Author: Deborah Goodkin, Managing Director, Savings Plans, First National Bank of Omaha

As a parent there are many critical lessons to teach your child for a lifetime of success. One of those important teachings is the implementation of strong financial skills and habits. April is Financial Literacy Month, and there is no better time than now to use these tips to help ensure that you and your child develop and maintain good financial practices. 

For Children:

While your child is young, emphasize the importance of saving by demonstrating the difference between a want and a need. A great way to help him or her make this distinction is to develop a money related goal together, and help your child create a strategy of how they can achieve that goal. For example, have your child identify a short-term want like a toy, versus a long-term need such as a bike or a pair of shoes. After selecting each goal, discuss together the realistic steps to achieve them. Help him or her regularly track the progress and celebrate each milestone in the process.

As your child gets older, continuously make everyday tasks into teachable moments – such as having him or her help with chores. Creating a grocery shopping budget, selecting items that fall within the budget range and helping you compare prices for the best deals are all simple and effective lessons in financial responsibility. This will help your child learn to spend responsibly and become a savvier shopper.

For Parents:

As a parent, it can be difficult to focus on your own personal growth while trying to teach your child.  Consider adopting these practices to ensure your financial knowledge continuously improves – it’s never too late to learn something new.

Not sure where to start? Begin with mapping out a financial plan and budget for your everyday life. On a regular basis, evaluate your budget and goals, adjusting as necessary. Just because you may have gotten a raise or a tax refund does not mean you have to spend these excess funds – a great use for them can be to increase contributions to your child’s NEST 529 account!

In addition to an overarching plan, make detailed lists and budgets for everyday expenses – from meals to birthday presents to weekend recreational activities. This will help to ensure you’re staying within your means and will prevent you from over-spending. However, if you find that you are consistently overspending, make a plan with detailed steps of how you plan to get yourself get back on track. 

To help build upon best practices and to be in the know, make sure to read up on the latest financial news, tips and best practices. From consumer and news websites, to iPhone applications, there are a plethora of resources available to help you stay up to date. Always remember, the best savvy consumer is a well-informed one!

For additional fun educational themed financial literacy activities for children of all ages, check out the Kids’ Time sections in our Newsletters. If you have any questions regarding your account, please contact the NEST 529 team at clientservice@nest529direct.com or by calling 1-888-993-3746.