Real world advice: How parents are teaching their kids about money

June 14, 2021

Whether you’re trying to teach saving skills to your tween or advise your adult child on saving for a home, these tips from real parents are full of inspiration.


Teaching your kids about money can be a lot of things — it can be exciting, fun and rewarding, but it can also be nerve-wracking and complicated. Everyone’s relationship with money is different, and it’s important to share healthy financial values with your children early in life and into adulthood. Every parent is different, as is every child, so don’t be afraid to tailor your teachings to your family. No matter how old your kids are, this advice from real parents can help you get started.


Kids ages 6-12

Kids are never too young to start learning about money. Sharing the basic ideas of spending and saving with them when they’re young will encourage them to see both as necessities.

Real world advice: 

“While my oldest is only 6, when we decided to start giving them an allowance (unrelated to chore rewards), we used three mason jars, one for spending, one for saving, and another for giving. They can choose how to divide their allowance as they see fit, but we thought it was a good reminder to introduce the idea of charity/philanthropy as well.” – Derek W.


Kids ages 13-17

Teaching teens about money is especially important: as they get old enough to do bigger chores or get jobs, they’re bringing in their own money that they need to learn how to manage. Introducing them to more complex topics like credit, retirement and saving for large purchases will help them feel more confident in their financial journey, too.

Real world advice: 

“I taught my kids about credit and how to work it towards their advantage. It has to be worked at and doesn't just fall into place.” – Gina A.

“When my kids were in high school, [I taught them] to get comfortable with the idea of “sleeping on it.” Wait 24 hours when it’s a purchase that’ll really make a dent, to be sure that you feel the same the next day. This helps keep impulse purchases at bay, and also gets a conversation started about “what’s a large purchase in my current financial position?” – Kathy E.

“We taught our 14-year-old things we might consider very basic, like writing checks and using a debit card, but they have been a new learning experience for her. She's loving it, too — it makes her feel more mature and prepared for life after she leaves home. We have also discussed setting boundaries with her friends too and not letting them expect her to pay all the time.” – Michelle M.

“Once they were teenagers, we opened a checking account for each of my kids. Half of every paycheck went into savings and the other half into their checking for them to spend as they wished. I showed them how important it was to track their spending in a check register and found an app for them to use. In the end, they had enough in savings to pay cash for their cars and still have a nest egg for when they moved out. They have continued to be great savers and not have issues with debt. I feel that talking about good financial decisions since they were young helped them with that foundation.” – Stella  M.


Adult children ages 18-25

When your kids become adults, the rubber really hits the road: They’re being introduced to things like retirement accounts, lines of credit, loans and bills. Your approach might be more hands-off, but simple pieces advice will make an enormous difference in the way they develop their financial life.

Real world advice:

“Once my kids turned 18, we discussed credit; we pulled a credit report to ensure there were no surprises we were unaware of, and talked the importance of eventually starting to build credit so that he has a history when ready to buy a car or a home.” – Elizabeth S.

“Don't make big purchases based on "I can afford it now?" Think ahead and ask yourself instead, "Can I afford this in a year or two?" – Jose R.

“After four years of college, you’re used to having little or no extra money. So, take advantage of your new windfall by fully funding your 401k and emergency funds right out of the gate before you start spending on your wants. You won’t miss the money you’re socking away, because you’ll still have far more disposable income than you ever had during your college salad days. Doing so puts discipline and time on your side, cornerstones of financial success. Now, 15 years later, our kids repeatedly thank us for giving them the single, most impactful, financial advice they’ve ever received.” – Frank S.

“The first thing I told my daughters when they took their first jobs after college was to immediately sign up for the 401k. Then, contribute the maximum as soon as they could afford to do it to get the maximum match from the company. I told them it was best if they could do that right from the start, even if it felt like a stretch. Both are now in their early 30s and have already accumulated a very nice start to their retirement funds.” – Deb H.


Learn more about how you can jumpstart your child on the path to financial success with 5 tips for parents opening a bank account for kids.

Related content

High-yield bond issuance: 5 traits lawyers should look for in a service provider

Financial steps to take after the death of a spouse

LGBTQ+ retirement planning: What you need to know

Easier onboarding: What to look for in an administrator

Service provider due diligence and selection best practices

3 tips to maintain flexibility in supply chain management

Insource or outsource? 10 considerations

Administrator accountability: 5 questions to evaluate outsourcing risks

Key milestone ages as you near and start retirement

Business risk management for owners of small companies

Complying with changes in fund regulations

Addressing financial uncertainty in international business

Webinar: CSM corporation re-thinks AP

Evaluating interest rate risk creating risk management strategy

5 tips for managing your business cash flow

Lost job finance tips: What to do when you lose your job

The future of financial leadership: More strategy, fewer spreadsheets

The growing importance of a strong corporate culture

Is your restaurant Google-friendly?

