Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dear Old Dad


Thanks for the kind thoughts about our Wisconsin floods & the people affected. Luckily, the only place getting flooded at our place is the space around the Impossible-To-Hit-Toilet-Bowl in the downstairs bathroom. Hmmm...maybe if we SAT we'd have fewer sprinkles... Now, those poor Scouts in Iowa. Geez Louise!

Yesterday was a banner day for Mr. T. We went to the bank and opened up his first savings account with some of his birthday money. He's been asking to do this for a while and he was very pleased to get a savings book with his balance printed inside ($35!).

When I was young my father was a banker and it's no coincidence that I ate ten times my weight in Dum Dum suckers. I recall having a savings account--at age four I'd put my birthday money into it. By 5th grade half of my babysitting earnings were deposited. My dad kept the passbook in his dresser drawer and let me see it when I'd make deposits. Watching the number grow made me proud and encouraged me to save more. By high school that number grew exponentially as I took on a part time job and Dad still required saving half of my earnings for college. I was probably 14 when he handed over the passbook to me and told me it was now all my responsibility. I took out my first withdrawal in high school. I emptied the account towards the end of college to help pay for my first car loan. (A red Pontiac LeMans--hatchbacks rocked!)

Dad instilled in me an attitude of save first, spend second. He brought home complementary piggy banks from work and demonstrated how to live within a budget. I still have one of the ceramic piggy banks he gave me as a child and I vividly recall being a member of the Johnny Appleseed Club--remember when banks used characters to capture young customers? Mr. T and Mr. B received plastic purple piggy banks when Mr. T set up his account yesterday. Apparently the investment in young customers isn't what it once was. Our bank doesn't have a cool club or incentives for kids to start banking and saving. Even so, I'm glad to introduce Mr. T to banking. He's already excited to see that number in the passbook get bigger with his next deposit. He asked me how he gets the money out. I told him, "My dad said it's important to learn how to save first. We'll get to spending when you're ready just like he taught me when I needed to know." And just like my dad did, I'm keeping Mr. T's passbook in my dresser drawer until he's old enough.

I was lucky to have a dad around who taught me some of the basics about banking, saving, spending and earning. I hope to do as good a job with Team Testosterone.

13 comments:

  1. That's great. I'm just about to open checking accounts for the teens. Talk about scary!

    Melissa, do you have an e-mail just for blogging? If you could set one up at g-mail and put the address on your Blogger profile page (and check the box that makes the e-mail public), I could actually reply to some of your comments. So many times there is something I'd like to say, but no way to reach you!

    Except by leaving a totally off-topic comment on one of your posts, of course...

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  2. you've inspired me to open up a savings account for my oldest. it's definitely time.

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  3. We opened accounts for our girls last year and they've both done a good job of saving. It's such an important lesson to teach children and not one that many people learn.

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  4. Amen. My girls have had money market accounts for years. Banks DON'T have incentive programs anymore, BUT we used to match what the bank paid them in interest every month. (All our accounts are linked and we just shifted the money electronically.)

    Now that they're teens they each have a debit card with a checking account too. They deposit paychecks in their money market accounts and we move funds to their checking accounts upon request.

    Gah, that's a lot of info for a comment!

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  5. Good job of teaching the kids about saving! Very important.

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  6. I did that too, and we do it with our children...but that said my parents saved, and never enjoyed...so as I get older we treat ourselves more!

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  7. We are on the verge of openig an account for "The Boy". At his tender age of seven the talk of cars has already begun.

    Be afraid...I know I am. ;p

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  8. I remember those passbooks! I used to love keeping mine up to date. I made the mistake of letting my son get his own ATM card, and now his account balance is $7.
    Re: your comment at my site--you are welcome to use "Martha!" :)

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  9. I remember going to the bank to open my first account. My brother and I each had a large Ziploc baggie full of money we'd emptied from our piggy banks. And did you have those cardboard books that you slipped coins into? Ah.

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  10. Yay! I was intrigued to see some stats on how many grown-ups wished their parents had taken the time to teach them about money from savings to responsible use of credit--- here's to your first lesson!

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  11. I do all of the online banking transfers into the kids accounts so they are missing out on the passbook experience. Now I feel bad.

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  12. What a great role model you had there in your dad. I had the same passbook thing and my first set of china came from the Floral Park bank!

    Have been catching up on reading you since the net is up today and just love your comments about adjusting to summer life with the Bachelors 3.

    I don't know how to tell you this, but their aim does not significantly improve with age...my solution: got a urinal installed!

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  13. Our kids have their bank accounts set up so they can view them online also. Seeing the money seems to help them want the number to get bigger.

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Spill it, reader.