Teaching kids about money
MAY 8 — “My kid's only six years old, what does he need to know about money?” is a common reason for parents to avoid the issue of educating their kids about financial literacy. It's this lack of financial education from a young age that years later would lead to a worrying situation in the US, where high school students can't pass simple tests of financial literacy.
Malaysian youths aren't too far off, with the recently raised PTPTN issue one indicator of how lacking our graduates are in financial literacy. “Now, it is quite common for people in their 20s and 30s to already be in debt to the tune of RM30,000 to RM50,000,” says Yap Ming Hui, an independent financial adviser.
Educating children about financial literacy isn't easy — especially when the term itself is enough to bore kids to sleep. That's why services like PlayMoolah and Tykoon have been gaining traction in recent times, especially after announcing that they were finally open to the public after beta trials. We take a look at what these services can offer.
Co-founders Mark Bruinooge and Doug Lebdaan combined years of experience in payments and financial services to create Tykoon, an online platform to track your kids' earning, saving, giving and spending plans.
The free-to-use platform can be accessed two ways — through an iOS app and a web browser. The free iOS app allows parents to assign tasks, rewards, as well as keep track of what their children have earned. Besides the option to create custom tasks, parents can choose from a list of preset tasks like “read a book”, “wash the dishes”, and “vacuum family room”, after which they would set the frequency of the task and the appropriate reward.
Rewards could come in one of two ways — cash or non-cash, the latter being allocations of time to surf the Web, watch TV, stay up late, or play games. The rewards and allowances for each child are tracked and easily viewed in one page.
Children play a big part in the process too. Each child would have their own separate account from which they could propose tasks and rewards to parents, track their savings goals, donate to charities, as well as add items to their wishlist. Powered by Amazon, the wishlist is a way for children to tell parents what they want if they succeed achieving the goals agreed by their parents.
For more information on Tykoon, visit http://www.tykoon.com/
Those familiar with the SEA startup scene would recognise Singaporean startup PlayMoolah, which garnered a series of headline-making pitches and awards at startup events like Echelon. Co-founded by Audrey Tan and Min Xuan, PlayMoolah is a Flash-based online platform for kids aged six to 12 to help them learn about saving, managing and earning their allowance.
Unlike Tykoon, which is more task-and-numbers oriented, PlayMoolah educates kids through fun interactions with characters like King Mooman, the ruler of Dreamverse in which the children's avatar resides. Children earn virtual currency called “Moops” through a series of games and puzzles, and are encouraged to invest, save, and buy appropriate gifts that would help their virtual pet grow. Parents get involved in the learning process by monitoring how well their kids are doing.
Compared with Tykoon, PlayMoolah is fairly complex, and uses games to get across practical lessons of setting financial goals and investments — ideal for kids who get bored easily. The service offers users a 24-hour free trial, after which users would have to subscribe to an annual plan of S$69 (RM169) a year. To get started on PlayMoolah, visit http://www.playmoolah.com/