April 11 is Teach Children to Save Day
BROOKINGS — April 11 is Teach Children to Save Day, a national program that organizes banker volunteers to help young people develop a lifelong savings habit.
“The entire month of April is also Financial Literacy Month so it ties it all together that we should all learn some new lessons in finance this month, along with teaching them to our children,” said Karen Slunecka, SDSU Extension Family Resource Management Field Specialist.
Slunecka added that many work hard to make sure children are emotionally and physically healthy and that financial health should take priority as well.
“Money doesn’t come with instructions, so it is vital that a child learns early on how to make good financial choices. The ability to make good financial choices is something even a young child can understand if you put the right tools in his or her hand. Tools you probably wish you had had when you were growing up,” she said.
So, how should a parent start? Slunecka shares these tips:
• Spread the message on the importance of money. It is not just to spend, but should be used to help reach your goals and aspirations.
• Make saving second nature. Have your child set aside a portion of any money when they receive it, whether it is from an allowance, or gift. Go to www.themint.org where they recommend children split their savings into four “banks”: money to be used soon, on everyday things; for later, on larger items; for building a nest egg to be used years from now; and for giving gifts to others.
• Get them to a bank. Open a savings account with your kids. Then encourage them to manage it with regular deposits to build a sense of responsibility. Once they are older and perhaps working part-time, they can learn to manage a checking account. Be sure to supervise their accounts to avoid overdrafts and to keep their banking experience positive.
• Teach them about budgets. Get your kids involved with the weekly grocery shopping. Use the ad, clip store coupons, make a list together, and set a budget before going to the grocery store with the kids.
• Teach like a parent, think like a kid. Kids need to be taught that work yields money in language they can understand. Say they want a $30 toy. Explain that it would take several hours of chores to afford it. When they want something tell them to sleep on it first. That is like asking them to sit back and make an informed decision.
• Teach the basics of investing. Use the calculators at www.iGrow.org or at www.themint.org to teach them how money can grow over years when a small sum is placed into different types of accounts.
• Be a role model. Set a good example. Build a strong foundation for yourself and your kids.
“Teach your children the basics of spend, earn, save and invest, protect and borrow,” Slunecka said.
For more information, Slunecka directs readers to visit http://1.usa.gov/LEY1xw.