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Dollars and Sense For Kids

April 12, 2019

Young girl making a purchase and learning the importance of moneyMoney experiences to teach your kids

Our friends at Balance Financial Fitness provide some helpful opportunities for teaching your kids financial lessons.

If you’ve been meaning to talk to your kids about money, April is the perfect time to start. In addition to Credit Union Youth Month, April 12th marks National Teach Children to Save Day.

This special day was created by the American Bankers Association to promote financial literacy among children. In the spirit of the occasion, here are three real-world experiences that parents can use to introduce kids to personal finance.


Have Your Children Make Purchases

Buying something is maybe the most direct way to understand how money works. That makes it a great opportunity for your children. Try including them the next time you make a purchase. 

Whether it’s at the supermarket or movie theater, give your kids cash to hand to the cashier, and then have them collect and count the change. (Note: This works best for cash purchases. Using a card may be a little too abstract.)

Lesson: Money is used in exchange for goods and services.


Open a Savings Account With Them

There’s no better way to explain saving money to a child than to open an account in their name for this specific purpose. It might be tempting to save time and do it online, but make it tangible by taking your child to your financial institution in person. Show them the physical building, point out the ATM, and have them meet the people behind the counter. Reinforce the roles that financial institutions play in managing your money. After the account is open, make a plan together for making regular contributions to it. 

Lesson: While piggy banks are cute, savings accounts are the best option for stashing your cash.


Inspire Them to Start a Business

There’s a reason why lemonade stands have stood the test of time. These micro businesses represent many children’s first exposure to earning money. If lemonade’s not their thing, encourage them to offer pet sitting or yard work to your neighbors. 

Lesson: Money is earned through work.

Source: Balance Financial Fitness March 2019


If you’d like help opening a savings account for your kids, just ask.


Learn more about the benefits of savings accounts for kids on our Youth Accounts page.

About Youth Accounts

 

Posted in: children, club, kids, money, saving

Checking and Savings Accounts For Kids

March 25, 2019

Young boy counting the coins he has saved.When is the best time to open one for your child?

How financially savvy are your kids? 

Depending on your answer, our friends at Balance Financial Fitness offer some great advice.

According to a recent survey, only 5% of adults received any kind of financial education in school. It is a scary statistic, and may partially explain consumers’ record-high credit card and student loan debt.

If you want to equip your kids with the tools to be financially secure adults, a good place to start is with a savings and/or checking account. Once they see money going in and coming out, it can drive home a lesson about money management.

Wondering if they can handle the responsibility? 


Savings Accounts

Most kids can typically grasp the concept of a savings account early in their development. Here’s how to know if your children are ready to use one:

  • They’re curious about money - If your child expresses a genuine interest in coins, shopping, or anything related to money, this can be a good segue into a savings lesson: financial institutions allow you to put money aside until you really need it.

  • Their piggy bank is overflowing - If your kids have a lot of change in their piggy bank, watch out. It may disappear before your eyes. Take this opportunity to teach them that if they save some of their money in an account, it can earn interest or dividends over time.

  • They have a savings goal - If your children are saving up for something big, this is the perfect time to introduce a savings account. They can make a deposit into the account so they will not be tempted to spend all of their cash.


Checking Accounts

Checking accounts tend to be better suited to older kids who have had more exposure to money. Here are some signs that your kids could benefit from a checking account:

  • They’re responsible - No matter how responsible you are, it can be tempting to withdraw more cash than you should. You might wait to open an account with your children until they demonstrate responsibility in other areas, such as getting a driver’s license or maintaining a part-time job. 

  • All their cash is stuffed into their wallet - The wallet-as-checking-account is dangerous for several reasons. Not only can cash easily get lost, it’s hard to track your purchases. By contrast, an account statement lets you view all of your spending and withdrawal activity, which can be handy for budgeting and a great teaching tool.


If you’re eager to introduce your children to the world of personal finance, checking and savings accounts are a good place to start. Just watch for the signs, and start when they’re ready.

Source: Balance Financial Fitness March 2019


If you’d like help with savings or checking accounts for your kids, just ask. 


Learn about the different types of Youth Accounts, and their benefits, on our Youth Accounts page.

About Youth Accounts

 

Posted in: account, checking, kids, money, saving

Financial Friday at the Children’s Museum

August 17, 2018

Young boy learning the importance of a dollar

It’s Never Too Early to Start Your Child’s Financial Education

On Friday August 24th at the Utica Children’s Museum, we will be hosting a fun filled financial event, where we’ll be teaching kids about the value of a dollar. This interactive financial literacy program is a great way to show children the importance of money, where it comes from and the value it holds. 

Kids will have the opportunity to speak with First Source representatives, ask questions, earn their own “paycheck” and decide how best to save, spend, and even donate their money to community causes in the First Source Kid’s Branch, located on the first floor of the museum. Two separate sessions are available for families that are interested in signing their children up for the event. 

We are proud to be able to partner with the Children’s Museum in educating our children about the importance of developing good financial habits.

Sign up

How to Start Saving For Your Kids’ College

August 2, 2018

Parents help young children with homework as they prepare for attending college somedayEducation Savings Account vs. a 529 Plan

There are several options when saving for your children’s college expenses. It’s important to understand them and choose what’s best for you. Along with regular savings options, First Source offers a New York State 529 College Savings Plan, and a Coverdell Education Savings Account. What is a 529 plan? The 529 Savings Plan is a good option if your children are relatively young, you’re going to commit to saving regularly, and you have the time (you start early). The 529 plan has a higher contribution limit of $10,000/year, and anyone can contribute. Let’s say it’s your child’s birthday: all party attendees could give money as a gift toward this account.


How does a 529 Plan work? 

In a 529 Plan, your account earnings grow without you having to pay federal taxes on them, and some states (like New York) have other tax benefits as well. When your 529 funds are withdrawn and used for education, the funds are tax-free (with some restrictions). And you don’t have to use them only as savings for college; covered expenses also include private elementary or secondary school tuition. If you want to withdraw the funds for something other than education, that’s ok, too, though you will have to pay taxes and fees. Find more information online at nysaves.org.


What is a Coverdell Education Savings Account?

The Coverdell Education Savings Account is a good option for a family on a tighter budget. Contributors must contribute by the due date of their tax return (not including extensions). The funds can be used for either college or private schools, and cover a wider range of K-12 expenses. The funds must be used by the time your student reaches age 30, unless there is a special needs situation. No states currently offer state tax deductions for Coverdell accounts. Check contribution and income limits for each year you plan to contribute, as they are subject to change. Ask us for more details if you’re interested in a Coverdell account. 


Choosing a College Savings Plan

There are advantages for each type of account, and many people even save using both Coverdell and 529 accounts. Live Smarter by making an appointment today to meet with one of our Financial Services Representatives to discuss your best college savings plan approach. 

 
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Posted in: 529, account, college, plan, savings

Youth Month Winners

June 1, 2017

April was National Credit Union Youth Month, and to encourage our younger Members to start (or continue) a savings habit, we created a contest. Everyone who made a deposit to a youth account during the month of April was entered to win one of five prizes.

We had a great turnout, with many of our youth Members making deposits. From among all the entries, we randomly chose our five winners. Winners of Utica Zoo passes are:
From left to right: Rocco B., Colin P., Evan D., Andrew W.

Our grand prize winner, who will go on a special Utica Zoo Animal Encounter, is Francesca D. Watch for a great picture of Francesca on her Animal Encounter next month.

Thanks to everyone who entered. Keep up those savings habits, and you’ll all be big winners as your savings grow!

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