Watching an 8-minute video created by St. Mary’s Bank Credit Union, the first CU in the United States, about its history (thank you again Andrea!), I learned that from the very early days, the credit union had a kids savings program. Children walking home from school could stop at the credit union and deposit their pennies into a tin cup, and the savings were carefully recorded.
Here’s an idea: How about if in your credit union kid’s club, you paid a FANTASTIC rate of return for these tiny balances…. say they got a quarter back in one month for two dollars deposited as a term deposit. Yes, that’s a sky-high rate of return, but the credit union would cap this great rate on a maximum of $10 or $20, and limit it to only kids 14 years old or younger. Kids would be incredibly eager to save their money, and probably track the date of maturity like a hawk. What a boost, and good life lesson.
You could give this term deposit a fun name like the Lollypop Certificate, and explain to the kids they can use their quarter earnings on anything like, or of course, to reinvest it in more savings.
We know that kids have a very short attention span, and one week seems like a year to them. One month feels like a decade. And psychology 101 tells us that the sooner the reward comes after the desired behavior, the more connection there is between the two.
Let’s help our kids develop better savings habits by rewarding them big, and relatively swiftly. They will be thrilled with their earnings of a quarter, and the credit union will be paying out a relatively tiny amount.