Many readers are aware of my interest in improving financial education for young people. If there is any silver lining to be found on today’s tough economic condition, it is that more parents and grandparents are willing to invest in their children and grandchildren’s “financial prosperity.” Over the years, a number of financial products aimed towards teaching kids about money have cropped up on the market.
I recently virtually met Prosperity 4 Kids creator Lori Mackey, who shares a passion for “empowering kids for a healthy financial future.” I was immediately impressed with the quality of materials I found at her site, and she was kind enough to share a Money Mama Bank and accompanying materials with my kids.
One of the things I like most about the product is that it separates earnings into four categories, with a realistic division for kids. After all, not many children will save 90% of their earnings and keep $1. 00 for spending – it just isn’t realistic. The Mama Money Bank solves this dilemma by providing four coin slots for each category:
- Giving (10%) My kids are interested in a number of causes of their own, including cancer research (Relay for Life), Project Linus, and a number of school and church fund raising opportunities.
- Investing (15%) Many financial products for kids stop at saving, spending and giving. I like that this system includes an investing “bank” because it helps kids think in a more long-term view. I explained to my daughter that the difference between saving and investing is largely determined by the amount of time until your goal. My daughter is “investing” for her college education and her own car (which she fortunately is still several years from buying). She is “saving” for two new music CDs.
- Saving (25%) Again, the kids are saving for short-term needs that are a little outside of their allowance spending budget. Each week, my kids set aside 1/4 of their income for short-term savings goals. These goals will ultimately convert to spending, but the beauty of this system is that is shows kids have to have the cash on hand before they can buy something – no debt!
- Spending (50%) Our kids are allowed to spend what’s left. Without allowing kids to spend some of their money they will quickly grow to resent the plan, much like adults get frustrated when they just got paid, but have no cash to spend.
*Note, the percentages above are not necessarily the suggested percentages, but work well for our family
The other materials Lori included from the Prosperity 4 Kids system included a workbook, a story book, Money Mama & The Three Little Pigs, which included a read-along CD, and an allowance chart. All were high-quality, kid-friendly materials. I was particularly impressed that the allowance chart included “cling-on” type stickers which makes the chart last much longer than paper stickers.
My daughter has been reviewing the workbook, Design Your Child’s Financial Future, and has provided a short review of her own:
My favorite part of the workbook is Millionaire Habit #7: The Power of Earning. This millionaire habit is about kids starting businesses of their own. Some of the business ideas include a lemonade stand, babysitting, and pulling weeds in the neighborhood. I have helped my Dad pull weeds in our yard for extra chore money ($0.05 a weed!). To get started a child will save some money to buy supplies for their business. This part also includes a kids mini-business plan that includes a place for business name, who or what is my competition, how will I advertise, what problem does my business solve, and where will my business be located?
You will also get to ask people a feedback questionnaire which includes questions like how much you like their business and ways to improve. My friends and I are planning to open a lemonade stand in our yard now that it is summer to sell lemonade and other snacks. We are planning to use this workbook to create a business.
– Frugal Daughter
After reading my daughter’s review it occurred to me she is taking a more thoughtful approach to her business than I have in nearly two years of freelance writing! I think I’ve found a new contributor here at Frugal Dad!