How many times as a young adult or even now have you said: “I wish somebody would have told me (insert money topic)”? Financial Garden’s mission is to eliminate this statement as it relates to money basics for future young adults. There are millions of students graduating from High School next year and it’s vital that they are set up for financial success which starts at home! In this article, will be focusing on the money basics that every young adult should know before leaving the nest! There are some gems that could be great refreshers for you as well!

Teen Banking

It is imperative that teenagers understand the basics of operating a checking account. Don’t wait until your teen is 18 to explain the basics of a checking account. Check with your current bank or credit union to see if they offer High School Checking Accounts. Usually, the bank will allow a minor age 13 – 17 to open an account with the parent as co-owner. The best way to learn about banking is through actual application.  Even if your teen doesn’t have a job, you can start transferring money to their account so that their banking journey can begin.

My Top Basic Banking Tips

Discuss the following with your teen:

  1. Banking apps/check registers

It’s important for teens to track every purchase and deposit made. Walkthrough how a bank app. operates or start old school with a check register.

  1. Available Balance vs. General Ledger Balance

There are time delays from when certain deposits or purchases are taken directly from one’s account.  Therefore, the general ledger balance will sometime be higher or lower than the actual available balance. Available balance is the basis to use for spending money.

  1. Pending Transactions

Transactions that have not cleared the bank will appear as “pending”, causing the difference described at bullet 2 above. One should check their mobile banking app. 2 times a day to review any pending transactions. The pending amount may sometime differ from the amount actually posted to account.

  1. Overdraft Protection

MAKE SURE YOUR TEEN OPTS OUT OF THIS! Overdraft protection means that the bank will “protect” a transaction from being declined by charging an overdraft fee ranging from $30 – $36 if there are not enough funds in the account. Opting out of overdraft protection means that the card will be declined at the point of sale (register) and you will not be able to make the purchase. Therefore, avoiding the overdraft fee(s). After a few declined purchases your teen will start tracking expenses a bit better!

  1. Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) Fees

Share with your teen that cash withdrawals should only occur from their respective bank or credit union’s ATM machines to avoid fees. Another good option is opting for cash-back in certain stores.

  1. Never share Personal Identification Number (PIN)

Sharing a PIN Number to a debit card is the equivalent to handing over your wallet full of cash to a person. Tell your teen to NEVER give their PIN information out to anyone. Also, only provide their bank account, debit card numbers to trusted sources (Paypal etc).

Do you or your teen have a personal finance question? Email us at Your question could be considered for a future article.

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