Teaching your kids to manage money is an invaluable life lesson. As a child, my parents would physically hand me money for completing chores around the house as part of a weekly allowance. The few dollars I had could only be used when we occasionally drove to a brick and mortar store; an activity often saved for the weekend. I was limited to their supply of toys and their pricing scheme. The limited options and pricing meant that I had to think through exactly what I wanted in the days leading up to the trips. In my opinion, these old-time inconveniences helped teach my generation the value of money.
Growing up in the digital world adds some additional layers that complicate this once simple system. For starters, children can browse online at thousands of retailers with millions of items to purchase. They can purchase anything from anywhere, and it will arrive in under 48 hours. This global economy of instant gratification does teach children to do things like compare prices; however, it lacks the valuable lessons we learned as youths.
The BusyKid app takes a modern approach to teach children financial literacy. This feature packed application includes everything parents need to teach their children about earning, spending, saving, and even investing. It blends the old school mentality with the digital age to create a fantastic learning environment. Let’s take a look at how BusyKid can help in each of those four categories
BusyKid was designed with families in mind. The app allows parents to create an allowance based on the age of their children. Allowances can be tied to chores, or chores can be independent opportunities to earn additional money. Tasks, such as doing the dishes, are assigned a monetary value. Parents can choose to give them to specific children or leave them available for anyone to complete. Once a chore is completed, the child clicks “I did it.” Parents are notified of the completion and must confirm that the child satisfactorily completed the job before the app will pay the money. Rewards allow parents the opportunity to give kids a bonus for good behavior, to recognize an accomplishment, or just going above and beyond. Rewards are also a great way to account for money that kids get for a birthday, holiday, etc. Collect the physical cash and add the same amount to their account digitally.
Earned money is not transferred to the child’s account right away. Children have a set payday, similar to most adults. The app’s creator wanted children to get accustomed to the idea of a direct deposit. They work all week and get paid at the end of the week instead of instant gratification. Parents can adjust the payday to the day of the week that works best for their family in the app’s settings.
One unique feature of BusyKid is the debit card that is issued to each child. It works in the same way other traditional debit cards do. They can swipe it at the store or enter their information online, and the money is taken directly from their account. There are safeguards and alerts to ensure that they do not spend more than they have been allotted. The app keeps a detailed history of every purchase, easily accessed inside the parent app. Using a debit card tied directly to their available balance to make purchases mimics adults’ spending habits. You can choose to make the purchases on your own and subtract the money from their account manually for those not ready to go the debit card route.
Children can donate money to charity as well. At the moment, children must choose between the charities that have partnered with BusyKid, such as Toys for Tots and the Special Olympics. According to the website, there are plans to allow kids to create a charity, such as a local church or youth organization.
Learning to save is another essential aspect of financial literacy. Putting money aside for a large purchase, rainy day, or an unplanned activity can be a difficult lesson. Children can choose to set any amount aside on their own. BusyKids allows parents the option to specify a percentage of earned money that will be automatically moved into a savings account. Many financial planners recommend an automated approach to adults when saving money, so again, we see a parallel between the BusyKids app and the adult world. Children can see how much they have saved but cannot move money out of their savings without parent approval.
Purchasing stocks through an app is not a new concept. Entrepreneurs built apps like Robinhood for that exact purpose. BusyKid believes that a basic understanding of the stock market is critical for today’s youth. It does take some additional steps to get this portion of the app set up. Once the setup is complete, children can buy a stock for no additional fee inside of the app. There is a minimum $10 purchase, though. Selling the stock needs to be done through a third-party app, which does charge a small fee. I consider this portion of the app more of a teaching tool than a genuine investment opportunity. Kids can transition their stocks to another platform once they have a strong understanding of investing.
BusyKid is an amazing application for teaching children about managing their finances. The app’s design makes it simple for parents, even those folks who are not tech-savvy. Kids love earning money, checking their balance, and exploring the option BusyKid provides them. Quality products are rarely free, and this is no exception. Plans start at $19.99 per year, which includes the debit card for one child. Tack on $7.99 per year for additional children. Parents can learn more about BusyKid at busykid.com. If you are interested in more affordable options, check out RoosterMoney. Apps like Star Banks Adventure and Adventure Capitalist teach kids about complex financial principles through gaming without using real money. Any of these apps are great ways to educate your child on money management.
Mike Daugherty is a husband, father of three young children, author, speaker, Google Innovator, and possible Starbucks addict. He is a certified educational technology leader who has served in a variety of roles through his 18-year career in public education. Currently, Mike is the director of technology for the Chagrin Falls Exempted Village School district in Northeast Ohio. His blog, More Than A Tech, offers advice and ideas for parenting in a digital world.