Savers: The Next Generations.

tj-kidSaving is as valuable a lesson as anything else we learned in grade school: Be kind. Work hard. Don’t chew with your mouth open. Save. We think it’s important for kids to experience for themselves the fun of saving—that’s why we have our Kids Savings Account. So, we asked a few grown-ups to look back on things they did—or didn’t do—growing up that shaped them as Savers.

Matt: Lots of comic books, little savings. I’m a cheapskate by nature. I’m not exactly sure when that happened, or why, but I have a feeling it’s born out of laziness. Because, above all else, I am a lazy creature. Take for example, the history of my piggy banks. Read on.

Alicia: “I learned that money came as a result of work.” I practically learned to walk in the mall, where my mother worked and my teenage sister introduced me to neon-colored consumerism, complete with air brushed shirts, slap bracelets, footless tights and all other related fashion tragedies. Read on.

Alison: “Affected by my childhood choices till the day I die.” I was one of those stupid kids that got credit cards in college and thought I could handle it. That was a lie. See, I wanted to be my dad. He grew up in a family that didn’t have a lot of money but they worked hard. And when he became an adult, he took over his father’s small business and he built it into something very, very successful. My father has made a lot of money because he worked hard and he earned it. Read on.

T.J.: “Like many children, I was somewhat resistant and rebellious.” Sometimes I wonder how I am the product of my parent’s parenting. My parents were both teachers for over thirty years, and their efforts to relay financial lessons to me, my sister, and brother were gentle, yet forceful. Growing up, we all received modest weekly allowances… Read on.

Nancy: “I made $15 a week—I was rich!” Growing up in 1950’s, household finances were not discussed with children—at least not in my family. There was no allowance. If you wanted your own money, you earned it. Starting at age eleven, I worked in the fields pulling and bunching radishes at two or three cents a dozen bunches. Read on.

  • Susan G.

    I agree that our spending habits are definitely formed in childhood and what we observe. My parents had credit cards but paid them off every month. I was given one of those “gift to minor ” savings accounts . I liked to save. Several yrs after college I was on the campus looking for a job and saw one of those credit card tables- dangerous. I applied and got one . I also got a Sears card in my early 20s. For a while I wasn’t in too much debt , but having one credit card often leads to having several- I had 4 at one time . As times became tougher and I was unemployed for a while, the balances went up but I as unable to pay them . My husband grew up seeing his parents get into a lot of debt, especially his father. His father was also a gambler. His mother worked hard to help pay the bills. My husband Bruce says he doesn’t want to be like that- scrimping and struggling. How odd! We got into about $40,000 of debt, I think. We filed for bankruptcy last year. He also got a loan against his TSP which I didn’t agree with. Now he has a pay day debit card- to buy snacks and clothes from the store at the hospital where he works. Yikes! I’d rather not be in debt but he thinks it is necessary. So it is an unending cycle- borrow, have less in the paycheck and have to borrow again. Ohhhh. I try to teach our kids to save but they seem to spend money as soon as they get it. My 12 yr old daughter does want to save in her ING acct but she and her 15 yr old brother are terrible savers. Hope it changes as they get older and start working. James,15 says when he gets his 1st job, he will save some. Good.

  • Lil

    All the money in my savings account from my paper route was “borrowed” with promises of returns in multiples. Shortly after, my uncle was imprisoned for stock fraud. My dad, who had maxed out several credit cards for my uncle’s venture, went through bankruptcy and we had to move. This would shape my whole life. Fast forward, and I find myself drawn to a finance career, blasting through personal finance goals of paying off our cars, student loans, taking vacations, and now focusing on the last debt we have – our house. Our Orange refinance is in the works, and I don’t know which I like better – the unbelievably low rate, promotion for closing costs savings, or the simplicity of their loan terms.

