It’s never too early to start teaching the power of savings to your child or grandchild. Opening up a youth savings account is the best way to give children a glimpse into how a credit union actually works. Of course there are other benefits to opening an account, such as giving them a place to stash their allowance and birthday money, as well as get them in the “saving” mindset.

Below we have answered some of the frequently asked questions about setting up youth accounts to make the process as seamless as possible;

Is my child old enough?

Our youth savings accounts will give the parents joint ownership. That means Mom or Dad can manage the finances until the children are ready to do so on their own. Because of that setup, there is no specific age requirement to open up a youth account.

That said, a simple piggy bank will probably suffice for most children younger than 5. But once that money starts accumulating, you’ll want to give it the opportunity to grow.

FUN TIP: We have a coin machine available at our Front street location. It is always exciting for children to dump their piggy bank into the machine and hear it count all their savings. They are then able to redeem their coins for cash to deposit into their own account!

Why choose a savings account over a piggy bank?

Youth accounts have some perks of their own. Keep an eye out for the following:

No minimum balance requirement or monthly maintenance fees: Children should see saving as a good thing and not have fees diminish what they put into their accounts.

Gain interest: Our youth accounts help children understand the meaning of interest and will see extra earnings for keeping their money in an account versus just sitting in a piggy bank.

Online or in-person access: Walking into a branch office is a good way to help your child become familiar with routine transactions involving his or her account. Your child’s online habits — even financial ones — can be important too. Make sure you check for features such as monthly statements and controls on payments/transfers from savings accounts with them. You can teach money management and Internet safety together.

Additional perks such as an ATM card: Once your child reaches the age of 16, an ATM card is available for them. This can show your child how transactions work and how to withdraw cash when you’re on the go.

How do I open a kids savings account?

Opening a savings account for your child isn’t much different from getting a new account for yourself. You can schedule an appointment to visit any of our three branches. Once the day arrives, double-check that you have your child’s Social Security card AND the parent’s government issued ID. Children should also bring their piggy banks and school identification card (if they have one).

Encourage your child to put money in the account for the first time that day, and GHS Federal Credit Union always offers freebies to reinforce the positive experience.

What’s the next step?

After putting money into your child’s savings account, start teaching your son or daughter how to perform basic banking tasks. Demonstrate how to use an ATM to deposit birthday or holiday checks or money earned from chores.

Teach them how to prioritize saving over spending. It’s a valuable lesson for life, one that takes time and repetition to learn. Opening a savings account for your child is one of the best ways to introduce that concept at an early age.

To get them started we have found a few saving challenges to get your child on track. Feel free to download them and print them out or pick one up at your local branch!

BEGINNER: Penny Challenge.

Even if it’s not January 1st, you can still start. Begin any day of the year, collect pennies, and after 365 days you will have saved almost $700! Download this label and tape it onto a container and start saving pennies 🙂

[DOWNLOAD THE PENNY CHALLENGE]

ADVANCED: $1,000 Savings Challenge.

Start saving THIS week! For the first few weeks, the challenge begins with just $10 a week so you can get in the habit of saving. It then goes to a $20 week savings to bring you to a grand total of $1,000 in one year.

Keep track of the dates so you remember which week you are on and check off the column once you’ve made your contribution to savings for the week.

[DOWNLOAD THE $1,000 SAVINGS CHALLENGE]

Set up an appointment to open your child’s savings account today, simply call 800-732-4447.