Kid-friendly personal finance tips from a former banker

This is a guest post by DiAna Kelley, founder of the Giving Me Life Foundationa nonprofit organization that teaches strategies about monthly budgeting, credit, and financial retirement to teenagers and young adults in order to create healthy financial lifestyles.

Below, DiAna focuses on tips about earning money for things they are good at, the importance of saving early, and talking to their parents about opening an account so that they can see their money grow. 

So you and your student are getting ready to think about high school and all the excitement it may bring. High school is a once in a lifetime experience for many students. Many will begin to think about school dances, extracurricular activities, colleges, but what about saving money?

It’s never too early to think about saving and budgeting money. With all of the costs associated with school activities and the rising cost of college, many students and parents are thinking about the best ways to save for the costly years ahead. Here are some tips to help you and your students save money for those expenses.

1. Look at what your student is good at and help them earn money for it. Is your child good at babysitting, dog sitting, mowing lawns, tutoring? Whatever gifts they have can help them earn money. The best part is your child can set their own hours and prices for doing the things they love.

2. Get the Greenlight card and app. The Greenlight card is an excellent way to teach students about budgeting money and managing an account using a debit card. It is also a great tool to help parents monitor how and when their students are spending their money. As parents you can transfer money onto your child’s Greenlight card instantly anytime. You can also monitor how they spend, approve or decline requests for money from your kids, and even determine which stores they can use their Greenlight card for purchases.

3. Set a goal to save money each year you are in school and stash it away into a savings account.

4. Learn how to create a budget. See if your student can write down all the things that they would need money for during the school year and the cost of it. Then total up the amount you would need for that year. Your student may need an adult to help with their budget. Once you know how much you need for the year, then you can divide that amount over 12 months and set aside an amount you have to earn for all of your expenses.

Let me give you an example: If all of your student’s expenses for that school year comes up to $500, then divide it by 12 which is about $42. So if your student completes chores around the house and charges your neighbors and friends for doing what they are good at, your student could easily get $42 a month. Say you rounded that amount up to $50. Then your student would have enough money to cover any expenses and save money into their account. It may take some practice, but trust me your student will see their money grow.

Stay tuned for more personal finance tips from DiAna to come!

Interested in Greenlight? Download and sign up here.

More about the Author:

DiAna Kelley, a native of Boston Massachusetts, has over 10 years of experience in retail banking and financial services. Working in the area of banking, she saw a great need to teach teens how to understand budgeting and money management. Her passion is to teach students money management skills early, so that will have the tools to make smart financial decisions in their future. She uses her combined knowledge and experience to provide resources and host workshops in the community through her nonprofit organization Giving Me Life Foundation, Inc.

More about the foundation:

Giving Me Life Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that teaches strategies about monthly budgeting, credit, and financial retirement to teenagers and young adults in order to create healthy financial lifestyles. For more information about this organization please visit www.givingmelife.org.

Greenlight Raises $54 Million to Empower Parents to Raise Financially-Smart Kids

Today, we announced $54 million in Series B funding. We’re thrilled to double down on our roadmap and reach even more families on our mission to empower parents to raise a generation of financially-smart kids. Full press release below.

Greenlight Raises $54 Million to Empower Parents to Raise Financially-Smart Kids

ATLANTA, September 16, 2019 – Greenlight Financial Technology, Inc. (“Greenlight®”), the fintech company on a mission to empower parents to raise a generation of financially-smart kids, announced today it has raised $54 million in Series B funding led by Drive Capital with participation from JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. Existing investors TTV Capital, Live Oak Bank and Relay Ventures also participated. The investment will fuel continued growth and accelerate the company’s development roadmap.

“Greenlight has built an incredible platform that makes it convenient and safe for parents and kids to manage their money. We’re proud to support their growth and help them on their mission,” said Chris Olsen, Partner at Drive Capital who has joined the Greenlight Board. “What attracted us to Greenlight is the scarcity of tech platforms empowering consumers to be more financially successful.”

Greenlight offers a debit card for kids that parents manage through the Greenlight app using flexible parental controls. The company has experienced rapid growth since launching its product in 2017, helping more than half-a-million parents and kids manage daily family finances. 

The Greenlight product allows parents to choose the exact stores where their children can spend, manage chores and allowances, set parent-paid interest rates on savings and more. Kids monitor balances, create saving goals and learn to make real world trade-off decisions.

“At Wells Fargo, financial literacy and helping our clients succeed is a part of our core values,” said C. Thomas Richardson, head of Strategic Partnership Investing at Wells Fargo. “Greenlight offers parents an opportunity to build that core competency of financial literacy in their child’s formative years, through its innovative, interactive and fully digitized product offering. We are impressed by Greenlight’s rapid growth, and we are excited to help fuel the next phase of its development.”

