For children, learning how to save and spend money wisely now is a crucial part of avoiding the heavy burden of debt and creating financial security later, as they become adults. Studies have shown that people who acquire financial literacy in childhood are happier, healthier and more confident as adults. Nonetheless, most students graduate high school ill-prepared to manage their money.
Andson, Inc., a Nevada-based nonprofit, was established in 2009 to help children get a head start toward financial wellness by delivering innovative financial literacy programs to Clark County K–12 students, free of charge. One of their flagship programs is the Piggy Bank Project, a unique collaboration among Andson, United Way of Southern Nevada Young Philanthropist Society and the Silver State Schools Credit Union. Launched in 2012, this groundbreaking program is specially designed to provide hands-on financial literacy training at a time when healthy money behaviors can be more easily formed – when children are young.
More than 2,000 students at three elementary schools (grades 1–5) currently participate in Andson's year-round financial literacy program. At the same time, they're encouraged to put into practice what they learn by setting savings goals and making small deposits at a "bank" Andson sets up at their school. Those deposits are kept by the Silver State Schools Credit Union in savings accounts. At the end of 5th grade, students are given the option to convert their Piggy Bank savings into a regular savings account or withdraw them in the form of a check.
"Since 2012, Clark County elementary students have saved $160,187, and $71,369 of this was deposited during the 2015–16 school year alone," said Anthony McTaggart, co-founder and COO. "We're working to reach even more students through our Bank on Wheels–a mobile Piggy Bank we're developing to reach not only schools but libraries, community centers and additional locations throughout the county. As we do, we're providing kids important life skills about money that are key to building financial security for the future."