Sunday, March 28, 2010

Review: Family Mint

In my life before homeschooling I was an accountant for several non-profit agencies.  As part of our annual fundraising sale I had to deal with hundreds of bounced checks--both from purchasers and troop leaders handling the money.  Another common problem was the dozens of deposit corrections because the troop leader hadn't double checked her math on the deposit slip--sometimes off by hundreds of dollars.   "Why don't they teach money management in school?" my coworker and I would often asked each other.

Apparently I'm not the only one who recognizes the problem out their.  The folks at Family Mint are dedicated to providing tools for money management education.  And here's the best part--THEY"RE FREE!!   The parent assumes the role of "the banker" and may set up accounts for all the kids.   The accounts can be used to teach budgeting, savings toward a goal, the time value of money, etc.  

Family Mint suggests these accounts reflect all the actual funds of the child--balances in real bank accounts right down to coins in the piggy bank.  Any allowance received would be credited right through this account as well.  The parent can match deposits or set up an interest rate for funds on account.  When the child wants to make a purchase, he enters the transaction but it must be approved by the banker first (after approving the transaction the parent would then give the actual cash to the child).  The website for older kids looks similar to the transaction lines of Quicken.  Younger children use a page with more icons.

I wondered about setting a child up with unrealistic expectations if they received a 10 percent interest rate through Family Mint when you'd be lucky to find a savings account paying 2% in the real world.  I can see a point to matching deposits as some companies still offer to match retirement funds deposits to a certain extent. 

My Schnickelfritz doesn't get an allowance at this time, so at first I wasn't sure how to use Family Mint.  Then I realized, I was limited to accounting for "real money."  Fritz's job right now is to learn.  For every day he completes his work, he earned his wages.  Then the wages could be spent on treats, TV or computer time.  We will be covering Stewardship next year with Konos and then we can expand our use of Family Mint to include charity and long term savings, etc.  There are plenty of resources to educate you on how Family Mint might work with your family--a monthly newsletter, a support forum,  and a blog. 

You can see what my fellow crewmates thought about Family Mint by clicking here. 

 Disclaimer:  I received no compensation for this review.  The basic level of Family Mint is a free service to anyone.

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