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Teaching your teen how to balance their checking account

  • 13-17: Teenagers
  • May 2024
  • Premier America

Navigating finances can be a thrilling part of growing up, and learning how to manage a checking account is a fundamental skill every teen should possess. As parents, guiding your teenagers on how to effectively balance their checking account not only prepares them for future financial responsibilities but also helps them understand the value of money management. Let’s explore how you can support your teen in becoming financially savvy. 

Understanding Savings and Spending 

Firstly, it’s important for teens to recognize that not all their income should be spent immediately. Encouraging them to save part of their money can prepare them for future needs, such as emergencies or big purchases like a car or college expenses. The decision to save and how much to save often depends on personal preferences and current circumstances. 

Importance of Checking and Savings Accounts 

Most of their transactional activities, like receiving money from a part-time job, paying bills, or buying the latest gadgets, can be efficiently managed through a checking account. These accounts, usually provided by financial institutions like banks or credit unions, are ideal for daily use because they offer easy access to funds. Additionally, these accounts are typically insured by the federal government, ensuring that the money is safe. 

Different accounts have various features, including interest rates and fees. While checking accounts generally have lower interest rates, savings accounts offer higher rates to encourage saving. The interest compounded over time can significantly increase savings, teaching an important lesson in how money can grow. 

Practical Tools for Balancing a Checking Account 

To help your teens understand how to manage their checking account, using tools like a Premier America checkbook or a financial worksheet can be very effective. Here's how you can assist them: 

  • Balancing a Checkbook: Show your teen how to record every deposit and withdrawal in their checkbook register. Each entry should include the date, description, and amount of the transaction, as well as the running balance. Using a Premier America checkbook or worksheet can assist your youth in understanding how to balance a checkbook. 

  • Understanding the Bank Statement: Monthly, compare the checkbook register with the bank statement to ensure all transactions are accounted for and the balances match. This teaches attention to detail and the importance of record-keeping. 

Cash-Flow Calendar 

Creating a cash-flow calendar is another engaging way to help your teen visualize how money flows in and out of their account. This tool can be used to mark important dates for income (like payday from a part-time job) and expenses (such as the due date for their cellphone bill). It's a visual aid that shows the impact of spending and saving habits over time.  

Teaching your teen to balance their checking account is more than just a lesson in math; it’s a vital life skill that promotes financial independence and responsibility. By using tools like checkbook registers, bank statements, and cash-flow calendars, and by understanding the importance of different types of bank accounts, your teen will be better equipped to make informed financial decisions. Encourage them to ask questions, explore additional resources, and get hands-on practice. With your guidance, they’ll be on the path to financial savvy in no time. 

Youth Smart Savings
With a Youth Smart Savings account, make a $50 deposit within 50 days of account opening and we'll match with $50.