Parents: How to Talk to Your Kids about Money

ICBA and the nation’s community banks provide tips and advice for parents to talk to their elementary-aged children about finances

Washington, D.C. (August 8, 2014)—It should be no surprise that when it comes to personal financial habits, parents hold the most sway over their children’s attitudes and behaviors about money. The Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) and the nation’s more than 6,500 community banks today released advice for parents on how to talk to their children about money.

Community bankers are ready to provide parents with financial literacy information to help teach their children to become smarter with their money,” said John Buhrmaster, president and CEO of 1st National Bank in Scotia, N.Y. “Children learn so many valuable life lessons from their parents, and hopefully financial education is another tool they will pick up from mom and dad.”

ICBA and the nation’s community bankers suggest the following tips that parents can employ to help their elementary-aged children learn better money skills: 

  • Teachable Moments: Look for ways to turn everyday experiences into teachable moments. A routine trip to the grocery store could turn into a discussion about the importance of budgeting and how to identify wants versus needs.
  • Earning Money: How children earn their money is up to their parents, but it is important that once they’ve earned it they understand it is a limited commodity. If your child spends all his or her money and asks to borrow more from you, don’t give in and spoil a valuable lesson.
  • A Tiered Savings System: When teaching children about money, it is suggested that parents institute a tiered system that allocates money for spending, long-term goals and charity. By automatically taking 10 or 15 percent off the top of their earnings and designating it for savings, children can develop the habit of paying themselves first at a young age.
  • Monkey See, Monkey Do: Be a good role model! Let your children see you set a savings goal and delay gratification until you have reached that goal. When you have a healthy relationship with money, chances are your children will too.
  • Don’t Go It Alone: Community banks are excellent resources when it comes to teaching children about financial literacy. Take your kids to the local community bank so they can watch you deposit money into your account, speak with a teller or learn more about the community bank and how it operates. Parents can also visit the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy’s online Clearinghouse for financial resources at no cost.

“Jump$tart applauds its national partner ICBA for encouraging and helping parents to talk to their kids about money,” said Laura Levine, president and CEO of the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy. “There should be no debate as to whether financial education belongs in school or at home—add in community-based initiatives and the right answer is all of the above.”

To learn more about ICBA, visit To find a community bank in your area, visit ICBA's community bank locator.

About ICBA
The Independent Community Bankers of America®, the nation’s voice for more than 6,500 community banks of all sizes and charter types, is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education and high-quality products and services.

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