April 28, 2017 is National Teach Children to Save Day. This annual event was started by the American Bankers Association and each year bankers across the country use this day during Financial Literacy Month to raise awareness of this basic and crucial life skill.
As a bank, MidWestOne is committed to encouraging this effort by sending our bankers into area classrooms throughout the month of April to teach lessons about the importance of saving money. This is a project we eagerly embrace throughout our geographic footprint in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Florida. We are poised to reach more than 2,500 students this year.
Parents should also make a commitment to teach children the basics of saving and budgeting. Everyday occurrences such as visiting an ATM and shopping for groceries are great financial conversation starters. Let your children see that you save money, too. Allow them to hear conversations with your spouse or others about saving for retirement or another goal. Show your children that saving is a lifelong endeavor.
I also recommend that you talk with your children about the importance of a bank account. Show your children how earning interest can grow their savings. You might also share that money invested in a local bank serves a double purpose for you and the community because savings are loaned back to people and businesses in the community, thus allowing the community to grow and prosper.
A year ago, I was joined by Congressman Dave Loebsack as we taught a class of second graders in Iowa City at Alexander Elementary. There was one moment that remains inscribed in my memory. Congressman Loebsack was discussing what one might be saving for; for example a baseball glove, a bicycle, or a basketball. It was then a boy held up his hand – “a winter coat,” and then a girl – “food.” Indeed, these two had made their points very well that every dollar counts and, indirectly, that effective budgeting is crucial to daily living.
I hope you will consider talking with your child about saving money. Teaching your child how to save is a wonderful gift that will keep on giving in years ahead.