Life Milestone: First bank account

I remember opening my first bank account at the Key Bank on Kensington Avenue in Buffalo, NY. I think it was 1987, so I was 7 years old. From that point on I don’t think I spent any money. You’ve heard those jokes about grown ups still having their First Communion money. That was totally me!

A few months ago, we started giving Christopher an allowance for doing chores. He’s been saving his money in his piggy bank, and he loves to take it out and count it. He has spent some of it on a video game, a Baymax toy, and to take his babysitter bowling one afternoon. But with all of the dollars from his allowance and his lemonade stand earnings, the pig was getting pretty full.

This past weekend I casually mentioned that maybe it was time to open a bank account. He wanted to go right away. All week he begged to go to the bank. Tuesday night he even took all of his money out of the piggy bank and put it in a Ziploc bag, so he’d be all ready to go.

We were going to go on Friday because the bank is open late, and I wouldn’t have to rush home from work, or Jim wouldn’t have to stop working early. Thursday during lunch I checked the bank website and discovered that they are open late on Thursdays and Fridays. I called to make sure they had child accounts and to find out what I’d need to bring.

Then it rained, and we didn’t have soccer practice on Thursday night. Christopher couldn’t wait any longer, I gave in, and we went to the bank. AFTER I double checked to make sure he understood what it meant to open a bank account. “They’ll keep my money.” and “I want it to be safe.”

He was SO excited on the way over and waiting when we got there. The banker was wonderful. She talked to Christopher mostly and only to me when necessary. He thoroughly enjoyed the lollipop. He was very excited about the coin counting machine, although a little confused that the machine was taking his money, and it wasn’t being put “in his account”. I said they’d get the money out of the machine later to add to his account, but that the receipt would tell them how much money he had in coins. Luckily there was a vault door open and some safe deposit boxes visible, so I kind of made it seem like those were the “accounts.”

We took the dollars and the receipt to the bank teller, and she again talked to Christopher. He got another sucker while she made the transaction, and then he got a receipt. He was extremely proud that he remembered correctly that he had $46. $46.95 to be exact.

When we got home, he proclaimed, “That wasn’t very fun.” Ha! Of course not. I tried to explain about the bank lending his money to other people. Way over his head. But he was pretty excited about earning interest. The fact that his money will grow at the bank was pretty cool.

Jim was disappointed that he didn’t get a savings book. But he should get monthly statements, so we can keep track of the interest on my computer using Quicken. We’ll see how soon he’s asking to take the money back out or to add more money in. He did ask about buying Skylanders as we left the bank.

Do your kids have bank accounts? How old were they when you opened them? How do you keep them interested in saving? Or when did you get your first bank account?

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