“Preparing kids for the ‘wild’”, FamZoo is a unique and dynamic site that helps parents teach kids the practical money skills they’ll need to thrive in the real world. Founder Bill Dwight, today’s guest blogger, describes how he envisions combining TripleGift and FamZoo products to kick off the process with ease and pizzazz!
Stretch Your TripleGift with a Virtual Family Bank.
Your child just received a TripleGift: the valuable lesson that money isn’t just for spending, it’s for saving and sharing, too. That’s a terrific start, but how can you translate that critical financial lesson into everyday habits? How can you stretch a gift for one occasion into a gift for a lifetime? Start by depositing your child’s TripleGift amounts into spend, save, and share accounts in a virtual family bank at FamZoo.com.
What’s a virtual family bank? It’s a private online family “banking” system designed to help parents teach kids good money habits through hands-on experience. Parents are the “bankers,”and kids are the “customers.” The kids’ funds can be held in either IOU accounts or prepaid card accounts. IOU accounts simply track money held by the parents elsewhere with each account balance representing an IOU from the parent to the child (or vice versa when negative). Prepaid card accounts hold real money on associated MasterCard prepaid cards. The cards can be used by the kids (or on behalf of the kids when under age 13) to make purchases or donations online and in stores.
A virtual family bank is like training wheels for online banking. Kids sign in separately to access their own accounts, while parents maintain visibility and control across all accounts through an online dashboard. Since parents also define the “bank rules,” they can set up a family economy that is customized to teach concepts and reinforce money habits in a manner that is consistent with their unique financial situation and values.
Here are some of the key concepts and good money habits parents can teach their kids with FamZoo:
- Track an account balance. Kids learn to track their available funds by carefully monitoring money coming in and money going out. They can access their spending, saving, and charitable giving accounts online using a browser or mobile device. (Tip: kids can track the running balance of a gift or donation card using an IOU account.)
- Delay gratification and live within a budget. Kids learn that they can’t spend what they don’t have in their accounts. The pesky whine “Can you buy me that now?” becomes “Let me see if or when I can afford that.” Kids can also collaborate with their parents on budgets for common expenses like clothing, sports, or college, and parents can set allowances accordingly.
- Earn money through hard work. Parents can define income sources that are appropriate for each child’s age and situation. Anything from regular allowances, to paid chores, to extra jobs. Older kids with wage earning jobs can even have payroll checks directly deposited to their prepaid card accounts.
- Automatically set money aside before considering spending. Parents can set up“automatic payroll deduction” rules for splitting deposits between spending, saving, and sharing accounts so that children can learn the personal finance mantra of “pay yourself first.”
- Set and work toward goals. Kids can create savings goals for upcoming purchases or donations. They can track progress along the way and use the savings planner to perform what-if scenarios like: “What if I earned $10 extra dollars from odd jobs each week? How would that affect the end date for my goal?”
- Put their money to work. As the “bankers,” parents can define an interest rate that is big enough and frequent enough to truly motivate their kids to save. Kids learn the incredible power of compounding returns over time and form a lasting habit of investing for the future.
- Manage a payment card responsibly and safely. Kids learn to handle payment online and in stores responsibly and safely using prepaid cards that carry no risk of debt or overdraft fees.
- Plan ahead for regular bill payments. Parents can set up recurring bills for shared family expenses like monthly phone service plans. Kids learn that everyday services are not free. They learn to plan ahead and make sure they’ve held enough money in their accounts to make bill payments on time.
- Repay a loan and appreciate the value of “big ticket” items. Parents can set up loans and repayment plans for significant “needs” like a computer for school. Kids learn what it’s like to pay off an item over a long period of time. An added bonus: kids typically appreciate and take much better care of items when they realize they’re still paying for them week in and week out.
That’s just a sampling of what you can do with your virtual family bank. Check out FamZoo’s frequently asked questions to see what else is possible.
Don’t worry though, FamZoo is designed for insanely busy parents. That’s why we automate functions wherever possible and embed in-the-moment personal finance education in everyday financial activities. Start nice and simple. Add sophistication over time as your kids mature.
If you’d like to get started on your virtual family bank, be sure to register with the special coupon code TRIPLEGIFT here. You’ll get an extra free month tacked on to your free trial or subscription.
If you’d like to give the combination of TripleGift and FamZoo as a gift to another family, you can purchase a gift subscription to FamZoo here. (Order by December 10th if you’re thinking stocking stuffer.) You can either tuck the gift code inside the TripleGift card, or coordinate with the recipient’s parents beforehand so they can register with the gift code, order prepaid cards,and tuck them in the TripleGift pockets ahead of time. By using the funds in each spend/save/share pocket to jump start a virtual family bank, you’ll be transforming a TripleGift into a gift that keeps on giving. You’ll turn a great money concept into great money habits that last a lifetime. That’s a quadruple gift!”
Bill Dwight, Founder, FamZoo