For Parents

How to Teach Your Kids About CDs

Certificates of deposit are a great financial product to save money! Here’s how to teach your kids about them.


Imagine you’re a captain, guiding your child’s financial ship through the sea of savings. You’ve shown them the ropes of a basic savings account, but now, it’s time to unfurl the sails of Certificates of Deposit (CDs).

Don’t worry; we’ve got your map right here. You’ll learn how to teach your kids about CDs, why they’re a smart part of any savings strategy, and where to find them.

Let’s set sail on this financial voyage together.

Teaching Your Kids the Basics of CDs (Certificate of Deposit)

You’ll first need to explain two fundamental aspects of CDs: what they are and how they work.

A CD, or Certificate of Deposit, is a type of savings account that holds a fixed amount of money for a fixed period of time, known as a term. Unlike a regular savings account, you can’t withdraw money from a CD without a penalty until the term is over.

Next, onto how CDs work. When you deposit your money into a CD, the bank promises to pay you a fixed interest rate over the term. It’s like lending your money to the bank. The longer the term, the higher the interest rate you’ll typically receive. Once the term ends, you’ll get your initial deposit back plus any accrued interest.

Teach Them Why CDs Are a Good Part of a Broader Savings Strategy

While you’re guiding your kids about savings, it’s important to explain why CDs can be essential to a broader savings strategy, mainly because they offer a higher interest rate and financial discipline. CDs are a form of time deposit, where you agree to leave your money untouched for a certain period. In return, the bank promises a fixed, higher interest rate than a regular savings account.

Using CDs teaches your kids about commitment and patience. They’ll learn that by not touching their money, they can earn more in the long run. It’s a practical lesson in delayed gratification, which is a key aspect of financial discipline.

Moreover, CDs are a safe bet. They’re insured by the FDIC up to $250,000 per depositor, per bank. That means your kids’ savings are protected even if the bank fails. This security makes CDs a good choice for their savings mix, especially for long-term goals like college.

Teaching Your Kids Where to Get CDs

In your quest to educate the kids about CDs, you’ll find that they’re not only available at traditional banks and credit unions, but also through online platforms. These platforms include direct banks and brokerage firms. It’s important to explain to them that while traditional banks are physical locations, direct banks operate entirely online. Both offer the same services, including CDs, but online banks usually offer higher interest rates because they’ve lower operating costs.

Teaching kids about brokerage firms is also essential. Brokerage firms like Fidelity and Charles Schwab can provide various CDs from different banks. It’s like a one-stop shop where you can compare rates and find the best deal.

Remember to stress to your children the importance of considering the CD rates, terms, and minimum deposit requirements before making a decision. They’ll also need to know that all CD accounts at FDIC-insured banks are protected up to the maximum allowed by law. This ensures their money is safe if the bank fails.

How You Can Set a Good Example as a Parent

How often do you consider that your good and bad financial habits can directly influence your child’s understanding and management of money and that by demonstrating responsible investing, such as with CDs, you’re setting a strong example for them to follow? It’s not just about telling your kids what to do; it’s about showing them how it’s done.

Take the time to explain to your child why you’re investing in CDs. Let them know it’s a safe, low-risk way to save money and provides a guaranteed return, no matter how the stock market fluctuates. When they see you taking the time to research and understand where your money’s going, they’ll realize the importance of informed decision-making.

Involve your child in the process. When you’re ready to invest in a new CD, let them sit with you as you compare rates and terms. This hands-on approach imparts knowledge and creates a sense of responsibility.

Exhibit patience and persistence. Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor is a robust investment portfolio. By setting a good financial example, you’re not just teaching your kids about CDs; you’re nurturing their financial literacy and setting them up for success in the future.

A Safe Savings Tool

In a nutshell, teaching your kids about CDs isn’t just about banking basics; it’s a lesson in smart, long-term saving. By showing them where to get CDs and why they’re a clever part of a savings strategy, you’re setting them up for a financially savvy future.

Remember, your actions speak louder than words, so be a role model by incorporating CDs into your own savings plan. It’s never too early to teach them the ropes of financial literacy.

Related Reading For You and Your Kids

About the Author

David McCurrach

David McCurrach is the founder of Kids' Money. Following a career working in finance for several banks and credit unions, David started Kids' Money in 1995 and has since published three books on kids' financial literacy and allowance programs.

Last updated on: July 8, 2024