Pint-sized personal finance


Piggy bank gets kids into habit of saving, spending spirit

Faced with the need to teach her children and their classmates about money and saving, Susan Beacham had to start from scratch. The result: The Money Savvy Pig, a bank with slots for saving, investing, charity and spending that introduces kids to the four basic principles of money management.

“For years I watched as adults, especially women, ignored their finances until there was a crisis,” Beacham, of Highland Park, says. “As a mother of two girls it had a sobering effect. I wanted my daughters to grow up to be better prepared to handle their finances.” She suggested her daughter’s first-grade teacher discuss money management. The teacher agreed, provided Beacham create the materials and teach the class.

So, after 18 years in corporate finance, Beacham quit her job in 1999 to create and teach a money curriculum for schools. “I traded in my designer pumps for a good pair of Keds and entered the classroom. And that was the beginning of the most satisfying experience of my financial services career--teaching first-graders about money,” says Beacham.

Most kids have a simple porcelain bank that teaches them to put the money in, but not take it out. That, Beacham says, teaches the child to be tight fisted. Her Money Savvy Pig teaches children that if they have money, they have choices.

“With this simple bank, you’re empowering your child. The education is in their own hands, so a parent simply needs to pay attention, be patient and take the child’s lead,” she says.

Parent’s Choice, a nonprofit consumer group, awarded the pig its coveted “Parent’s Choice Gold Award,” calling it “original, educational and morally commendable.” Nearly 30,000 Money Savvy Pigs have been sold since 2002, and the curriculum is being taught at 30 schools nationally. For more information, visit

-- Nicole Caputo

Kids Eat Chicago

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