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This is the VOA Special English Education Report.
Young people are perhaps better known for spending money than for saving it. But some new banking websites are seeking to change that. These websites offer young people the information and tools they need to watch over their money. These sites also let users share their financial experiences with other young people.
Michael Ferrari developed SmartyPig with a friend in two thousand seven: "SmartyPig is really all about helping people save for very specific financial goals. So that could be a wedding, a vacation, an iPhone."
Mr. Ferrari says SmartyPig began after he started a college savings account for his new baby. He says that experience helped him realize the power of saving for a specific goal. Helping other savers pay attention to their goals is the idea behind his company.
Mr. Ferrari says his website also enables outsiders to add money to the accounts of its users. "Perhaps maybe a holiday is coming up or your birthday is coming up, and rather than getting a gift, your friends, your family can actually contribute to any of your SmartyPig goals."
A growing number of young people have shown an interest in personal finance sites like SmartyPig. These sites offer tools that help users follow their spending, set up a budget and combine their investments. And the sites all involve social media.
Janet Stauble is with the personal finance website bankrate.com. She says a lot of people feel at ease sharing personal information online. "It's not likely that, you know, you might go to a friend and say, 'Hey, I paid off one thousand dollars on my credit card today,' but people write up blog posts about it and they explain how they did it, and how much closer they are to their financial goal, whatever it is."
Steve Weisman teaches about financial issues at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He says the more creative the websites are in providing services, the more successful they will be in competing against traditional banks or even cooperating with them. "For instance, SmartyPig, they are not actually a bank, but they are partnered with a bank. And what you're going to see is big banks and little banks that are legitimate financial institutions, but not necessarily the most savvy when it comes to computers or the Internet, they will partner up with other companies that may be doing some of the Web material and other assistance."