Learning to save for a rainy day | ParkRecord.com
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Learning to save for a rainy day

Dale Thompson, Of the Record staff

Utah children are struggling when it comes to personal finance. The Jump$tart coalition released the results of a survey in personal finance this month which stated only 49.4 of percent of Utah children gave the right answers to questions about savings.

In March Business Week reported the rate at which Americans save has dipped into negative numbers, something that hasn’t occurred since the Great Depression.

To avoid the problem in future generations, Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. declared April 25 as Utah’s Teach Children to Save Day.

In celebration of the day, Zions Bank employees headed to McPolin Elementary to teach the third grade classes about the importance of putting away money for a rainy day. Their program is also designed to help prepare the students for the high school financial literacy course that will be required beginning in 2008.

Zions Bank Park City Branch Manager, Andy Garland, said the partnership between McPolin and the bank helps students to gain an understanding of finances that could be beneficial in the future.

"If we can teach them when they’re young, hopefully that will carry forth into adulthood," he said.

He began by giving the children two handouts. The first was a budget sheet, and the second was a mock up of a pet store with items the children could buy for a pet hamster. The items included toys, food, bedding and water.

The majority of students raised their hands when asked if they had pets at home, including dogs, cats, fish and horses.

"When you think about your pets, how many of them eat for free?" Garland asked.

Only a few hands went up before students began completing their worksheet.

The exercise was designed to help students distinguish between items they need and items they want.

Students quickly discovered that with the allotted $12 they could not buy everything they needed to sustain a pet, including the hamster itself.

Garland told students saving could help them avoid that dilemma in the future.

"A lot of times people save for wants, which is ok. You just have to figure out what’s more important, a need or a want," he told them.

At the end of his presentation he handed suckers out to all the students along with a calculator to clip onto their backpacks.

Third grader Ball said he learned it’s important to save.


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