Establish financial literacy now for kids for a lifetime of fiscal responsibility

Children start stuffing piggy banks early in life with allowances from completing household chores or even earning money running newspaper delivery routes or lemonade stands. Establishing a strong work ethic is a good life lesson, but it’s not complete.

Financial literacy should start with that first deposit; what’s earned is just as important as how it’s saved and spent.

April is Financial Literacy Month, which actually grew out of Youth Financial Literacy Day. Although responsible financial literacy is important year-round, this month is a good time to review finances and learn more about budgeting, setting goals and more.

According to, an online personal finance resource, with a good foundation of budgeting set early on in life, kids are more likely to be successful financially as adults.

“Budgeting is an important skill to learn because it can help you achieve savings for long-term goals as well as prevent you from spiraling into debt,” says Anna Baluch, a financial products and services expert for the website.

While elementary school-age kids, and most in middle school, earn money from chores and other simple sources, in Florida, minors can begin work at age 14. Although they don’t need a work permit, they must provide the employer with proof of age.

While the amount earned from allowances and the like may greatly vary, income from a job is more steady. The Florida minimum wage is $11 per hour, but Florida employers may pay a lower rate for a certain period of time for 18-year-olds and minors.

Here’s how to get things started with your child.

Elementary Age

According to, average weekly allowances run from $5.12 to $9.18 for ages 4 through 9.

  • Teach kids that money is limited in quantity and, with the exception of gifts at birthdays and other holidays, must be earned.

  • Establish a weekly allowance based on simple tasks to be completed. Set up a payment per task, and keep a checklist to be completed. An allowance helps establish the value of work.

  • Set a simple budget with short and long-term goals, and calculate how long it will take to save money to meet those goals. Include saving money as a priority. Talk through the goals, and prioritize. Discuss wants versus needs.

  • Establish a debit card for kids, and add allowances and other money onto the debit card electronically. This will show that credit cards aren’t endless sources of money but rather have a specific value. There are prepaid debit card options for children as young as Search online for debit cards for kids, or ask your local bank.

  • Keep track of all deposits and charges on the debit card. Sit down and balance the debit card each month. Make a big deal of keeping a balanced account.

Middle School Age

According to, average weekly allowances run from $9.85 to $14.80 for ages 10 through 13.

  • Increase tasks from the Elementary Age list.

  • As allowance goes up, your child should take on more responsibilities.

  • Move from a simple budget to a more complicated one. Increase savings, and start putting money aside for college. Have kids pay for more out of their income. This may include all or some of the expenses for clothing, cell phone, extracurricular activities, going out with friends and more.

  • Look at how much money is in savings, and consider other investments rather than a simple savings account, such as a money market or mutual funds. Talk about interest rates, and create a chart to watch the money grow.

+ Begin using kid-friendly budgeting apps and software.

High School Age

According to, average weekly allowances start at $15.70 at age 14.

  • Increase tasks from the Middle School Age list.

  • Have your child take on more responsibilities to match an increase in allowance. At age 14, help them find a job that meets everyone’s schedule. Show them how to add their paycheck to their debit card.

  • Older teens should establish a joint checking account at a bank with a parent and transition from the kid’s debit card to a true debit card. Discuss the consequences of overdraft.

  • Increase savings, including the amount set aside for college. Increase how much your child pays from their account, perhaps to include all or part of car insurance, food, gas money and the like.

  • Discuss with your teen that fiscal responsibility is relevant to them and that setting and keeping to a budget, writing down deposits and withdrawals, maintaining savings and setting goals should be stuck to for the long run.