I love my mom and dad but they weren’t always the best at teaching us kids about financial responsibility. Growing up, money was simply something we didn’t talk about. I don’t blame them–I honestly believe they did what they felt was right–but I do think that lack of a basic understanding about money unfortunately started me on a path of bad money management, one that has taken much of my adult life to overcome.
As a parent, I don’t want to see my kids take that same path. I don’t think any age is to young to start teaching your kids financial wisdom–at least in the most basic of terms–or to start talking to them about how to manage their money. I want my 5 year old to understand that money is not unlimited, and that she has to work to earn the things she wants, and that saving and investing and giving back to others is important too. It’s not an easy task, when you think about it.
A few weeks ago I was contacted by a company called Kidworth to see if I would be interested in reviewing their financial website for kids. I’ll admit I was a little skeptical to begin with, but the website blew me away. It is a super simple, very user-friendly way of giving your kids a concrete way of setting financial goals. It’s practically genius.
I was a little worried that Princess wouldn’t quite “get it” but she actually loved it, and it was fast and easy enough to set up that she didn’t lose interest. We first picked the ‘fun’ spending goals & she got to tell me 2 things that she really wants to buy. Shockingly, they were both princess-related items. (We looked up the prices on Amazon to know what monetary goal to set.)
The savings goals were a little tougher for her to understand but she liked the cute piggy pictures so we picked investing and a savings account. As a family, I think it will be a good goal for us to talk about and learn more about investing by using money the girls have saved and seeing what we can do with it. I honestly know nothing about investments, so it will be a project for all of us!
Finally we talked about how important it is to share with others who might not have all the things that we have, a conversation that we started last week when we did our Operation Christmas Child boxes. Kidworth has a bunch of different charities to choose from, so I explained a little about each one and she ultimately chose the ASPCA because “she wanted to help cute doggies.”
All-in-all, it took us about 10 minutes to set up, then she was back off into Princess land.
But here is what I think is so cool about it (besides the fact that it is FREE): Now that she has her page set up, we can share it with friends and family and give them the chance to help support her goals. Instead of giving physical gifts for birthdays and holidays, they can contribute to any one of her goals. She can then see how much she has towards any particular goal and how much further she has to go. (Trouble is still a little too young to understand it, but I have set up a page for her as well with only some savings goals. When she gets older, she can add her own.)
We are beyond blessed to have an awesome network of super fun & creative friends who love to socialize and entertain. Every month there is at least one–and usually more–birthday party to attend and buy a gift for. I honestly don’t mind buying gifts for my friends’ kids–I actually think it is a lot of fun–and I’m pretty sure they don’t mind buying stuff for my kids either. The problem is that with so many kids in the mix, it is just so much STUFF. My daughters have more than enough!
I love the idea of having us decide as a group that Kidworth is what we will do instead–help our kids make financial goals for themselves, and then support each other in reaching them. (For my friends who read this blog: you know who you are and I’m totally serious about this!)
I will leave with a frightening statistic: The average kid gets between $25,000-$30,000 worth of stuff by the time they are 18 and yet the average 18 year-old has a net worth of ZERO dollars. All that money spent and nothing to show for it. This is not the legacy I want to leave for my kids!
Imagine how much better off all our kids will be if, in 10 or 15 years, instead of a pile of broken plastic toys, they each have their own savings account, investment portfolio, and, most importantly the essential life tools of knowing how to make good financial decisions. It is perhaps the most precious gift we can give them.
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