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Teaching kids early to be financially responsible

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It's never to soon to start helping your child develop good money management skills. (April 29, 2011 / WRDW-TV)

News 12 This Morning at 6 o'clock / Friday, April 28, 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga. --- Handling your finances is hard enough when you're a grownup. Some bright 5th graders at Freedom Park Elementary School took on the challenge to learn more about their finances.

Ms. Heintz's fifth graders are a long way from writing out checks and paying utility bills. For now it's basic arithmetic and a simple banking lesson.

"We're learning how to pay bills, how to pay them online or at the bank," said student Billy Adams.

Manipulating the numbers is easy for Adams. He even has quite the savings account to prove it. "What I usually do is I split part of it," explained Adams. "Put most of it in my piggy bank. Take about a third of it and spend it on what I want."

His teacher Christine Heintz said, "They have money. They need to know how to use it. They are handling more money."

Heintz says some of her students are already using pre-paid plastic cards. According to some reports, teenagers are spending $172 billion, yet many high school students are still financially illiterate.

So bank volunteers from Wells Fargo are teaching the fifth graders at an early age how to protect their money and not go into debt. "Sometimes these children are dealing with lunch money; they have to come up with a system that works for them," said Heintz.

"I keep it in this little can. It's like a hiding place I found," said another student.

Whether it's a bank or a tin can, these students are saving with the future in mind. Adams added, "I have about $300 saved up in my bank. I plan to save most of it for college."

Many banks have savings account you can set up for your children. Check with your local bank. Bankers recommend opening one up when they are around five years old.


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