CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — If your kids aren’t learning budgeting and healthy money habits just yet, there’s no better time to start than today.
To celebrate April as National Financial Literacy Month, State Bank of Southern Utah reached out to all high schools in their service area to encourage teens to enter an essay contest.
Students were asked to visit the bank’s Dollars & Sense online financial literacy program and complete a module on budgeting, then write a 500-word essay on what they learned and how they would apply it to their life. The contest generated over 60 submissions.
Kaden Racker from St. George Academy and Riley Johnson from Parowan High School were chosen as the winners. Everyone won an Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headset.
State Bank of Southern Utah digital marketing manager Tony Walser said their two essays showed a full understanding and implementation of the “50-30-20” rule for budgeting, but in a different way.
The Dollars & Sense program teaches that 50% of a person’s income is generally allocated for needs such as rent and utilities, 30% can be used for needs such as dining out and shopping, and 20% must be invested in savings.
Kaden adapted the method to better suit his needs. As a teenager living at home with his parents, he instead earmarked money that would otherwise be spent on housing as savings, creating a “40-30-30” rule.
“He put critical thinking into it and was able to set his own budget that would fit his life,” Walser said.
Riley, on the other hand, took the budgeting method and provided specific examples of what he would allocate to each category, such as a car payment, going to the movies with friends, and ordering takeout. He also outlined areas where he would tighten his budget and sacrifice some wants.
“He gets a soda every day from Maverik and suggested he might give it up to save up for the things he needs,” Walser said.
The State Bank of Southern Utah created the Dollars and senses online education program for teaching parents and children various aspects of financial literacy. Self-paced learning modules, lasting up to 10 minutes each, cover topics such as building financial capability, making prudent investments, owning a home, and preparing for retirement. This wealth of information on sound financial habits is available free of charge to all members of the community, not just bank customers.
Financial independence begins with a student account with the State Bank of Southern Utah. Using a debit card and having access to a digital account makes day-to-day money management easier while laying the foundation for healthy financial habits.
The student account is available to all children under 25 and offers easy online registration, no monthly fees and a minimum opening deposit of just $10. High school students can choose to personalize their debit card to show school spirit at no additional cost, with themed cards featuring more than 20 local schools from Richfield to Snow Canyon.
“We just want kids to learn about finance,” Walser said. “It’s something they need to know before they graduate, go to college, and live on their own. The earlier they learn, the better prepared they will be for success.
Serving the community since 1957, State Bank of Southern Utah is the only financial institution owned, operated and based in Southern Utah. It holds over $2.2 billion in assets and operates 16 branches in 14 cities and towns: Cedar City, Circleville, Delta, Escalante, Fillmore, Gunnison, Hurricane, Kanab, Orderville, Parowan, Richfield, Santa Clara, St. George and Tropic.
State Bank of Southern Utah has thrived by focusing on the needs of its customers for over 60 years. The bank was founded with a mission to empower individuals and businesses to take control of their financial destinies, thereby improving the quality of life for all members of the community.
For more information on the State Bank of Southern Utah, visit their website. The bank is an equal housing lender and member of the FDIC.
Written by ALEXA MORGAN for St. George News.
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