08/16/2011 02:03 pm ET Updated Oct 16, 2011

5 Financial Facts of Life Every Parent Should Teach

Were you taught the facts of life by your parents, or did you have to pick
them up here and there and by experience?

No, this isn't referring to those facts of life, but to some of the
basic financial skills just about everyone needs as they go out into the world.
Here are five financial facts you should make sure your children understand
before you help them open their first bank accounts:

1. Smart shopping makes a huge difference in banking

Your children may think of smart shopping as a way to occasionally save a
few dollars, but there is a whole new world waiting for them when it comes time
to find a bank account. Because a bank account is there every day, either
earning interest or incurring fees, the right choices add up to big bucks over
the course of a year.

For example, many banks, led by some of the biggest names in the business,
have been raising fees on checking accounts. At the same time, free checking
does still exist at some banks. The difference between a $12 monthly fee and no
fee comes to $144 a year -- a huge chunk of what the typical student is likely to
have in a checking account.

Similarly, shopping for a high interest savings account
means making more money each and every day.
"High interest savings
account" might seem like a contradiction of terms these days, but
everything is relative. With average savings account rates at 0.15 percent, a high interest savings account would
have to be considered anything paying over 1 percent -- and those do still

2. Keep close track of your money

Don't let your child make the mistake of thinking it's the bank's
responsibility to do the record keeping. Children should learn to track every
deposit, withdrawal, and debit card purchase, and update their records
accordingly. Face it, compared to what they have to do in trigonometry, it's
pretty simple math, and to avoid overdraft fees that can run over $30 a pop, it's
well worth doing.

3. Your online skills can pay off

Today's teens are pretty much the first generation to grow up doing things
online. Use this to their advantage. Have them use Internet tools to shop for
the best online banks. Because of
their lower overhead, the best online savings accounts may be able to pay more
than traditional savings accounts.

4. Credit isn't free

Has your child started getting bombarded by credit card offers yet? To look
at an older teen's mail, you'd never know there was a credit crunch in this

Being offered credit for the first time can be an intoxicating
experience -- there's no need to wait and save up for something any longer when
you can simply charge it today. Children should understand that credit is not
free, and your credit limit should not be viewed as a spending budget. What you
spend today takes away from what you'll have available to spend tomorrow, and
that's not an even trade-off. Because of interest charges, what you put on a
credit card today will take an even bigger bite out of tomorrow's spending.

Further, if you abuse this privilege and damage your credit, you can look
forward to going back to the days of having to save up for things before you
can buy them.

5. Information is money

The saying used to be that time is money, but with technology saving so much
time these days, information has become as important as money. Teach your
children that being careless with account numbers and passwords, or not
observing computer security protocols, is as irresponsible as leaving a wallet
lying around.

Teaching your children about banking may not exactly make for a Hallmark
moment, but it is something that could really help make their lives more
successful in the long run. Plus, you'll probably both find it much more
comfortable than the conversation about some other facts of life.

The original article can be found at
"5 financial facts of life every parent should teach"