BMO Harris Bank Launches Helpful Steps for Parents

Oct 03, 2011, 10:30 ET from BMO Harris Bank

CHICAGO, Oct. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --

  • Dynamic online community provides parents access to content and experts to help teach the ABCs of smart money management to children, ages 5-15.  bmoharris.com/parents
  • Parents have free, 24/7 access to interactive, age-specific content (games, tools, videos, blogs) developed by leading family and financial experts.  
  • Just-released national survey finds that while almost 9-out-of-10 (89%) U.S. parents think they are a very important resource for their children to learn basic money management, less than 4-out-of-10 (36%) talk to their children about basic money management on a regular, weekly basis – and, on average, parents think children are not ready to learn about basic money management until the age of 10.    
  • Helpful Steps for Parents is the first customer initiative being rolled out uniformly across the new BMO Harris Bank N.A.  BMO Harris Bank was formed when BMO Financial Group acquired M&I Bank and merged it with Harris Bank in July 2011.

BMO Harris Bank today launched Helpful Steps for Parents – an online, interactive community providing age-specific content developed by leading parenting and financial experts to help parents teach their children the basics of smart money management.  

A just-released BMO Harris Bank national survey, conducted by Ipsos America, Inc., a leading market research company, finds that while almost 9-out-of-10 (89%) U.S. parents think they are a very important resource for their children to learn basic money management, less than 4-out-of-10 (36%) talk to their children about basic money management on a regular basis.  The study also found that, on average, parents believe their children are not ready to learn about basic money management until the age of 10.  The most common challenge cited by parents in terms of teaching their children about basic money management is that it's difficult to find the information they need.  (**NOTE:  See highlights of state-specific findings in BMO Harris Bank markets as compared to national averages in the editor's note below.**)

"Individuals and families of all sizes and income levels share the same financial goals of controlling spending, growing savings, borrowing smartly, and investing wisely.  Parents want their children to become adults who can achieve their own financial goals," said Mark Furlong, BMO Harris Bank president & CEO.  "Helpful Steps for Parents can help them start that process now.  Parents can access the experts and ready-to-use online content to teach their kids about money.  We realize that helping families teach children to make sense of money is a natural evolution of the relationship BMO Harris Bank has with our customers today."

Parenting experts agree that children develop and understand money in different phases as they mature.  BMO Harris Bank Helpful Steps for Parents is organized by age (5-6; 7-8; 9-12; 13-15) to deliver parents online expert tips, games, and videos, and age-specific lessons to incorporate financial education into their family's day-to-day lives.  

"The earlier you begin teaching children about money, the easier it becomes for parents to build very strong and healthy habits on savings, spending and debt," said Alison Griffiths, BMO Harris Bank Helpful Steps for Parents panel expert.  "This site doesn't take a one-size-fits-all approach.  It has age-specific content that builds skills that children can process at each developmental level."

BMO Harris Bank Helpful Steps for Parents site content includes:

  • Age & Stage Sections:  articles, interactive tools and games help parents teach the basics of smart money management to kids ages 5-15: spending, saving, budgeting and shopping, credit card debt, banking basics, and investing.
  • Expert blogs:  parents can ask questions of the Helpful Steps for Parents expert panel.
  • The Zone:  kids, tweens and teens experience online, dynamic, age-appropriate activities including games that teach the ABCs of smart money basics.
  • Web Series:  parents across the U.S. discuss how they are teaching savings, spending, and budgeting with their children.  The Helpful Steps for Parents expert panel augments each family video with tips and advice that parents can easily apply at home.  

BMO Harris Bank Helpful Steps for Parents Online Expert Panel*:

  • Shana Ford:  BMO Harris Bank Employee Blogger, has 20 years of experience in teaching financial education to families.  
  • Alison Griffiths:  award-winning financial journalist, best-selling author of 11 books.  
  • Alyson Schafer:  psychotherapist and author of three best-selling parenting books.  
  • Molly Snyder:  creator of the popular mommy blog "The Snyder 5," chronicling the daily joys, challenges and hair-pulling moments in the lives of a family of five.  

Helpful Steps for Parents (located at www.bmoharris.com/parents) is free and online to help all parents access the experts and tools they need.  Content is updated frequently.  

BMO Harris Bank Helpful Steps for Parents builds on the Harris Bank Helpful Steps series that was launched in 2010.  The Helpful Steps program assists customers with simple tools and advice to help them make money make sense.  

About BMO Harris Bank

Based in Chicago, BMO Harris Bank has approximately 700 branches and approximately 1,350 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona and Florida. Member FDIC.  BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization with 1,600 branches, and a retail deposit base of approximately $180 billion.

About Ipsos Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted September 7th to 17th, 2011. The study was commissioned and paid for by BMO Harris Bank. The survey is based on a national sample of 2,714 Americans with children between the ages of 5 and 17 living at home and with household income between $15,000 and $75,000. Respondents were from Ipsos' US online panel and interviewed online. The results are based on a sample where quota sampling and weighting are employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the intended population according to Census data. Quota samples with weighting from the Ipsos online panel provide results that are intended to approximate a probability sample.  Results from the survey are reported at the national and state levels.  At the national level, a survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points 19 times out of 20 of what the results would have been had the entire adult population of Americans with children between the ages of 5 and 17 living at home been polled. Results at the state level are considered accurate to within +/- 6 – 7 percentage points 19 times out of 20, depending on the state. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

*BMO Harris Bank has a contractual relationship with the following individuals who are compensated for posts on the Helpful Steps for Parents website ("Site"): Alison Griffiths, Alyson Schafer and Molly Snyder. In addition, Shana Ford is an employee of BMO Harris Bank. BMO Harris Bank will make a charitable contribution in Shana Ford's name as compensation for posts to the Site (registered users whose comments are posted on the Site are not compensated).

