April is Month of the Military Child, a month to acknowledge the important role children play in the military community and the support they provide their families. At Navy Federal, we’re committed to serving those who serve. Part of that means making sure the entire family is financially on track.
April 10 marks the start of Navy Federal’s Youth Week 2017, a week dedicated to help your children become financially successful. What better time to help your kids learn smart money habits today so their finances can grow with them?
Making sure your kids are members of a financial institution is the first step to putting them on the path to financial success. The earlier you open savings accounts for them, the sooner they‘ll be comfortable managing their money. A savings account is an excellent starting point for kids since it teaches them how to put money away and build up funds for the future. You’ll want to look for a savings account that doesn’t require a minimum balance or have maintenance fees. Once your children’s accounts are set up, they can be used to deposit financial gifts from family members, or part of their allowances as they get older.
In addition to a traditional savings account, an Education Savings Account (ESA) might be a good option. With an ESA, the interest accrued on the account is tax-free as long as the money is used for education expenses. For even bigger picture financial planning, a 529 plan is a great tool to save for tuition expenses. Opening 529 plans for your children lets you contribute after-tax dollars to their college funds. There are two types of 529 plans: college savings and prepaid tuition. College savings plans allow you to build education funds through investments. Withdrawals from these accounts are generally tax-free as long as the money is being used for education purposes. Prepaid tuition plans lock in and save toward today’s tuition prices in the state where you live. Your financial institution can help you decide which option is best for you.
And if you’re looking for another great tool to help your kids start saving for college, consider a certificate. Certificates, or CDs, typically offer slightly higher interest rates than savings accounts. Since CDs require leaving your child’s money in the account for a specified period of time, they can be the ideal choice for saving for future school expenses like books or a laptop.
A reloadable prepaid card is a secure and easy way to help your children develop smart spending habits as they grow into teenagers. You load funds onto the card, providing an opportunity for your kids to learn to responsibly manage their spending. Prepaid cards are also great options, to pay for college extras such as gas or groceries. And you can keep track of your kids’ activity in case they need help with their spending choices!
Once your teens are ready to manage their own money, help them open a checking account. A checking account is a great way to ensure your high school student is financially ready to head off to college. It allows kids to learn the basics of budgeting as they keep track of their purchases and balance. And like a prepaid card, joint ownership of a checking account is also an option so you can help your kids along the way!
No matter how old your children are, small investments and learning smart money habits today can deliver significant returns in the future.
Navy Federal Credit Union is federally insured by NCUA.