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Budgeting, Financial Fitness |

Teens and Money: First Savings and Debit Accounts

One of the first steps toward real freedom (and adulthood) is having a savings and debit account in your own name. These accounts allow you to save money, make purchases, and pay bills efficiently. Both require you to take an active management role, so that you can achieve your goals and avoid errors.

Where to open the accounts
A good place to open your first accounts is a credit union. These not-for-profit financial institutions are owned by their members (account holders) and tend to have better loan rates, better savings rates, and lower fees than banks. Some may even offer accounts specifically for teenagers. However, most financial institutions do not provide individual accounts for those under 18, unless a parent is on the account.

Start a savings account
Getting into the habit of saving money regularly is the foundation for a successful financial future. Heritage Grove makes saving easy with Pay Yourself First. When your paycheck is direct deposited to Heritage Grove, we’ll make your pay available up to two days early* and provide a helpful “Pay Yourself First” prompt inside our app at the time when it is easiest to save. Just choose the percentage of your pay you’d like to save and the account where you’d like the savings transferred.

If you save a portion of every paycheck or gift money, it won’t take long for your savings to grow. After you’ve built up enough savings in the event of an emergency (job loss, unexpected car repairs, etc.) you can take the excess and begin to invest in a share certificate or IRA.

Managing a debit account
After you open your debit account, it’s your responsibility to manage your account and make sure your account does not go negative. This means knowing how much is in your account, reviewing your transactions frequently for accuracy, and never spending more money than you have in your debit account. Using a mobile banking app and turning on Alerts lets you know when deposits and withdrawals are made and helps you manage your account.

Using your debit card
You can use a debit card at a store or restaurant as well as the ATM. It may look like a credit card, but it is not. Money is automatically deducted from your debit account when you use it.

Be very careful where you keep your debit card and how you use it. Memorize your personal identification number (PIN), never share your card, and contact your financial institution immediately if it’s lost or stolen.

Managing all your accounts carefully and accurately is important. If you do, you’ll always have the security a savings account brings, and you won’t waste money on debit account mistakes.

Need more incentive to pay attention to your accounts? If you manage your accounts responsibly, you’ll create a valuable ally with your financial institution. After all, you may be turning to them for an auto loan one day. For additional financial articles and videos, check out our financial fitness resources provided by Balance. Questions? Call 503-588-0211.

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