WEST VALLEY CITY — What do you get when you add a congressman and a banker to an elementary school class? A formula for a lesson on personal finances for kids.
Fourth-grade students in Jennifer Miller’s Spanish immersion class at Granger Elementary learned an important lesson Monday about finances taught by Rep. Ben McAdams, D-Utah, and Scott Anderson, president and CEO of Zions Bank.
"If they can learn a simple concept like delayed gratification … and setting their financial goals it will really help them prevent hardship and really find success and happiness," McAdams said.
He said delayed gratification is one of the best skills a child can learn, and it is something he teaches his own children.
"Learning fiscal responsibility matters whether you’re in a classroom, in a family budget, or the federal budget," McAdams said.
As he taught the fourth-graders, he told them balancing a family budget is like looking at the federal budget. McAdams told the children if they learn the simple lesson about finances, they will know more than Congress.
McAdams recently proposed a bill to prohibit the federal government from spending more than it receives.
"If we keep putting more and more of our spending on our debt, at some point that’s going to come back and that’s going to be bad for our country. … We also need to make sure that we don’t spend too much and get too far into debt because that could be harmful to our country,” McAdams told the class.
McAdams and Anderson taught the children about delayed gratification through a story about two twins, Alex and Carlos, who each wanted to buy a bike. Carlos made less money but saved everything and was able to buy a new mountain bike. Alex had a job and made more money, but spent more and ended up without enough money to buy the bike.
"Having money and being rich isn’t only about what you earn, it’s about how you spend,” McAdams told the students.
One student, Isayah Ojea, said sometimes he saves the money he receives from doing chores in the house, and sometimes he spends it.
"I want to save money when I grow up so … if something happens I’ll have enough money," Isayah said.
He said he learned if you don't spend money on what you want now, you can buy something you want later. Isayah said he would like to save money for a birthday present for his cousin.
Bankers from Zions Bank taught in classrooms Monday as part of National Teach Children to Save Day. Throughout the month they will teach almost 7,000 children in grades K-12 about fiscal responsibility.3 comments on this story
Anderson said in high schools they teach about budgeting and lending, and in elementary schools they focus on saving and money. He said the program is about preparing children for a career.
"It’s really important to start learning these skills now," Anderson said.
Anderson talked to the children about appreciating things that can't be bought, like family and nature, and saving money for things they need or want.
"I hope you’ll remember the importance of money and the importance of saving for things that you want,” Anderson said to the fourth-graders.