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)

Using your kids’ debit cards to talk about money this summer

The money talk — not as scary as the birds and bees, but still a big deal.  In fact, 49% of parents say they’re not sure how to explain money to their kids [1]. Enter: Summer Break. More time at home means more time to talk about money management. Follow along for some conversation starters and tips on how to have the money talk.

EXPLAIN WHY BUDGETING IS IMPORTANT

79% of Americans keep a budget [2], which is great. Budgets may be a bit more involved for grownups, but that doesn’t mean your kids can’t start learning the basics. How? Start off by explaining why budgeting matters. There’s a good chance they’re already wondering that.

Conversation Starter: “What’s something you really want but you haven’t had the money to buy?” Maybe it’s something you can’t fit into your parent budget, or maybe it’s something you think they should buy on their own. During the summer, there are lots of opportunities for your kids to make money — help them figure out how to manage their earnings.

BREAK DOWN COMMON BUDGETING TERMS

Fixed expenses and variable expenses — ring a bell? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, these are important words to teach your kids about budgeting. Break it down into Summer Break terms and they’ll get it.

Conversation Starter: “A fixed expense is one that doesn’t change. Like, our Netflix subscription. It’s the same price every month. A variable expense is one that does change. Like, a meal at a restaurant. It can go up or down, depending on where we eat.”

TALK ABOUT SAVING MONEY

Budgeting for Summer Break is one thing — saving for it is another. Instead of handing over a wad of cash and hoping they stash it away, make it a hands-on experience with a bit of fun along the way.

Conversation Starter: “Saving money lets you buy things that you might not have enough money for right now. When you add a little bit of money to your savings over time, it adds up so you can buy those things one day.” Tip: Help your kids make a savings goal (or better, lots of goals). Then, work together to plan out how they’ll reach that goal.

GIVE KIDS THEIR OWN DEBIT CARD

The fun part about the money talk is giving your kids their own debit card. Unlike a credit card, they can only spend what’s on it. The best part? They won’t realize that they’re learning valuable lessons every time they use their card — but trust us, they are.

With the Greenlight debit card and app, your kids can:

  • Set savings goals.
  • Learn to make trade-off decisions. Keychain or shark-tooth necklace? It’s their call.
  • Earn allowance through chores. Cool fact: Greenlight kids who earn allowance save 26% more. Woohoo!

A few other things you can do in your app:

  • Manage access to ATMs. Are they withdrawing a bit too much? Set limits.
  • Choose stores. You decide where they can and can’t spend. Gas only? Just at restaurants? Adjust the settings in your app.
  • Get real-time notifications and monitor their spend levels.

GET SET FOR SUMMER

Join Greenlight today and help your kids get a head start on budgeting for their Summer Break — and for life! Sign up now

[1] Investopedia.com [2] Debt.com

Everything you need to know about National Decision Day

For many high school seniors, May 1st is an important day: National Decision Day. It’s the day they decide what comes after high school — the first of many big decisions they’ll make for themselves. This year, it also marks a day in which their decisions are heavily impacted by the world around us. 

They did the work, took the tests, made it through the teenage years and now have their sights set on graduating high school. While you and your family explore different ways to commemorate this milestone (perhaps with video calls and virtual graduation parties?), we hope you can still find time to talk about the next chapter of your child’s life.

The new-age debate

Our Gen Zs live in a world of entrepreneurs and self-starters. They’re seeing success as seven-year-old YouTube influencers make millions and 16-year-olds start their own companies.

So it makes sense why your kids will have different thoughts and considerations surrounding the college talk. That’s not to say that they don’t want to go to college — they just may not see it as the only option. As parents, we need to listen to that so we can guide them toward a decision that we all feel good about.

To sign or not to sign? What to consider

The college talk isn’t just on National Decision Day — it’s year-round. It’s a good idea to stay in the loop with the merging views on the subject. When you delve into the college talk, you may come across split views on a few things: 

Student loans: 

Because every financial situation is different, student loans are a hot button for many parents. If you and your kids are thinking about student loans, take time to explore every avenue and talk about how it will impact them throughout and after college. 

In 2018, the average individual student loan amount was $29,200. Loans may or may not be an option for your family. Either way, National Decision Day is a great opportunity to talk through the numbers with your soon-to-be grad. 

Public vs. private vs. community:

The good news is we’ve got lots of options. The not-so-good news? Well, it’s hard to decide! It’s no secret that most private schools come with a heavy cost and community schools are typically the most affordable. Public schools tend to sit somewhere in the middle of the two. 

Talk to your kids about finances — how they’ll be managing their money throughout college, pros and cons of an expensive school and what matters most to them. Your conversation could bring you to a cost-benefit analysis (bonus!) or it could spark up a new outlook on the entire decision-making process. 

Career analysis: 

Anyone else feel like their kids are too young to decide on a career path? In many ways, they are. That being said, they may have a different perspective. 91% of high schoolers believe they know their dream job, according to a survey done by EY and Junior Achievement. 

To them, a career is fun, exciting and adulty (their word, not ours). You know better than them that careers are not just about fun — they’re about financial security and stability. 

The transition out of high school is a prime time to have an open, honest conversation with your kids about this. You have the best insight into your kids’ strengths and interests, and you can use this knowledge to help them choose a path that will give them the biggest return on investment. (Props to you if you can make ROI sound fun!) 

Looking for a way to start the conversation? Try these: 

“Are we there yet?”

You’ve got a lot to think about, but no need to stress about it. National Decision Day is an exciting time for you and your kids. No matter what path they choose, the most important thing is that they have you. 

And… they have Greenlight! They may be growing up, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to stop helping them make wise money decisions. If you haven’t already, join Greenlight to keep your kids financially-healthy and happy throughout this next chapter of their lives.