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Published: Wednesday, 6/17/2009

Area workshops bank on kids financial success

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Seth Casey, 8, left, and Austin Bailey, 11, wait to have their names written on their Moonjar Moneyboxes by Toddler School Director Jenny Lewis at Lagrange Branch Library. Seth Casey, 8, left, and Austin Bailey, 11, wait to have their names written on their Moonjar Moneyboxes by Toddler School Director Jenny Lewis at Lagrange Branch Library.
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Save some. Spend some. Share some.

It sounds like a simple concept, but Dona Graves, director of education for Community Credit Counseling in Toledo, has met plenty of adults who never learned to do it.

I have parents who call me every week and say, Send me something to teach my children. I don t want them to end up in credit card debt. I don t want them to end up like me, she said.

That s precisely why she s traveling across northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, teaching children as young as preschool about managing their money.

The experts say you should start at 3 years old talk about money when you re at the store, talk about money when you re at the bank, and start savings accounts, Ms. Graves said. Over half of the kids who start savings accounts will become big savers.

She was at the Lagrange Branch Library in north Toledo last week showing kids how to take the money they get for allowance or birthday gifts and divide it among a three-slotted bank earmarked for saving, spending, and sharing.

This is the right tool, Ms. Graves said of the three-sectioned Moonjar Moneybox, which the kids put together to take home.

Reed Bennett, an employee with National City Bank, shows Nonye Williams, 8, left, and April Galloway, 10, how to make a Moonjar Moneybox as part of a lesson on how to manage money. Reed Bennett, an employee with National City Bank, shows Nonye Williams, 8, left, and April Galloway, 10, how to make a Moonjar Moneybox as part of a lesson on how to manage money.
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It was created by a teacher who learned that just saving can be depressing to kids because they feel like they can never spend it, she said.

At the 45-minute workshop, the youngsters started by closing their eyes and imagining something special they wanted to buy. Then Ms. Graves asked them what it meant to save.

It means you save money for other stuff you want to buy, one boy said. If you didn t save it, you wouldn t have the money to get it.

When the conversation turned to spending, they talked both about spending money on things you want and on things you don t have much choice about.

What do you have to spend money on? Ms. Graves asked.

Your bills, like Toledo Edison, 8-year-old Karrington Jackson-Laster volunteered.

They also talked about sharing and how it s important to use some of their money for that too.

How does it make you feel when you share? Ms. Graves asked.

Good, the kids said.

And how does it make the person you shared with feel?

Happy, they said.

Jenny Lewis, director of Toddlers School, 3580 Lagrange St., brought a group of children to the workshop. She said they planned to focus on the sharing aspect, saving money at the day care center this summer, and voting on an organization to which to donate it.

Karrington said she came to the program because it sounded interesting and it s always good to learn something new.

National City Bank, which supported the Moonjar workshop with a financial contribution, also took the opportunity to encourage the kids to open a savings account at a big bank when they had filled their Moonjars.

The cool thing is it s your money. You decide how you want to spend it and how you want to save it, said Ramsey Reid, branch office manager at National City s Reynolds Road location.

National City is promoting a Youth Saves program that enables youngsters who open a savings account at National City with at least $5 and deposit at least $15 a month to earn an extra $15 from the bank after the first three months and another $15 after the second three months.



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