Having a child can be the most wonderful, amazing, breathtaking, terrifying, and expensive experience. For my husband and I, we were so fortunate to bring our daughter into a financially stable household but life doesn’t always go the way you anticipate and as such we have had our share of financial ups and downs over the last 18 months. One of the things that have stayed consistent, however, is our dedication to setting up our daughter for financial success in the future. We want to make sure she has the best chance possible of having a healthy relationship with money and a way to navigate the complexities of using it, saving it, and investing it. For my fellow parents: Here are 3 quick things you can do this week to set your children up for financial success!
1: Add Them as an Authorized User to Your Credit Card
One of the first things I looked into when I had my daughter was how to build her credit early and with minimal risk. The easiest way to do this? We added her as an authorized user to my and my husband’s credit cards where she was eligible. Now, she is only 18 months old so there truly was no rush with this one most credit card companies have an age restriction but not all of them. And since we have never once made a late payment and have long established credit card history, we picked two of our cards (one of mine and one of his) that didn’t have age restrictions and added her to it.
Now, we’re not letting our toddler lose in a Target with a credit card. Instead, when she gets into her teens we’ll talk to her about being financially responsible and when we feel she is ready she can use the card as intended. But for now, they will sit collecting dust and building up her credit until that time comes.
Again, this is a very low-risk process for us as we have always been responsible with our credit cards and have no debt built up on it. If you are someone who is struggling with credit card payments or has a couple of dings on your credit score from it, no judgment here but try some of these other tips instead until you also feel ready to add them!
2: Set Them Up with a High Yield Savings Account (HYSA)
There are loads and loads of children’s savings account options out there that offer a variety of different “perks” for kids such as birthday interest, high interest for the first $500, etc. For me and my family, we are able to contribute a set amount of money each month to our daughter’s savings so it was important to us to pick the best solution. This is actually one I am currently in the process of changing since our original pick doesn’t seem to have the best ROI. (I also want to mention that we are looking into investment options for her money but since I am not as familiar with that, I wanted to provide the other solutions that can work.)
Right now interest rates are higher than they have been in a very long time (which is really bad for most things but REALLY good for those looking for the best savings account) so there is no shortage of HYSAs out there to choose from!
3: Make a “Money Plan”
When my husband and I decided we wanted to start trying for a baby one of the first conversations we had was about money and how we wanted to raise our daughter to learn/talk/interact with money. We grew up in pretty different monetary circumstances and both of us had a strange relationship with money thanks to it (neither of which was the most healthy) so it was really important for us to figure out the best game plan for how conversations of money will be handled in the future.
Whether you have a newborn or a teenager, whether you manage money alone or with 5 other people, it is really important to figure out your money plan and make it accessible for the ages you need it to be. I am not going to be explaining to a 5-year-old what compound interest is and why an aggressive investment strategy when you’re younger is better than when you’re older but I can explain to her that sometimes money gets used to buy fun things like toys and trips and sometimes it gets used to make sure we have food to eat and lights in our home.
When thinking of your financial future, things can seem overwhelming BUT I hope this list has provided some useful tips for how to set your child up for financial success in a way that is bite-sized and manageable!