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Like every parent, you want to help your children learn proper money management habits. A good foundation in sound fiscal principles can help your children prosper throughout their lives.
The best way to teach fiscal responsibility to your son or daughter is to start a bank account in their name and let them manage their own money. Each child can directly experience the benefits of good money management and spending habits — as well as the consequences of poor ones. Your bank may be willing to help and allow you to open an account for your child, but the account will have plenty of strings attached and does not necessarily focus on your goal of teaching fiscal responsibility.
Teaching your kids how to bank and save
Colorado residents have an interesting alternative that could be considered the “Bank for Kids.” According to the website, Young Americans (YA) Bank in Denver is “the only bank in the entire world specifically designed for young people aged 21 and younger.” Your kids may think of it as the banking equivalent of the backyard treehouse fortress with the huge sign saying “No Parents Allowed.” You may think of it as a novel and fun way to teach your children banking and fiscal principles with the support of banking staff.
YA Bank is part of the Young Americans Center for Financial Education and is integrated with a group of non-profit programs designed to help kids learn about financial principles, business and economics, and what it takes to achieve financial self-sufficiency.
Through these non-profit affiliates, YA Bank offers money matters classes, summer camps, and other programs to make financial learning fun and empowering. Entrepreneurial camps help motivate youth on the path to understanding how to start and operate a successful business. YA Bank even has a youth advisory board where it’s possible to have greater input on the bank’s operations.
Don’t get the impression that YA Bank is a gimmick. It’s a real FDIC-insured bank that offers not only savings and checking accounts, but also CDs, credit/debit/ATM cards, internet banking services, and even loans. CDs are available with a minimum deposit of $100, and savings accounts can be established with a deposit from as low as $5.
Financial preparation for young entrepreneurs
As with any bank, you must still have a co-signer for a loan if you are under 18 or have no credit history. Loans can be for personal expenses or business purposes. Young entrepreneurs can learn about the preparation it takes to get a business loan — how to prepare a business plan, determine the amount of money to ask for, and how to make a convincing argument to a loan officer that you are capable of paying back the loan through creating a successful business.
Funding primarily comes through a legacy foundation created by the bank’s founder, Bill Daniels, along with donations from bank supporters. There are some fees that are collected from the individual programs, but those fees are designated to cover operating costs for the programs. YA Bank is a for-profit entity but intentionally does not make a profit, pouring funds back into the programs instead.
In essence, YA Bank’s basic products are the same as you can get at your own bank, but the emphasis and orientation gives kids a sense of empowerment. The support services and youth programs are hard to beat. As YA says to kids on its website, “You might even be able to teach your parents a thing or two after banking here!” They may be right.