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Bottom Line Up Front

  • It’s never too early to start teaching kids about money. Prep your child to make smart money habits that can lead to good credit. 
  • Simple financial lessons like helping kids save for items they want and opening their first checking account are great places to start. 
  • Adding your child as an authorized user to your credit card account could help them build credit and learn responsible spending. 

Time to Read

4 minutes

As parents, we want to set up our children for success. From an early age, we read to our kids to help them develop their language skills. We set up playdates so our kids could make friends and learn to socialize. And, we ask our kids to do chores, so they learn the value of work. In the same way, you can teach children to achieve future financial success with a few simple moves today. 

Encourage Saving

Many milestones in life require a good chunk of change. Think about the price of college, a car, a wedding or a house. It’s much easier to manage these financial hurdles by saving up money ahead of time. Start this piggy bank concept at an early age. To help your child prepare for a future of saving, you can encourage even young children to save for purchases that are important to them. Whether it’s a new video game, phone or car, they can learn about the self-discipline it takes to save by putting away money in a savings account until they have enough for their purchase. Every age group can benefit from this type of challenge. 

Open a Checking Account

Once your teen is in high school, it may be a good time for them to open a checking account. A checking account comes with a debit card that makes it easier to spend, helping establish the responsible spending skills especially needed when your child has a credit card. And, once they begin to work, they’ll need a checking account to set up direct deposit with their employer. At Navy Federal Credit Union, the Free Campus Checking account has no monthly service fees, has no minimum balance requirement and earns monthly dividends.

Add Your Child as an Authorized User1

Credit history can be difficult to establish, even for adults who are beginners, but your teenager could easily begin building their credit history and credit score by becoming an authorized user of your credit card. This means they’re given official permission to use your card and, in most cases, their activity will be reported to the credit bureaus, helping to build a credit history. Be sure to establish clear rules for how your credit card can be used. You can even set spending limits for their card to help them budget and control spending. As an authorized user, they can use the card as they please, but they aren’t legally responsible for paying the debts accumulated.

Become Familiar With Secured Credit Cards

While there are no age minimums to be an authorized user, it may be a few years until your child is ready or able to apply for their own credit card. But, when older kids are ready, one of the best places to start is with a secured credit card like Navy Federal’s nRewards® card. These cards are a good way to teach the basics of credit cards and to establish a credit history and initial credit score. With this tool, they can learn valuable money management skills.

Here for You Through the Years

You can help your child learn life skills and smart money habits from the time they’re a toddler until they’re an adult. Learn more about setting up your child for financial success by exploring our resources on Youth Finance.

Next Steps Next Steps

  1. There’s a lot to learn when it comes to teaching kids about money, but Navy Federal can help. Check out our Youth Finance page for more tips and ideas.
  2. Interested in giving older kids a chance to learn money lessons about using a credit card? Learn about Navy Federal Credit Union’s secured credit card, which can then help them establish credit.

Disclosures

1

Authorized users can use your account subject to the terms and conditions of the Credit Card Agreement and Disclosure. You are responsible for paying any charges made or allowed by an authorized user. The account performance will be reported in all the account holders' and authorized users' names to the credit bureaus.

This content is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.