Life in a fast-paced society means that kids are growing up faster than ever before. And, if parents want their children to grow up to become happy and productive adults, they know the importance of teaching their kids about financial responsibility and saving money at an early age.

If not, today’s generation of kids could grow up like a lot of Americans raised in the 20th century. An estimated 43 percent of all Americans have less than $10,000 saved for the future while one in three have no savings at all.

Use a piggy bank

Start teaching your kids young, as early as preschool age by giving them a piggy bank where they can save their nickels, dimes, and dollars they earn from doing chores around the house, they find when taking a walk, or they receive for a birthday or a holiday present.

Focus on teaching your children about goals when using the piggy bank to save. Maybe your child really wants a toy or a book. When he gets enough money in his piggy bank, he can buy the book. A great incentive is to put a picture of the book on or next to the piggy bank to remind him of the goal.

Avoid long-term goals when teaching savings at a young age. College is another lifetime away for a child, so help your child choose short-term goals that are easily achievable, like buying that toy or book.

Show children their options

Once your kids get a little older, start teaching them about the different options for using money, including: Saving, spending, investing, and donating. Experts recommend buying four piggy banks, one for each money option, and teaching children who are old enough that they should always save at least 10 percent of whatever money they are given or earn. As a result, children will learn that money isn’t just for spending and will then decide on their own where their money goes. Giving your child the chance to decide where to spend his money will ultimately teach him financial responsibility.

Set goals

Children must understand the importance of setting goals for how they will use their money – whether it’s to purchase something or to donate to a worthy cause. As we already mentioned, parents should encourage age appropriate goals to help teach children the value of saving. A preschooler might save for a special toy; a middle school student might want to save for a dress or a suit for the homecoming dance; and a high school student might be putting his money in the bank, saving it for a car when he turns 16.

Give your child an allowance

Giving your child an allowance will teach him that money is earned, and he can then do what he wants with his money. An allowance also gives children a glimpse into money in the real world. Once a child spends his money, he has to wait until he receives his allowance again to spend anymore. As a result, children will learn that they have to think about what they do with their money before they spend it. Don’t forget to encourage your child to put some of his allowance aside for savings.

Start a savings account

Once you feel your child is old enough, start a savings account for him, so he can earn interest, no matter how small, on his money. He will also learn how a bank account works, how to check his balance online, and how to keep track of his money.

Teaching children how to save money when they are young will help them become financially responsible adults who understand the importance and the value of money. Take the time now to help better prepare your child financially for tomorrow.

George Gallagher writes for many popular finance and education blogs. He is also working with students to help them find private student loans for the fall semester.

Insurance for Your Children – smarterkids

There are two things that we all know about children. One, they are our little miracles. Two, they are unpredictable. Children get sick, fall down, break bones, need stitches and sometimes, sadly, they even pass away long before their time. We don’t like to talk about, much less think about it, but at some point, every parent needs to decide if and how they are going to insure their children for both health and life insurance to protect their family as much as possible.

Recent health care reform changes have made it easier for parents to ensure that their children have health insurance in an effort to guarantee health care for all. A simple cut that requires stitches at an emergency room can cost thousands of dollars. If you don’t have that kind of money lying around, and even if you do, accidents like this can cause severe financial burdens and stress to your family as well as have a negative impact on your credit scores. The old adage, “It’s better to be safe than sorry” really does apply here.

What about Life Insurance? Do you need it? Here are a few things to think about when you are making that decision.  Accidents, and disease, happen. They are unforeseen and more often than not, can’t be prevented. If something was to happen to your child, can you afford to make the proper arrangements for their funeral? Adults are often given the option to participate in employee or organizational offered life insurance. Your child doesn’t have that opportunity until they become an adult. At this point, the responsibility rests on your shoulders.

Life insurance companies often require adult policy holders to have a physical before either issuing a policy or nailing down a firm price. For a child, however, this often doesn’t apply. Many companies offer plans that mature as the child grows, which allows you to purchase a life insurance policy over time, starting when the child is just a baby. In most cases, when the child turns 18, these policies are completely paid and you can choose to either keep the policy should the child, now an adult, even die, or you can cash it in to use toward college or other expenses.

You can also buy more traditional life insurance policies for children. Many health insurance companies actually offer life insurance and health insurance bundled together, which can even save you money.

No parent likes to imagine the need for life insurance or even health insurance, but should the need arise, this can be extremely helpful as your family deal with such a difficult time. Life insurance isn’t expensive for children, so there’s no reason why not to buy it.

This guest post is from InsuranceQuotes.org, where you can go to learn more about all types of insurance.