The Series B funding will accelerate Greenlight’s mission-driven roadmap to weave more educational layers into the app experience along with investing, to get kids familiar with the tools to build long-term wealth.

“We’re thrilled to partner with our Series B investors to bring Greenlight to millions of new families and help parents prepare their children for healthy financial futures,” said Tim Sheehan, CEO and Co-Founder of Greenlight. “In the near future, I hope that this generation of kids grow up to spend wisely, learn the importance of saving and feel confident investing to build wealth over the long-term.”

For more information on Greenlight, please visit greenlightcard.com, or follow Greenlight on Facebook and Instagram.

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About Greenlight:

Founded in 2014, Greenlight Financial Technology is an Atlanta-based fintech company that’s committed to empowering parents to raise financially-smart kids. Its groundbreaking family finance product, Greenlight®, is a debit card for kids that parents manage by app using flexible parental controls. Patent-pending technology enables parents to choose the exact stores where their children can spend, manage chores, set parent-paid interest rates on savings and more. Kids monitor balances, create saving goals and learn to make real world trade-off decisions.

The Greenlight Card is issued by Community Federal Savings Bank, member FDIC, pursuant to license by MasterCard International. For more information, please visit: greenlightcard.com.

Can Video Games Teach Smart Money Skills?

XBOX, PlayStation, Nintendo, Steam. If you’re a parent, you’ve probably heard your kids talking about these video game consoles and platforms along with their favorite games like Madden, Fortnite, Mario Kart and Minecraft. With 75% of American households having at least one gamer in the house, we’re not surprised by the wave of Greenlight families sharing their gaming experiences with us. 

Whether your kids prefer mobile gaming or they kick it old school with Nintendo, video games can quickly become a favorite pastime and a recurring cost. Americans spent $43 billion on video games in 2018 and the numbers keep growing, which is why we think video games can be leveraged as an excellent tool for parents to motivate their kids to make smart money decisions. 

Knowledge is power 

With so many different consoles and video game franchises on the market, teaching young gamers to do their research develops smart habits that can apply to future large purchases. Important questions to consider include: 

  • How much does each gaming console and individual game cost?
  • What are the differences between each video game platform and what makes them special? 
  • Which games interest them the most? Which platform is the right fit? 

In Greenlight mom Natalie Jensen Young’s house, her three kids (ages 14, 16, 18) make the best decisions for their individual gaming interests.

“My kids each have different gaming preferences. One loves his Switch and the Xbox. One loves his PS4 and Xbox. One loves her Wii U. They all love the 3DS. They have all saved up for these machines, doing their research, and finding out which games are on which platforms. They get a set amount of money each week for jobs completed around the house — they save up for the games they want.” 

It’s never too early to study the fine print 

Since video games often feature in-game purchases for accessories or level boosts, it’s critical to teach kids vigilance when it comes to downloading games with monthly fees. By linking a Greenlight card to these in-game add-ons, kids gain visibility into miscellaneous charges that are often associated with mobile purchasing while parents protect their own credit cards from these charges. 

“My kids have the cards attached to their XBOX, PC and phone accounts. It’s so much better than having my card attached and them accidentally buying stuff. Plus, it taught them to be careful of things like recurring charges or hidden fees. They are much more careful of what and how they buy now,” shared Greenlight mom Alysson Browning. 

Screenshot of child's Greenlight balances, including an Online Gaming greenlight.

Level up with a video games budget

Due to the fast pace of the gaming industry, new trends can keep prices steep. Use these updates as an opportunity to talk about a magical thing called budgeting. Discuss how your child can’t get the latest game in their favorite franchise without the proper savings or budget.

With Greenlight, parents have the ability to limit how much kids spend on games, which helps eager gamers from going overboard.

Ohio mom Heather Renee Gilbert shared the secret to her game-loving son’s success.

“My son uses his Greenlight card for Xbox games. I created an Online Gaming greenlight for him where I put money specifically for that purpose into it. He earns that money with grades at school and his behavior. Having the greenlight specific for gaming is amazing because if I didn’t set a limit on what he spent on games, he would blow through all the money I gave him on just that. Now he knows exactly what he can spend on his games. No game money in the greenlight means he can’t spend more than what he has.”

Screenshot of Greenlight's spend controls, where parent can manage how much children can spend in certain categories.

Talk that gaming and finance talk with your kids

Raising financially-smart kids sometimes means getting crafty with teaching opportunities. The more relevant the topic, the more engaging the conversation can be. If your kids are into video games, why not start money talks around one of their favorite things?

Greenlight can help

Sign up your family for Greenlight today to explore your own lessons in earning, spending, saving and giving.