Employee benefit plan management: trustee vs. custodian

Preparing for your custodian conversion

High-cost housing and down payment options in relocation

Crypto + Relo: Mobility industry impacts

For today's relocating home buyers, time and money are everything

How to increase your savings

Checklist: 10 questions to ask your home inspector

Closing on a house checklist for buyers

Improve online presence your business

Refining your search for an insurance custodian

In a digital world, Liberty Puzzles embraces true connection

3 simple brand awareness tips for your business

How to get started creating your business plan

Handling the finances of someone who has died: Terms and definitions

When your spouse has passed away: A three-month financial checklist

What documents do you need after a loved one dies?

Checklist: financial recovery after a natural disaster

Simple steps to be ready for a natural disaster

Rebuilding finances after a natural disaster

How to plan and save for adoption and in vitro fertility treatment costs

Preparing for adoption and IVF

11 essential things to do before baby comes

5 tips to use your credit card wisely and steer clear of debt

Webinar: CRE technology trends

5 winning strategies for managing liquidity in volatile times

4 questions you should ask about your custodian

Putting home ownership within reach for a diverse workforce

How jumbo loans can help home buyers and your builder business

How to apply for a business credit card

Prioritizing payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic

Meet your business credit card support team

Omnichannel retail: 4 best practices for navigating the new normal

How to reward employees and teams who perform well

8 ways to increase employee engagement

Business tips and advice for Black entrepreneurs

10 tips on how to run a successful family business

Empowering team members

Why retail merchandise returns will be a differentiator in 2022

How a travel clothing retailer is staying true to its brand values

Use this one simple email marketing tip to increase your reach

Planning self-care moments that matter (and how to finance them)

Opening a business on a budget during COVID-19

How a small business owner is making the workplace work for women

How (and why) to get your business supplier diversity certification

Business credit card 101

Checklist: Increase lead generation with website optimization

The role of ethics in the hiring process

Choosing your M&A escrow partner

How to test new business ideas

How a group fitness studio made the most of online workouts

Year-end financial checklist

How community gave life to lifestyle boutique Les Sol

The San Francisco bridal shop that’s been making memories for 30 years

How Wenonah Canoe is making a boom in business last

How I did it: Transitioned from the military to a private sector career

What you need to know as the executor of an estate

How to build a content team

Travel for less: Smart (not cheap) ways to spend less on your next trip

Tips to overcome three common savings hurdles

Helpful tips for safe and smart charitable giving

Allowance basics for parents and kids

How Shampoo’ed is transforming hair and inspiring entrepreneurs

Webinar: AP automation for commercial real estate

How to spot a credit repair scam

6 ways to spring clean your finances and save money year-round

How to cut mindless spending: real tips from real people

Real world advice: How parents are teaching their kids about money

How to stop living paycheck to paycheck post-pay increase

Practical money tips we've learned from our dads

Give a prepaid rewards card for employee recognition

Tips for navigating a medical hardship when you’re unable to work

Money Moments: How to manage your finances after a divorce

5 unique ways to take your credit card benefits further

5 reasons why couples may have separate bank accounts

5 tips to use your credit card wisely and steer clear of debt

30-day adulting challenge: Financial wellness tasks to complete in a month

How I did it: My house remodel

Celebrity Cake Studio’s two decades of growth and success

How Al’s Breakfast is bringing people together

What you should know about licensing agreements

Webinar: CRE Digital Transformation – Balancing Digitization with cybersecurity risk

Webinar: CRE Digital Transformation – Balancing Digitization with cybersecurity risk

Resources for managing financial matters after an unexpected death

5 steps for creating an employee recognition program

How to hire employees: Employee referral vs. external hiring

Break free from cash flow management constraints

How a bar trivia company went digital during COVID-19

7 financial questions to consider when changing jobs

Evaluating interest rate risk creating risk management strategy

Start of disclosure content

Loan approval is subject to credit approval and program guidelines. Not all loan programs are available in all states for all loan amounts. Interest rates and program terms are subject to change without notice. Mortgage, home equity and credit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Deposit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Member FDIC.