Beyond the Piggy Bank: Good Habits for Raising Money-Savvy Children

As children mature beyond stashing coins in piggy banks and begin managing their own money through more sophisticated vehicles like savings accounts, here are 3 tips to help them build good financial habits.

1. Create a list of short- and long-term savings and philanthropic goals.

Have them keep a running list of savings goals that they can work towards. While they may still depend on you financially for big-ticket and need-to-have items, the practice of setting money aside for indulgences such as concerts, video games, and special clothing can help them build savings skills. To raise philanthropic-minded kids, encourage them to either set aside money to donate to charitable organizations or think of ways they can give to others throughout the year.

2. Put together a budget and timeline to achieve those goals and identify a method of tracking their progress.

A budget is an important money management tool that can help kids track how much money they have and where their money is going. It doesn’t have to be scary or overwhelming - something as simple as a worksheet or, nowadays, online management tools and apps, can help them visualize their progress towards meeting their goals. Learning this skill early on can influence their financial habits through adulthood, when the ability to budget becomes even more important.

3. Become familiarized with various banking vehicles to manage their savings.

Many banks and financial institutions now offer savings accounts and debit cards geared towards kids and their families. Research shows that kids who have savings accounts in their name are not only 6 times more likely to go to college1, but are also 4 times more likely to own stocks2 by the time they are young adults. You can “match” their goal every month or year as an extra incentive for them to keep saving. This will also expose them to the concept of compound interest.

Recently, Morgan Stanley partnered with Greenlight to give Morgan Stanley CashPlus brokerage clients an easy, convenient way to teach their families about personal finance. When you sign up for a complimentary Greenlight subscription, you receive a Greenlight debit card and a companion money app for the whole family. Through the app, Greenlight teaches family members lessons in earning, saving and spending wisely. The tool also gives clients a better way to manage family finances with automatic allowance payment, chore tracking, flexible spend controls and more.

Learning to manage money at a young age can empower your kids to reach their goals, pursue their dreams and take care of themselves and the people around them. Most importantly, it's never too early to start teaching them the financial concepts and skills they will need to have a successful relationship with wealth in the future.


1 The Source (University of St. Louis). Kids with savings accounts in their name six times more likely to attend college. Available at Accessed, March 21, 2023.

2 AFCPE (JECP Research Journal) “Evidence from Malaysia.” Available at Accessed, January 4, 2022.

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