Arizona's Youth Need To Learn Their Financial A, B, Cs

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Editor:

While kids today can send photos to each other on their cell phones or use a CD-ROM to do their homework, many don't know the fundamentals of saving or basic money skills. Recent studies show that kids aren't learning about money management at school or at home.

This is a serious national problem -- but it can be turned around with help from all of us. First State Bank participated in a program called Teach Children to Save, which was created by the American Bankers Association Education Foundation (ABAEF). The program culminated on National Teach Children to Save Day -- April 29 -- when thousands of volunteer bankers went into classrooms across the country to teach young people about how money works and how to use it wisely. We are very proud to do our part to promote financial literacy in our community.

From clothes to video games to compact discs, the message they receive is "spend." By the time they become adults, it could be too late to teach them financial skills. Early financial education is an answer and a wise investment.

It's very important to make Savings Day "every day," and First State Bank is here to help. We encourage parents to teach their children about money. It's critical for their future -- good habits start early and healthy money skills last a lifetime. Here are some simple suggestions from the ABA Education Foundation to teach your kids the value of money:

  • Teach your child the importance of saving. To make their savings visible and real, build savings in a piggy bank or open up their own savings account. If your bank doesn't offer special children's accounts with no fees and no minimum balances, ask if arrangements can be made.
  • Make going to the bank fun. Some banks have kids clubs where members get newsletters or receive balloons when they make deposits. If your bank doesn't offer this, use another positive reward.
  • Kids love to get mail, so keep an eye out for their monthly statement. This will help them see the gradual effect of interest on their balance.
  • Involve children in spending decisions and talk about savings. This gives them practical experience in the buying and saving process.
  • While many children know that money doesn't grow on trees, they may think it comes out of a wall. Show them how an ATM works and help them understand that to take money out of the bank you must first put it in.
  • Give your kids positive feedback. As they get older and their allowance increases, give them responsibility about how they spend money.
  • Remember, it's just as important to teach your child about money, as it is to tell them to look both ways before they cross the street. First State Bank has been in front of more 1,000 children this school year, more than 360 just in Payson.

Amy D. Hill

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