High School Senior Sherilyn Bogatz will start college next year, but her mother Diana's not waiting to teach her daughter personal finance 101. "How to write a check, the difference between a debit card and a credit card, and try to save your money," says Diana about what her daughter needs to learn about money. Teens especially have a lot to learn. Only half of high school students in a recent survey correctly answered questions about saving, budgeting, and retirement. Diana's banking on a money camp to make Sherilyn cash savvy. But you can find year-round programs in East Texas that are just as effective. In fact, kids are finding one program at Texas Bank and Trust pretty "cool." "Kids understand money and they learn at an early age how to spend it. And we're just hoping with this program we can turn around and help them learn how to save it as well," says Karen Partee, Executive Vice President of Business Development at Texas Bank and Trust and Coordinator of the bank's Cool Kids Savings Club. "My mom just kept saying, 'Zach you need to quit spending money, you need to quit spending money, you're going to burn holes in my pockets too!'," says 11-year-old Zachary Myers. Zachary and friend, Landry Pepper, are members of the bank's Cool Kids Savings Club and immediately started exercising good money habits. "You put the date you made the deposit or withdrawal, you write down how much money you deposit into it, and you write how much money your balance is," says Zachary, explaining how he balances his register. "I won a lot of things in money so I put that in my account," says Landry. The 10-year-old says he's saving his money for college tuition, hoping to one day play football at the University of Texas. In just two months he's saved $97.38. Laura Levine is with Jump$tart Coalition, a financial literacy organization. She says programs like these are growing in popularity...and that's good news because many schools don't cover the topic and parents aren't always the best teachers. "They've made mistakes with their own money and so they don't feel ready to teach their kids about personal finance," says Levine. As kids like Zachary and Landry continue to grow their savings, getting a head start now, means a lifelong return on investment later.
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