  • Donna

    I had my first passbook savings account when I was 6 or 7 years old, with a parent as custodian. I’d take the bus downtown with my mother and she taught me how to shop,negotiate with sales managers in stores and to save something every Sat. at my local savings and loan association. When I got older I got paid for my report card grades: A was $10, B was $5 and even a C was $1 (plus good deportment and conduct grades.) I received a fairly large allowance but paid for school lunches, organ lessons and clothing from my allowance. After the fun of shopping downtown wore off I realized saving in my passbook was much more fun than shopping because I out-grew toys early. Now, during high school, was a fashion fanatic. Spent all my allowance on clothing in college, was a fashionista but after marriage returned to saving again. Sometimes it is good to get spending out of your system before adulthood so saving can be re-instated…..All in all, saving at a young age is an excellent idea.

  • Tracy Wasem

    Thank you dad. As soon as I had my first real job with a paycheck, my father made me put $25.00 a month into an interest bearing insurance/ savings account. 30+ years later I have accumulated over $75,000. He was right. Pay yourself first. The very best lesson I ever learned from him.. He always has great knowledge to share. This is the advice that has made my life more comfortable as I age. Peace of mind. Well worth it.

  • Ingrid

    As a kid I remember opening a savings account with Christmas/birthday money….I remember checking on it every month and being impressed with the free money I received (interest) and that got me hooked…I have 2 credit cards I use regularly…one I get 1% back (in money) on EVERYTHING I purchase on the card (I even put my moving van on it when I moved interstate)…I monitor it and pay it off every month so I have not given the Bank a penny…the other credit card I use I get 5% (cash) back on all gasoline purchases….and this deal gets better cause I can buy $50. gift cards at like Walmart or Lowes for $40 of this cash back… so…I am getting $50 of spending money FREE for gasoline that I would be purchasing anyway…..This one I also pay off every month so I don’t give the banks money….It is all for me!!!! Also…I have both of these paid automatically/electronically so that they cannot say that “the payment check was lost in the mail”…had that happen to me a few years back

  • marion fitzsimmons

    Currently I automatically invest $l50 per month in a savings account. While continuing this practice, can I split it into three separate accounts, one for each grandchild, with the proviso that they are available to these children only upon my death?

  • Whit

    During World War II when I was 6, I sent away for seed packets to sell for victory gardens. I did this several times, and also cooked and helped with parties. My parents had an “in trust for” savings account for me, but with my hard earned money (about $1.75net for each batch of seeds and $.50 for helping at parties) I wanted a savings account I could control. I opened a Postal Savings account in the Post Office, the only place a kid could open an account in her own name. I kept it for years, adding my own personally earned money to it. I don’t recall ever taking any out until the Post Office discontinued postal savings, when I moved it to a bank account. My parents were bemused but supportive.

  • Still Learning…

    I admire those people who could be completely honest about how they view money. I am one of those people that was spoiled. What did it look like in my life? Well, although I started working when I began as a babysitter around the age of 12 or13 (~14?), and even though I had my own savings account by the age of 16, I really didn’t save much. So, the money that I made from little jobs I put away and spent on the things that I wanted. This included little gadgets and food at school. Back to the part of being spoiled, I believed that I “needed” everything, and my father gave in to me. He let me buy (of course, he paid) anything that I gave a good reason to purchase it. When it came time for me to go off to college, it was the same thing: Oh, I need a comforter; oh, I need this bookshelf; school supplies; paperclips; pencils, calculator, clothes…etc. and the list went on. When it came time for me to move the 10 hours away to college, my father had the job of making all of my things fit into our little station wagon. And as the years went on, it seemed like I gathered more and more stuff. My parents even bought a new Grand Caravan in order to help out with getting me to school and back with all of that stuff. My dad then put me on his American Express account, so that I could get experience with credit cards. That was the catalyst to my major spending. Now, about fifteen years later, I am still learning how to manage my money. I confess, I am horrible with money. I do not realize the value of it, and it is REALLY DIFFICULT for me to save. Its almost an emotional thing; I see something that I want or “need” or would be “good to have” and continue to spend. I have just paid off one major credit card, and am now working on my last one. I still use my Kohl’s charge and JCPenney charge card often, BUT ONLY WHEN I KNOW I HAVE THE MONEY TO PAY THE ENTIRE BILL OFF WHEN IT COMES IN THE MAIL. For the major credit card that still has a balance, I continue to pay–more than the minimum in order to avoid the interest charges on the balance–and do not use it at all. Of course, for emergencies like car work or major medical bills that aren’t covered by my insurance I will use it, but as a rule, I do not entertain using it on frivilous purchases. I have changed my way of spending to using cash, instead of my debit card also. I find that if I run out of cash, I will not use my debit card so quickly as I would had I not had cash to begin with. And, I have made a promise to myself to stay within a budget. Its rough, and I can’t say that I haven’t had any relapses. But I am no longer spending as much as I normally would. Its so easy to do…we just need to keep ourselves in balance. I find if I’m bored or anxious, spending money relieves the feelings. However, the consequences are great and I have had to learn to take up different means of dealing with these emotions. Now, instead of spending money, I will go for a walk, go the gym, or call a friend and ask them to hang out. Like I said earlier, I’m still learning…but I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is marked with a feeling of deep satisfaction in knowing that I will be able to attain those things that are far greater than momentary pleasures. Things like security, a home, and the peace of mind knowing that I am living within my means. :) I hope everyone can walk toward that goal each day and in making good decisions with what is given to them.

