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State treasurer invests in fourth grades at CIS

Fourth grader Sheldon D’Agostino may not know the difference between A and B shares, but he has already learned an important lesson in economics: a dollar saved is a dollar earned, and one day those dollars may take him to college.
D’Agostino and his classmates at Corydon Intermediate School were visited Thursday by Indiana State Treasurer Tim Berry. Berry is on a 42-county mission to help fourth graders develop good saving habits.
‘As soon as they get money in their pockets, they want to spend it,’ Berry said before his speaking engagement. His task is to plant the desire to save it, and for college no less.
Berry, a Fort Wayne native, got his own college education at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Now 42, he’s serving his second term. He was Indiana’s youngest state treasurer ever when first elected in 1998.
Earlier Thursday morning, at Utica Elementary in Clark County, Berry asked if any of the students had a business, and he discovered Brandon Barrett.
‘I catch frogs,’ Barrett said.
The young businessman charged 50 cents for adults and $1 for tadpoles. The tadpoles are worth a premium because ‘with a tadpole you get the excitement of seeing a tadpole turn into a frog,’ Berry related at CIS.
‘I hear similar stories all over the state. Whether babysitting, mowing lawns, doing things around the house. Always something different in every school,’ he said.
After earning an income, the next question was: ‘What can you do with a dollar?’
After several offerings beginning with ‘Buy a … ,’ D’Agostino said, ‘Save it.’ Berry asked him to repeat his answer in his loudest voice.
‘What can you save it for?’ Berry asked.
‘College,’ said Danielle Mullins.
Again, the answer Berry was looking for.
The students learned that college does not cost $100 as one suggested. In fact, $25,000 won’t cover tuition by the time these students are ready to enroll. The class of 2012 can expect to shell out about $25,000 per year, Berry said.
That’s a lot of money to save.
But don’t put it all in the bank, he said.
He told the students that he likes ice cream and cookies, but he’s trying to lose weight. If he eats just a little, he’ll do OK.
He suggested the students try to do the same with their money.
Spend one-third. Save one-third for a bike or baseball bat or rollerblades. Save the other third for something long-term, like their college education, he said.
When the students left school, they took the lesson home to their parents. Berry handed out information on ‘CollegeChoice 529,’ a qualified tuition program for saving and investing for college.
The state investment plan isn’t subject to federal or state income tax. More information is available on the plan at 1-866-400-7526 or at www.collegechoiceplan.com.

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