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What it Takes to Raise Money Smart Children

Family laying on floor and smiling at camera

My parents started off very early raising us to be financially savvy. We actually had our own bank accounts while still in grade school in the 60s, when more than 50% of adult Americans did not have a bank account! We started small; our accounts were opened at the credit union run by our parish church. We were given guidelines from our folks regarding the allocation of all funds received. That included paper route money, cash gifts, summer job earnings, lawn mowing and snow shoveling income, and even babysitting revenues.

Generally, we had to save 75% of our earnings, whatever the source. My father even offered incentives for saving more, such as making a matching contribution to our savings account for any amount saved above the standard 75%. In the 60s interest rates on savings accounts were in the 3% range, and as kids it seemed like our accounts grew quickly. All of us were buzzing when the credit union added our interest to the passbook, and we regularly compared progress with each other.

There was an ongoing consciousness of the cost of goods and services as we were growing up. We were all told the cost of our tuition, the cost of weekly food bills for a family of 11, and even the cost of monthly mortgage payments for our home. Looking back, I think it was very valuable for us as children to know the value of both hard work and money.

My wife and I teamed up to ensure the same exposure for our children. We’re convinced this information and perspective will pay off their whole lives. Today, technology offers some great ways to help young people stay focused on the impact of financial decisions. I recently reviewed BCU’s Life. Money. You. skill-building website, and I can tell you it will substantially bolster all your efforts in raising money smart children! I encourage you and your family to create a profile and take advantage of a great resource!


Article written by Patrick Catania