Thursday, April 18, 2013

April is Money Month! Teach a Child to Save!!

Financial Literacy: Teaching Your Kids About Money
by The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association | April 14 | 1 Comment

Talking about money often times makes us all uncomfortable -- especially parents. We all want our children to develop strong financial values, but just how do we do that?
Since April is financial literacy month, we took our questions straight to the experts at Moonjar, who have created a simple money management tool for kids that’s both inspiring and practical. They gave us great advice on how and when to start the money conversation with your child through their spend, save, and share teaching philosophy.

Moonjar's mission is to inspire and incorporate strong financial values and practices into everyday life. That really resonates with a lot of parents. What particular instance or event sparked the thought: "Wow, there's a real need for Moonjar?"
Lalie (Scandiuzzi) created the Moonjar Moneybox after visiting several non profits who were dealing with people who fallen off their track -- and so often it was because of money. At the same time, she was trying to find tools to help explain money management to her own children and there were no clear tools available. Lalie felt she HAD to create something to help people avoid that tenuous step off the track, and where better to start than with our children.

How does Moonjar work exactly?

The teaching bank is divided into three boxes, one each for Saving, Spending, and Sharing. We encourage kids to visualize their goals for each Save, Spend, and Share- most kids are visual learners and when they see the goal and recognize there are choices around achieving that goal, they can set themselves up for success!

The Moonjar comes with a Family Guide that encourages parents to talk to their kids about setting goals in each of three categories and to place images on the boxes. Each Moonjar is 100% personal; it is a great way for parents to discover what their kids really care about and encourage each child to follow that individualized plan.

Each time a child has money for the Moonjar Moneybox they can record the amount in the passbook. They can also track what they are spending on and how much they are donating.

How young should parents start think of incorporating moon jar or financial values into their child's everyday life?
Every time a child is given or earns money there are choices to be made. It is a great opportunity for conversation. It also allows for many more ‘YES” conversations when kids start to want to buy other products in stores- rather than “no we can’t afford it…” the conversation becomes, “yes, and let’s go check your Moonjar to see when you will be able to buy that!”

What three things should all parents do in order to help develop their child's financial literacy?

1. Be a good role model. Make sure your children see you doing the things that you are teaching them. Let them in on your bill paying, savings and investment plans and charitable giving.

2. Get the conversation about money started early and use tools. Start talking with your 4 and 5 year olds about money concepts. Keep in mind most children are visual learners, so using hands-on tools like check registers and moneyboxes can better help them learn concepts such as allocating funds and what interest means.

3. Develop a system of allowance and stick with it. Whether you follow a “learn to earn” format where children earn allowances through performing small chores or a “family as community” format where a stipend is given, keep on a regular schedule and avoid giving advances.

The idea of saving, spending and sharing is one we think all parents (and kids!) will love. What kinds of things have children done to share?

This is one of the best parts of working with Moonjar- we get to hear from kids and families and how they have made a difference! One of my favorite stories is that one boy got his whole class to buy Moonjars and to collect money for the teacher who was undergoing cancer treatment. We have also heard from a child who is saving to buy his mom a house. Many kids are saving for college and cars. And we have heard wonderful stories about kids reaching the spending goal too…we hear about a lot of Legos!

What's next for Moonjar as a company? Any new products on the horizon?

We are finding that financial literacy is on everybody’s mind these days! We are partnering with Credit Unions and non profits to further the message for kids and families. We are getting our curriculum into more classrooms and our Moonjars onto more kitchen tables. SAVE SPEND and SHARE is the money paradigm for today and we are proud to be innovators in that story!

We have just released a new International Moonjar. The boxes are tin with acrylic lids, like the Classic Mooonjar, but the words SAVE, SPEND, and SHARE are in several languages and the boxes are silver, gold and copper (like money).