For many people, the December holidays are synonymous with spending on the kind of gifts that go under a tree. But the holidays can also be a time to give a different kind of present: lessons for the young person in your life about fiscal responsibility and the value of saving.
Here are some financial tools and gestures that will keep on giving.
A Piggy Bank
If you’re looking to teach a child about the ABCs of saving, Bankrate notes that a piggy bank can be a great gift. Bankrate points out that it’s a tactile teaching tool that can help a child reach their pint-sized savings goals.
A piggy bank makes for a great teaching tool — especially if your child has a little something to drop into it. This is where an allowance comes in. Business Insider lists four reasons why giving your kids an allowance always pays off: building financial literacy, encouraging independent thinking, reinforcing good habits and teaching life lessons.
Savings and Checking Accounts
Eventually, kids will graduate from a piggy bank to the kind of savings vehicle that actually earns interest. You can help move that process along by assisting your child in opening savings and checking accounts. According to U.S. News & World Report, signing your children up for checking and savings accounts teaches them how to stow away money for a later date. (At Ally, we offer custodial accounts that allow parents to maintain accounts on behalf of their children.)
Offer Savings Matching
Aside from opening IRAs, your kids might someday work for companies that offer 401(k) programs with employer matching. It’s in your child’s best interest to take advantage of such savings incentives, and you can show him or her how from an early age. “Offer to match their savings at 50 percent, suggests The Huffington Post. “That way, when they’re eligible for a 401(k) later on, they’ll understand the concept of matching contributions and be more likely to enroll.”
Fiscal Responsibility by Example
Another great financial gift can simply be leading by example and not overspending at the holidays. Fox Business offers some tips on keeping holiday spending in check, such as forgoing credit in favor of cash and spending no more than 1.5 percent of your household income during the season.
Even the most financially savvy parent only knows so much. That’s why giving your kids links to the best financial news and advice sites will help them save smart, long into the future. Kiplinger recommends ten personal finance blogs in particular—many of which we often quote right here. (In fact, you may want to consider giving your kids the link to the Ally Straight Talk blog.)
And if you want to really teach your kids about creating a budget, saving and other important lessons in personal finance, consider taking advantage of Ally Wallet Wise. Our free financial education program helps you learn through online courses as well as at live Ally Wallet Wise events nationwide.
How do you teach kids to be financially responsible? Have you ever given them any of the “gifts” mentioned above?