Teaching your children about financial responsibility before they head off to college is every parent’s duty.

Starting at an early age can really help children learn how important it is to take care of their finances once they get on their own.

Usually through the grammar school years children learn what money is and how it is used. They understand that having money can allow them to purchase things that they want.

By this time an allowance is usually in place and the child should start realizing the importance of saving their money.

Every child should have a savings account set up in their name by the time they are entering middle school, the earlier the better.

By allowing them to see the banking process, they can start to understand how important it can be to handle their money wisely. Let them calculate the interest that they are earning and keep track of deposits and withdrawals. This will give them a sense of how to manage money.

Setting up a prepaid debit card in their name can also be a powerful teaching tool. Give them a line of credit on the card that they can use and then give them a monthly bill just a credit card company would. Include interest on their statement and even add the outrageous fees that we as adults can encounter on our real bills.

By doing this it gives you, the parent, the opportunity to teach your children the pitfalls of the credit card industry without putting anyone’s credit rating and a big sum of money on the line.

Now a days the act of writing checks is becoming a thing of the past. However, keeping track of your checking account is still an important part of financial responsibility.

When your child reaches high school, think about setting up a joint checking account and let your child keep track of all the transactions that occur on the account.

This will, with addition of the debit card, give them experience of maintaining a few different accounts that are open at one time.

Let your child make spending mistakes and give them the penalties for their actions. This will reinforce the learning curve of financial responsibility.

By the time your child is in their first semester at college they will be bombarded by credit card offers and preapproved loans.

With the teachings they received as they grew up, hopefully they will understand the workings of our credit industry and they will realize the importance of responsible spending. This can go a long way in protecting your child’s future.