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Start a new back-to-school tradition

Some parents rely too much on a school to teach their children important life lessons. This includes finances.

With another school year just starting, parents should seize the opportunity to talk to their children about smart money habits.

This year, the Minnesota Society of CPAs suggests parents start a new back-to-school tradition. It offers the following financial literacy tips to share with kids:

• Save from the start. Possibly the most important lesson you can teach your kids is why and how to save their money. If they don't already have a personal savings account, help them open one and encourage them to make regular deposits with money earned from chores, an allowance or a part-time job.

• Pay an allowance. An allowance gives kids a hands-on opportunity to manage their own money each week. Establish a list of chores or tasks they must accomplish weekly to earn their allowance, so they understand money isn't just given away.

• Develop a budget. Face it: Kids want stuff. A simple budget can help them map out how much they should save versus how much they have available to spend each week. Explain that the family household operates on a budget as well, just on a slightly larger scale.

• Talk about taxes. You don't have to go into great detail about the U.S. tax code, but you can let them know that taxes are a fact of life.

• Teach priorities. Wanting something and wanting it right now isn't just characteristic of the young. But you can reinforce wants versus needs, spending within your limits and spending according to a budget. If they have $20 in hand but want an item that's $25, help them map out a plan to achieve their goal.

• Visit This new website was created by The President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability. It provides parents with 20 key principles to discuss with their children as they grow.

• Be a great example. It's good to talk with your children about money and finances. But it's even more important to act as a role model for effective financial management. Draw your children into discussions on money matters.

This is a powerful approach. Financial literacy is one of the greatest gifts you can give your child, no matter what their age. The skills you teach them when they're young will help them make sound financial decisions throughout their lives.

Alexandria Echo Press