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Commissioner Rothman, United Educators Credit Union and Parents focus on opening saving accounts for kids

Parents play a key role in influencing their elementary age kids in their saving behaviors

November 14, 2013

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

  • What was the point of the story?
  • For what toy does Alexander want to save his money?
  • Why can’t he save if it is important to him?
  • What did Alexander plan to do with his money when he first received it from his grandparents?
  • With a walkie-talkie costing more than 1 dollar, what should Alexander do if he wants to buy a walkie-talkie?
  • Was Alexander able to save enough money for the walkie-talkie?  
  • Do you think it was worth it for Alexander to spend his money on things like chocolate candy, renting a snake, and bubble gum?
  • Why is it important to save your money?

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.

  • Why is saving money so hard?
  • What is something you would want to save for? (college, new bike, baseball cards, etc.)
  • How would you go about saving money for the item you want?
  • How much money would you need to feel rich?

Talk about your own experience with savings

  • How difficult is it for you to save money?
  • Talk about your savings plan. How much do have and for what are you saving?
  • Is it difficult to save money? Why or why not?

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