Moonjar was established in 2001 with the mission to inspire the incorporation of strong financial values, and bring financial savvy to children and families in their everyday life. Eulalie Scandiuzzi is the founder/owner. As Moonjar’s Chief Creative Officer, she creates the products. Mary Karges, partner, is responsible for sales and marketing. She casts the wide net to all of the different business sectors. Tatum Kerr is Moonjar’s bookkeeper and partner, most noted as the first to smile in the office.
What was the motivation behind starting Moonjar?
We are all worried about money and don’t know how to talk to our children about it. The idea launched sometime after a visit in 2001 to FareStart Seattle, where we listened to those clients speak about their reasons for falling into deep financial holes. [Moonjar founder] Eulalie’s wish was to provide all people with the same vocabulary around money as she and her siblings received from their mother. She wanted to basically debunk the idea that we are all born wired with information on how to handle money. We really wanted to help visual and kinetic learners understand the value of the dollar — saving it, choosing to spend it or with whom to share it and why.
What is the name Moonjar meant to reflect?
Moon: “To shoot for the moon”; to go after dreams and goals. Jar: Following the ancient custom where wishes or dreams are written down and placed in a special jar for future celebration. Shoot for the moon and celebrate it while you go!
At what age should parents begin considering the conversation about money with children, and how can they be most effective?
As soon as they start asking for things! We wanted to be able to create a “yes conversation,” and help our children see that they could be part of the yes — that together we can create a solution and problem-solve together. But if we’re pushed, we’ll suggest a 4- to 5-year-old. As soon as they can count to 10.
Here are some of the top 10 tips we have come up with over the years [find more tips online at parentmap.com/sysk]:
Keep lessons short with a specific goal — kids have short attention spans.
Reward kids early — don’t make the first goal reachable in six months, make it three days.
Set a date to share some of their savings — that can often be as rewarding as spending it themselves.
Sit down and budget your own finances as a family — kids see how much there is to work with, where it all goes and how much things cost.
What are your goals for Moonjar?
We are currently looking for partners/investors who want to hold the leading edge in financial literacy education reform in elementary schools across the nation by providing both public and private elementary schools with Moonjar’s role play/activity-based tools and lesson plans.
Please share a couple of stories of families who have been effectively using Moonjar.
We have a family who visits us often to tell us about the saving, spending and sharing that the two girls are setting goals around. We were so excited last fall when they came and told us Moonjar had inspired the 12-year-old to write and self-publish a book. She told us that she realized it was about making a plan, and although it did not go exactly as she thought, she was able to save enough money to self-publish and dedicate enough time to write a story she is proud of.
What do kids like about the share, spend, save aspects of Moonjar?
Our favorite moments are when we get to talk to kids about the share box. There is a special light in their eyes when they talk sharing. We love to hear kids figure out what matters to them. We had two brothers in the office trying to decide if they had to donate to the same places. We loved to watch the parent give the kids space to make that choice. The conversation started with the question “How is your Moonjar different from your brother’s?” Ultimately, they decided to give the money from each share box to different projects in their school. Kids also love the idea that they can buy the Lego, American Girl doll, Xbox game they’ve longed for because their goal becomes a reality. Google+