For Immediate Release:
SAINT PAUL, MN – 76 percent of teens feel they should start learning about money and savings at kindergarten, a 2013 Junior Achievement survey reported. Research also indicates that consumers who have bank accounts are more likely to own other assets including having savings accounts, credit and insurance. Conversely, individuals without accounts are less likely to own a home or a car. To help students start out on the right foot, the Minnesota Department of Commerce teamed up with United Educators Credit Union to provide parents with the tools and opportunity they need to open bank accounts for their fourth grade student.
As the top state official overseeing Minnesota's financial institutions, Commissioner Rothman visited Normandale Hills Elementary School to talk about the importance of financial education and saving at an early age coupled with real-life access to financial institutions. "Financial literacy can mean the difference between getting ahead and falling victim to the pitfalls associated with poor use of credit and focusing on wants versus needs," said Commissioner Rothman. "Opening a savings account can provide youth the fundamental skills to understand how financial institutions work and teach the skills of budgeting and setting short-term and long-term goals."
As youth are presented with credit and financial decisions at a younger age, especially due to students’ post-secondary financial planning, the need to have the tools to make smart money decisions has grown. A recent survey of parents by the online financial literacy site DoughMain revealed that 63 percent of kids age 18 and under have savings accounts, but only 43 percent of parents review bank statements with their kids monthly and only 28 percent of children have used online banking to view their savings account balance. Understanding the fundamentals of saving, making a budget, and the difference between a need and a want can provide a foundation for a lifetime of empowered financial decisions.
How to Start a Conversation with your Elementary School-Age Child
Read books with a financial literacy theme. Today, Commissioner Rothman read Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday with the Normandale Hills fourth graders. The book teaches financial concepts like saving money, the value of money, and how to set short and long-term savings goals.
Ask questions to reinforce the lessons
Get your children talking about their own experiences with money – where do they get it, what do they like to spend it on, are they saves, etc.
Talk about your own experience with savings
For more information on Financial Literacy, visit the Commerce Department's website. Visit Minnesota’s Jump$tart Coalition website for additional resources for youth, parents, and teachers to promote financial literacy. Parents interested in learning more about opening a Minnesota College Savings Plan for their children can find information on benefits and tax advantages, investment options, and how to sign up on www.mnsaves.org.