On May 12, 2016, Wells Fargo Team Members visited W.F. Sandel Elementary in Columbia, S.C., as part of the bank’s Teach Children to Save Campaign.
Teach Children to Save is a national program sponsored by the American Bankers Association (ABA).
Bank volunteers speak with students and teach mini-lessons to help young people develop saving habits early in life. SCETV was with Wells Fargo as they visited second-graders and taught them about the difference between needs and wants, and the value of saving.
“My favorite thing I learned was about wants and needs,” said second-grade student, Yvonne Mickie. “I had fun today. It’s important to save money, so that you can get things that you need. I need food and clothes, but I want a new tablet.”
The notion that developing healthy spending and budgeting habits as soon as possible is paramount to the program. Wells Fargo and the ABA find that children and young adults are interested in understanding money, but often do not have the financial education they need. In fact, the Harris Poll Financial Literacy survey found that “of families who have had discussions with their kids about money, more than half of those discussions were initiated by kids and teens under 18.”
“We’ve all had experiences growing up, where you want to practice how to save, but did you really ever have a conversation with someone?” W.F. Sandel Elementary Prinicpal Claudia Brooks reflects.
W.F. Sandel became involved with Teach Children to Save several years ago, in an attempt to bridge this gap for elementary school students and help them make better financial choices. And children are making financial choices. Several studies have found that children under the age of twelve spend $11 billion a year, and also influence around $165 billion of their parent’s spending.
“A lot of our students are missing that conversation. We’re a Title One school, which means we have a lot of students in poverty.” Brooks says.
“One way to overcome that whole sector of living in poverty is to start a plan of financial saving, and I also think that will help them in the future.”
Teach Children to Save encourages bankers to participate in the outreach education program in their communities, in order to address significant issues that plague the United State’s financial future.
“I think it’s a great opportunity. It gives us a chance to really live our visions and values.” Regional President for South Carolina, Wells Fargo, Kathy Heffley notes.
“The more the community thrives, the more we thrive. Financial Literacy is a major problem in the United States and it is one of our initiatives we’ve taken on. So what we can do to help with this problem and solve this problem, we want to do.”
According to the Harris Poll for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, nearly one in four (58 million) U.S. adults do not pay their bills on time, and two in five U.S. adults give themselves a C or lower on their knowledge of personal finance. These statistics, combined with the figure that in the same poll, 75 percent of U.S. adults said they could benefit from having advice on everyday financial issues from a professional, present a need for further education and financial resources. Early education is key to creating change.
“We’ve been doing this now for about ten years with the American Bankers Association,” Heffley says. “The more you can repeat, the more you’re going to develop behaviors and habits and teach them good skills: to plan a budget, to learn to save, and what you’re saving for.”