What a Junior Achievement Survey Tells Us About Kids, Parents and Money

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Guess which topic most parents say is easier to explain to their kids than the birds and the bees, death or politics?

You guessed it: Money. A whopping 77 percent of parents can talk more easily about finances with their kids than they can other challenging topics.

That’s good news on the financial front. It means money isn’t a taboo topic in most U.S. families, according to a new survey by Wakefield Research for Junior Achievement and the Jackson Charitable Foundation. The Children’s Financial Literacy Survey included 500 children, aged seven to 10, and their parents.

Other key survey findings:

  • 77 percent of parents believe the best place for kids to learn personal finance basics is at home. Good thing, since only five U.S. states (Alabama, Missouri, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia) require high school students to take one personal finance course in order to graduate, says Champlain College’s Center for Financial Literacy. Eleven states plus the District of Columbia have zero personal finance requirements in their high school curricula.
  • Parents think kids should learn about money as young as age five, and by age eight, on average. Many kids begin to start understanding the connection between numbers and money in kindergarten (“Five pennies is the same as a five-cent nickel.”). By age eight, kids may understand that money is exchanged for goods and services (i.e. to buy stuff).
  • 92 percent of parents save money—for emergencies, college tuition, and retirement. Good on you, parents! You’ve got the most important savings goals covered. Of course, we don’t know how much the surveyed parents are saving. But hey, any savings amount is a good thing.
  • 82 percent of kids earn allowances from parents for doing chores, getting good grades, doing homework and doing good deeds. Learn more about the pros and cons of connecting allowance to these accomplishments.

Of course, all is not rosy when it comes to kids and money. Many of the young survey respondents showed they have a lot left to learn about finances. But hey, the oldest kids surveyed were only 10. They’ve got time:

  • 33 percent of the kids surveyed haven’t yet been taught how to get or earn money. Uh oh. Is that a sign that it’s time to talk about extra summer chores for pay, parents?
  • 41 percent of kids don’t know how to spend money. Even kids as young as 10 can begin making some simple spending decisions. How about having your kid help pick a birthday gift (with a maximum dollar amount) for a friend? Or choose how to spend their souvenir money during your summer vacation?
  • 47 percent of kids haven’t learned how to give money to help people. An easy fix: Many parents use the “three-jar system,” (or some version of it.). They require their kids to split their allowances three ways: Spending, saving and donating. This way, giving money to others becomes an automatic habit. Be sure to let your kids help decide where their donations will go.
  • When asked why they think people put money in a bank, only slightly more than half (53 percent) of kids said “saving it so they won’t spend it.” First, banks and credit unions are almost invisible to kids, since parents don’t physically visit branches anymore. You could make a point to drop into your bank or credit union occasionally, or look online for kid-friendly videos like “Roles of a Bank” from CashVille Kidz.Just as important, though, is explaining to your kids how banks, budget categories and savings accounts make it easier for them to separate their spending money from savings.
  • Only 25 percent of kids surveyed know you can earn interest on savings. Interest can seem like a tricky topic to explain to kids, for sure. How about sharing this “Schoolhouse Rock” classic to help make the concept clear?

For more about the survey, along with other kids, work and money topics, visit Junior Achievement’s website.

(photo courtesy © Paul Hamilton cc2.0)

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Greenlight 2.0 – Jam-Packed With The Features YOU’VE Been Asking For

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Hi everyone, Tim Sheehan, Greenlight Co-Founder & CEO here with some exciting news – Greenlight 2.0 is HERE! That’s right, if you haven’t already heard, the brand new version of Greenlight has just made its way onto the scene.

When we started mapping out what we wanted to include in Greenlight 2.0, we reviewed all of the amazing comments, suggestions, ideas, etc. we’ve received from our Greenlight families. All of that feedback helped us create this updated version of Greenlight that we hope you’ll love!

What’s new in 2.0?

 

New Look
You’ll notice immediately when you open the updated version of Greenlight that there is a new look and feel to the app. Our goal with this version was to make the app even easier to use while incorporating some great new features and functionality. I think the app looks fantastic especially when you add pictures of your kids.

ATM Access
Now, when your child needs cash (e.g., to buy something from a place that only accepts cash), you can add money to the “Any ATM” greenlight to set a specific amount that your child can withdraw from any ATM. (i.e., only the amount of money that the parent specifies in the “Any ATM” greenlight may be withdrawn from an ATM.)

Savings Goals
Also brand new in 2.0 is Savings Goals! This feature allows your child to set aside money for a specific purpose – like a new bike, cell phone, game, or trip – and visually see how they are making progress toward reaching that goal! Also, Greenlight kids will receive Parent-paid Interest on the money they save in their specific Savings Goals accounts.

Giving
Greenlight’s brand new Giving feature allows Greenlight families to allocate a certain portion of a child’s funds to be set aside for donations to charities and purchases from non-profit organizations. This is something that hits very close to home for many of us on the Greenlight Team. We have seen numerous Greenlight families express this same sentiment and request a feature that would make it easier to allow their kids to dedicate a portion of their money for charities that they are passionate about.

These are just a few of the many new and improved features within Greenlight 2.0. Don’t just take my word for it though, take a look for yourself! 🙂

Check out the new Greenlight app!

Don’t have Greenlight yet? Sign up now!

Have you already played around with the latest version of Greenlight? Does 2.0 get the Greenlight from you and your family? Please let us know by sending us an email or by messaging us directly within the Greenlight app (go to Settings > Help > Contact Us).

All of us at Greenlight are focused on 1 goal: to help parents raise financially-smart kids. We’ll continue to work hard toward that goal.

THANK YOU for being a Greenlight family! 🙂

Tim

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Greenlight Kids Save 3 Times More than the Average U.S. Household

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As the average U.S. household debt continues to rise, Greenlight families are seeing a different trend. We’re thrilled to announce today that Greenlight kids have saved more than $1 million dollars using Greenlight Savings, The Educational Savings Account for Kids. Official story here. With the average U.S. household savings rate at 2.8%, Greenlight kids are saving a whopping 8.4% of their money on average. That’s triple the national average!  

The Educational Savings Account for Kids allows kids to see real growth in their savings account, how interest works over time, and the impact of spending versus saving, which helps them understand the importance of saving for the future. Not only that, but parents can set their own interest rate and pay the interest automatically within the child’s Greenlight Savings. The national average interest rate for bank savings accounts is 0.08%, making it difficult to educate kids on the value of savings. The average interest rate set by Greenlight parents is 19.84% enabling kids to see the benefits and importance of savings almost immediately.

Since April, Greenlight kids have more than quadrupled the amount of money in their savings accounts. We are proud to continue offering new features like the Educational Savings Account for Kids as an option that is convenient for families and offers flexibility for each family and each child’s unique needs. We are helping parents teach their kids to be smart about money and set them up for success financially, and are hopeful that impact can change the financial course for a new generation.

We’re on a mission to help parents raise financially-smart kids and are thrilled to see so many families using Greenlight Savings to teach their kids the importance of saving. But, we’re not done just yet. We have several new features that we’re excited to release in the near future. Stay tuned!

 

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