Nehring, Nation teach Liberty Elementary students the value of saving

Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring reads to Mina Shelly
Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring reads to Mina Shelly's second-graders at Liberty Elementary from the picture-book 'Rock, Brock and the Savings Shock' on April 26.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — Second- and third-grade students at Liberty Elementary were treated to a lesson on the value of saving versus spending through a tale of green hair goo and broccoli bubble gum.

On Thursday, April 26, Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring and Chris Nation, president of the Marysville School District Board of Directors, read to Mina Shelly's second-graders and Cathy Elkington's third-graders, respectively, from the picture-book "Rock, Brock and the Savings Shock," as part of the April 25-29 Financial Literacy Reading Days organized by the United Way of Snohomish County.

In the story, brothers Rock the spender and Brock the saver are hired to do chores over the summer by their grandfather, who not only pays them, but also matches the money they manage to save during their 10 weeks of work, to teach them the value of compound interest. While Rock blows his earnings on a fanciful but ephemeral assortment of cheap toys and other treats, Brock is able to save up $512, enough to buy an expensive telescope for himself and presents for his family, with enough left over for him to start a joint bank account with his brother Rock.

"Think about some of the wacky things that Rock bought, like the wind-up fly and the peppermint fangs," Nehring told the students. "Most of those are probably gone by the end of the summer, aren't they? But Brock's telescope, that's something that, if he takes care of it, should last long enough that he can give it to his own kids."

Nehring noted that the students to whom he spoke were quick to catch on to the book's lesson.

"It's a good book that's illustrated well, and the kids were really into it," Nehring said. "It's great that the United Way is giving us this opportunity to help plant these seeds of financial management at such a young age."

"Money management is an important life skill that we can offer our children," Nation said. "The more kids we can reach, the better. By doing things like this, we have the potential to create long-term change. That's our overall goal in the school system."

Liberty Elementary Principal Scott Irwin added that students also enjoyed assembling their own "Moonjars," savings tools that will help them see the importance of putting money into savings, daily expenses and even to donate or share with others.

"This is a great example of how we can come together as a community to advance the common good and have a positive influence on our future," said Dennis G. Smith, president and CEO of the United Way of Snohomish County, which organized this event as part of the Jump$tart Washington Coalition. "My grandchildren are about this age, and it's clear that you are never too young to learn about the power of saving."

The United Way's efforts to promote financial stability among Snohomish County families have included financial education, free tax preparation and encouraging people to purchase Savings Bonds. This year to date, more than 2,500 Snohomish County families got back almost $4 million in refunds through the United Way's free tax preparation program, and the United Way will also award $40,000 in financial education grants to area nonprofits in late May.

"I'm just glad that they've chosen Marysville as a community to invest in," Nehring said.

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