Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Bank of Peculiar (or finances for kids)

My son was recently tossed into the real world of money; a sort of sink or swim scenario. He and his dad *love* thrifting. They especially adore vintage clothing. But they've found that in order to support their habit they must sell some of what they buy (i.e. mama put the kibosh on spending family money that was, say, slated to pay the mortgage.)

So the boy delved into Ebay and now also has his own Etsy shop. I *love* this. He's learning photography, writing, negotiating and financial management. Talk about real world schooling.

This week he wanted to make a purchase. Thus he took money from his bank account bringing the balance below that magical twenty-five dollar mark.

Mama warned him. Mama said there would be penalties -- maintenance fees and what not. The boy, in his wisdom, assured Mama he would put the money back in a few short days and the bank would be fine with that. Mama tried to explain that banks are not benevolent entities; they are money making machines that will "getcha" at every opportunity (sad but oh so true).

And Mama was right. The boy was hit with a maintenance fee and a subsequent overdraft fee. Needless to say he was not pleased. I withheld the "I told you so" and he learned a good life lesson.

Now I got to thinking. The girls really ought to be learning money management as well. I'm not sure they're ready for the big time and the big bad banks. But they are ready to begin nonetheless. So we opened checking accounts at the Bank of Peculiar; complete with checkbooks and registers. The checks were created on photoshop and contain graphics to appeal to their individual tastes. As you can see Little is a die hard Scooby Doo fan. We may take it one step further and sew our own checkbook covers (stay tuned).

Little had some of her own money and made an initial deposit. Middle had no cash but was thrilled to discover the tooth fairy now had direct deposit capabilities. When the girls want something (say frozen yogurt after school) they will fill out a check. Mama or Papa will pay for the actual item and the amount will be withdrawn from their account.

We are creating a list of household jobs that will be available should the children want to earn additional income. Their "salary" will be deposited into their accounts.

We discussed that, for now, The Bank of Peculiar is a kind and loving bank. However, there may be fees in the future -- say for printing checks or low balances. We also discussed that high balance accounts may be able to earn interest. I want this to be a realistic learning experience; both good and bad. But in the beginning I am simply hoping to peak their interest. So far so good.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Never too early to get them acclimated to dealing with money. I love your solution - too many kids believe they're just "entitled" and I can never believe the kids I meet who've never had household responsibilities or chores. Suze Orman would be proud of you!