Father and daughter putting money in pink piggy bank

How To Talk Dollars And Sense With Your Kids

Arizona Federal Staff

As your family navigates the current economic ups and downs, money lessons are everywhere. 

Talking with your kids about the financial headlines, the implications for your family, and the spending decisions you’re making can have a big impact. Research shows the foundations for future money habits start forming as early as age seven.1

So, what do you need to teach your kids about money? And, when’s the right time to start? Experts recommend making financial topics part of an ongoing conversation from the time your child is a preschooler all the way through young adulthood. 

Money Milestones

Here are a few money milestones to cover along the way.

Ages 3 – 6
Recognizing the difference between “needs” and “wants” is a basic money concept that’s much easier to learn when you’re young! Take advantage of opportunities to show your child how you make spending choices – and how you have to save to buy something you want. 

At around age 5, begin paying your child a weekly allowance in exchange for simple chores. Mark the occasion by opening a Youth Savings Account at Arizona Federal. There’s no minimum required to open the account and there are no monthly service fees.

Ages 7 – 12
Build your child’s financial literacy by helping them learn how to budget and save. 

Include kids in family budgeting and celebrate achievements, such as paying off a car or reaching a savings goal, together. Making children part of financial discussions takes the mystery out of money, plus it helps them understand what things cost and how you make tough decisions between wants, needs and unexpected costs.

Help your child create a budget and track their spending. This way, kids can see the impact of unplanned purchases or monetary gifts they receive from family and friends. And, as your child adds to her Arizona Federal Youth Savings Account over time, highlight how the dividends earned also increase. 

Ages 13 – 17
When kids become teenagers, they have new options to work, earn and save money. Now’s the time to have them take on increased responsibility for their expenses, such as entertainment, phone bills or gas money.

As their income expands, it’s also important to ensure that part of their earnings goes toward long-term savings goals, such as college or a car. Once they’re earning a regular paycheck, help your teen take his money management skills to the next level.

Open a Teen Checking Plus Account at Arizona Federal as a complement to your child’s Basic Savings Account. Along with a $0 opening balance requirement and a $0 monthly service fee, the Teen Checking Plus Account gives your child access to his money through a Visa debit card that’s also ready for digital payments through Venmo, Paypal, Square Cash, Apple Pay or Google Pay. And, of course, the account also includes the ability to write checks and make withdrawals or deposits via ATMs.

Ages 18 – 20 
With young adulthood comes credit card offers! Make sure your young adult understands how credit cards work and the importance of establishing a good credit score by paying the bills on time, keeping balances low, and not taking on more credit than needed. It never hurts to share your own experiences with credit – good or bad. 

A Secured Visa Credit Card from Arizona Federal is a good start to building a strong credit rating. Secured cards help to ensure new credit cardholders don’t spend more money than they can afford by securing it with a deposit, such as the deposits in your child’s Arizona Federal accounts. 

Money Talks Guide for Parents and Grandparent

To help you guide each step of your child’s financial education journey, we’ve created a few helpful resources full of tips and ideas. Download our FREE Money Talks Guides for Parents or Grandparents, along with a Money Milestones Map for tracking each step of your child’s financial education. 


1 “Habit Formation and Learning in Young Children,” Cambridge University, 2013.