Robert Masterson & Jeff Eusebio
Price: see below
FamilyMint was created by Robert Masterson and Jeff Eusebio from a need they saw in their families. They were concerned by statistics such as: 2 out of 3 seniors graduate without knowing the basics of budgeting AND 18 to 24 year olds are the fastest growing age groups filing for bankruptcy. Concerned by those statistics, they wanted their children to understand that money is a limited resource and develop the money management skills they would need for the rest of their lives.
Knowing that financial literacy takes time, FamilyMint begins by giving children the knowledge they need to know what to do, but goes beyond that by giving opportunity for your child to practice these skills and then develop lifelong RIGHT habits. FamilyMint does this through the Money Management Certification Program, which consists of two parts, which can be used alone if you desire, but I think is much more valuable when used together. For the purposes on this review, I will be focusing on my daughter's use of this program. She is 11 and in 5th grade. My 15 year old son also went through the program and we set up an online account for my 6 year old son, because he wanted one too. My 15 year old son had gone through some financial learning before, so the impact on him is not as measurable as it is for my daughter.
We began by setting up our bank (the parent account) through Family Mint. I created accounts for my children, arranged for commissions to automatically deposit into their accounts and even was able to choose an interest rate for their money to earn. This part of the system is really alot like online banking sites that I am sure you already use for your personal bank accounts. I love that aspect of the program, because it is like something they will be using in the future, if they are not already using one now. As an aside, because you are teaching money management, it IS best if your children have some money to manage. We have not been in the habit of paying out allowances because our philosophy in our home is that we work together as a team for the common good of the family. While the stakes are low though, I do like the idea of allowing my children to manage some money so they will learn through trial and error to make wise money decisions.
After we got the Bank set up, we created accounts for each child. Since I am focusing on my Principessa, we gathered together every bit of money she currently had and made a deposit. Then I also deposited her commission. (Commission is a term I am choosing to use rather than allowance...I will not go into the reasons for that here...but call it whatever you like...Also, some decided to use a different economic system rather than money...calling them Mommy bucks, etc and trading them in for things like computer/tv time, etc. You can definitely do that if you like...but I chose to use actual money for this.) After that, we created a goal for her...she REALLY wants Saige...the American Girl Doll of the Year this year...so we created a goal for that. You are able to customize your picture for your goal...so we uploaded a picture of Saige for her page.
We learned after the fact that you can designate the location for your money...it can go to a general fund, or to one of your goals...some people may have MANY things they would like to save towards.
Speaking of learning, there is a tutorial you can watch...we have not done that yet, because my computer speakers KEEP DISAPPEARING...ugh...
Ok...so even though I LOVE the online portion of the program...we did not really use it much. My Principessa is saving for a pretty high ticket item...so not much money went out...AND because of her age, not a lot of money was coming in either...She will be earning some money soon helping me in a new direct sales opportunity, but we have to pay back our initial expense before we can be in the black on that...
The second part of the FamilyMint Money Management Certification program is the workbook. There are 5 steps, plus a Wrap Up and it can be worked through very quickly. Remember, Financial literacy takes TIME and PRACTICE for it to become a lifelong RIGHT habit. The introduction recommends that you take at least two months to work through the program to allow for that practice to happen and for head knowledge to become practical application. We are working even a little more slowly because much of the terminology is new to my Principessa AND her goal is a high priced item. It allows us to have more review and practice writing checks, filling out deposit slips, implementing an envelope system and really understanding the vocabulary surrounding our money...things we don't really talk about much when we are creating our family budgets, grocery lists and doing our online banking.
So real quickly Chapter by Chapter:
Chapter 1: Tracking your money- Teaches how to keep track of what you have, what you have spent and what you would like to spend. Students get to practice keeping a register (paper or online), writing deposit slips, and checks (Some people DO STILL use Checks!!!).
Chapter 2: Setting goals that are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Bound. The Principessa had a lot of fun with this chapter because SHE REALLY WANTS THAT DOLL...
Measurable: $ 110
Achievable: Yes (we will make sure she gets there ;-)
Time Bound: Before She is gone at the end of the year, but we are planning for late summer.
The one part we have not been very good at staying on track on, is Secret #3...doing something everyday...we will work on that... we need to find some more ways for her to add more money to her account...which speaking of...there is a blog on the FamilyMint site where you can read some fun articles...like retelling of fairy tales...but there is an article on ways children can earn money.
Chapter 3: Budgeting- This chapter covers the envelope system pretty well and shows lots of examples. I forgot to mention that sprinkled throughout the workbook are fun money facts, such as a mile of pennies is worth $844.80 and at the end of every chapter is an assignment to put to further practice, emphasizing again that a lifelong RIGHT habit comes from putting your knowledge into practice consistently for a long time.
Chapter 4- This covers interest and growing your money. We have not done this chapter yet.
After Chapter 4, there is a Learning Summary where the student has an opportunity to recall the things they have learned throughout the program. The next section is for the forms you will be using throughout the book and at the end, an answer key.
Once the Student completes the program, there is a certificate on the back of the workbook that you can fill out to recognize their achievement.
The best option, by far is the Special Introductory Bundle. This comes with Certification Program workbook PLUS FamilyMint Premium for Life!
Additional workbooks are an additional 50% off. This is a GREAT PRICE...
There is also a free online option or a Premium Online option...you can compare all these options here and look through the FAQs as well
For those of you with Boy Scouts, You can use the FamilyMint Money Management Certification Program to earn a Merit Badge (I believe it was the Personal Management one, but I could be wrong)
We really LOVE the FamilyMint Program. It is simple to use, and is developing in my children lifelong RIGHT habits of handling money. I love that it is an affordable program and that it is being recognized as an exceptional program:
The FamilyMint Method™ is so effective at teaching money management that it has been the only program named “Education Program of the Year for Children, Planning & Money Management” by the Institute for Financial Literacy.
If you are trying to be intentional in teaching your children how to manage their money, I hope you will consider FamilyMint.