Students get lesson in spending, saving

Posted April 15, 2009, at 8:31 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:49 a.m.

HOULTON, Maine — With a sluggish economy taking a toll on household budgets, financial experts are urging people to have money saved to back up their regular paychecks.

Some adults, however, find themselves never having learned how to save money properly, and that is something that Katahdin Trust Co. wants to prevent.

Throughout the first half of April, officials from the bank have been reaching out to local schoolchildren to teach them good spending and saving habits. The lessons, taught by bankers from the company, are part of an annual initiative called National Teach Children to Save Day.

Vicki Smith, senior vice president of the company, oversees the bank’s efforts in delivering the program. She said in a telephone interview Wednesday that bank officials and the children they teach are excited to take part.

“We do the program early because schools are on vacation on April 21, which is when the event officially takes place,” she said. “We had 963 students take part in the initiative this year, and we will have done 33 presentations by the end of the day on Friday.”

Schools visited this year have included Hill Top School in Caribou, Caribou Middle School, Pine Street Elementary School in Presque Isle, Eagle Lake Elementary School, Katahdin Middle-High School in Stacyville, Fort Street Elementary School in Mars Hill, Houlton Elementary School, and Gateway Elementary School in Van Buren.

The initiative is coordinated through the efforts of the American Bankers Association Educational Foundation.

This is the 13th year of the event.

Smith said this year’s effort has reached what is likely the largest number of students.

“This is such a great program,” she said. “The kids really get exposed to trying to save money and make wise spending decisions. Our employees also get to spend time with the children, and they always have a great time.”

Smith added that the lessons taught by the bank officials could last a lifetime.

“The students who take part in this really love it,” she said. “It really is important because it teaches children how important it is to save. They can carry those skills with them into adulthood.”

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