Disney is a big part of everybody’s childhood (unless, you had a terrible childhood). Depending on your age and what was available to your parents you probably grew up with one of a variety of characters. Those born in the mid-to-late eighties will probably have been brought up on a diet of the Lion King, Aladdin and the Little Mermaid. A seventies child would have been all over the Aristocrats and Robin Hood. Those born in the late 1990s would have closer links to the Disney/Pixar crossover with films like Toy Story and Cars. Outside of that you would have been probably been exposed to whatever films your parents loved as kids, as they get an excuse to watch Dumbo, Pinocchio, Bambi and everything else all over again. It’s powerful stuff. The mere thought of Simba’s father or Bambi’s familial brush with the hunters is enough to turn most of us misty-eyed. As a responsible parent there is no reason why you shouldn’t co-opt those cherished childhood memories into helping make your children more productive members of society, with their own child savings accounts and a remarkable desire to get that balance up.
The first thing to do is get your offspring a Disney coated moneybox. If you know anything about kids you’ll probably know that they love stuff with their favourite cartoon character’s face plastered all over it. Are they a Winnie the Pooh fan, check out these Friend Forever porcelain money boxes. Are they more of a Little Mermaid or Cars fan? No one can claim Disney is shy about merchandising anything.
And Disney doesn’t just stop with lovely looking money boxes. There are also paint-your-own moneyboxes as well as the more expensive silver plated stuff, that is possibly meant for the more grown up Winnie fan.
If simple getting them a money box doesn’t magically turn them a super saver then you’ll probably have to go to the next step. Encouraging your child to save through the movies.
Now there isn’t too many Disney films with a strong socio-economic message, the Lady and the Tramp could probably qualify, Aladdin is definitely a commentary on the widening gap between the richest elite and everyone else and Pinocchio is about how awesome being human is (or maybe that’s a lie?) but other than that you will struggle to find an appropriate money-related message. However that doesn’t mean you can’t add one in.
For instance, would it be wrong to explain that the Beast in Beauty and the Beast probably got really wealthy through a structured savings plan? Or that Aladdin is probably on the street because of reckless spending, missed mortgage repayments and ultimately foreclosure. How’d Jasmine’s father get that swanky house? Smart investments and a high interest savings account. You probably shouldn’t lie to your kids and the great thing about all of these is that they might not be lies, they are all completely plausible.
Alternatively show them one of Disney’s rare contemporary forays into hand-drawn animation, the Princess and the Frog, which sees Tiana work two jobs to save enough money to buy her own sugar mill and turn it into a restaurant. Through saving, plenty of moxie and a bit of magic, she not only gets her own sugar mill but becomes a Princess. See kids, the power of saving?