Teaching youth to save: an important step to securing their futures

Published 7:00 am Friday, April 28, 2017

By John M. Hariston, CEO and President of Hancock Bank

One of the best ways to help our children have secure financial futures is teaching them how to save money now.

April 28 is National Teach Children to Save Day, which provides a focused opportunity for you to take time to help a child understand the importance of starting good savings habits early in life. Many of my fellow Hancock Bank associates and I are doing our part at home and in our communities this month. So far, we have helped more than 2,600 students across the Mississippi Gulf Coast learn how and why to start saving now; and we look forward to working with more schools to complement the lessons our local educators work hard to impart every day.

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You can teach your children good savings habits at home. Our Hancock Bank associates use several simple ideas to prepare our children for financial well-being:

Make saving fun. By creating a savings program, you help your child learn how to save and make choices. Teach them to set aside money for short- and long-term goals. A short-term goal might be involve a small savings container with a picture of a toy. A long-term goal might warrant a bigger container with a picture of a Walt Disney World vacation.

Open a savings account. Plan a visit to your local bank to talk to an associate about savings, open a savings account, and see how a bank works.

With a savings account, your child will learn how interest adds up. As an incentive to save more, offer your child rewards; and recognize and reward

them for reaching their goals. This exercise also helps children grasp how money grows with saving and disappears with spending.

Match funds. If you are able to do so, matching what your child saves—partially or dollar-for-dollar—is a great way to motivate them to save extra money and gives an early glimpse at the benefits of an employer’s match for retirement savings such as a 401k.

Set up a budget. Start with three categories:  spend, save and give. By teaching your child how to prioritize, you help them build self-discipline. They also begin to understand the importance of long-term saving programs such as investment accounts, short-term savings for more immediate needs or wants, and the real-life community impacts of giving to charities.

Since 2014, Hancock and Whitney Bank have reached more than 32,300 students through Financial Cents, the bank’s web-based financial education program powered by EverFi, a national leader in education technology. In celebration, the bank received the Financial Capability Innovation Award presented by EverFi for our ongoing commitment to financial education.

At Hancock Bank, we know that financially capable children usually grow up to be financially secure adults. By making savings a regular conversation topic at your house, you can teach your children that good money management starts early, lasts a lifetime, and ultimately makes our community stronger.