How many of us could say that we've read every book we've ever purchased? Listened to every song we ever downloaded? Or even used every too-good-to-pass-up deal that we paid for through GroupOn? FamilyMint is no different. We know many parents sign-up because they love the idea and features and want to leverage the benefits, but sometimes life gets in the way, and other times changing the way things are done can take a try or two to make it stick.
We received an email along these lines from a parent this week. I wanted to share her question and my response with all of you. The email went something along the lines of this: "We started very enthusiastically but I have not been able to get my kids to engage in it. I am trying to figure out how to make my kids get more involved."
Here is the email that I sent back for her consideration:
That's OK! Sometimes it can take a few attempts to incorporate something new, but it's worth it. I thought I'd share some tips that have worked well with other families:
- Make FamilyMint the normal way that money is accessed and maintained on an everyday basis for your kids.
- You act as the banker, so if they want $10 to go to a movie with a friend, they enter a $10 withdrawal in FamilyMint before you hand over the $10 bill.
- If they do odd jobs around the house to earn a few extra dollars, have them enter the deposit into FamilyMint rather than handing them the cash.
- The next time they want to buy something, tell them "Sure! Just set up a goal for that in FamilyMint and once you've saved up enough money, I'll take you to the store to buy it." FamilyMint means we as parents can always say "yes" and point to the application as the way to get it done. (This also teaches delayed gratification in a very natural way.)
- Once they've set up a goal, encourage more of them. Goals in FamilyMint are S.M.A.R.T (Simple, Measurable, Achievable, wRitten, and Time-framed).
- For example, encourage long term savings by setting up a college goal and matching their contributions to this goal by 50% percent.
- Have them create a charity goal so they can learn the value of giving and making it a habit.
- Have them make goals and save for anything else they want, which over time helps them prioritize their wants and really see that money that is a limited resource
- Encourage long term savings and saving for a charitable cause by setting up a Savings Plan. This way, when they get $40 for a birthday from grandma, they make one deposit into the Savings Plan and they could have 20% go to a long term savings goal, 10% go to a charity goal, and the other 70% go to General Savings so they can spend it as they wish. It's a great way to teach some simple budgeting habits that will pay back dividends later in life.
- Set up a 100% match on some shorter-term goals such as a learning game or space camp... something the kids really want.
- Offer a reward such as "if you save $200 and I will take you and a friend to (insert favorite place here)".
We've incorporated a view/example of the before & after FamilyMint within the family setting into an overview video: http://www.youtube.com/familymint#p/a/u/1/Nj9531orKjk
Parents that do stick with it and make it the new normal way that their kids manage their money have reported that:
- FamilyMint has been a tool our family has used to teach our children what we had always wanted to teach them about tithing and managing their money. We had been unsuccessful at being consistent with all other methods we had tried. But FamilyMint makes automatic deposits and has an automatic savings plan to help us stay consistent.
- FamilyMint is a great tool to help my kids manage their money and save for specific things they want. They can set their own goals and allocate the money accordingly. I can pay them interest and they get to watch their money grow. My children feel empowered, and I get less static about purchases.
- I praise its value in teaching children the process of deciding what's important and then making an organized plan to save money for those important things. FamilyMint helps motivate children to save and encourages many good discussions of how to use the money they save.
- This is a very family friendly, no hassle way of keeping up with our children's money. The kids have a deep interest in keeping up with where there money will be spent and how much more they can "earn." There are no more loose bills belonging to "who knows who" lying around because they immediately want to deposit their money into their accounts.
- I don't have to worry about remembering to give the kids their allowance, plus I keep track of how they spend their money so I can use it as a teaching tool. Finally, it completely eliminates the "Mama & Papa are an endless source of money." Either the money they want to spend is in the mint or not. If they don't have it, they must save.
So, stick with it. It's worth it! Thank you so much for the great question!