August 2001


PR Newswire
(Copyright (c) 2001, PR Newswire

Washington, August 20/PRNewswire/ - The first Sunday after Labor Day (September 9th this year) is National Grandparents Day. For generations, grandparents have played an integral role in shaping and enriching the lives and values of their grandchildren. In observance of this holiday, the American Savings Education Council (ASEC) encourages grandparents to take a moment to share their money-saving tips and experiences with their grandchildren.

"In this day of ATMs, credit cards, and online shopping, grandparents have the chance to share some 'back-to-basics' money lessons with their grandchildren," said Don Blandin, president of ASEC. "A sneak peek into the 'old days' is a great way to build those intergenerational bonds on National Grandparents Day, and remind children about the value of saving."

"Statistics from the 2000 Census recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau show that 5.6 million grandparents currently live with their grandchildren, or about 3.5 percent of all grandparents in the United States," noted Dallas Salisbury, president and CEO of the Employee Benefit Research Institute. "More than ever, grandparents are in a position to affect their grandchildren's attitudes towards money on a daily basis -- positively or negatively."

Ways to teach grandchildren about money:

Regale them with stories from the past: What was life like when gas was below $1 a gallon and you could get into a movie with just 50 cents? How did you try to earn money when you were a kid? Did you encounter any financial hardships growing up? What did your family do for entertainment that was fun and free? Were you involved in a family business? Open up the conversation about money, and encourage your grandchildren to share their stories.

Participate in free or low-cost activities: Take your grandchildren for a picnic in the park, go listen to an outdoor concert, visit free museums, go for a bike ride, play board games that contain "money lessons" such as Monopoly or Life -- the list is endless and fun. Get creative and ask your grandchildren to come up with "free" ideas of their own and make it a date. Teach them that fun does not need to cost an arm and a leg.

Give financial gifts: At the next birthday or holiday, consider giving your grandchildren a "savings gifts" such as cash or a savings bond. You can also open a savings bank account or money market mutual fund account in both your name and your grandchild's (to ensure the money is properly saved), or even consider putting money in an education IRA.

Pass on the entrepreneurial spirit: Encourage your grandchildren to think of a money-making venture (e.g., mowing lawns, selling homemade cookies, playing an instrument for tips, etc.). Offer to be their first investor and match the amount they make from their endeavor, or give them an initial "loan" to get the business started. In exchange, have your grandchildren write a business plan and put together some "promotional" materials (e.g., posters, flyers, "testimonials" from neighbors and friends, etc.). Take them to a special "business lunch" at their favorite restaurant, and reward their hard work with a certificate such as "Best Saleskid of the Year," "Most Brilliant Biz Idea," or "Future Millionaire Award."

Be a financial mentor: If you already have an interest in finances, pass on your passion to your grandchildren! Explain to them the value money plays in everyday life. Then, think of creative and fun ways to get your grandchildren engaged, such as: take them on field trip to the local bank (ask to see the safe); ask them to name their favorite companies and chart their activities in the stock market; encourage charitable giving by having them donate some money to a "cause" they feel is important; or arrange for a "go-to-work day" for your grandchild (or ask someone you know if you are retired) to show them the connection between working and earning money. Or, create a "savings growth chart" with specific monetary goals at different levels. Reward your grandchild each time he/she reaches a new level with coupons that can be exchanged for "Grandma's Greatest Chocolate Chip Cookies" or "A Day at the Zoo."

"Do as I do ... ": Share "how" you practice sensible financial skills by practicing what you preach. Show the grandkids your written budget. Show them that you pay off credit card balances monthly, or when possible, pay cash rather than charge purchases. In conjunction with the 2001 Parent, Youth & Money Survey, ASEC and the TIAA-CREF Institute have created the following tools to help educate parents/grandparents and kids about financial matters: "Money Talk" pamphlet series, Youth & Money Poster, Interactive Savings Goal Calculator, and Piggy Bank Wrapper. All tools are available on the ASEC and TIAA-CREF Institute Web sites at: and

The 2001 Parents, Youth & Money Survey gauges the views, attitudes, and behavior of American parents regarding various financial issues, their savings and investing habits, and their interactions with their children regarding money. The survey is sponsored by ASEC, the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), and Mathew Greenwald & Associates. The TIAA-CREF Institute underwrote the survey.

EBRI was founded in 1978, with the mission to contribute to, to encourage, and to enhance the development of sound employee benefit programs and sound public policy through objective research and education. EBRI is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization based in Washington, DC. EBRI does not lobby and does not take positions on legislative proposals.

ASEC is a coalition of private- and public-sector institutions that undertakes initiatives to raise public awareness about what is needed to ensure long-term personal financial independence. ASEC works through its partners to educate Americans on all aspects of personal finance and wealth development, including credit management, college savings, home purchase, and retirement planning. ASEC develops and distributes educational materials, all of which are available in hard copy and on the Web at: and ASEC is a program of the EBRI Education and Research Fund.

© 2014 and prior years, Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association - College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF), New York, NY 10017