Aspiration . . . The Birds, The Bees...and Credit?

Michelle Thornhill | 10/9/2012, 6:24 p.m.

* Discuss money management: Budgeting is an essential part of good credit management. Teaching your children how to track and monitor spending will help them to understand the importance of not spending more than what they earn - which can lead to the misuse of credit and ultimately credit dependency. This is another opportunity to provide realistic examples by sharing your family budget. In general, children should have an idea about household expenses so they can adopt realistic attitudes and behaviors regarding credit and financial management.

* Teen accounts: Another way to help older children learn good money management skills is to open a checking account with a debit card. This way teenagers learn firsthand, while they are still under your guidance, how to track expenses and avoid spending more than they have. They should become familiar with online tools to monitor spending, and also get into the habit of manually tracking expenses. Having a checking account is a big responsibility, but it will help you in working with your children to make good financial decisions before leave home and are exposed to credit.

Children shouldn't be frightened by credit, but they should be well informed. Be open to having conversations about finances, and make credit management a part of the discussion. Need help doing it? Handsonbanking.org is a free, interactive tool that can help you and your child learn more about using and managing credit. Also, visit Wells Fargo's Smarter Credit center at wellsfargo.com/smarter_credit for free tools and information on establishing, managing and improving credit. Help protect the financial future of your children!

Michelle Thornhill is senior vice president, African American Segment, Wells Fargo & Company. Visit www.wellsfargo.com for more information.

This article has been prepared for informational purposes only. The accuracy and completeness of this information is not guaranteed and is subject to change. Since each individual's financial situation is unique, you need to review your financial objectives to determine which approaches might work best for you.

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