SOURCE: BMO Harris Bank

April 08, 2014 07:00 ET

BMO Harris Bank Study Shows Illinois Parents Ahead of National Average in Opening Bank Accounts for Their Child

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - Apr 8, 2014) -

  • 84 percent of parents with young children in Illinois have or plan to open a bank account for their young one, versus 74 percent nationally
  • BMO Harris Bank will launch Talk With Our Kids About Money Day on April 30th in Chicago
  • BMO Harris Bank also marking Money Smart Week and Teach Children to Save Day with various financial education events around the country
  • New BMO Harris Bank "Your Financial Life" hub provides tips for parents on saving, smart spending and raising a financially savvy family

BMO Harris Bank is marking national Money Smart Week (April 5-12) and Teach Children to Save Day (April 11), as well as the launch of Talk With Our Kids About Money Day (April 30), with a new report on how many American parents are opening bank accounts for their children.

The new study from BMO Harris Bank found 84 percent of parents with young children have, or are planning to open a bank account for their child, ten percent above the national average. A majority of parents in Illinois (51 percent) will open the account before their child turns five. Sixteen percent will not open an account, compared to the national average of 26 percent.

The survey, which polled parents with children under ten and Americans who are planning to have their first child in the next five years, also found in Illinois:

  • Thirteen percent of parents have opened or plan to open an account when their child is between the ages of 5 and 9
  • One in 10 (11 percent) have opened or will open an account when their child is between 10 and 12
  • Seven percent have opened or will open an account when their child is 13 and 17

"Our results show that Illinois parents are ahead of the curve with a key pillar of financial literacy -- teaching your child to save," said Julie Curran, Regional President, Chicago Metro South, BMO Harris Bank. "The more parents can engage their children in making financial decisions the better. It can be something as simple as a piggy bank in the early years, and then eventually walking them through how to invest that money."

The study was released to coincide with two important financial literacy events, Money Smart Week and Teach Children to Save Day, and in advance of TWOKAM.

Talk With Our Kids About Money Day (TWOKAM), established by the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education and sponsored by BMO Harris Bank, is a program aimed at supporting teachers, parent and guardians to talk about finances with kids. The program will have its U.S. launch in Chicago -- after a successful pilot in Canada last year -- and will engage dozens of Grade 7 classes across Chicago Public Schools in a special lesson plan related to money.

Money Smart Week, an annual event originated in 2002 by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, aims to increase awareness about personal finance among consumers. Through partner organizations, the event has grown in reach and scope and is now recognized across the U.S. Teach Your Children to Save Day was established by the American Bankers Association in 1997, providing students with lessons on the importance of saving.

This year's Money Smart Week will be held April 5 to 12, and hundreds of adults and children in communities served by BMO Harris will take part in activities ranging from money management seminars to the Money Smart Kid Essay Contest. There will also be 44 mortgage events nationwide, ranging in topics from "Understanding Your Credit" to "Steps to Homeownership."

BMO Harris offers the following tips for parents and children on how to start to be a smart saver and investor from an early age through later teenage years:

The Early Years: The Value of Saving

  • As soon as children start to collect a few coins and understand the value of money, open a savings account for them and explain how interest works.
  • Focus on a specific goal (such as buying a video game or a bike), which can make it easier for kids to set aside the money.
  • Suggest children save at least part of the cash they receive -- for birthdays, holidays or jobs -- for something they really want.
  • This stage is also an opportunity to teach them about the importance of giving back. Explain to them how donations work, and find one or two organizations that tie into their specific interests. Instilling a sense of charity early on will help broaden their sense of the value of money.

Taking Action: Learn the Marketplace

  • Talk about the concept of risk and the importance of having a balanced investment portfolio. Use language they understand and keep to key, simple concepts.
  • Explain that purchasing a stock means they own a small piece of a company and the value of the stock can go up or down.
  • Show them how to read stock prices online. If you have an online investing account, walk them through your portfolio and explain to them the rationale for your portfolio's composition and any trades/changes you make.

Getting Real: Becoming an Investor

  • Once the groundwork has been set, have kids invest a small sum of money in a few stocks they were previously tracking and perhaps offer to match any gains the child makes in their stock picks.
  • Teach kids about the different savings and investing instruments available to them, such as 504 Plans and money market accounts for longer-term purchases.

For more information about planning for the next Life Stage, visit

Survey results cited in this release are from a Pollara survey commissioned by BMO Harris Bank with an online sample of 1,500 Americans between November 22nd and 29th, 2013. This includes 993 interviews with parents of children under 10 and 507 interviews with Americans who expect to have their first child in the next 5 years. The margin of error for a probability sample of this size is ± 2.5 percent, 19 times out of 20.

About BMO Harris Bank
BMO Harris Bank provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through more than 600 branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Arizona and Florida. BMO Harris Bank's commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the U.S. For more information about BMO Harris Bank, go to the company fact sheet. Banking products and services are provided by BMO Harris Bank N.A. and are subject to bank or credit approval. BMO Harris Bank® is a trade name used by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization with approximately 1,600 branches, and CDN $593 billion in assets (as of January 31, 2014).

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