Ah, money. That thorn in our flesh. Some people have a natural, innate accountant nestled in their inner-selves. The rest of us...not so much. Balance that checkbook lately? Sift through that pile of mail/bills lately? Oh, that “root of all evil” just has a hard time staying in spiritual “check” doesn’t it?
With kids we all know that more is caught than taught...which is a bit scary in relation to money. Most of us adults have learned the dangers of over-spending and under-budgeting through the School of Hard Knocks (that can sometimes sound like the phone ringing with a debt collector on the other end...) and are a bit bankrupt when it comes to knowing how to change the situation.
Enter the BRILLIANT program from a website called FamilyMint. They recently allowed me to set up our own family “bank” and try their program in exchange for my blog review. This innovative and helpful website ranks as one of the best things I have reviewed all year! It is one of those things that makes you wonder why you never thought of that...at least within the realm of your family and a spreadsheet on the PC.
The people at FamilyMint have gone above and beyond Excel spreadsheets, however...all you have to do is become a member to begin to take advantage of this fantastic family program. What is truly amazing, is that membership is FREE! They are working on a "Pro" version that can be purchased, but that is down the road.
With FamilyMint, you have at your fingertips a ton of motivation for your children to save and many visual pictures that make the abstract things like deposits, savings, and interest much more concrete to your kiddos. Each child is given their own account, which they can set up with an icon to easily login and find their persona. There are options to set up a general bank account or get much more detailed (the real beauty of the program, if you ask me), and designate how a deposit will be split up.
For instance, a $10 deposit can automatically be split into, a 10% designation for tithe, a 15% designation for college, a 15% designation for an item they really want to save for, and the other 60% into a general fund that they can use for whatever. Furthermore, they can select icons to represent their categories, like a horse picture if they are saving for horseback riding lessons, for example. Along with the photo there is a “thermometer” style graph that can show the progress of a savings goal, filling in as the savings increase toward the 100% mark. Pretty cool, eh?
By the way, you the parents are the bankers. No money actually is placed in the Family Mint’s possession. You are the banker, you keep the money in a safe place and dole it out as warranted. Furthermore, as the banker you approve the set up of your child’s account and the various transactions. If they deposit money, it isn’t officially in their account until the banker validates or “clears” it, just like a real bank.
There are several other incentives to offer your child, encouraging them to save. I don’t know if your family gives an allowance, but one of the challenges we face in our home, due to such busy lives, is just remembering to pay it! You would think that our kids wouldn’t let it slip by-- but somehow we all are rather sporadic in our remembering. With FamilyMint, allowance is automatically added, the amount and timing programmed in by you, the banker. Furthermore, you can pay interest to your child (amount set by you, once again) for saving their money, rather than spending. You even have an option of matching their savings if there is something really important you want them to save for, similar to a 401K.
Have I piqued your “interest” yet? If so, please click here and check out this valuable program and start teaching your children responsible money management. Who knows...you might learn a little something along the way, too!