My daughter Estelle used her last $2 coupon today to accompany a deposit she made into her savings account. She opened the account about four years ago, and at the time she was given a coupon book of $2 vouchers she could use every three months when making a deposit.
So for these past years we have dutifully driven to the bank once a quarter, on Saturday mornings, and walked up to the counter with some of her allowance money, the coupon, and a deposit slip. (After the first few times I would intentionally dawdle in filling out my own deposit slips and endorsing my own checks so that she would have to stand alone in line and interact with the teller herself.) I have read that the correlation between childhood savings and later financial literacy and security is sky-high. Setting up a savings account for a child seems like one of the biggest no-brainers out there. You Can Look Like A Wise Parent Even Though You Are Blowing Money Doing Things Like Watching DC United Get Blown Away By The New York Red Bulls, details at 11.
Anyway, I would like to report that this savings account and the deposit ritual have been meaningful for her, and that after these years I can see that she is more careful with her money and obviously takes the account seriously.
Well . . . when we set up the account she had very little interest in ever spending her allowance, and she still does not. She does not monitor the balance of the savings account, to my knowledge. She spends a bit of money on a book or a stuffed animal now and then; and she makes small donations to worthy causes, mostly at our suggestion; and that’s about it.
Has it been worth it? Maybe she will indeed be financially savvy and well-off as an adult, and this deposit ritual will have helped. Ask me in fifteen years.
And yes, our bank really did have a children’s account which included not merely a no-minimum-balance rule, but also these bonus vouchers. I write this in past tense because the bank, United Bank, based in West Virginia with branches here in the metro DC area, has discontinued the program. Fun while it lasted, and too good to endure . . . I may write another post about that soon. For now, I remark on the passing of this stage of my daughter’s childhood.