your spending. It also keeps your money safe, meaning it can’t be lost, stolen or damaged. Institutions must be insured in order to operate, so there’s no risk and much safer than carrying cash.
Credit and Credit History
What is Credit?
Credit is a way to borrow money (such as a credit card or loan) with the agreement of paying it back in full, plus interest. Paying back the borrowed amount on time is reflected on your credit report/history. One important concept to remember is that credit isn’t free and should only be used if you’re able to pay it back right away.
Why is Credit History Important?
Developing good credit history allows lenders see how responsible you are when it comes to paying that money back. The more on-time payments you make, the better your credit becomes, making it easier to borrow money in the future, rent an apartment, or even get a job.
What Is a Credit Score (also known as FICO Score)?
A credit score is a number that lenders use to measure your credit worthiness. Your credit score is influenced by a number of things such as the amount of open credit accounts, overall amount of debt you have and your repayment history (making payments on-time). Credit scores range from 300 to 850 and lenders use these scores to determine how much risk they will take on when lending to you. The higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate will be (less risk) and vice-versa; the lower your credit score, the higher your interest rate will be (more risk).
Why is a Credit Score Important?
The better the credit score, the easier it will be to reach life’s milestones. A good credit score can help you get a lower interest rate on a loan (like a car loan or mortgage), thus you pay less over the lifetime of the loan. A good credit score can even help you get an apartment or job. Overall, it pays to have a good credit score! Literally.
What is a Loan?
A loan is a sum of money that you borrow with an agreement to be paid back with interest. One way to help your child understand loans, is to explain why people take out loans in the first place. A great example is a car or mortgage loan. These items usually cost a lot of money, so it becomes necessary to borrow the money. Having that good credit score (as explained above) will help you get a lower interest rate on that loan, making it more affordable. Agreeing to the terms of a loan means you’re obligated to pay it back with the agreed upon interest. Failure to do so can be detrimental to your good credit.
Why Is Having a Loan Important?
Having a loan allows you to enjoy the item you borrowed money for right away. Rather than saving up $20,000 for a car, you can take out an auto loan to immediately have access to the vehicle and repay on a monthly basis until the loan has been paid off. Paying off loans strengthens your credit score and allows you to become prepared for any future or bigger purchases.
What is Debt?
Debt is money borrowed (a loan) which has not been paid off. Types of debt range from credit cards and student loans to major purchases such as vehicles and mortgages.
Why is Debt Good?
Borrowing money and having debt is typically the only manner in which some people will be able to purchase important high cost items such as a home or higher education. Debt is okay if it’s going to help you make money in the future, whereas taking on debt on items such as cars or clothes is not recommended based on the depreciating factor associated with these items.
What is Interest?
Interest has two sides; it is either something you pay (an interest rate on a loan) or something you earn (an interest rate on a savings account). Show your children the interest you pay on a loan, like a vehicle loan, each month. And then also show them that when you deposit money into a savings account (your “save bucket” from earlier) that the bank pays you for the deposits you place there.
Why is Interest important?
Whether you’re paying interest or earning interest, the amount of interest is important to understand. When obtaining a loan, you want to look for an institution that offers the best rate (lowest rate or APR). That combined with your good credit score will help you get the best deal. The same goes for deposits. When saving your money, you want to look for the highest yield (or APY). This will get you most amount of interest earned.
What are Taxes?
Taxes serve as payment to the government and are used to pay for things like improving public schools and fixing the roads. Taxes are taken from your paycheck and the amount you pay depends on how much money you make. A great way to explain it is to relate it to their allowance. Take a small amount from their allowance and put it away to be used toward a household expense, like an improvement!
Why are Taxes Important?
Taxes are the main source of revenue for the government. Without taxes, funding for many of the public benefits we take advantage of every day would be impacted severely.