#happylife: Money Jar program helps kids learn to save from an early age

#happylife: Money Jar program helps kids learn to save from an early age
FreeImages.com/Marcelo Moura
1. Save 10 percent of your income for retirement. This might have been true for baby boomers as they came of working age, but millennials and younger workers should realistically be saving about 20 percent for retirement. Life spans are longer, and there's a chance Social Security will not be what it is today 30 years from now.

Do you remember when you received your first crisp, green dollar bill for the very first time? A handful of coins as your first allowance? These days instead of racing out the door to spend it on candy and toys, parents are trying to encourage their kids to save as costs for things like college continue to increase.

“It’s a big deal, we like to encourage savings,” explained Spokane mom and STCU employee Carmen Murphy, “it’s just important because it gives a lifelong skill, that even today that’s what my husband and I try to do

Carmen and her husband started teaching their 7-year old son Declan Murphy about the value of a dollar and hard work from a very young age.

“Gosh, he was probably 2,” exclaimed Carmen.

Every week, Declan has the option to perform chores in exchange for cash.

The seven-year old shared, “I clean the bathroom sink, sort my laundry, vacuum.”

“If he does all of his chores like he is supposed to, he gets $4,” added mom.

That leaves $2 for fun and giving back. To help him understand the concepts of saving and sharing better, Declan uses a “money jar” he received from STCU. The financial institution passes them out elementary school classes around Spokane as they learn about money. Each money jar is divided up in to 3 sections, spend, save and share. When save fills up, they encourage families to visit a branch and deposit that money as they have a reward system in place.

If they haven’t visited your child’s school, money jars are easy to make at home too. Take 3 empty mason jars and label them accordingly.

While some parents might say the save money should go toward a first car, house or college, that isn’t the case in the Murphy household. Carmen wants Declan to see his hard work pay off for the little things too.

“If you see something you want, you can absolutely have it, but you need to be responsible and save for it.”

Carmen says counting money and dividing it up for spending and giving has helped him in school. Going to the store and making purchases on his own, he’s started to understand taxes, and getting ready for an upcoming trip to Ireland he’s learning about foreign currency.

He’s also been talking with friends, and learning it might be time to ask for a pay increase.

“Ii feel like i need a raise because I have had $4 for the years so I think it’s time for more money and more chores,” shared Declan.

As for mom?

“Maybe when he is 10.”

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