Save a buck, earn $50? Banks help kids save
To entice kids to save, Park City area banks offer incentives, some of which include redeemable "bucks" for piggybanks and toys. The theory is: save early, and kids will learn to save over a lifetime and hopefully with the same account until they become adults.
Local tellers and bank managers say saving early is a good tool, because they were taught to save early themselves.
Washington Mutual teller Bridgette Hardy says she recently bought a car with help from a savings account she began at Utah Central Bank when she was seven years old. "I still have it," she says of her account.
Washington Mutual offers a minor’s savings account without the minimum balance or monthly service charge. Normally, a regular statement savings account earns a 0.5 percent interest and a $3 service fee. The fee is waived for minor accounts.
Washington Mutual also offers a school savings program on a banking day where the PTA at a school collect deposits and bring them to a bank to help kids learn about saving money and banking, according to Hardy.
Zions Bank’s Snow Creek Branch Manager Andy Garland maintained the same savings account from the time he was four in the late 1960s, until he got married decades later, he says.
"It was nice to have that nest egg," he explained. "If you don’t learn to save in your youth, then you’ll struggle later to pay for a car or a down payment on a house."
Zions has two different options for younger savers. A Kidsgreen savings account that pays kids 3.35 percent of their savings when they hit their first $1,000, and a Teengreen account that pays 3.35 percent when kids hit the $2,000 mark in savings.
Garland and two other coworkers will be visiting McPolin Elementary School later this month to teach third graders how to save with coloring books and the company’s Web site, http://www.bankjunior.com, which features a "Save-o-Matic" game in which kids can compute what it takes to save for what they would like to purchase in the future.
Wells Fargo offers a "Stagecoach Kids Savings Club," which rewards kids with "savings bucks" as they make deposits.
According to Wells Fargo teller Matt Ford, one buck is earned when a chile makes of a minimum of a $3 deposit. Five Stagecoach bucks can be redeemed for stickers, a key holder or rubber tattoos. One hundred bucks buys a $50 U.S. Savings Bond.
Ford began his first savings account when he turned 18, and regrets not starting sooner.
"It’s a hard lesson to learn later on in life. Once kids start saving now, it will be easier to save for college," he explained. "And later, it’ll just be second nature to save for 401Ks and stuff like that. It’s a great thing to teach your kids to do."
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