**EDITOR's NOTE: STUDY HIGHLIGHTS**

Illinois

  • Percentage of parents who discuss basic money management with their kids on a regular basis:
    • Illinois avg. 28%; National avg. 36%
  • Parents indicate that they face challenges when it comes to talking with their kids about basic money management, including:
    • Difficulty in finding information for children (37% Illinois avg.; 37% National avg.)
    • Difficulty in talking about it with children (33% Illinois avg.; 34% National avg.)
    • Difficulty finding time (26% Illinois avg.; 23% National avg.)
  • On average parents feel that 10 is the appropriate age to start talking to kids about basic money management.
    • Illinois avg. 10.4; National avg. 10

Wisconsin

  • Percentage of parents who discuss basic money management with their kids on a regular basis:
    • Wisconsin avg. 45%; National avg. 36%
  • Parents indicate that they face challenges when it comes to talking with their kids about basic money management, including:
    • Difficulty in finding information for children (42% Wisconsin avg.; 37% National avg.)
    • Difficulty in talking about it with children (26% Wisconsin avg.; 34% National avg.)
    • Difficulty finding time (21% Wisconsin avg.; 23% National avg.)
  • On average parents feel that 10 is the appropriate age to start talking to kids about basic money management.
    • Wisconsin avg. 9.3; National avg. 10

Minnesota

  • Percentage of parents who discuss basic money management with their kids on a regular basis:
    • Minnesota avg. 39%; National avg. 36%
  • Parents indicate that they face challenges when it comes to talking with their kids about basic money management, including:
    • Difficulty in finding information for children (38% Minnesota avg.; 37% National avg.)
    • Difficulty in talking about it with children (42% Minnesota avg.; 34% National avg.)
    • Difficulty finding time (15% Minnesota avg.; 23% National avg.)
  • On average parents feel that 10 is the appropriate age to start talking to kids about basic money management.
    • Minnesota avg. 9.4; National avg. 10

Indiana

  • Percentage of parents who discuss basic money management with their kids on a regular basis:
    • Indiana avg. 31%; National avg. 36%
  • Parents indicate that they face challenges when it comes to talking with their kids about basic money management, including:
    • Difficulty in finding information for children (36% Indiana avg.; 37% National avg.)
    • Difficulty in talking about it with children (30% Indiana avg.; 34% National avg.)
    • Difficulty finding time (30% Indiana avg.; 23% National avg.)
  • On average parents feel that 10 is the appropriate age to start talking to kids about basic money management.
    • Indiana avg. 9.1; National avg. 10

Missouri

  • Percentage of parents who discuss basic money management with their kids on a regular basis:
    • Missouri avg. 32%; National avg. 36%
  • Parents indicate that they face challenges when it comes to talking with their kids about basic money management, including:
    • Difficulty in finding information for children (28% Missouri avg.; 37% National avg.)  
    • Difficulty in talking about it with children (41% Missouri avg.; 34% National avg.)
    • Difficulty finding time (21% Missouri avg.; 23% National avg.)
  • On average parents feel that 10 is the appropriate age to start talking to kids about basic money management.
    • Missouri avg. 9.5; National avg. 10

Kansas

  • Percentage of parents who discuss basic money management with their kids on a regular basis:
    • Kansas avg. 31%; National avg. 36%
  • Parents indicate that they face challenges when it comes to talking with their kids about basic money management, including:
    • Difficulty in finding information for children (34% Kansas avg.; 37% National avg.)  
    • Difficulty in talking about it with children (47% Kansas avg.; 34% National avg.)
    • Difficulty finding time (21% Kansas avg.; 23% National avg.)
  • On average parents feel that 10 is the appropriate age to start talking to kids about basic money management.
    • Kansas avg. 9.1; National avg. 10

Arizona

  • Percentage of parents who discuss basic money management with their kids on a regular basis:
    • Arizona avg. 36%; National avg. 36%
  • Parents indicate that they face challenges when it comes to talking with their kids about basic money management, including:
    • Difficulty in finding information for children (34% Arizona avg.; 37% National avg.)
    • Difficulty in talking about it with children (23% Arizona avg.; 34% National avg.)
    • Difficulty finding time (27% Arizona avg.; 23% National avg.)
  • On average parents feel that 10 is the appropriate age to start talking to kids about basic money management.
    • Arizona avg. 9.6; National avg. 10

Florida

  • Percentage of parents who discuss basic money management with their kids on a regular basis:
    • Florida avg. 38%; National avg. 36%
  • Parents indicate that they face challenges when it comes to talking with their kids about basic money management, including:
    • Difficulty in finding information for children (41% Florida avg.; 37% National avg.)  
    • Difficulty in talking about it with children (37% Florida avg.; 34% National avg.)
    • Difficulty finding time (20% Florida avg.; 23% National avg.)
  • On average parents feel that 10 is the appropriate age to start talking to kids about basic money management.
    • Florida avg. 9.7; National avg. 10

Ipsos study link: http://www.ipsos-na.com/news-polls/pressrelease.aspx?id=5348

SOURCE BMO Harris Bank



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