A View from the Other Side

Mother and Daughter in front of laptop

By Jayne Berkaw When I first told my husband about FamilyMint, he couldn’t believe what a great idea it was.  “I wish we had had something like that when our kids were young,” he lamented.  We have four, and they are adults now; two with kids of their own, one in law school (on his own dime, but that’s another blog) and one in undergrad (another blog).

Today’s kids glob on to computer-based programs like it is genetically engineered into their DNA, so dated “tools” like the envelope system we used, piggy banks, etc. don’t capture their attention.  And what’s worse, they focus only on the money, and not on what the money can do.  Even our envelopes marked “charity” (for what cause, when/how to donate?) and “savings” (to what end??) missed the mark by a mile, even though we were at least trying.

I’ve asked a few people with younger kids why they aren’t on FamilyMint and a typical response is that they have bank accounts.  Yes, we had those too, but unless you handle that really well, your kids learn nothing about planning, budgeting and goal setting and even less about the mechanics of making it all work.  They do get pleasure seeing the number rise in their little passbooks when they make a deposit (the itty bitty interest they receive isn’t worth talking about). But that’s a fleeting moment compared to the “I’m in charge of my own destiny” sense they get from a program like this that draws them in with its intuitive design, engaging graphics and smart features.

Obviously, I’m a fan of this concept, and if you’re on this site, you feel the responsibility for putting your kids on the right path in life and have an understanding of how many issues and problems can be avoided later in life with an early understanding of how to manage money.  As grandparents, we will be gifting FM to our grandchildren as soon as they are age appropriate, but how we would have loved to have it sooner!