How to Teach Children the Value of Financial Autonomy
Families have access to a variety of digital tools.
By Taylor Burton, Founder of Till Financial
In a world where so much is facilitated by apps, it should be expected that there would be countless options aimed at helping adults with finances. However, what might be surprising are a new breed of mobile services aimed squarely at the financial clout of the youngest generation, some of which begin earning an allowance as young as 4.
These new savings tools aren’t just a cool place to store one’s spare change. In fact, they provide a wealth of learning opportunities to help guide young minds (and probably their parents, too) on the proper ways to budget, spend, and save. Kids can learn by doing and parents can reward action and ongoing participation.
The end goal is to teach kids how to be smarter spenders early in their development so they build skills that will lead to financial independence later in life. Further, the aim is to help parents normalize conversations about money, and hopefully, alleviate some of the stress families face when talking about and managing finances.
Building a Strong Financial Foundation
Teaching children about money, particularly appreciating its value and how to earn it, has been a perennial concern among parents for generations. A survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Chase showed that more than 80 percent of parents wished they knew more about finances when they were young and are now looking for the right tools to educate their children. This is why many are turning to digital technology to help ignite good habits among their children, often in a fun, game-like manner.
If you want to reach kids, of course, it’s hard to think of a better way than through an app. A Finder survey showed that more than 60 percent of 10-15-year-olds use an “online money tool,” with virtually all of them catering to the rise of digital pocket money that, like most commerce-related services these days, is taking the place of hard and paper currencies.
These apps are not just popular with kids, but parents as well.
For one thing, they make it easier to monitor earning, spending, and other activities. Most allowances, after all, come with the caveat that children will do daily chores. Quite often, however, tasks like cleaning rooms and making beds trail off to once a week, usually right after payday, and sometimes it’s easier to hand over the allowance rather than haggle. However, with an app, parents can easily reward their kid’s chore completion and transfer money into their account -- and even hand out bonuses for jobs well done.
If You Game It, They Will Come
Simply counting numbers and adding interest can be tedious for kids. This is why many emerging services often include gamification that may also reward good behavior. Some even link to popular online games where users can spend digital currencies on skins, tokens, and accessories, subject to adult control.
Still, many parents aren’t too keen on their children learning how to spend and make money by committing grand theft auto. But they do like the idea of kids learning how money works via a hands-on experience, as well as earning rewards for smart decisions. These are lessons that can last a lifetime, and parents don’t want their children to become adults only to make a purchase that sets them back a decade.
A Lifetime of Good Habits
Mobile banking apps for kids can help with the creation of bank accounts, CDs, and other financial services, as well as more exotic instruments like brokerage accounts and annuities when the time comes. Many also facilitate the transfer of funds from one account to another and provide, or link to, more advanced informational services like deposit insurance, federal reserve, and financial regulations.
Still, perhaps the most important benefit of these new digital resources is not just the way they help create good savers, but smarter spenders.
There are collaborative family tools that give children ownership of their finances, within reason. One particularly effective approach uses a fee-free app and debit card, with limits, enabling kids to conduct real actions and gain from experiential learning. Parents are often quite surprised at how responsible their kids get when it comes to looking for the best deal and considering whether a given purchase is worthwhile.
Taylor Burton is the founder of Till Financial, the first collaborative family financial tool that empowers kids to become smarter spenders. It replaces awkward family conversations about money with real actions and experiential learning, teaching kids how to spend wisely with its fee-free app and debit card. For more information, please visit www.tillfinancial.io.
Top image © nastia1983 / Adobe Stock
Editor's Note (12/02/2021): This article has been updated to reflect that the OnePoll survey was conducted on behalf of Chase.