The other day I was driving with my favorite 6 year old back-seat driver. Out of the clear blue, he asked me if I could take him to National City Bank. When I inquired why, he told me he wanted to open an account there.
"Why do you want to switch banks?" I asked.
"Because you can earn points and get free checking!" he replied.
In the discussion that followed, my future banker explained what he thought free checking meant.
He thought you could write checks for whatever amount you felt you needed, to buy what you want. I then had a case of deja vu when I explained how checking accounts work.
I remembered back to when his oldest brother was five years old and we were in the Wendy's drive thru line. We had just come from Karate class from which he had recently received his membership card from Nationals.
As I was digging in my purse to pay for our meals, he stopped me.
"Here Mom, I've got this!' he proudly announced while handing me his Karate ID Card as if it was a credit card.
After choking back the laughter, I politely declined. Later that evening, we took a walk as I explained how credit cards work.
I think that's how a lot of adults get into credit card debt. Their parents never explained that there is no such thing as free money!