Young kids learn about the value of saving money

A group of 2 to 5-year-olds had some interesting answers when the deputy commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Commerce visited them at a local library last week and asked what they save money for.

One child said, “Jesus and church.” Another replied they want a spaceship.

Emily Johnson Piper, deputy commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Commerce, visited with kids ages 2 to 5 during Northtown Library’s “Story Time” session the morning of Feb. 25 to talk about the value of savings. Photos by Eric Hagen

Emily Johnson Piper, deputy commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Commerce, visited with kids ages 2 to 5 during Northtown Library’s “Story Time” session the morning of Feb. 25 to talk about the value of savings. Photos by Eric Hagen

These children are many years away from having to make big money decisions, but Minnesota Department of Commerce Deputy Commissioner Emily Johnson Piper visited the Northtown Library in Blaine during a morning story time session Feb. 25 with the understanding that these kids are at an impressionable age. She sees this in her four children, who range in age from 9 months to 7 years old.

“Once kids reach the tooth fairy age starting at 3 (years old), they start earning their own money. It’s important for them to understand that when you accumulate more money, you can save for bigger things,” Piper said.

Piper showed the kids a picture book titled “Just Saving Money” by Mercer Mayer that talks about a young boy’s wish to buy a skateboard. His father gives him chores such as feeding the dog, emptying the dishwasher, and cleaning his room. He also sets up a lemonade stand. His father takes him to the bank to deposit his savings. He still does not have enough money for a skateboard. By the time he does enough chores to afford one, his fixation changes to a robot dinosaur. He has to save even more money for that purchase, but he continues to save.

Piper’s visit was part of the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s partnership with the American Saves Week initiative. This week is set aside as a reminder for everyone, adults included, to reassess their financial situation and priorities.

More resources for Minnesotans “from Kindergarten to retirement” can be found at mn.gov/commerce/consumers/financial-literacy.

Piper told the kids that before they bring their savings to a bank, they should have a safe place at home to store their money.

Some of the kids already have places to put their money. One child said they have a piggy bank and a duck bank. Another kid puts his money in an empty paint can. But before they left, everyone was able to create their own money box that they could decorate with markers.

Jeana Hill of Coon Rapids brought her 17-month-old daughter Evelyn Hill and Gerald Boerboom, 5, to the presentation and came away impressed. She has a 6-year-old son that she has begun teaching about the value of saving money and being charitable.

“I’m trying to get them started young so they don’t end up in debt like a lot of people today,” Hill said. “I want these guys to know if you save up, you can get better things.”

Eric Hagen is at eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com

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