One thing that really saddens me is that I never learned to be financially responsible. I did not qualify for financial aid when I went to university and of course blew all of the money I earned from part-time highschool jobs on parties and socializing. So, when the money my parents gave me each month to pay for my living expenses didn't cover my lavish tastes, I took out credit cards...and maxed them out. I had no idea about saving, no idea about buying things on sale or using coupons and no clue about how interest rates worked - mistakes that had me paying off debt until I was 30.
While I certainly want to give my kids many of the things that they want, I also want them to understand how basic commerce works. I want them to be able to make money mistakes while they are young and to be able to support and guide them in better choices.
So, I was super excited today when I stumbled upon the FamZoo app! This user friendly app allows parents to monitor their children's money usage, while at the same time guiding children in making more responsible financial decisions.
From the site:
"What is a virtual family bank?
A virtual family bank is a private online family “banking” system designed to help you teach your kids to earn, save, spend, and give money wisely. You are the “banker,” and your kids are the “customers.”
You can manage your kids’ funds in either IOU accounts, or prepaid card accounts (subject to eligibility), or a combination of the two. Your kids sign in separately to access their own accounts, while you maintain visibility and control through a shared online dashboard.
You define the rules of your private family banking system and economy in a way that matches your unique values. You can set up any combination of automated allowances, rewards for chores and odd jobs, “payroll” withholding for saving or giving, penalties for missed work, parent-paid interest on savings, expense sharing, matching contributions, budgets, loans, and much more.
Start super simple, and add sophistication gradually as your kids mature. " (http://blog.famzoo.com/p/famzoo-faqs.html#what)
Basically, you set up how much money the child receives on whichever date and then set the distribution amounts that reflect your money values (i.e. how much to charity, how much for saving, how much for emergency fund, how much for school, etc.). As the child spends their money, the app tracks which category it is being spent under and allows your child to reflect on their choices. With total visibility for the parent, it becomes easier to intervene if extra guidance is necessary.
Overall, I'm excited about this kind of app to use in the future with my kids (considering that one is yet to be born and the other under 2, it may be a while).