06/09/2015 04:11 pm ET Updated Jun 09, 2016

Baby's First... Bank Account?

Baby's first words. Baby's first steps.

Baby's first... bank account?

It might sound funny, but a new study finds that having kids practice real-world money habits -- even as young as 5 years old -- can set them up for a healthy financial future.

That's according to research from the University of Kansas, which found that Millennials who had experience handling bank accounts fared better with their budgets than people who had received a formal financial education, but had no hands-on practice.

The study analyzed how 7,000 Millennials responded to a series of questions from a 2012 Financial Industry Regulatory Authority survey. Of those who had practical savings experience in addition to a financial education from school or work, 41% had taken out payday loans -- compared to more than half that had money know-how, but no actual bank account.

In other words, it wasn't enough to talk the money talk -- walking the money walk made all the difference.

"The opportunity to put your knowledge into practice by having a financial product may help to move the needle in terms of financial outcomes," Terri Friedline, one of the report's authors, told BloombergBusiness.

Want to make sure your little ones are on the path to a green future? Check out these smart tips to instill money confidence at every age.

This post originally appeared on LearnVest.

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This blog post is part of the 'FinEd for Parents' blog series, curated by the editors of HuffPost Financial Education to provide parents with expert advice and tips for managing family finances and raising money-savvy kids. To see all the other posts in the series, click here.

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