Kids & Money

FDIC money manual offers straightforward explanations

Credit cards, interest rates, the magic of compounding: Learning to manage money can be complex and confusing for any teenager.

That’s why the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has decided to help in a straightforward, simple way with a new money guide on its website aimed at teens, young adults and their parents.

The FDIC primer, “For Young Adults and Teens: Quick Tips for Managing Your Money,” is at

. You’ll find the money tips in the Consumer News section.

The idea behind the special online content is to help young people and parents buy into the need for taking responsibility for developing sound money practices at a young age.

There’s no question that many young people face financial challenges. Not only does this generation have plenty of disposable income, but many are already burdened by a mountain of student loan debt that could derail their hopes and career dreams for the future.

The FDIC’s money manual is the latest effort by the federal government to develop financial education resources that can be tapped online for free. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the new federal watchdog agency, has plenty of easy-to-understand information on its website about banking, credit cards and other products. Both the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Labor have information to help young people avoid identity theft and land a job, and the U.S. Mint has an expansive kids section devoted to the history of money.

So there’s really no shortage of good information available to help young people learn the financial ABCs.

The FDIC tips cover more than a dozen key topics, including how to get a good deal on an auto loan, choosing the best bank account, using credit cards wisely, saving money, and obtaining and repaying student loans.

There’s also a short quiz to test your money IQ, and there’s content for parents, including how to save for college.

Among the money tips for young people:

• Put at least 10 percent of any gift money, allowance or earnings into savings. Parents, consider making matching contributions as an incentive.

• Protect your personal information from identity thieves. Young people are frequent victims of scams and rip-offs and need to develop a healthy skepticism of unsolicited offers and inquiries.

• If you have a credit card, review your credit reports annually for errors. For a free copy of your credit report, go to

or call 877-322-8228.

• Mobile banking services linked to smartphones may be convenient, but take precautions to stay on top of your account. Ask your bank about text alerts warning about low balances, an overdrawn account or unauthorized transactions made hundreds of miles away.

The FDIC’s information may seem basic and obvious to many adults. But it’s exactly what many teens and young adults need as they start cutting the financial ties from their mom and dad.