Steel Advice: Help children learn good financial habits


Share with others:


Print Email Read Later

DEAR STEEL ADVICE: What age should a child get a savings account? Checking account? Credit card?

-- CURIOUS PARENT

DEAR CURIOUS PARENT: A child should have a savings account when his/her piggy bank gets heavy and the stash of gift money begins to be crammed in the treasure box. A good rule of thumb is about 8 or 9 years old. Scout in advance for a bank in your area that offers passbook savings accounts and get your child in the habit of making deposits. The bank passbook is a tangible reminder that encourages savings. Introduce the checkbook concept in the mid- to later teen years. In a joint checking account you will be the responsible adult on the account, but the younger person's name can be imprinted on the checks. Confidence grows when the checkbook balances. There is no substitute for financial principles and accountability learned at home. The young person should have a credit or debit card when heading off to college. Banks require co-signers and credit limits on this type of plastic, however, most parents believe the cards are necessary to provide a safety net of emergency money. One caveat: Even with a credit or debit card, your son or daughter cannot rent a car until he or she is at least 21.

DEAR STEEL ADVICE: Now that Christmas is over I just want to say, "Please do not give plants (or flowers) for presents unless you know the receiver loves them!" I don't have luck with plants, and they die right away for me.

-- PLANT WARY

DEAR PLANT WARY: Consider the other person's feelings if you decide to tell him/her your green thumb has withered and plants die in your care. If the sender asks about the plant say it found a better home. Overwatering is usually the culprit so regift the plant before it dies. Word to the wise to those who send plants as gifts: Not everyone likes them.


Need some Steel Advice? Email questions to: pgsteeladvice@gmail.com or write to Mary Ann Wellener, Steel Advice Column, c/o Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Follow Mary Ann on Twitter at @PGSteelAdvice.

Join the conversation:

Commenting policy | How to report abuse
To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Commenting policy | How to report abuse

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

You have 2 remaining free articles this month

Try unlimited digital access

If you are an existing subscriber,
link your account for free access. Start here

You’ve reached the limit of free articles this month.

To continue unlimited reading

If you are an existing subscriber,
link your account for free access. Start here