NEW YORK (BankingMyWay) -- Moms and dads are getting serious about teaching their kids about money, and earlier than ever.
BMO Harris Bank says 74% of U.S. parents either have already cracked open a bank account for their children or plan to.
What's striking from the study is that 44% of those parents (focused on Illinois residents because BMO Harris Bank is based in Chicago) are opening those savings accounts for their kids before they turn 5. That's earlier than most studies indicate, and it's a significant and positive reminder that parents are taking the financial side of their child-raising duties very seriously.
"The good news is that many parents have passed that first step -- recognizing the importance of helping their children save, and going into a bank to get started," says Alex Dousmanis-Curtis, head of retail banking at BMO Harris Bank.
As for starting a bank account for a 3-year-old, Dousmanis-Curtis thinks it's a good idea. "It's never too early to provide your children with the financial education that they will carry into their later years, whether it's giving them a small allowance, engaging them in basic money decisions or opening up a savings accounts," she says.
To help with those early banking efforts, BMO Harris offers tips for parents looking to get that early start with their children:
Get a head start. "Seed the ground" by allowing your son or daughter to have a coin or a dollar bill or two. That teaches them the importance of money -- and saving it. "As soon as children start to collect a few coins and understand the value of money, open a savings account for them and explain how interest works," the bank says.