He’s only an animated figure in a morning children’s television show, but Wayne turned out to be a pretty good role model for our 5-year-old grandson, Aidan. Wayne, a character in the Disney Channel’s “Higglytown Heroes,” wins 10 shiny new coins. He wants to buy a super deluxe toaster, but the toaster costs 15 coins. Figuring he’ll get the rest for his birthday, Wayne looks for a “good and safe” place for his 10 coins until he can save the rest. He finds it with the help of a banker. Not only will the coins be safe but “you can watch your money grow with interest that we add just so,” the banker tells Wayne. “If you put away a penny a day, soon you’ll have more saved than you ever thought.” That’s a message many adults don’t get, but Aidan did. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl event“It was right after that show that Aidan started saying he wanted his money to grow,” said Kyle, my son-in-law. Aidan had become fond of his “Tigger Bank,” a piggy bank in the shape of the “Winnie the Pooh” character,” but it was time to take the next step. “I told him he would have to open a bank account because his money wouldn’t grow in the Tigger Bank,” Kyle said. “I explained that when he puts his money in an account at a bank, the bank gives him little bits of free money called interest. I told him it is important to leave the money in the account for a long time to really see it grow. “He kept talking about it, to make sure he knew why his money wouldn’t grow in the Tigger Bank but grow in a bank account. His persistence is what let me know we had to seize upon this educational opportunity.” Beaming with pride, Aidan opened his first savings account with the $2.93 that had accumulated in his Tigger Bank. The bank won’t charge any fees as long as Aidan brings his balance up to $100 in one year. Now Aidan says happily that his money “will grow in the special bank,” a realization that’s the first step toward building a lifelong savings habit. “Your grandchild understands that money can grow with something called interest. “That’s a powerful concept for a 5-year-old,” said Carl George, chairman of the National CPA Financial Literacy Commission of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Aidan “will learn how savings accounts work and will enjoy trips to the bank to make deposits. Even at age 5 it will feel like `real money,”‘ he said. Adults, take notice. In our plastic and electronic society, where we routinely spend hundreds of dollars by swiping credit cards or clicking computer screens, it is easy to lose sight of where our money goes. Perhaps that helps explain why the U.S. savings rate has turned “negative” (collectively, we spend more than we make, and 43 percent of households spend $1.25 for every $1 they make, George said). “One of the ways to chip away at the financial literacy problem in our country is to get to the kids early and let them develop positive behaviors and attitudes,” George said. Among George’s tips: Help your child understand how interest compounds by showing him or her how much “free money” has been earned. Offer to match whatever your child saves toward a long-term goal. Let your child take a few dollars out of the account occasionally. Otherwise, young children may quickly lose interest in saving. Let your child set his or her own goals (within reason). Encourage your child to divide his or her money up. Write down each goal and the amount that must be saved each day, week or month to reach it. This will help your child learn the difference between short-term and long-term goals. Tape a picture of an item your child wants to a goal chart, bank or jar. This helps make the connection between setting a goal and saving for it. Humberto Cruz offers personal finance advice. Write him at [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!