Teaching Kids to Earn and Manage Money
Published: April 30, 2021
By: Paige Townley
One of the many important lessons that parents must teach their children is about money. That includes all about earning it, saving it, and spending it. That task, however, is not always an easy one. In fact, it can be quite a struggle to teach children the value of a dollar and how to actually earn it.
That was certainly an issue for Birmingham dad Drew McBride as he tried to teach his two children, Anderson and Madelyn. Like many parents, McBride created a list of chores for his children, though it was always hard to keep track of their completion and then actually pay them when they were done, much less help them keep track of their money and learn how they should spend it once they had it. “I tried to find an app that would help assign and track their chores, but I could never find anything that really worked well,” he says. “But then I found BusyKid.”
BusyKid is an app that makes it easy for parents to teach their children a strong work ethic and money management skills. “I like to describe it as your kid’s first job with direct deposit,” says Gregg Murset, CEO and creator of BusyKid. “I say that because while they are young, they obviously can’t get a ‘real job,’ but they need to learn how to work way before they ever go get their first real job so that they have the skillset. Our app makes that happen.”
Murset, a Certified Financial Planner, came up with the idea for BusyKid as he worked for years with his clients. Watching his successful clients make smart financial decisions over the years, he continued to think about how he hoped to instill those same qualities in his six children. “I wanted my kids to be like them – to work hard and be smart with their money,” Murset adds. “Money management and work ethic are fundamental life skills they will use their entire lives. Every single day you make a million different life decisions, and if you are smart about them early on it makes a big difference. I knew I had to create something to help my kids learn do that.”
Not only did Murset want to create something to help his kids develop a strong work ethic and learn money management skills, but he also wanted to do so in a way that was easy to manage. That’s the simplicity behind BusyKid – it’s intuitive, easy to use, and includes all aspects of the process: assigning chores, paying kids when chores are completed, and then helping kids manage their money.
“Implementing our system is really the start of a child’s financial education that they will use for a lifetime,” Murset says. “Kids don’t get this kind of education at school. They get more the academic side, not the practical experience side, which is just as, if not more, important. Kids learn best by doing. It’s so easy to spend other people’s money, but when you change the paradigm for a kid and they have to start spending their own money, it’s a whole different story.”
With the paid subscription app, parents simply sign up, link their bank account, and begin assigning the chores for their child. The app has a variety of preloaded chores, but custom chores can be added, and the app even includes suggested payment prices for each type of chore. The child then works to complete the chores, and once they do, the parent can log in and send the payment through the app. “The app will keep track of all the chores and then at the end of the week will send the parent a notification reminding them that it’s payday,” Murset explains. “If the child has done the chores, the parent can approve for payment to be pulled from their checking account and moved to the child’s account in the BusyKid system.”
Once the parent approves the payment and it’s sent, the app takes the earned money and divides it into different categories: save, donate, and spend. With the saved money, children can literally invest in fractional shares of stock. Through the donate option, children can give to charities (always with a parent’s permission) and even their church. “Everything goes through the parent for approval, so parents can keep track of it all,” Murset says.
For the spend option, kids will receive their very own VisaÆ Prepaid Spend Card, which can be used anywhere VisaÆ is accepted. “It’s empowering for kids to hold that card and use it just like mom or dad does, especially when it’s money they actually earned themselves,” says Murset. “It makes it special for a kid to be able to do that on their own. It’s also important for them to feel what it’s like to swipe that card and feel what it’s like to not be buying much but it’s taking so much of their own money.”
Parents can still track all spending done through the Spend Card, as well as reward their child with bonuses for outstanding performances or special situations. “It’s so important to teach our children these real-life experiences and what the real world is like,” Murset says. “The app is all about teaching kids about earning and saving money in the same way you would with a job, and it does so in an easy-to-manage way. Gone are the days of piggy banks, jars, or envelopes. No more worrying with cash or coins because none of us carry it anymore. The app makes it so easy, and if we’re fairly consistent with this with our kids, it will totally change their financial lives forever.”
Paige Townley is a Birmingham-based freelance writer.