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Financial Literacy Awareness

April is recognized nationally as Financial Literacy Awareness Month, along with National Teach Children to Save Day on April 27. It is critical to teach young children the benefits of a savings account, what money is and where it comes from, and how to understand the difference between needs and wants from an early age.

The best financial lessons are part of everyday life. Look for an opportunity to talk about money, read books about finance, and play games centered around spending money wisely with your children. Always be open and honest when you discuss your financial experiences – both good and bad.

Here are some tips on how to begin the conversation about money with your children:

• Next time, take your child to the Bank and show them how transactions work. Ask the manager to explain how the Bank operates and what savings are. While you are there, consider opening a K Savings for them.

• On your next payday, discuss how your money is budgeted for your "needs" – housing, food, and clothing; and how some of it is "saved" for future expenses, such as college tuition, retirement, or a vacation.

• On your next grocery store trip, explain the difference between the needs and wants that your family makes decisions on each week, and invite them to help make these spur-of-the-moment decisions. You can also share the benefits of comparison shopping, coupons, and store brands vs. name brands.

• Assign chores for your children to complete and give them a monetary value. Discuss how they can budget and divide the money they earn. Remind them to set a financial goal, such as saving for a cool, expensive toy, and how they can achieve that goal. Create a chore chart and teach them the three jars method: how to "spend, save and share" their contributions. Setting a savings goal early on is a powerful tool for establishing lifelong money management skills.

Be a good example of a responsible money manager by paying bills on time, being a conscious spender, and being a proactive saver. Children usually will mimic the same practices you make. Always encourage them to ask questions about money and if you are unsure, research it together, or visit your local First National Bank LI branch and speak with one of our expert bankers.

• Create a budget for yourself and your kids. Download and print this spreadsheet.

First National Bank LI is committed to supporting our local communities and their families learn good money habits. Throughout the month, Branch Managers will meet with children of various ages as part of our Teach Children to Save program. If you want to host a lesson at your school or organization, email to learn more.