Five is the magic number for the Kelly family.
That's because the two youngest members know that whenever they receive money, they have to divide the total sum by five.
Carter, 11, and Shane, 9, are allowed to keep $1 out of every $5 they receive for their weekly allowance and any money they get for birthdays and holidays, but the rest is earmarked for savings. It’s an important life lesson that their parents hope will set up their sons for financial success in adulthood.
“I think the discipline of saving is a behavior and an approach that you can carry on to other aspects of your life, and that’s something that my wife and I are really trying to instill in them now,” said Patrick Kelly, TD Bank’s Consumer Deposit Engagement Manager.
These are some of the lessons that are being reinforced in the America Saves Week, an event that the bank is participating in this year, to encourage community focus on individual financial wellness and positive behaviors for savings. This national campaign serves as a call to action for everyday Americans to commit to saving successfully by setting realistic goals and making a plan to achieve better financial stability.
Introducing kids to saving
Patrick Kelly and his wife have opened savings accounts for their sons and give them opportunities to make money by doing chores and cleaning their rooms. One-fifth of that money can be spent on whatever they want, typically baseball cards or sports equipment, but the rest stays in the savings accounts to grow over time.
For Carter, the more frugal of the two boys, accruing interest on savings has highlighted the rewards of patience.
“If he gets a few cents of interest a month, he’s so captivated by the fact that the bank put money in his account,” Kelly said.
TD's digital banking portal has also helped with making the act of saving more relevant and tangible. The boys enjoy viewing their account balances online, and even transfer money with the help of Kelly and his wife.
Mike Kinane, TD Bank’s Head of Consumer Deposits, Products and Payments, said that when parents open savings accounts for kids, they’re also opening the door to future conversations about the way adults save, including retirement accounts, health-savings accounts and emergency funds.
As kids see their savings accounts grow, parents can talk to them about how saving early and consistently makes the big-ticket items they’ll want later – a first car, a college education or the down payment on a home – more easily obtainable, Kinane said.
“The educational component certainly is a big factor in this, and rightfully so,” Kinane said. “It’s no secret that there’s a lot fewer families saving for short-term goals and long-term goals than we’d like to see in this country, and there are statistics showing that a lot of families don’t have enough money to cover a basic emergency.”
Illustrating the benefits of saving
Last year, the Kelly family’s kitchen and HVAC system needed repairs, and the couple shared with their children that they were able to handle those unexpected expenses because of their commitment to saving.
The family’s recent experience shopping for a new car provided yet another opportunity to talk about saving. Yes, the family could afford the expensive car the boys had picked out, their parents told them, but by compromising and buying a more affordable car, the family could continue saving for important things.
It’s all part of an ongoing discussion with the boys about the things they want vs. the things they need. Whenever the boys want to buy something costing $20 or more, for example, they have to wait two weeks, a simple rule that prevents impulsive purchases.
Similarly, the family has talked about the sacrifices they’ve made to save money for the boys’ college education, and how being disciplined about money management is allowing them to achieve their financial goals.
“You’re not going to share all the financial details, but you want them to know that things happen unexpectedly in life, and if you’re disciplined in your approach today, you’re going to be able to navigate through those times when they happen,” Kelly said. “But if you’re not disciplined, you’re going to be scrambling when those things happen.”
To learn more about how to save with TD Bank, please visit us here.