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Raise money-savvy kids

School’s out and we’re midway through summer. Keep the kids in your life engaged in learning and fun by exploring real-world financial skills.

• Save with purpose: Kids of all ages can practice saving. Help them create a summer savings goal. Make saving the norm by agreeing on a portion of all monetary gifts and earned income that will go toward that goal.

• Brainstorm opportunities to earn: Kids who don’t have part-time jobs can still earn income. Ideas include helping with a large project such as sorting toys and clothes for a family yard sale. They can also offer a service to neighbors, family and friends, such as pet waste cleanup, teaching tech skills, or selling homemade items such as jewelry or art. Connecting a child’s interests and savings goals to their opportunities to earn income will help increase their motivation.

• Open student savings and checking accounts: Kids who have their own accounts are more likely to be active participants in basic financial transactions. It also helps them establish a relationship with a financial institution at an early age and sets up payment flexibility in a world where many businesses are going cashless.

• Create a budget together: Budgeting isn’t just for adults. Kids as young as toddlers can budget. The discipline of budgeting goes far beyond money. Enforce budgeting strategies with items such as snacks or screen time.

• Explain taxes: Nothing can be more deflating for a teen than looking at their first paycheck and realizing how much is taken out for taxes. You can mimic tax deductions from earned income and decide together how they should be used.

• Seek financial wellness education opportunities: Seek out financial wellness education opportunities and resources. Many financial institutions offer free basic financial literacy resources. They often come in fun, gamified formats perfect for K-12 students.

No matter how you choose to add financial wellness to your summer schedule, remember to make it purposeful and sprinkle in the fun.

LauraLee Raukar is the Education Outreach specialist at Members Cooperative Credit Union. She is a Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor and a licensed teacher in Minnesota.

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