Greenlight Savings: The new way to teach your kids the value of saving money

The money conversation. It can be one of the hardest conversations we have with our kids (let’s be real: it can be one of the hardest conversations we have with anyone). But it’s also one of the most important conversations we have to have as parents.

Kids aren’t born understanding money. Ask any parent and they’ll tell you a hilarious story about the time their kid thought banks just gave money away or that cashiers did nothing more than approve your selections. It’s cute, but — as much as we want to preserve our kids’ innocence — it’s unsustainable and potentially dangerous.

Understanding money — how it can grow, how it can be used, how it can disappear — is important to every child’s development. There are tons of tricks you can use to get them to learn, but whether or not they’re effective is up for debate. At Greenlight, we’re thinking beyond giving your kids a jar and asking them to count their pennies; we’re thinking about a real way to teach kids about money.

That’s why we’ve developed Greenlight Savings. It’s an educational tool that allows kids to earn interest and save their money. Your kids will be able to watch their money fluctuate as they earn interest, and spend it (with your permission) helping them understand how saving money can pay off in the long run.

Greenlight Savings isn’t a typical savings account. It’s a parent-managed tool that teaches kids the value of saving money, but also how interest — and patience — pays off. Instead of earning the tiny amounts of interest typical savings accounts offer, parents can set and pay higher interest rates so their kids can actually see their money grow.

Here’s how it works:

1) From your Greenlight Parent’s Dashboard, you can add money to the Savings category on your child’s Greenlight card. It works the same way as adding cash to any Greenlight category, and we’ve already added it as an option so you’re ready to go.
2) Once you’ve added money, you’ll be able to set the interest rate. Pick a rate you’re comfortable with, since you’ll be paying that interest.
3) We automate the process. Your child’s Greenlight Savings will earn interest once a month and it will be drawn from your Greenlight Parent’s Wallet automatically.
4) You can add or move money anytime, right from your Parent’s Dashboard just as you would for any other category on their Greenlight card. And your kids can move their money too: they can put money in whenever they want, but need your approval to move it out.
5) The savings grow, and your kids start to understand how saving can help them set and meet spending goals over the long term.

Since kids don’t typically deal in large sums of money, regular savings accounts with small interest rates don’t show real growth. But since you can set higher interest rates, Greenlight Savings shows kids how interest works over time, so they can plan how to use their money down the line. It also teaches them the value of patience and planning: while they may want to buy the latest online game or must-have toy immediately, they’ll come to understand that by waiting a bit, they’ll have even more money available – for that toy and maybe a snack or two, also.

And since it’s all parent-controlled, you’ll have oversight into what your kids are doing so that you’re always prepared for that dreaded money conversation. Only now, you can rest assured that it will be pleasant, meaningful, and productive.

Equip your kids for financial success today with Greenlight Savings. If you’re already a Greenlight customer, you can get started with Greenlight Savings at no extra cost. And if you’re not, signing up is easy. Simply visit us at www.greenlightcard.com and tap download to get our app and begin registration.

 

(photo courtesy © GotCredit cc2.0)

Amazon Prime Day 2019 with Greenlight

18.5% of Greenlight kids have spent money at Amazon

So by our predictions, your kids are probably already buzzing about Amazon Prime Day next week (July 15-16). Maybe they’ve been reading rumors of most epic tech markdowns or set up fancy price alerts to know as soon as their prized item is down to their savings goal balance. (Want price alerts of your own? Here’s one way to set them up.)

As always, we’ve been thinking about how Prime Day can fit into money talks, plus how Greenlight can help you manage spending safely. 

Time for budget talks

What makes a good deal? Fortunately, most kids are expert Googlers. Before they click for the checkout button, work with them to search for competing prices and to balance the value of the newest version of the computer or sneaker they’re eyeing vs. last year’s model.

Set up greenlights

Set up greenlights to control how much your kids can spend at Amazon. No shocking credit card bills. No overdraft fees. No surprises.

Amazon Prime Day 2019

Back to school is upon us

For some districts, school is back in session in July. Now is prime time (see what we did there?) to think about clothes, supplies and electronics your kids need for the next year. 

Bring kids into the conversation. Set a budget for each child and talk with them about Amazon deals fit into that budget. 

Pro tip: Scary Mommy will be live blogging the best back to school Amazon Prime Day deals next week. And we’re on the edge of our seats. 

We’re sitting on some great ideas on how to bring kids in on back to school shopping without getting in the way. Stay tuned – more on that topic over the next couple weeks.

Haven’t joined Greenlight yet?

Get started by signing your family up today.

Summer Spending & Saving with Greenlight

Summers are busy. Between visits to grandma, beach trips, summer camp, and the inaugural summer job (!), your kids may be spending tons of time away from home. Throughout the coordinated chaos, Summer offers great opportunities to continue money talks with your kids.

Family Vacations

Many families go on summer trips. In fact, 68% of you fine American families* will hit the road before school starts. 

Use this as an opportunity to talk to your kids about the value of saving. Discuss the tradeoffs you made throughout the year to fund your excursion and talk about the specific costs associated with you trip. 

Scholastic has a lesson with a couple handy worksheets – including a trip cost calculator in case you need a bit of help. (Don’t worry – we also learned a thing or two.)

Summer Jobs

For parents of teens, this summer may be the first one employed, and may it be the first of many. Before your kids pull out their Greenlight card to spend all of their Friday paycheck on Fortnight Battlepacks, remind them of the practice of saving. 

Work with them to develop a distribution plan for their paychecks. How much will they put into Save, Spend and Give accounts on a regular basis?

The first job is probably the first time your kids encounter the not-so-simple world of income taxes. And before you click away from this page in search of safer waters, know that the earlier you approach the subject of Uncle Sam with your kids, the more prepared they’ll be when the leave the house. 

Going over their pay stub is a great way to show teens how taxes impact their take-home pay. Talk with them about the purpose of social security, medicare, federal, state and local taxes. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a simple guide to the anatomy of a paycheck that may help. Remind them that smart budgeting (see savings tip above), helps you account for the tax you pay.

(Side note: did you know teens can directly deposit their paychecks into their Greenlight accounts?)

Back to School

In 2018, Deloitte estimated families spent $510 per child**, on average, on back to school expenses. Between clothes, electronics and general supplies, that’s a hefty penny. And also an opportunity to reinforce the conversation of budgeting, especially when it comes with the price tag of a new school year. 

Later in July, we’ll talk about how to instill healthy money habits into routines as the kids go back to school. Follow us on social media for the latest tips and tricks about money talks and recent updates to the Greenlight app.

Don’t have Greenlight yet? 

Get started by signing your family up today.

*2019 AAA Travel Survey

**Deloitte 2019 Back to School Survey