How to Open a Child’s Savings Account for Your Military Kid
Anytime is a great time to open up a child’s savings account for your kid. As a new parent, I asked myself, “does my baby really need a savings account?”. I found out quickly that our friends and family are very generous with our son. Births, baptisms, birthdays, and holidays, you might be surprised to see how easily small gifts can add up for your young one.
When Should I Open a Child’s Savings Account for My Kid?
Even though your baby or very young child has no concept of savings, by opening a child’s savings account for them you’ll be creating an easy way for them to save for their future. As they get older, you’ll have a tool at your disposal to show them how banking, interest, and savings work in real life.
It doesn’t matter if you maintain their savings account to collect gift money, the money you contribute yourself, or even money they earn from doing small jobs, a savings account provides a safe place for their nest egg to grow and even earn a little interest along the way.
What to Look for in a Child’s Savings Account
Not all savings accounts are created equal. Hopefully, your own savings accounts also have these same features below. If so, your bank or credit union most likely has a banking program for minors as well. Credit unions and internet banks often have the best banking deals for consumers with free accounts and higher than average interest rates.
- No monthly fees: Don’t let a bank’s fees (even if they are low) eat away at your child’s savings. There are plenty of banks that no-fee savings account for children.
- No minimum balance or monthly requirements: Most likely your child’s initial deposits might be low and sporadic. Find a savings account that lets you deposit funds on your own terms.
- Interest rate: Although the interest on a child’s savings account won’t turn your child into a millionaire, it never hurts to earn interest. Since their money will probably be sitting and earning for a while, look out for accounts with the best interest rates possible.
- Free online access: Since military families are always on the move, look for a savings account with free online access (or nation-wide locations). You definitely don’t want to be opening and closing bank accounts each time you move!
How do I open a Child’s Savings Account for a Minor?
After you’ve done your research about which bank you’d like to use, opening the account is easy. Since children under the age of 18 can’t open they’re own accounts, you’ll open the account in both your name and your child’s name.
Plan on having information and documents such as social security numbers, your child’s birth certificate, and possibly your driver’s license or ID card available. You’ll also need an initial deposit to open their account. If you’re opening a minor account with the bank you already use, it might be an easy online transfer to get them started.
Many banks have youth checking and savings programs, so when your child reaches 13, they can have mobile and online access to their accounts (still under your supervision if you wish). USAA has a great youth banking program, to help get them started.
How Do I Choose a Bank?
Most likely you’ll simply be depositing small monetary gifts from birthday and holidays into your child’s account. In some cases, your child might have income from a part-time job. With so many choices available, I think it makes the most sense to choose a bank that has the features we discussed above like zero fees, online access, and a decent interest rate.
If you’re happy with your current bank and they offer a good youth program, that’s probably a good place to start. A Military friendly bank like USAA, or credit union like Navy Federal, are both great choices and can easily PCS with you.
I wouldn’t waste time and energy scouring the internet for a bank that has the highest interest rates or jumping from bank to bank. Instead, find a bank that will be easy to access as a military family, and can easily grow with your child.