Providing kids with age appropriate financial education and giving them opportunities to earn, spend, save and even invest their own money can set them up for a lifetime of sound money management and financial independence, according to the University of Minnesota. Establishing a savings account by moving money out of the piggy bank and into a "real" bank can be one of the first steps a parent or caregiver can take to start teaching children money management.
Most successful kids education programs have an element of fun, and learning to save and management money is no different. The best savings accounts for kids offer some element of kid-friendly excitement so that kids will be motivated to stick with a savings program, according to DoughRoller, a financial information website. The type of fun will vary by age. Younger savers might be drawn to animated characters, stickers or certificates while older kids might be more motivated by a birthday club that rewards middle and high schooler savers with cards or small financial contributions once a year.
Location plays a role in picking the best savings account for your child. The the best savings accounts for younger children are set up through a local, bricks and mortar bank, at least at first. By physically taking money to a local bank, children learn important lessons about where money is kept, the protections a bank provides for deposits and how money deposited in a bank is reinvested, according to Family Education, a website offering parenting advice. However, once these lessons are learned, an online savings account provides better training for children since most will use on line banking as an adult for checking, savings and more complex financial transactions, according to Budgetpulse, a financial information website.
For most children, the goal of starting a savings account is more about learning financial responsibility by gathering enough money for a bike or toy instead of saving for a down payment on their first house. Therefore, the best savings accounts for kids have low fees since higher fees will eat away at a child's savings. Although learning about bank fees is another important lesson, fees that are too great and are taking big chunks from a meager balance might frustrate a young saver enough to quit her savings program all together, according to DoughRoller.
Even when it comes to children's savings accounts, interest rates are important. The best children's savings accounts should have a competitive interest rate, according to DoughRoller. However, parents should also show how a higher interest rate may influence other aspects of an account. For example, if a child selects a higher interest rate account, he might also have to keep an unrealistic minimum balance.
Ease of Use
Ease of use is another important consideration when picking or helping to pick a savings account for a child, according to Budgetpulse. If a parent has a hard time navigating a bank's website or dealing with less than friendly customer service, it's also probably not a good bet for a child's early banking experiences. The best savings programs for children contains the same customer service and ease of use that adults would expect as customers, according to Budgetpulse.
Smarty Pig is a savings program for kids recommended by Budgetpulse and DoughRoller. The program, which is an online savings account pays a competitive interest rate but also provides opportunities for kids to set goals for their money. More information about the program is listed below.