I was heartened the other day to see a financial management program for kids, Learn to Earn, at a local elementary school in Rocklin ( click here to read story ). The program, sponsored by Umpqua Bank, helps elementary schools students set up savings accounts and assists them throughout the years, though rewards and incentives, to save more money and save for items that kids want. It teaches the concept of saving, money management and that "instant gratification" is not the way to live your life.
Best of all, they make the program accessible for kids of all income brackets by making deposit levels low enough to start and maintain.
Here is an excerpt from Umpqua's site:
Developed in 1996 by a school administrator, the purpose of Learn to Earn is to educate and encourage children in grades kindergarten through eighth grade to save. By forming partnerships with schools and communities and serving as a key resource for financial literacy, we are happy to be fostering money management skills for more than 6,000 students at more than 80 schools. We aim to:
- Provide an opportunity and the convenience for all children to bank consistently at school
- Encourage understanding and appreciation for saving and the development of life-long money management skills
- Promote partnerships between local schools and Umpqua Bank
-Support student banking activities with financial education in the classroom
Each week, bank representatives and volunteers visit schools to accept students’ deposits into their savings accounts. All other banking activities are done at the bank. Student-size passbooks and vinyl zipper bags to carry their deposits to school are presented to young savers.
A savings account designed especially for students allows them to open an account with only $1.00 and to earn interest immediately. There are no minimum subsequent deposit amounts and statements are mailed quarterly to students’ homes.
Each time students make a deposit into their account, they receive a reward. In addition, ongoing games and special events help make this educational program fun. Plus, because they’re making deposits into their account, students will earn interest on their account balance!
Given the state of saving in our "modern" economy, this is a great program that should be spread to more schools nationwide. The concepts of responsible money management, saving and financial self-control are sorely missing these days. Programs like these are easy ways to cultivate a future generation that is realistic and responsible about money and wealth.