Money lessons for kids at different ages and stages

Money can be a hard concept for kids to get their heads around. Lay the groundwork when they’re young and set them up with some simple tools and advice. It might be one of the most valuable things you do for them.

Simple starters

Talk about money as you go about your daily lives, when you’re shopping or paying bills. If you ever get cash out of an ATM, show your child the receipt, so they understand that machines don’t just spit out free money and you need to have money in a bank account before you can make a withdrawal.

If you don’t use much cash, show them your internet or mobile balance and teach them the same lesson.

Instead of just buying stuff for your children, encourage them to save up for things they want. Help them set savings goals and track how they’re doing and how long it will take to save up for what they want.

If you’re on internet banking show them our Goal Tracker tool – a great way to show how they’re progressing.

Try to set a good example. Children are sponges and they’ll soak up what they see you doing. You could tell them all the right things, but undo all that good work by not walking the talk with your own money.

From age 7

Research shows that about 80% of 8-year olds have already developed spending and savings patterns. You can set them on the right path by:

  • Getting them to save a bit of their pocket money
  • Encouraging them to set savings goals for something they want
  • Setting them up with ‘read only’ internet banking so they can see their bank balance.

From age 10

With your permission, your 10-year-old can get an ATM/EFTPOS Age card for their account.

Encourage them to keep going with savings goals, but don’t take over. They’ll learn through their mistakes, so don’t automatically pick up the tab if they overspend or haven’t reached their savings goals. It’s a tough but crucial lesson.

Help them get a better grasp of the value of money and how much things cost by involving them in family budgeting decisions – don’t get too heavy, but if you’re planning a holiday or if they want Netflix discuss how much it costs.

From age 13

Your teenager can withdraw money and make over–the–counter transactions on their own. They can get access to internet banking and phone banking to transfer money between other Kiwibank accounts. They can also get an ATM card without parental permission.

It’s a good age to give them a little more spending power, like shopping for their own clothes, gadgets or other things they’re into. Think about giving them a monthly budget and putting them in charge.

Don’t just let them loose on internet banking, educate them about online security. Check out netsafe.org.nz

Bank on it

If you want to set your child up with a bank account, we have a First Saver account for children. If they’re under 16 years old they’ll need to have a parent or guardian complete a one-off declaration to certify their tax residency before they can open a new account. You’ll need to make an appointment and come into a branch to open this account.

First Saver account details

  • No minimum balance required
  • No account management or transaction fees
  • They can personalise their account 'Sam’s surfboard savings'
  • They can track their savings goals with Goal Tracker in their internet banking
  • They’ll get a statement in the mail every six months.

Financial literacy in school

We think it's important that all Kiwi kids are prepared for the financial world ahead, so we work with Banqer to help provide financial literacy lessons for free at schools throughout the country.

Banqer is an online tool that can be used in classrooms to create a complex and realistic virtual economy that students participate in. Find out more about Banqer and how you can get it in your child's class here.


This is intended as general information only. It does not take into account your financial situation and goals and is not personal advice. For advice about your particular circumstances please see your financial adviser.