Parents today are at a significant crossroad as handheld technology becomes more ingrained in everyday use. With functionality geared at everything from education to entertainment, our children are exposed to screen time at an increasing rate each year. However, all too often, the easily-accessible visual tech that winds up in our children’s hands fails to promote healthy, learning-based objectives and rather entails pure entertainment or child-targeted marketing.
Considering technology’s educational potential, basic financial education for our children should be starting much earlier. Learning wants versus needs is one important financial lesson. Understanding the concept of a dollar earned will set a child up for success later in life. TruWest Credit Union and BusyKid®recognize this need and have partnered together to shine a spotlight on early financial education for children with an interactive, fun and informative program for kids to learn about the value of money.
BusyKid links with parents’ checking or savings accounts and incentivizes children with an allowance tied to a digital chores list to complete. Children can use mobile devices, tablets, or computers to log in to their chores list and mark items complete to accumulate their allowance as set by their parents. On “payday” the app provides the child with a list of options beyond just cashing out their allowance.
The application leverages easy visual aids to teach children not just the importance of earning money, but allows them to either invest their earnings in stocks, donate to their favorite charities, purchase gift cards and of course cash out as well. What’s more, BusyKid, which is available to TruWest Credit Union members at an exclusive discount, even provides an option to enroll for a Visa®Prepaid Spend Card that can be loaded with funds to make online or in-store purchases. Parents can set up text alerts to approve in-app purchases their children can make with their accumulated funds. Perhaps the most educational built-in function is the breakdown of how many chores it took to make a purchase. Displaying the breakdown allows kids to make their own pricing and value determinations.
It’s critical to teach kids about the value of money at a young age. BusyKid’s targeted age is six to 16 years old and creates real world experience for children to learn responsibility while managing the dollars they earn. The application, by design, is intended to promote accountability, work ethic and financial responsibility.
Additionally, when parents take an active role by helping their children set savings goals and checking in on their child’s progress, kids tend to respond in a more proactive and savings-focused way with their allowance. Above all, it keeps a line of communication open with children about the value of earning, saving and investing.
Written by: Alan Althouse, TruWest Credit Union
Alan Althouse is the President and CEO of TruWest Credit Union. TruWest Credit Union is headquartered in Tempe, Ariz., and operates as a cooperative to provide its members with a lifetime of quality financial services and a culture of caring for its members, employees and communities. TruWest has more than 89,000 members and assets totaling more than $1 billion. TruWest Credit Union has 13 branch locations—nine in Metro Phoenix and four in Austin, Texas. For more information, visit truwest.org..