Encouraging the Discipline of Saving
By John Ryan
CSBS President and CEO
I am a big believer in encouraging savings. The discipline of saving is critical to success.
Starting young is important. I can remember my first savings account. I earned money from delivering newspapers. I still remember the sense of accomplishment when I collected the subscription dues and walked into my local bank to deposit my earnings and get my savings book stamped.
These days, newspapers are often read online. And if the paper is delivered, payment is usually made online. The traditional savings account has likewise changed with the advancements of financial technology-made deposits. But even when the method of earnings and savings changes, the discipline stays the same.
Yesterday marked the end of Financial Literacy Month, and it is a good time to reflect on how to emphasize the importance of saving, regardless of the vehicle. It is a time for financial corporations, nonprofits and government agencies – including state bank regulators – to promote educational initiatives and resources.
That is why CSBS is a longstanding member of the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, which coordinates the work of hundreds of businesses and state and local governments for Financial Literacy Month. I am proud to be on the board of such a notable organization. Jump$tart helps states across the nation help consumers identify better financial habits, increase their savings and plan for retirement.
State banking agencies recognize the importance of starting savings behavior early. Many of them are working with Jump$tart and with other agencies within their state to target financial education to youth. Here are some examples:
Pennsylvania Secretary of Banking and Securities Secretary Robin Wiessmann this month has tackled financial capability – the comprehensive analysis of an individual’s skill sets, knowledge base and behaviors as they relate to their finances – by providing free consumer outreach and investor education events throughout the states. And Pennsylvania targeted high school and college students with a new program called the FinLit Forum, which, in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, Insurance Department and Attorney General’s Office, held forums at area schools to teach students basics like the basics of banking and budgeting, how to understand credit scores and how to avoid scams and identity theft.
The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions - in collaboration with its state treasurer’s office, Jump$tart Washington Coalition and the Financial Education Public-Private Partnership - promoted financial education for students across the state. The department has also bundled access to financial resources like budgeting and saving, credit and debt and health care and mortgages – into a single site.
The Idaho Department of Finance joined with the Idaho Financial Literacy Coalition – an affiliate of Jump$tart – in a contest for third through sixth graders who compete in creating the most beautiful piggy bank. Winners earned $75 towards higher education. The department also offers free financial education programs to students, senior citizens and community groups, as well as a program providing education for un-banked and under-banked individuals throughout the year.
These are among many initiatives that state regulators are offering across the nation. We are committed to the financial health of citizens and educating youth about savings. Our approach may be different than in years past, but the message is the same. The discipline of saving is critical to success.