How would you expect a 7-year-old to react when introduced to the concept of personal finance?
That’s exactly what we did with our daughter, Sophie – a little girl bursting with energy and full of ideas. With her own sense of style and an abundance of shopping needs she was forever reminding us about, Sophie had always been taught that a ‘problem’ was simply a means to find a solution, and in this case, that meant learning how to earn, budget, spend and save effectively.
This got Sophie (and us) very excited, although that’s not surprising; as any parent will know, kids love being given the chance to indulge in the stuff they’re usually shielded from. It gives them a sense of ownership, adventure and something about which they can boast to their friends.
Unfortunately, we soon discovered that the task of introducing a 7-year-old to the mechanics of personal finance wasn’t particularly easy.
Logistically, it was tricky; how many parents carry the correct change for their child’s weekly allowance in an age of contactless payments? Who takes saving jars shopping? And, regardless, how much is in those jars, anyway? What if Sophie left her purse at home? In fact, where is her purse…?
“There must be an app for that!”
Few parents have a detailed knowledge of their kids’ accumulated wealth. A bank account may well exist, but tracking the ins and outs feels somewhat inappropriate for someone who isn’t weighed down by financial responsibility.
We thought we’d exhausted every option for creating a sense of order around Sophie’s finances in which she’d take an active interest – until something struck us.
Sophie is a product of her generation, which means that at 7 years of age, she is brilliantly tech literate. Clearly feeling frustrated, she exclaimed: “there must be an app for that!”
And she was right – there were apps aimed at making financial education ‘easy’. We downloaded and played with them all, but quickly ran into a number of stumbling blocks. What if the app is only on Daddy’s phone yet Sophie’s out shopping with mummy? Why couldn’t she earn more than ‘points’? Why couldn’t she create a goal for the savings, and what about trading earned points for something else? Why couldn’t Sophie see how she spends her money like her parents could with their bank statements? Oh, and boy were the apps boring for her!
A collaborative effort
As a family (and with the help of a few friends – big and small), we started to brainstorm the perfect finance app for kids.
Kids loved the idea that they could access their account, earn, see the balances and view their savings targets. They wanted to set personal objectives, view their progress and become more independent while helping out with home life.
The parents we spoke to immediately fell in love with the idea of having access to a synced platform that would help them manage their children’s pocket money, provide access to sticker packs at all times (great for issuing mini rewards for good behaviour during outings), and help keep an eye on screen time usage.
Clearly, we’d hit upon an idea that would assist both parents and kids in the most engaging of ways.
As Sophie’s Creative Director Dad and entrepreneurial, Positive Discipline Parent Educator mum, we felt that it would be brilliant as a family to make this app a reality. With the help of a team of experts, we defined the technical requirements and user interface design before taking our big idea from wireframe to Stores. Kidibank™ was born.
We had the best beta tester, too, and Sophie immediately loved having the ability to calculate how to save and use her screen time to maximum effect. This is hardly surprising when you consider that she was the inspiration behind Kidibank™, but her enthusiasm for managing her finances has been infectious.
Sophie now proactively seeks additional jobs (no, really!), which has been fantastic for everyone but the dog, who’s now exhausted from all the extra walking. More importantly, she’s learning how to spend her money and avoid impulsive buying. With the introduction of Kidibank™, Sophie now understands the benefits of saving towards the big stuff, which in turn becomes so much more valuable to her.
From our perspective, we’re loving the sense of independence and responsibility it has given our daughter, and also the fact that it has – almost – made us a nag-free family!
Kidibank™ continues to develop and we’ve got so many ideas we want to put into future versions, but we’re currently focusing on the app’s ability to provide specific content for families with special needs and continuing our donations to children’s charities.
To find out more and download the app, please visit www.kidibank.com
Drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org