Poll the Parents 7: Feeding the Pig

The America Saves Week edition of our poll lived up to the name.

Well, at least three out of four kids are saving somewhere. All but one quarter of you who responded to the latest edition of Poll the Parents said their kids have savings—and more than half them have that savings in a bank account, safely stowed and earning interest.

Here are the results:

First of all, wherever the savings goes, good for you and your kids for coming up with some!

But if the place (vessel, surface, or otherwise) where it accumulates is somewhere other than a bank vault, here’s a parent-child (or grandparent-grandchild) activity you might consider: Take a trip to the local brick-and-mortar bank.

Here’s a rough itinerary: Check the bank’s Saturday hours. Once you get there, ask to chat with the branch manager. Open a basic savings account for your kid, and make sure there’s no minimum balance to avoid fees. While you’re filling out the paperwork and making an initial deposit, explain to your child that a bank is not only safe, it gives you extra money—called interest. Maybe the manager will help drive the lesson home by showing your kid the vault. This activity is a great way to make savings concrete—or at least declutter the bedroom floor!

Of course, the poll also found that a quarter of kids aren’t saving at all. Here’s some added incentive to help your kid learn to put money away.

A few years back, Sesame Street launched its first financial literacy initiative, including an on-air lesson for Elmo about savings jars. In a follow-up study, 91% of parents said their kids knew more about basic financial concepts after the family used a kit based on the show. But that’s not all: The program also changed savings habits for the whole family. The share of parents who contributed to a rainy day fund rose 13%. And the share of parents with family savings grew from 45% to 58% (a 29% rise).

It’s an encouraging lesson: Inspiring your kid to save could be contagious!

COMMENT FORWARDED TO THE COMPLAINT DEPARTMENT: “I would have said bedroom floor, but with everything else there it’s hard to tell.” —@thehotiron