Opening a bank account

Some adolescents struggle with personal finance therefore, learning how to open and manage a bank account is an essential skill to have.

Having a bank account comes with many benefits, depending on the type of bank and account you open:

  • Interest on money back
  • Direct deposit
  • Pay your bills electronically
  • Safer and convenient

Compare accounts at banks, taking note of fees, interest rates, and minimum required balances to see what most banks have to offer.

“Credit unions offer the same services as banks but often have better fees and rates because they are owned by the account holders. Online banks also have better rates and fees but don’t offer the convenience of being able to visit a bank in person. I would suggest choosing a bank or credit union with a physical branch for your first account so that you can speak to someone face-to-face when you have questions.” Friesen said. 

After taking a look into banks and credit unions, make sure the financial institution is insured. Banks are insured by the FDIC and credit unions are insured by the NCUA.

Have a joint account with a legal adult on the account if you’re a minor. Once you’re 18 you can remove the legal adult and open an account on your own. According to Friesen, once you have a job or already have some money saved, it’s a good idea to open a bank account. Find a savings account that pays interest.

“If you don’t have a job but have money saved in your piggy bank from birthday gifts, babysitting, allowance, etc. it’s not a bad idea to go ahead and open an account. I think everyone should open an account before they graduate high school. It gives you the opportunity to learn how to manage your money while you still have lower expenses and the stakes aren’t as high.” Friesen said.

What are your first steps?

Once you made your account decision, gather several pieces of documentation. You will need:

  • Government issued ID
  • Social security number (many banks will take other forms of ID)
  • Mailing address (utility bill)
  • Initial deposit
  • Call and schedule an appointment (some banks are required to)

“It’s important to track your spending regardless of whether you are using a debit or a credit card. I recommend finding an app that you like and recording your spending as soon as you spend it.” Friesen said. “Many apps will sync with your bank account/credit card but it’s important to remember that it may take several days for a purchase to clear. If you are waiting on your app to sync and it doesn’t clear right away your balance will not be current, which could lead to you overdrawing on your account and paying fees.”

Managing money is a skill to continually keep learning. There are many different ways and methods to learn how to handle your money and everyone does it differently. Asking questions and using social media are some ways to learn. You decide how you learn and what works best for you.

“Read articles, go to seminars, and spend your free time watching videos about saving and investing rather than binging on the latest TikTok trend. There are lots of educational opportunities available to high school and college students (like Reality U and freshmen welcome seminars). Take advantage of these! Find financial voices that you like and follow them on social media. (Be discerning here; make sure they actually know what they are talking about. If they are offering a way to make quick, easy money it’s probably bad advice.)” Friesen said.  “Research topics like zero-based budgeting, spending buckets, envelope method, cash stuffing, and other tips and tricks that are designed to help people manage their money. Find people that handle their money well and ask them questions. Figure out how they do it so you can do the same.”

Mrs. Friesen’s recommendations:

Ramit Sethi, David Bach, Farnoosh Torabi, Dave Ramsey, Thomas J. Stanley, Michelle Singletary, Jean Chatzky, Paula Pant, The Money Guy, Clark Howard, Clever Girl Finance.

Credit V.S Debit:


  • You could get 2% back on your purchases but if you can’t pay the balance in full, you’re having to pay 15% or more on the total you owe
  • Don’t spend more than what you can pay for 
  • don’t sign up for your first credit card on a whim 
  • Every time you swipe a credit card you are spending Visa or Mastercard’s money and promising them that you will pay them back


  • When you’re spending, you’re spending your own money
  • Limited balance 
  • Debit cards are linked to your checking account


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *