Within the FamilyMint support site at support.familymint.com there is a set of forums that we created to encourage dialog within the FamilyMint community. I wanted to share one of my favorites here because this blog has a much wider distribution than the support area and there are so many good ideas within. I also wanted to let you know that we're going to be changing things up and these forums will be moving in the future to a new area that we're really excited about. I can't say more now, but stay tuned!
I thought it might be interesting to others to see how we've set up and are using FamilyMint within our own family. After I set up accounts for each of our 5 kids, I sat down with each of them and we made an initial deposit into General Savings. Each had collected all the money they had up in their room and given it to me. What's really interesting is the comment from one of them that the money finally became "real" after they were able to see it online!
Then we created a college goal and a charity goal with each of them as a starting point. For the college goal I set a matching amount of 50%. I love seeing the kids faces when they finally "get it" that they can make 50 cents free for every dollar they save toward college. For charity, each of the kids sponsors a needy child and we have the child's name and the monthly goal amount they each contribute. It's up to them to save the target amount for their sponsored child each month and we withdraw it on the last Sunday of each month.
Lastly, I set up allowance and Interest for each to them to be deposited every Friday. Not a lot of money, but enough that they love to get in shuffle their money around on the weekends.
Then, I set them loose. It's amazing how quickly even our 6 year old picked up the new way of doing things. Our 9 year old likes downloading pictures from Amazon for the goals he has in mind. Our 14 year old set up a goal to represent and remind him of the $25/month he pays us for his cell phone. If one of them creates a goal we particularly like and want to encourage, we'll set up a matching deposit on it (my son is saving for a new bike and we're helping him save). We love seeing all the goals the kids have in mind, and they so naturally pick up the fundamentals of tracking the inflows, outflows, and saving for all their goals. They're budgeting and they have no idea they're doing it.
Today, we went out for lunch and some of the kids decided they wanted something a little extra. I told them they'd have to pay for it themselves, to which they readily agreed. When we got home, I reminded them of their purchase, and they quickly logged in to FamilyMint and made the withdraws along with a description of what they spent it on. When they look back to see where their money went, that chocolate shake will always be there!
We have always had our children place their money into divided plastic piggy banks. The banks have 3 separate sections labeled "Save, Spend, and Give." Since their money was already organized in this conscientious way, I was initially uncertain if keeping Family Mint accounts was going to provide any new motivation or insights for the kids. Boy, was I wrong!
I think the single greatest benefit thus far is that the kids can clearly see, at any given time, exactly how much money they have in each category. Before, they just saw stacks of change and wadded up dollar bills inside the piggy bank divisions, but there was no concrete amount attached to each. I had never realized how this was hampering them from making good plans for their funds. How can they save for a specific goal when they don't know how much they've accumulated so far? Or If they decide to take out some cash to purchase a coveted item, do they realize how this impacts their bottom line?
Since logging my kids into their Family Mint accounts and showing them the ropes, I've already seen great results. Last week while we were out shopping, my 7 year old wanted to purchase a toy gun. Since he knew exactly how much money was in spending account, he was able to quickly evaluate the purchase and make his decision. As soon as we arrived back home, he raced to the computer to log in to his account and enter his withdrawal. And he made it very clear that he wanted to do it by himself!
A few days later, my 13 year old daughter saw an outfit that she really liked at the store. I told her that I was not going to purchase it for her, but she was free to buy it for herself if she would like. Immediately, she turned to me and said, "Well, I can't. Because I already bought two things this month, and I only have $11.76 left in my spending account. I'm going to have to get some more babysitting jobs so I can earn the money."
There is a lot of power in taking an abstract concept like finances, and making it visual. The progress bars are a key part of the kids accounts as they make it easy for even my 7 year old to know at a glance what is happening with his money. Along with the obvious values of visually managing their money, they have also really enjoyed being able to personalize their accounts with pictures and color changes. I'm now very confident that Family Mint is going to be instrumental in helping my children to tell their money where to go, instead of asking where it went!
Thank you for this wonderful program!
Lynn - Thank you so much for sharing how FamilyMint is working out for you and your kids. It's wonderful to see and hear how it's helping you continue to form your children's financial foundation!
With 6 kids, it has been a challenge to find an organized way of handling the money they received as gifts, babysitting or for chores around the house. Initially, they each wanted to hold onto all of their money. The little ones would lose it around the house when they went to count it and forgot to put it away. The older ones put it in their wallets or purses but when one wallet went missing with the money in it, they all finally allowed me to give them a notebook to keep a record after they gave us the money for safekeeping. I had no idea how much each child had accumulated which could put a real dent in the family monthly budget when one of them wanted to buy something. The kids, especially the older ones, did a decent job of keeping track of how much they had and what they were saving for but it was very disorganized at times and sometimes they would lose their record book.
When we started using FamilyMint, it did take us a few weeks to get used to this new way of organizing the kids' money. But I have to say, I LOVE IT and so do the kids. My husband and I now know exactly how much each child has in his or her account and we see clearly how much money we owe each of them (Quite a bit more than I expected but no more surprises messing up the monthly budget.) The kids love signing into their own account and having a clear visual of how much money they have and how they are progressing toward their goals. I really like the flexibility to use it in a way that works best for our family and I like the ability to match funds toward their goals.
It has definitely made a positive difference in our lives. Thank you!! We look forward to using for years to come.
I thought I would pass on how we've been using FamilyMint for the last few weeks. Perhaps your crew may find it as useful as we have. Now, instead of keeping a load of loot in their piggy banks in their bedrooms, my girl’s money is tracked right in one spot and I am the banker. This site has engaged them to become more goal focused and also start to visibly see how they can contribute to a college savings while we match a % of their deposits. Right now, both of my girls are saving for a room make-over. They created a goal with a set amount of money they would like to contribute and every month they are tangibly seeing how their wish for a room make over will become a reality. Of course they are saving for more serious things, such as college as I mentioned and charities, however I know that a cell phone wish is not too far off, so Grace will have to soon create a goal and start saving for that luxury as well. It is our hope that this provides them a more realistic foundation of how to plan, spend and save. Would love to hear what others think!
Oh how I wish we had had this with the older kids! We had boxes for them to divide their money and because of "accidents" money would be misplaced etc. Our 6 oldest now have jobs and checking accounts which is wonderful, but for our two youngest 12 and 10 this is a lifesaver. The best part is the automatic allowance scheduler, now we don't have to remember when we last paid them! We have a budding lawyer in the 10 yr old and he could "always remember", but not accurately LOL! They have both started to think ahead to activities they want money for, such as birthdays coming up, or trips to the boardwalk. They love coming home from shopping and updating their accounts, we love not having to dole out cash that gets easily misplaced!
Might sound odd but we use this website as our own personal check register. We have been struggling as a couple in our finances, but with this system we are able to keep up with our own finances better. Our children are still young but one day I hope to use this for their benefit as well.
My son and I went out to dinner tonight, a mother-son date for just the two of us while Daddy stayed home with the other kids. I gave my son a few options of where to go, but he really wanted a more expensive restaurant than I had in mind. He decided to pay for his dinner, so we could go to his favorite place (which happens to be mine too). Then we went shopping for his sister's birthday gift. When we got home, he logged onto Family Mint, took care of his withdrawals, and moved some money around in his accounts. While we were shopping, he knew exactly how much money he had and what he could spend it on. It was wonderful! It is so good to see him getting it. He has already saved up enough from his paper route to buy an MP3 player, something he is enjoying very much, especially since he picked it out and bought it.
There was a feature request article that I thought was great and I thought posting it in this area would be great also...
Larry Clemons has his kids allowance go into these accounts automatically by %
10% tithe; 10% other charity; 10% Future Family Savings (To use to establish their household when they marry) 25% College; 15% Short Term Savings (The latest Lego set or such) 10% Living Expenses (When they want the more expensive shirt or shoes) 20% Spending Money
I thought this was Awesome! I setup the same thing with our kids except I did one thing different. I did not have it automatically set to go to those accounts. All deposits go into General Savings and the kids have to figure out the %. Oh, such a mean Dad. :) I have goals for Future Family Savings and College. They are locked and I match them 100%. Yes that is a nice match, especially if Grandparents give a nice money gift, sometimes it kills me. This split applies to everything they receive. When the goals for those 2 accounts are reached, I unlock them and take the money out and put them into "real" accounts. Then my kids watch the real accounts. I thought this would be a great concept for "Retirement". College to a child is something real far off and seems like forever, kind of like retirement to those of us working. The Future Family Savings to me is also something very beneficial, it's something they will really need and it gives them the concept of saving for something big, like a house or car. Since they are not allowed to take out the College and Future Family Savings, I don't want that making the amount seem too large, which is why I take it out and put it in real accounts, but they can see it in on the statements that they get.
Hope this helps someone else and Thanks to Larry Clemons for posting that elsewhere in the Forums.
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