Yesterday, M finally got around to taking his birthday money over to the bank to open his own savings account. He brought me along to sign the paperwork.
I know he’s still a little bit young to really understand the concept of saving money, especially in a building other than your own home, which contains a perfectly good fishy bank for coin storage. He barely understands the concept of money, seeing as how his parents mostly use the swiping plastic kind of currency. But I’ve been teaching him more, and he’s been asking about that “green money” along with the differences between the various coins, and he always loves coming to the bank with me, so I figured it was time.
Now, there are pretty much two reasons that M likes the bank. One, he gets to flirt with all the bank tellers. And two, as a direct result of number one, they give him candy.
This time, we went in and he was so exited that he had his own extra special reason to go to the bank. We went to the teller and he told her, “I want to open a count.”
They are always enamored of him, and especially now. He told him about his birthday. How old he is. How much money he got for his new account. They gave him a picture of a piggy bank to color and mark what he was saving for. He says he wants a bike. Good thing he already has one of those.
Then we took a small amount of the birthday cash to the toy store, where he played with a Thomas the Tank Engine track, which is what he really wanted, but came home with a new green Hot Wheels car that he could actually afford at $1.04, which he paid for all on his own.
So even though he’s still quite young, I think it’s important to get him in the habit of paying for his own wants or delaying his gratification until Christmas or birthdays or grandparents’ visits. Because if we could all learn how to manage our money and avoiding the debt pitfalls that come with clinging to the child’s “I need that right now” mentality, the world might be a little bit better off, economically speaking.