The first step to teaching you kids about money is talking about money.

“The most effective way to teach is by having frequent discussions and don’t ever lecture,” said Ted Beck, president and chief executive of the National Endowment for Financial Education, in a recent Wall Street Journal article. “Look for teachable moments and always be willing to answer questions.”

Unfortunately, this can also be the hardest.

A 2015 T. Rowe Price survey found that 72% of parents experienced at least some reluctance to talk to their kids about financial matters, and 18% were either very or extremely reluctant. The most common reasons given were that the parents didn’t want them to worry about financial matters or thought they were too young to understand.

But on his blog, the personal-finance guru and radio host Dave Ramsey encourages parents to be more open with their kids about money, even their failures. Parents’ biggest regrets are often not saving enough or going into too much debt, wrote Ramsey. Being honest about that in an age-appropriate way, he stated, can be a powerful lesson.

So how to start the talk?

Ask Questions
If you’re going out to eat, talk about the price difference between the options, and ask them which they would choose. If they select the more expensive, talk through what you might have to give up later in the week.

Include Them as You Budget
If you’re doing any kind of financial planning for the year, solicit input from your kids. Enlist them in your saving goals—no one watches you more closely than your kids, so they’re natural accountability partners! If you’re uncomfortable revealing too much of your financial picture, you can keep the discussions high level, but involving them makes money less abstract.

Be Encouraging
Motivate your kids to set savings goals. If your child wants a new longboard or the newest game system, instead of flat out saying “no,” try working with your child to set a savings goal and then help them reach it.

Good money habits can start young if your children have the right resources. Help them identify the goals they want to set and the goal amount the purchase would be. Setting a reasonable goal amount will help them see when the end is in sight and provide more motivation to reach the goal.

Make a plan on how they will reach their goal. Sit down with your child and discuss ways to earn the money. If they’re old enough to have a part-time job, or babysit figure out how much they can save each week or month to reach their goal. If they’re not quite old enough to be working, think about extra chores they can do around the house to earn a little extra money. For the month of April, CTCU is encouraging Super Savers to save money and make deposits to their CTCU savings account. The four Super Savers that save the most money by April 30th will win the savings contest. The first week of May 2017, 4 winners will be announced. One girl and one boy from each age group will win. If you are motivating them to create a budget, and start setting money aside this is a great extra incentive to make their goals a reality.

Make sure you open a youth savings account at CTCU to help with reach their goals! This is the best way to help them to learn to save for what they find meaningful in life. Spending can often be quite tempting if the cash is easily accessible. If your child is serious about saving, make sure they have a place to put the money away. At CTCU, we want to make saving fun! Each of our Kid’s Club Super Saver receives a new membership punch card, new membership power park, quarterly coloring contest, and super days!

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