Kids should open savings accounts now
Summer is almost over, kids have had their fill of the North Clackamas Aquatic Park and — if you're a parent of young children like I am — you may be more than ready to get back to school and a regular routine. But back-to-school is also a great time to introduce your kids to the importance of saving their hard-earned summertime dollars!
According to the Federal Reserve, one in four Americans has nothing saved for retirement, and less than two-fifths of non-retired adults think their retirement is on track. It's never been more important than now to start teaching our kids early about short- and long-term saving habits and financial goal setting.
The good news is there are some easy ways to help your kids save their money. A simple way to get started when they're toddlers is by reading to them. Many children's books introduce basic concepts of financial literacy. Visit your local library and ask the librarian to recommend stories with saving, counting and shopping themes.
Another fun activity for young kids is to have them sort money by color and size into different piles. Or you can make grocery shopping more fun and interesting for them by teaching them how to comparison shop. Invite them to size up similar products based on price and discuss a strategy for grocery shopping on a set budget.
If you decide to pay your children an allowance, discuss the amount with them to get your kids involved with money-making and saving decisions. This can include encouraging your child to set aside half of their allowance for saving and half for spending, or factoring in money for giving.
However, when it comes time to get your kids set up to save in a financial institution, there are several convenient ways to get the ball rolling. For instance, there's the 529 college savings plan, named after Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, added in 1996 to authorize tax-free status for "qualified tuition programs." Not only is it a convenient way to plan and save for your children's education down the road, but you may get tax benefits for contributions you make to your 529 account.
Another option to get your kids saving is the Certificate of Deposit, or CD, which generally offers higher interest rates than the traditional savings account. With a CD, your children's money will be committed for an agreed upon period of time, up to five years. You can withdraw the money early for a fee. Or, you can choose an annual withdrawal CD, which allows you to make one penalty-free CD withdrawal each year. Once you withdraw the money from a CD, your children can spend it on what they choose —education or another useful purpose.
Many people find traditional savings accounts are the best fit for their families and opening a savings account for your child has never been easier. Many banks and credit unions offer special programs designed just for kids with high interest rates and minimum requirements to get them started. In June, here at OnPoint Community Credit Union, we launched the OnPoint Savers account, with a 5% annual percentage yield for the first $500.
To get started, you just need to set up a new membership for your kiddo ages 17 or younger and make a minimum deposit of $25. OnPoint will then kick in another $55 to get your child started (includes a $5 minimum balance.) All told, your child's $25 deposit will become $80 with OnPoint's incentives. It's super easy and it gets your kids saving money fast.
To learn more about this exciting new program, visit my team at the OnPoint Community Credit Union Clackamas Corner Branch on 82nd Avenue near I-205, or check out onpointcu.com/onpoint-savers.
We love it when our members bring their children in with their OnPoint piggy banks, use the coin machine and make their deposit into their membership account. In fact, some of our most passionate members bank with us because their parents opened them an account. We are so excited to help continue that tradition and start the school year with our future OnPoint Savers members.
Michael Noren is the manager of the OnPoint Community Credit Union Clackamas Corner Branch.
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