For many parents, getting children to complete chores requires a weekly or monthly allowance.
The child usually mows the lawn or takes out the trash with a hope of receiving $20 to go to the movies. One app developer and certified financial planner is helping parents make the process easier for both the kids and the parents.
This is where the app BusyKid comes in.
Parents can download the free app and pick a list of chores for their child to do for a certain amount of money. Once the child completes the chores, the parents can then authorize the payment like a direct deposit at the end of each week.
"Then that money's going to be automatically split up or allocated into three big buckets: saving, sharing and spending," explained BusyKid chief financial officer Gregg Murset. "We do that automatically so that the kid learns right away that when they earn money, they have this balanced financial approach to managing their money."
Each week, the app also automatically saves a percentage of the weekly allowance for the child. They can then donate a percentage of their allowance to charity.
Another option is that children can buy stock from companies like Netflix or Nike with their weekly allowance.
"The best way to learn is experience," said Murset. "You can read about it, watch videos and that's good but there's nothing like owning it. Once you own it, you're going to pay a lot more attention to it."
He added, "Let them buy some stock in something that they think is cool. … If they love McDonald's, Disney or Netflix, who cares? If you're going to be like, 'Let's buy shares of this S&P 500 fund,' then it might be a little too much and a little too soon."
For $7.99 a year, the app also offers a BusyKid Visa prepaid spend card that gives children the freedom to spend their allowance in stores or online, and parents see every transaction made.
Camas, Washington, residents Gina and Todd Schlesinger said their family has been using the app for over a year. They tried other apps before, but BusyKid was life changing to help manage their children's allowance.
"We found other features with it that were really helpful to us that we didn't necessarily think about," said Todd Schlesinger. "When we did other chores systems, we wouldn't have to have cash available to pay them. We weren't so good at that at times."
As for their kids, they love it — especially when they want something from the store.
"Our youngest son wanted to get a pet fish," said Todd Schlesinger. "So, he looked up all the information as to how much everything was going to cost and how much he was going to have to need to earn it. … That was the time that he's probably worked the hardest because he had a clear goal."
Schlesinger's son has also dabbled in the stock market. He recently purchased stock of Nintendo and Tesla.
What happened right after?
"Unfortunately, he made the assessment right before the stock market started to go down a few weeks ago," recalled Schlesinger. "He's only seen the sorrows of the stock market. He hasn't experienced any of the joys, but it's still a good lesson for him. He just invested about $10."
For Murset, it was like music to his ears to hear the family's feedback.
"I've had a lot of headaches trying to develop it and make it happen," said Murset. "It drives you nuts some days, but that kind of thing really does make it worthwhile."
He hopes the app can also be helpful for families as the coronavirus pandemic forces kids and parents to stay home.
"You can literally go in and give them some chores that are tied directly to help physical health," said Murset. "Help walking the dog, throw the football, play basketball (and) walk around the block."
He added, "Intellectually, you can give them a chore to read for 30 minutes or three hours. You could even give them a research project on the internet."
As for learning about personal finance, Murset doesn't want parents to wait for children to learn this all inside of the public school system.
"We have to take the bull by the horns as parents and teach them this," he said. "It's logical that parents should be one teaching this stuff to their kids because they're the bank. They are the source of money for these kids."
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