  • http://Facebook Dorothy Azar

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  • Tami

    If you have kids and would like to instill good values when it comes to savings here is one way you may want to try. My parents opened a savinga account for me very young (4). Every birthday or holiday my parents told me that if I saved the money that was given to me they would match half of what ever amount I put into it. ( I was not allowed to remove any money from this account until I was 16. Quickly I realised that the 100.00 that I got for my birthday was 150.00 if I did not spend it but rather saved it. My ideas about money and savings grew fast and strong. By the age of 16. I was saving money every holiday and had 5,000.00. I went without the silly music CD’s and designer clothes and other things that kids buy when they get money but I was able to save 5,000.00 by the time I was 16! It was a great lesson in values. Thanks to supportive parents I am money wise even to this day.

  • Barbara

    When I was around 12 years old, I had accumulated about $200 in my savings account from birthday gifts, allowance saving, etc. My dad, who was a fantastic roll model, offered me a deal I couldn’t refuse. He said with my savings, I could pay the electric, gas and other bills that had a discount if you paid them early…and he would pay me the next dollar higher after the undiscounted amount. With this, I was able to make quite a few bucks and learned about interest the easy way. When we needed a new furnace, I bought it for the house. Unfortunately my dad caught me smoking and said I coudn’t pay the bills anymore if that’s what I was doing with te money. So at 15 I gave up my loan shark business. I wish I had given up smoking, but that came later. But I did learn about saving. Parents who practice saving are good roll models, particularly if they encourage saving by their children. I really miss them, but will always remember the wonderful lessons they taught me.

  • Barbara

    I just read “Still Learning’s” comment. She is like so many kds today that have wealthy parents who give them everything and make them work for nothing. They think they are doing their kids a favor, when in fact they are preparing them for bankruptsy. “Still Learning” got wise in time and that is commendable, but it could have gone the other way, God bless her.

  • Expat

    I’ve always been so grateful to my father, who was always careful with money. He and my mother were modest (though he handled the money more than she did; he worked for pay while she worked at home!) folks who didn’t invest too much energy in new things – gadgets, clothes, furniture…, though he was a giving person as well, and never made the mistake of being “penny wise pound foolish.” My father kept (and still keeps) impeccable records too, of what he spent, of his bills, statements, and I so fondly remember sitting with him sometimes by his filing cabinet as he rifled through his folders, listening to his little words of wisdom, such as how he would place the most recent bills up at the top of the folder so that things were organized and neat and easy to access. Knowing that he was careful, and remembering the little things he said to me (like “never ever borrow money from a credit card!”) made me careful too, because I felt then and still feel now that I save money out of respect for him. And I will also admit to being very meticulous about my recordkeeping as well :) Thanks Appa :) And thanks ING for the discussion!

