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Teach Your Child Financial Skills for a Successful Future

Posted April 23, 2021

April is Financial Literacy Month with April 22 National Teach Children to Save Day. Which makes April a good time to start children off right by teaching them the importance of managing their money. And according to Ulster Savings Bank, opening a savings or checking account is an excellent way to get children started on the path to financial literacy.

When to Open a Bank Account

It’s true what they say about the earlier you are to learn something, the better you will retain it. And this is especially true with teaching kids about money. Often parents wait too long, usually delaying this until their child gets his or her first paycheck. By then, children should already have a grasp on how to manage their money.

“It’s best to start your child with a savings account as early as you can to show them how quickly savings add up. As they reach their tweens and early teens, you can have them open a checking account. This helps them to learn about debit cards and how to manage their money,” advises MaryRose Warcholak, Senior Vice President of Retail Banking at Ulster Savings Bank. “You can tie their chores to income and charge them real-world expenses,” she added.

What Features are Best for Children’s Bank Accounts?

MaryRose recommends opening accounts that offer in-person and online access, financial education learning modules, and have an ATM or debit card as good features. “Accounts with interest rates and no maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements are ideal, as well, so kids can learn about saving money in a positive way,” she said.

Some good topics to include in teaching children financial literacy are:

  • What is the difference between a checking and a savings account?
  • How to pay for college with a student loan, and what is a 529 Plan?
  • Credit cards, credit scores, and credit reports: how are they interconnected?
  • What is identity protection?
  • How to create a budget.

Ulster Savings’ student banking products offer kids from pre-school to college the opportunity to learn the importance of developing good savings and investing habits, as well as a sense of independence that comes with accumulating money for their personal use. The bank’s Smart Start Checking Account is specifically designed for students aged 13-17 with a parent/guardian joint owner. Teens can get $25 deposited into their checking account when they complete ten short learning modules online. College students can open a Student Investor Checking Account with no monthly balance requirement and no monthly service charge. And, as a reward for having good grades, students enrolled in the Minor Savings Account or Smart Start Checking can receive a $2 deposit if they have a B average or better.

Opening a savings or checking account can teach children basic math skills, good spending habits, the importance of planning, and navigating the pathway to financial literacy.


MaryRose Warcholak is the Senior Vice President of Retail Banking at Ulster Savings Bank and has been in the banking industry for over 37 years. She graduated with honors from the National School of Banking and is a graduate of the Senior Leadership Institute of American Bankers Association. MaryRose is committed to ongoing education in leadership, administration, sales, and regulatory compliance throughout her career, in addition to serving the community. She serves on the bank’s donation committee; is chair of the United Way of Ulster County’s Board, along with serving on their Finance committee; and is president of Benedictine Health Foundation’s Board of Directors, along with serving on their Finance, Bike for Cancer Care, and Ski Benefit committees.

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