How to Set Up a Bank Account
Budgeting and Account Balance
How to Write a Check and Pay Your Bills
How to Begin Saving for Retirement
Some of the things we take for granted appear to be missing from what we teach children as a result.
The previous article concentrated on budgeting and account balancing. We even looked at games and contests that you could organize for your children. This is the third article in a four-part series on teaching children to write checks and pay bills.
Payment of Bills
I was surprised when several parents recently reported that their teenagers were going to pay a bill with cash. I guess the obvious isn't so obvious after all.
Because paying bills is frequently done online, it is critical to teach children how to protect their identity online and store their login information in a secure location where it cannot be stolen or accessed.
However, there are still many businesses that do not accept online payments and must pay their bills via check in the mail.
All children should understand why cash should never be sent and how to write a check specifically for paying a bill. For example, include your account number and any other pertinent information in the memo.
This leads us to the next subject: writing checks.
I started going to outdoor ed when I was 12 years old. Surprisingly, part of the experience was that we could only write checks to buy goods there, and our parents put a certain amount in our accounts, so we had to budget and balance our registers as well.
The majority of the children were nervous! They had no idea how to fill out a check, so it was a great learning experience for them. I remember being nervous because we had to write the amount in cursive and I was having trouble fitting it into the space.
Many kids nowadays never think about writing checks because there are so many other ways to transact that are much more common; however, I've still found myself in need of checks for bills, paying contractors, and even getting me out of a jam when I've forgotten my wallet.
In addition, in previous articles, I've discussed the risks of using and relying on a debit card.
So, how do you teach your children to write checks, and why should they care?
Creating a reason for children to write checks is the best and most interactive way to teach them how to use a checkbook.
This is how it's done:
Give your children an old checkbook, or make your own (complete with a register). Then tell them that they'll need to write checks to get certain things around the house. For example, there is a rental fee for using their electronic device, which requires them to write you a check.
You can also give them a monthly budget to help them balance and budget their spending. You should balance a separate register so that you can compare accuracy at the end of the month.
This game is a hit with kids.
Here are a few examples of things you can charge for:
Making use of electronic devices
TV watching (by the hour)
Snacks or treats for special occasions
Fee for renting a bicycle
Getting out of a bind (limited usage)
If your children maintain a positive balance at the end of the month, they will receive a prize. If you have more than one child, the one who balances their register the most accurately can win a prize.
Another option is to revoke the privileges if they run out of money. Some may find this harsh, but it does reflect reality.
Writing checks is simple, and most kids enjoy learning because it makes them feel more adult.
In the following article, we'll go over how to begin saving for retirement. It could mean a difference of more than $200,000!"""