  • http://N/A J. Gill

    The good: starting a savings acct.(BofA) in elementary school. The bad: forgetting I had it when entering the military and only to find out when returning,4 yrs. later, that they closed it saying fees equal the amount in the acct.
    I used money that I saved from my paper route to buy my first 3 speed bicycle and that was my reward for saving; I find it odd now that you get “rewards” from credit card corps. for buying items on credit rather then from money you have or have saved. That is not a value I want to pass on to my children as it is already apparent what problems can be caused by overextending to the point where you have little or no safety margin.

  • Karen

    When I was in junior high school, I received an allowance of $3.50 a week. Out of that , I had to pay for my monthly book of bus tickets so I could ride the public bus to school. Often, I walked home so that I could save the bus ticket.
    I was also expected to buy lunch at school 3 days a week, while my mom made my lunch the other 2 days. Another 25 cents went in the Sunday school collection. The money left over was was my spending money. It was used to buy treats, guitar books, make-up, movie tickets, and such. I don’t remember asking my parents for money for any of these things.

    I am conviced that this “allowance with expections”" helped make me and my siblings the great money managers we all are. We learned that the essentials had to come out of our money first, along with giving to others, and then we could decide to save or spend what was left. The consequences of not making the essentials priority were pretty harsh; I don’t remember every going hungry at lunchtime or having to walk to or from school in the rain or snow.

    When my grandfather died at the end of junior high, my mother gave each of us $1,000 out of her inheritance. I used that money, along with babysitting money, to pay for summer camp and other trips through high school. I enjoyed being in control of what I chose to do in the summer, and not having to negotiate for it.

    I am still pretty frugal, saving money for major home repairs and vacations, while making sure there is money for unexpected emergencies. I love bargain hunting and rarely pay full price for anything -groceries, clothing, household items – just about anything but gas. My credit cards are all rewards cards, and I’ve been saving the cash rewards to take my nieces to Disney World. That money has its own account, so I am not tempted to spend it.

    I think my parents were very wise in using “allowances with expectations” to teach us kids how to manage money responsibly. It worked for us, and I am certain would work for the children of this generation.

  • Jeaneth

    I currently save everything I make on I do not know when I changed to save every penny I could but it works, I mean who doesn’t buy online everyday and who wouldn’t want to save cash back. I am currently investing the little money in an account for my 3 month old daughter for her college, I am hoping that when she goes to college I will have enough money for her.

  • Jan C

    One of my earliest memories of banking that shaped the way I perceive banks, was the time I went to the bank to cash my first paycheck. I worked about 10 hours a week, for the city library, and my check was for $9.43. I will never forget that amount.
    The cashier refused to cash my check because I did not have enough money in my account at the bank. My new savings account only had $5. Now remember, this was my first paycheck, and it was for $9. You would have thought that the teller would have cashed the check. It wasn’t for an outrageous amount of money and I have NEVER ever stepped foot in that bank again. I took my $5 out and closed the account. I only started saving again regularly since I got an online account with ING.

  • Money Saving Man

    “I learned that money came as a result of work.” This is true for me too. I worked jobs with low hourly wages where an hour of work could be tied to a few dollars of earnings. I could see that going to the movies would cost me about 2 hours in work.

  • Dave C

    I am in my 43. To all you 18-25 year olds out there, put as much as you can into your 401k now. You will be happy years down the road.

  • elaine

    I know how to save my money. I put aside at least 10% of my paycheck into a savings, as a way to pay myself first. I give myself a monthly budget and usually meet it, unless there are emergency (i.e. car breaks down) or special occasions (i.e. Christmas or birthdays, or folks in town). I have another account just for vacation as well. When I was 18, I saved enough money to study abroad for a summer in Paris, including my expenses there. It was rewarding and is something that that I’m proud of. On the other hand, I am the way I am thanks to my parents. Because my parents are frivolous spenders, I feel the need to save even more. My mom always likes to have what others have, a sucker for marketing schemes, and likes shopping. My dad likes to shop online, own the newest and coolest gadgets in town to show off. I’d learn at a young age that if my parents are spending, somebody needs to be saving. That makes me and my siblings excellent savers, and till this day, we’re a positive on our accounts, meanwhile, our parents are the kids. We pay for our parents credit card bills, mortgage, and even give them allowances.