GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Right now, Consumers Credit Union is offering a Grad Match program. For students 18 and older who open a checking account, Consumers Credit Union will match the first deposit up to $100. It’s an initiative to encourage young adults to learn about finances.
Managing money can be difficult at any age. That’s why Consumers Credit Union says it’s important to get an early start. In this week’s Money Guide, we’re discussing how to teach your teen to handle money responsibly.
Scott Dobson is the Consumers Credit Union @Work Manager and he said, “Like everything, you start small and you work your way up. So, if you have a 12 or 13-year-old and they’re getting allowance money or babysitting money, it’s really important for them to learn how to put that money in and then be able to use that money in a responsible way.”
Dobson said that begins with the basics.
“I always suggest to parents that they open a joint checking account with their kid and they use the debit card,” he said.
He says money management now entails a different set of skills than before, now that cash is mostly a thing of the past.
“How we work in the financial world today is digital transactions, right? You get a debit card. You use that to pay your bills,” said Dobson.
This is something your teen can start practicing now, but not without strong supervision.
“I don’t encourage you to give your kid a debit card and let them go on their own. They need to learn how to manage it,” said Dobson, who described accounts with Consumers Credit Union that will help parents. “Our account is designed so that the parents can see every transaction that’s happening for the kid, control it, move money to them instantly, get an alert if their account gets below a minimum threshold.”
Another important lesson, Dobson says, is that credit cards don’t have to be all bad news.
“Credit can be a positive for you. If you have a credit card that you pay in full every single month, it builds your credit, it makes it easier for you to make purchases down the road, get car insurance. A lot of things depend on having good credit,” said Dobson.
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