Cutting, pasting, spelling and ... banking? PNC Bank wants to add a new to-do on the list of lessons to teach kids.
The Pittsburgh-based bank is now offering "'S' is for Savings" accounts, which help kids learn some of the basics of money management from familiar faces Elmo, Cookie Monster and others from "Sesame Street." Rather than simply seeing an online balance increase or decrease, the account's online banking tool lets parents and children move money among three jars: saving, spending and sharing. Children can also explore a learning center with audio and video activities that help reinforce personal finance lessons.
When I was in elementary school, I remember my parents enrolled me in a joint account at our local credit union. The account's mascot was a kangaroo who sent rewards for reaching certain savings goals. Oddly enough, I think the kangaroo's coupons for free ice cream cones would still be enough incentive for me to save.
Today, many banks offer accounts to help children get an early start on saving, but some of them are geared toward simply letting parents regularly deposit money in a child's name. Instead of learning the way money works, kids turn 18, and voila! They have healthy savings accounts. I think the interactive component of PNC's program makes this a valuable educational tool for little ones to understand appropriate spending.
The account is relatively similar to most traditional savings accounts. There is a $25 minimum to open, and account holders can arrange auto savings. Of course, to provide an accurate picture of banking today, perhaps the account should require these young savers to perform certain activities to avoid incurring monthly fees.
What do you think? Have you enrolled your children in savings accounts to help teach them the basics of spending and saving for the future?