Launching a Teen's Finances

A teen and her family found a debit account that helps her make smart choices and avoid overdrafts.

Meet Joe, Kate & Angie and read their UWCU Member Story.

From the day she was born, we felt it was important for our daughter, Kat, to set out on the right foot when it comes to finances.

We began giving Kat an allowance when she was 4 years old. We had her split her funds up into three jars: spend, save and share. It worked out great, and she especially enjoyed the “share” jar, where the money often benefited a local humane society.

We eventually opened her a custodial savings account where she could put her “save” jar funds. But, as she entered her teen years, we knew it was important that she understand how to manage her finances in the digital age. It’s not common to always have cash on hand, and it’s important to know how to use a debit card and balance your accounts.

Kat is 15 years old, which means driving isn’t too far off! We’ve been talking about driver’s education classes and cars, and Kat said to me, “Dad, I think I’d want a ’58 Corvette.” I explained to her that while that may be what she wants, she needs to understand the costs of it.

Talks like these led us to look for a teen-specific checking account where the teenager has full control over their account. We want her to be able to make mistakes so that she can learn to problem-solve and find financial solutions. We share information about our income, bills and other expenses with her so she can get a bigger picture of what to consider as she gets older.

We’ve been members of UW Credit Union for 10 years, so we thought that it would be a great place to start when looking for checking account options for Kat. The Launch account seemed like a perfect fit.

The process was extremely simple. We live just outside of Madison, so we called UW Credit Union ahead of time to ask questions and see what we would need to bring with us to open Kat’s account. We stopped at a branch on a Saturday. Even with the high traffic, we didn’t wait more than 10 minutes before we were in the Financial Specialist’s office, opening the account.

Honestly, the most painful part of everything for our family was finding time in our busy schedules to open the account. The entire process was smooth from start to finish. Everyone we talked with at UW Credit Union answered all our questions and more. Now our daughter has the freedom to take charge of her money.

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