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Fiscal Fears & Financial Responsibility: Helping Kids with Money Management

| December 5, 2018

*This post was created in partnership with American Express.*

Children grow up fast and before you know it, your little one is all grown up and out facing the world. One of the great teaching moments that often gets overlooked is the opportunity to support your child’s journey in money management. It ’s more fun to teach your little one to ride a bike or how to cook, but what about how to spend and save?

I remember learning how to save, at around 8 years old. It was a joint effort put forth by my mother, grandmother, and grandpa, who all glossed over the concept of saving. They mostly spoke about keeping it stashed away and since I wasn’t really shopping for anything aside from the occasional candy, these teachings didn’t really feel tangible at the time. But even still, I kept a piggy bank and held tightly to my savings bonds like I was told to. My father was the one who would diligently write checks, and technically taught me how to write a check, although I still can’t balance a checkbook and I never really learned how to manage spending. No one ever talked to me about good and bad credit and “interest” didn’t really interest me until I was much older.

When I had a child of my own, I knew there would come a day when I would have to begin this conversation. Luckily for me, my son has been interested in saving money since he started his DJ career at the tender age of 8 years old. I would take him to the bank to sign over his checks, deposit them, and show him the balance. It was understood that the money earned from his gigs would be money he could access for college and that until then I would take care of his financial needs.

Now at 15 years old, my son wants to buy his own things and spend his own money. With all of the influences around him, from friends to social media, he sees money spent in various ways. I want to impart the importance of financial literacy as a powerful and critical life tool that he can learn to master using his American Express Additional Card Membership. This concept of trusting my son with a credit card is something I am honestly getting used to. It makes things easier in situations where I forget to give him cash or I am traveling or working and he needs to pay for something. It always gives me a sense of ease knowing I can monitor his spending by setting up text and email notifications. Learn how to do it on your Amex account here!

But I have to be honest, I have fiscal fears as a parent as to when it is appropriate for kids to start spending and how to begin building financial trust with them. With the Additional Card Membership, my son and I are on the path together. Here are 3 keys to helping you and your child along your fiscal journey.

  • Take it slow: Test your child’s readiness by allowing them to use the Additional Card for certain types of purchases, i.e. For the barber shop only or whatever qualifies as “emergency situations” and see how they handle using the Additional Card.


  • Monitor & set limits on spending: When you add your child to your account you can follow your child’s spending via the American Express mobile app, you can also set spending limits via your online account. This allows for conversations about Additional Card use and what your child is purchasing, and you can also tighten the reins if necessary. This will also help you to ease anxiety you may have about how your child is using their Additional Card Membership.
  • Be a Money Role Model: Our kids learn from us. They watch how we do things and model their behavior after our habits, and sometimes they pick up things we wish they hadn’t. If you want them to have a healthy relationship with money, you have to improve your relationship with money as well. You have to model healthy spending and lead by example when it comes to saving too.

Fulano is learning how to manage his spending and how to be out in the world as a young adult and I am excited about this partnership  with American Express to show how I support him in this particular path of personal growth. Learn more about how to add your teen to your account as an Additional Card Member here.

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