Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah
image Mary Whitaker of Zions Bank (left) taught second graders at West Elementary School about being financially responsible on April 25 in honor of Teach Children to Save Day. photo courtesy of Elizabeth Neff

May 2, 2013
Tooele students learn to be savvy savers from Zions Bank

Second grade students at West Elementary School learned how to get fiscally fit when Mary Whitaker of Zions Bank visited them on April 25 in honor of National Teach Children to Save Day.

Students in Rebecca Hall’s class engaged in hands-on activities about budgeting, earning interest, and understanding the difference between needs and wants.

The students’ parents also received information about a new website developed by Zions Bank called Financialize by 18. The website, www.zionsbank.com/financialize, shows parents how to turn everyday moments like grocery shopping into lessons for financial success. It also hosts age-appropriate coloring pages, worksheets and interactive games for children and teens ranging from birth to 18 years.

Whitaker is among some 200 Zions Bank employees who are visiting local schools in Utah and Idaho to teach nearly 15,000 students. Now in its 17th year, National Teach Children to Save Day is an outreach program offered through the American Bankers Association Education Foundation.

The bank-wide effort and Financialize by 18 website come as lawmakers, educators and business community members like Zions Bank are striving to improve financial literacy education in Utah.

Signed into law by the governor on March 27, Senate Bill 43 establishes a task force that will recommend changes to the financial literacy course created for Utah high school students in 2008. The legislation encourages tracking the financial literacy of students from kindergarten through 12th grade, and directs the task force to examine community partnerships as a way to enhance teacher efforts.

Julie Felshaw, economics and financial education specialist with the Utah State Office of Education, believes volunteer efforts from local bankers and tools for parents like the new Financialize by 18 website can make a difference in students’ financial success.

The T. Rowe Price “Parents, Kids and Money” survey released in 2012 found parents are more willing to discuss bullying, drugs and relationships with their children than finances, yet children ages 8 to 14 are eager to receive financial education.

“Kids like to learn about money because they see the things their parents do with it,” Felshaw said. “They can be very impressionable and often pattern money habits from examples seen at home. Giving parents tools to teach their children the importance of setting financial goals and understanding willpower is essential.”

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