Helping Build a Generation of Savers
Go Beyond the Piggy Bank
Courtesy Resource Bank, Northshore LIVING WELL Magazine
Most of us learned how to save with a time honored tradition, the piggy bank. You could feel the weight of the contents; hear the coins jingle. It is a tangible, simple, first lesson in finance that starts in the home. Financial education is essential for our future generations. According to the 2010 Census, today’s 17 and under age group makes up over 24% of the total U.S. population. By reaching children at an impressionable age, we can help them learn good money habits and raise their level of financial responsibility. But piggy banks aren’t enough; employees in the financial community help family’s efforts by supporting programs dedicated to increasing financial awareness.
Bankers and schools can give parents and grandparents the tools to help teach kids about four important money choices: SAVE, SPEND, INVEST and DONATE. The American Bankers Association Education Foundation has tips, budgeting worksheets, newsletters and contests to make saving fun and interactive for families to discuss at home.
- Communicate – Speak with your kids and grandkids about money. Explain inflation easily by sharing your past experiences with them. Tell stories about the costs of goods when you were their age. Encourage questions and keep an open dialog about how to value money.
- Create an Income – Teach the value of earned income. Parents can set up a chore chart and give an allowance for completed tasks. Grandparents can gift money or savings bonds for birthdays, holidays and milestones.
- Budget – Is it a need or a want? Use simple budgeting techniques to learn about income and expenses. The jar method is popular for dividing income into the above reasonable choices. Break income down by percentages: 30% to save, 30% to spend, 30% to invest and 10% to donate when possible.
- Be Hands On – Set up a savings account at your local bank. Resource Bank offers free accounts for minors. Take your savings jar in regularly to make deposits. Ask the manager for a tour of the branch and how the bank operates. Show your child the ATM, explain debit and credit card usage. Teach how to write a check and balance their account.
Children learn by example. Be a positive role model of a responsible money manager. Make saving a family affair.
Resource Bank may be reached at 985-801-1888 or online at www.BankOnResource.comFor 16 years the American Bankers Association has partnered with banks across the country to focus on the importance of financial education. The formal program, “Teach Children to Save,” has reached over five million school aged children with lessons on the importance of saving. Volunteerism and financial education is promoted year round with a strong focus in the month of April. This year’s Teach Children to Save Day is scheduled April 24, 2012. For more information on what financial intuitions are doing to support future generations, contact local banks like Resource, who are advocates for programs such as Teach Children to Save.