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Dave Ramsey says: Talk to your kids about checking accounts

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Dear Dave,

My daughter is 15, and she’s had jobs around the house and been on commission and the envelope system for years. She’s very good about saving and not spending on silly things. We recently opened a checking account for her, and I was wondering what bills you think we should assign for her to pay on her own?

— Suzanne

Dear Suzanne,

This sounds a lot like we did with our kids. She’s obviously bright and motivated, so the first thing you do is explain to her the seriousness and responsibility associated with a checking account.

The next step is for her to balance the checkbook with you looking over her shoulder. Do this with her for several months, while you keep one on the account, too. After that, I want her to do it alone and show you her work. Her balance should match yours and the one at the bank.

As soon as she demonstrates competency, and you feel comfortable that she can handle things, I want you to start putting her clothing budget in the account.

You know, the weirdest thing happened with our girls at this stage. They suddenly started shopping at less expensive stores. It’s amazing when they see that the dollars associated with these purchases can run out. My bet is you’ll see some changes in her value choices.

Just take it step-by-step, a little at a time. The more they exhibit competence, wisdom, and confidence, the more you can release them.

—Dave

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