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PHOENIX -- Teaching your child to make smart money decisions should start as early as possible, a financial expert said.

"Parents can talk to their kids more about money," said Michelle White with Mass Mutual. "The conversation isn't being had in many households."

Whether a child receives an allowance, monetary gifts on special occasions or they earn money for completing chores that are beyond expected household obligations, the money should be budgeted to include a majority of the dollars going to their college education.

"Parents can talk with their kids about making smart choices with their money, helping them identify what is a 'want' and what is a 'need,'" said White. "Saving should always be first."

The key to helping your child grow into a financially responsible adult rests with the parents. White said teaching them to budget, spend responsibly, save habitually and allowing them to make mistakes could lead to successful money management habit later in life.

Sandra Haros , Reporter

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