It's National Teach Your Child to Save Day

It's National Teach Your Child to Save Day

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Carole Mikita Reporting Students across the state broke away from their usual reading writing and arithmetic today, they were talking in dollars.

Today is National Teach your Child to Save Day. Bank representatives from across the state visited schools to teach students the potential value in that weekly allowance.

Eisenehower Junior High students found themselves looking at the cost of cars and apartments, not things they would normally buy. After today, however, students had slightly different motivations on their minds.

As part this national effort, students were taught some of life's important lessons.

Gabriel Perez, Zions Bank: “I think this is a really good way to help the families, starting with the kids, to learn the importance of saving.”

According to a recent survey American teenagers spend an average of 91 dollars a week, that adds up to almost 170 billion dollars each year, about eight percent more than just five years ago. University of Utah sociology professor Theresa Martinez says the teenage spending trend is something society has created.

Theresa Martinez, Associate Professor of Sociology: “They’re given bigger allowances and more money to spend. And also their parents were raised in the baby boom so they are letting their children make more decisions than perhaps a parent raised in the depression would be.”

Martinez is quick to point out these developed habits can be broken, an effort the Utah legislature hopes to encourage with last year's passing of Senate Bill 154. Beginning with the graduating class of 2008, high school students will be required to complete a mandatory course in personal finance.

Theresa Martinez,, Associate Professor of Sociology: “We've started a pattern that needs to be broken and we are capable of it. I think we need to give kids a lot more credit. I hear 'oh there are kids that are spending.' They can learn and they will learn, parents just need to take the initiative."

That initiative is something Martinez believes will benefit students in the long run. She had some suggestions. She says it is important to lay a sensible foundation early, teaching them responsible spending habits. She recommends if the purchase is something to eat, wear or drink, avoid the plastic -- save the debit or credit cards for the big purchases. Finally, as a parent don't bail your children out every time they need money. Although progress may be gradual and slow the best way to learn is through experience.

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