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When your child should have their first bank account

Once children start earning their own money, it’s time to teach them how to save. One useful way to teach about saving versus spending is by opening a savings account. But how do you know if your child is ready for one?

Child with piggy bank at bank

Start when they’re small

You can open a bank account to save for a child when they’re at any age. When your child is very young, you can save the money they receive as gifts. While this enables you to start setting aside money for your child’s future now, it doesn’t allow them to feel empowered by opening up their very own account. It’s up to you to decide if you should roll this account over to your child or if you should allow your child to open their own account.

Teach about saving

When your child starts to understand how money works, it’s time to open a bank account. This is typically around 8 years old, though you can start younger with simpler explanations. Explain to your child the difference between saving and spending, and describe how a bank works. Some banks will be willing to set an appointment with your child to explain how the bank works before they open an account. This is particularly useful if your child feels anxious about parting with their money.

Choosing the right account

Some banks have an age requirement — usually around 13 — to open a checking account, but most don’t have that same requirement for a savings account. Many banks offer a savings account designed specifically for young savers. These accounts typically require that a parent is present to make a withdrawal.

Saving for spending

It’s common for savings accounts to be split into two sub-accounts — one for saving and one for a spending goal. If you can set up your child’s account in this way, allow your child to choose a spending goal — say, a new video game — and determine what percentage of their money will go toward that goal versus the saving portion of the account.

Read more about money

Teaching your kids about money and debt
5 Ways to teach your children to save
Financial tips for stay-at-home moms

Please note: Articles and other information included on this website are intended for the general interest of our readers, and are not intended to provide, and do not constitute, legal, financial, health or other advice. Gerber Life makes no claims, representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or appropriateness of this general interest information for your particular circumstances. If you need legal, financial, health or other services, you should contact a duly licensed professional.

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