79 – Kids and Checks


Episode Overview:

One of the responsibilities of preparing your children for adulthood is teaching them how to manage their own finances. In an increasing digital age, depositing checks is becoming a lost art. Ken shares his own experiences teaching his children about checking accounts and check deposits – and why it’s important.

Transcriptions are auto-generated, please excuse grammar/spelling!

Happy day to you. This is Ken Kaufman, and I am thrilled that you’re here for episode number 79 on teaching kids how to deposit a check that is made out in their name. This is a skill set that is quickly disappearing, and I wanted to take just a moment. My kids, or I should say the three oldest kids that are living at home have picked up some odds and ends jobs in our neighborhood.

And one of the neighbors pays them with cash, which that’s great and they know what to do with that. The other neighbor has actually chosen to pay them with a check. And each one of them came and gave me those checks and said, “Dad, here you go. What do I do with this?” Well, technically, I can’t do anything with it. The check is made out in their name, not mine.

And I took this opportunity to say, “I really need to teach my kids to understand what to do with checks in such a digital world that we live in where our paychecks are direct deposited. And, we make most of our payments through online bill pay or some type of direct deposit, and our monthly subscriptions are all, you know, just taken out automatically for us every month.”

We sometimes forget that checks exist, number one, and that our kids have no experience with them because they’re used to either cash or seen us use credit cards, or… You know, in my instance, when my kids turned eight, each one of them, they have to read “The Richest Man in Babylon” and write a book report on it. And then they get to open their first bank account that has a debit card attached to it.

And so I’m teaching them right from the beginning to use their debit card. They have the app on their phone, we use Capital One. It used to be Capital One 360, but they have, you know, the ability for a kid at eight to both open an account and have a debit card in their name. And I do this to teach them how to function with finances.

And with a real focus, I mean, the whole reason I did it was I wanted to teach them to learn how to engage with the digital finance world. But these paper checks, they’ll sometimes show up in our lives or we need, you know, to go to the bank and get a certified funds check or… You know, there are different times when this happens.

So anyways, they got these checks made out for $25 to…each one of them had one for $25 made out in their name from this neighbor. And so I said, “All right, here’s what we’re going to do.” And I took the checks, and we sat down at the kitchen table. And each one of them opened up the app on their phone, they went down, had to scroll down to the bottom where they can digitally deposit a check.

And then it was great because it had the screen instructions right there about how they had to sign it. They also had to write for mobile deposit only. I think it was for mobile deposit to Capital One or it something specific for that bank. And then they had a little issue with taking the picture of the front, you know, getting the right angle, making sure it was a dark background because the check was lighter.

And that part worked. And then they had to flip it over to where they had signed it and written in the instructions that were, you know, clearly given them on the app, got that picture done. Then they had to manually put in the dollar amount and the checks were deposited.

And the only reason I’m bringing this up is because I just want to remind all of us the way I had to remind myself this morning that our kids in this digital world don’t see checks a lot and don’t interact with checks. And helping them understand how they work, how to use their bank…

And you guys know, I’ve talked about this over and over, I’m big into online-only banks, not having a branch that you have to go to, to engage or, you know, to do different things. So they certainly could have if Capital One had physical banks anywhere close to where we live, then I could have had them go and deposit them but not really interested in that.

I want to teach them to be quick and nimble financially, not dependent on one specific brick and mortar institution. And so because of that, sat down, walked them through the process. And I just want… Again, I’m not pointing a finger at, “Wow, I’m this great, amazing parent that’s teaching my kids about finances.”

I’m just trying to remind all of us that we take for granted checks and how they work and what you do with them. Our kids growing up in this generation don’t know and they have very little interaction. And a lot of it’s because we don’t have much interaction so they don’t see us doing it. They don’t see us checking out at a grocery store with a checkbook, you know, writing a check.

They see us just putting either a credit card chip, you know, right up to the chip reader, or they see us using Apple Pay and all of these digital functions. So kids need to know how to deposit physical checks when they’re handed to them. Oh, and I’ll say this. A lot of employers, a lot of times the first check or their first paycheck comes as a physical check because the bank has to run a pre-note to set up, you know, make sure that everything checks out for the following paycheck to be able to be direct deposited and then every one thereafter.

Again, our kids need to know what to do when these things come in and when they happen. So let’s make sure to stop and teach our kids and train them about the old school mechanism of exchanging money back and forth called checks. Many, many thanks to you for joining today. This is a wrap for episode 79. Happy day.

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About the Podcast

Join Chief Financial Officer Ken Kaufman as he helps you track and hack your net worth. For those seeking financial independence, your net worth is one of the most significant measurements of success. Using his two decades of financial experience, Ken Kaufman helps you overcome your financial obstacles and look onward towards a better, brighter financial future.


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