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Any advice or warnings regarding a teen's first checking account?

I am considering opening a checking account for my teen and making her responsible for buying her own clothes, lunch, etc. I'll put money in her account, and she will have to budget it. She's not old enough to get a real job yet, but I think it would be good for her to start practicing handling money on a larger scale.

Any advice or warnings for me before I do this? Also, do you know where I might find some rules/guidelines to make this work better?



Asked by Anonymous at 5:10 PM on May. 24, 2010 in Teens (13-17)

This question is closed.
Answers (10)
  • I would make sure you sit with her and balance her checkbook every day for a while, then to where you can balance with her at the end of every week. Just don't be like my mom and turn her loose with it. Make sure that she understands the importance of writing checks only for money she has to spend. Some places DO file a law suit, and WILL get their money.

    One tip I wish I'd have been taught is to always maintain a minimum balance. Say that minimum is $100. If the shirt I want costs $20, I will save $40, and think about whether or not I still really want that shirt.

    Also, when you make deposits, let her be aware when you will be making the deposit, and how much it will be. The best thing to do is to make sure it is ALWAYS the same amount, so she can learn to budget on a set budget before she learns a fluctuating budget. If she learns on a fluctuating budget, she will learn habits of spending that extra money rather than

    Answer by matobe at 10:14 AM on May. 25, 2010

  • Check out a Credit Union. Also make sure you have online banking with it. Make sure she keeps all receipts and help her with balancing the check book.

    Answer by itsallabtthem84 at 5:13 PM on May. 24, 2010

  • I wouldn't do it. If she isn't old enough for a job then she is under 16 so I don't know if she should be able to handle a checking account. Many places also won't allow teens to write checks at their stores. So you may want to think about it hard and maybe rethink it. I know I wasn't ready to handle a checking account at an age under 16.

    Answer by carmadsmom at 5:51 PM on May. 24, 2010

  • Talk with your bank or your credit union. They will have guidance for you on this.

    Answer by gdiamante at 6:29 PM on May. 24, 2010

  • i agree with itsallaboutthem84 and gdiamante if your gonna do it you will have to stay on top of her to teach her the banking basics. then make sure she maintains a minimum monthly balance to keep her from overspending, etc. whatever rules apply for you with your bank should go double for her. i hope it works.good luck!

    Answer by MomInc at 9:38 PM on May. 24, 2010

  • I was 15 when my mom helped me open my first checking account. The bank we used at the time had a specific account designed especially for teenagers, and my mom's name had to be on the account. I think when I was either 18 or 21, it converted to a regular checking account. I do remember that I couldn't get a debit/ATM card for the account until it converted to the regular account. That would be my main area of concern with a teenager; sometimes they forget that banks aren't bottomless pits of cash. :)

    Answer by Journey311 at 9:49 PM on May. 24, 2010

  • saving it. A way to help her learn to save is set a date, say, every three months. Whatever she has left over above her minimum balance for the three months, move it to a savings account for her. Building her savings will help her in the long run, and it'll allow her to watch her spending because she can watch her savings grow. When those $15 and $30 left over become $150 and $300, she'll be more and more inclined to save, because it's money she can have later! (Say, for college...)

    Good luck!!

    Answer by matobe at 10:17 AM on May. 25, 2010

  • We do a version of this for our daughter.She has an allowance that covers gas,food,shampoo,clothes etc at her discretion but she just finished her fresh.year in college.When she was in high school she already had a regular allowance for movies and that kind of thing then we gave her a clothing allowance other than coats ,formals,golf uniform,cross country or golf shoes and church clothes.It worked great buy too many hollister t shirts then see a OMGosh skirt and I shrugged...budget budget budget.By her sryear we gave her a set amount each month that included all her stuff except gasStarting now will  help her learn how to handle money..She has done really well with her money this year,no problems.We are on all accounts.We thought this would stop when they graduated from college but our son is military ,not married and kept us.Only check while deployed.


    Answer by drfink at 10:56 AM on May. 25, 2010

  • DO NOT DO IT!!!!!!!!!! Because she is a minor, you will be on the account too and held responsible for bounced checks, etc. A person under 18 cannot sign a contract legally and a checking account is a contract. Chase bank has a teen checking account for 13-18 year olds and the parent has to be on the account. They keep asking me if I want to open one for my son and I told them not in a million years. Maybe when he is 17 and working but not at 13. I kinda like having good credit.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 10:48 PM on May. 25, 2010

  • I would never do it.
    My teens never got their own accounts until they had their own jobs. Then they were set up with a student account where a parent had to be a co-holder of the account, but the teen was responsible for the account.
    We taught our daughter's how to debit and credit their accounts and made a deal with them that for every $1,000 that they saved in their savings account (they had a checking and savings) we would deposit $100 into the savings as a reward.
    They had their paychecks directly deposited into their checking accounts and we made a deal that they could freely spend 20% of their earnings each month and either put the rest into savings or use what they needed for necessities. Yes, it was their money, but we were teaching them how to be financially responsible.
    It has worked extremely well, but we would never, ever have opened accounts for them with our own money for them to use freely.

    Answer by PrydferthMenyw at 12:23 PM on May. 29, 2010