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Bank survey says most parents are teaching financial savings

This week is national Money Smart week and Friday is Teach Your Children to Save day.

A new BMO Harris Bank survey says a lot of parents are already getting their kids to put money in the bank.

"It was quite interesting to find out that about 70 percent of parents have begun that process already," said BMO Harris president Steve Johnson.

He said that parents should start savings accounts for their children at around five years old.

"Quite honestly, you want to have that foundation built quickly, so that your children can really understand the value of money," Johnson said.

Every time your children receive money for a birthday or a holiday, they can sock some away in savings, as Johnson suggests.

"Of course, you want your kids to enjoy that money, and go out and buy a game or a toy with that money," he said. "But if you put a small percentage, maybe 10 to 20 percent of that money, into a savings account...that will continue to add up."

Johnson said that the teen years may be a good time to start teaching your kids about the benefits and risks of investing in the stock market.

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About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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