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What tools are available to help you raise financially-smart kids and avoid entitlement.

Tips and strategies – How do you teach kids about money?

You have to start off slow like learning to ride a bike.  First, start with training wheels, then remove the extra wheels and hold on to the bike – helping your child balance, until they are steady, and ready to let go, and pedal on their own as you run along side of them cheering them on. Teaching kids to be money savvy is much the same way.  We begin with the basics. Then give them more freedom and eventually encourage them in their own effort and journey.  Here are some tips and strategies below about helping kids earn money, money matching, saving money, and giving money. Plus, a great new app that helps parents and kids visually see the progress in the three categories of spending, saving, and giving.

The basics:

Teaching kids how to spend, save, and give at an early age allows your child to grow up with a healthy understanding of money-management. This is the training wheel phase and you can lead by example. Teach your kids how you manage your own money.

Earn Money:

To spend money kids first need to earn it. Instead of just giving your child money. Have them earn it, or provide a reward for hard work, or meeting goals. For example, they can earn x amount of dollars for getting all A’s on a report card. Another example would be to reward them for chores, or a list of tasks with an amount of money to be earned based on the difficulty and time commitment of the task. This teaches children character and responsibility. Have you ever noticed some kids seem to not care about their things? For example, they get a new bike and just throw it down, or leave it in the yard to rust. Another example is they leave all the marker tops off the brand new box of markers and they become all dried up and can no longer be used. This wastefulness and lack of ownership can be irritating as a parent. But, having the child earn these items, through chores, and saving their own money, would create a sense of ownership and kids would be more likely to take responsibility for their things.  Learning the value of $1.00 is a very powerful lesson.

Spending:

Kids can learn so much from managing their own money such as patience, the value of money, hard work, responsibility, and budgeting. They feel empowered to make decisions about how to spend their money and must learn to make trade-offs when making purchases. This teaches critical thinking skills as well.

Saving:

Parents can encourage children to save a portion of their allowance, or earnings. This teaches kids delayed gratification and how to make savings a healthy habit. You can allocate a portion of your child’s allowance to a savings account. Parents can even match kids’ savings or provide a percentage as interest to teach them about compound interest. This gives your child incentive to work hard and save money instead of letting it burn a hole in their pocket. Matching allows you to give your child money, but also build their character instead of raising an entitled child. They see how hard work, dedication, and perseverance can pay off in the long run (literally).

Giving:

Kids can learn to be generous with their money at an early age. Teaching kids generosity empowers them to be able to find and support causes that are close to their heart. They will feel great about being able to contribute to the world in a positive way and see how their money can make an impact in their community, or abroad.

Give your child a debit card:

Giving your child a debit card could be very dangerous, but companies such as the Atlanta based Greenlight, have created an app with plenty of family-friendly functions that allow you to train your kids how to grow up with a healthy understanding of a debit card’s benefits and to know how to use it wisely. Check out this amazing tool that is available to teach your child these skills by downloading the Greenlight app, or link to the free trial here. (After the free trial the cost is 4.99 per month)  Greenlight is not the only card available for kids.  Here are some other options. There is, Current, which is geared towards teens. FamZoo, which has been around a long time with cardholders in all 50 states; and gohenry, a U.K. based product that has recently been introduced in the U.S.

Why should you purchase the Greenlight app?

  • The Greenlight app allows kids to use a debit card that parents manage.
  • It provides education and experience by creating teachable moments for parents raising financially-smart kids. With the Greenlight app, kids monitor spending, watch their savings grow, and learn to make real world trade-off decisions.
  • Greenlight is a debit card for kids, not a credit card. Parents load money on the card from a funding source they choose. Kids can’t spend money they don’t have, which means no overdrafts. No surprise fees. No worries.
  • Parents can choose exactly where and how much their kids can spend with their Greenlight card. Stores, restaurants, websites. You name it.
  • Parents can instantly transfer money to their child’s card for allowance, chores, or day-to-day expenses.
  • Kids can also request cash on the spot for whatever may come up.
  • The Chores feature helps parents easily manage weekly or one-time chores and motivates kids to get them done. Parents can set weekly or monthly allowance payments once kids complete chores.
  • Funds can automatically be distributed to Spend, Save, and Give accounts.
  • Parents can also work with kids to make saving a habit. Kids can watch their savings grow, and use the app to track progress toward savings goals they set.
  • Parent-Paid Interest empowers parents to demonstrate the magic of compound interest so kids can learn the long-term benefits of saving.
  • There are also plenty of safety features that the app offers.