Teaching kids about money is essential. Financial literacy is one of the key skills for a good life – it really can be the difference between a comfortable life with all your needs met or having debt collectors seize your furniture, car, or even your house.
Teaching our kids about money has always been important to us. The husband and I were pretty bad at managing money as teens and young adults. We lived week-to-week, got furniture on finance, and had two personal loans for cars (when we could have easily saved up). It took us many years to learn how to have financial freedom – and we knew we wanted our kids to learn the same lessons young, to not waste the time and money we did while learning.
Over the years we’ve taught our kids what we can about money (my kids could probably recite my ‘credit cards are evil’ rant by heart). They’ve read The Barefoot Investor and The Barefoot Investor for Families. And we talk about how we manage our money, saving, superannuation, and investing, all the time.
It seemed like it was the best we could do, but we felt it wasn’t enough. There’s a big gap between talking and actual hands-on learning.
Then I came across an online program called MoneyTime and enrolled all the kids. And the results have been FANTASTIC.
Since we began using MoneyTime my kids have
- started a business making cloth face masks (The Three Masketeers – I love it)
- written resumes and applied for jobs
- begun preparing for a market stall
- found fertile eggs to hatch so they can sell chicks
- and generally been proactive in looking for opportunities to earn
You know, stuff we’ve been encouraging them to do for YEARS. These things are scary!
But MoneyTime walking them through how to do all of the above seemed to give them the final push they needed to actually do it all.
I’m very impressed, so I had share MoneyTime with you. Let’s take a look at it.
Overview of MoneyTime
MoneyTime sum up their program pretty well, so I’ll quote them.
MoneyTime is a web-based, self-taught financial education programme. It teaches children the important life skills of how to manage and grow their money, now and for the future.
MoneyTime covers pretty much everything kids need to know for strong financial literacy.
- credit cards
- buying property
- saving for retirement
Yet it isn’t overwhelming – it’s well-organised, and information is presented concisely. Each of the 30 modules begins by teaching about a specific area. It’s quite interactive and includes real-life examples, calculators, and short activities.
At the end of each module there’s a quiz about the concepts. Your child has to get 7/10 to successfully complete the module. But there’s no stigma if they don’t – they can simply redo the module and the quiz as many times as they need. It’s focused on learning, not grades.
Watch the video tour to find out more – I’ll show you all the areas of MoneyTime and go through a module with you.
MoneyTime is aimed at ages 11- 14, right at the ages that many children are beginning to get interested in working, saving, and thinking about their future. My 15- and 16-year-old children are working through it, and say it’s fine for them. Really, it’s information that’s relevant at any stage of life, and if you haven’t learned it young it’s best to do it ASAP.
The MoneyTime Approach
Financial resources are filled with moral and ethical minefields. And that’s because society has, well, a pretty strange approach to money.
Money is the root of all evil. Money doesn’t grow on trees. Talking about money is tacky – keep it private. Money isn’t everything. Mo’ money, mo’ problems.
The strangest are ones that portray money and a virtue as mutually exclusive.
Health over wealth. A good name is better than riches. The best things in life are free.
Kids get some pretty strange messages about money, so I wanted to make sure that MoneyTime matched our view – that money is simply a tool that can be used to make our lives better or worse.
And it fits – MoneyTime presents money in a practical, no-baggage way right from the beginning. It introduces the concepts of good debt (debt that helps you get ahead, like a qualification) and bad debt (such as a loan for a quickly-depreciating item like a car), but doesn’t tie the concepts to any values or morals.
So you can be assured that MoneyTime isn’t creating any strange associations with money in your child’s mind – it’s very practical.
Learning about Interest and Savings with Calculators
Ever used a savings or interest calculator? They’re a lot of fun (yes, I’m strange) and a great way to see the concrete results of saving, borrowing, and investing.
So it’s great to see that MoneyTime includes calculators with associated tasks.
Kids learn from examples about simple vs. compounding interest.
And how to calculate interest on savings.
Plus calculate profit on an investment property.
Even if your child is terrified of maths the examples are clear and simple, and the maths is not scary at all. It would be a great confidence boost for a maths-averse child to see that they can manage their finances just fine without needing to master quadratic equations.
Which is great, because I forgot how to do those many years ago.
MoneyTime Parent Guide
Even though most of the program can be done independently it’s easy for parents to stay involved. As mentioned in the video MoneyTime has 13 parent-child modules to complete together. There’s also a fantastic parent guide, which gives you an overview of each lesson. I love the activities and conversation starters included – it’s yet another way to relate the on-screen learning to real life.
The Good Points of MoneyTIme
Short lessons – It takes around 20 minutes to complete each lesson. It’s easy to fit them in, and keeps progress steady.
Gamified, but not too much – You know those annoying programs where the irritating characters and sound effects and irrelevant storyline bury the actual content? MoneyTime uses enough gamification to keep it interesting and motivating without losing the focus on useful content.
It’s very similar to real life – the examples are all realistic. Even the savings account view are fairly similar to the appearance of real online banking, so the transition isn’t confusing.
Independent – kids can do most of it independently…
Parent modules – …but there are parent modules too, designed to do with your children. It’s a great balance of both – they can do a lot of it without input, but you’ll always know what they’re doing.
60-day guarantee – I always check for a good guarantee, and this one is great. You’ve got 60 days to try MoneyTime, and if you don’t like it you’ll get a full refund.
The Not-So-Good Points
Honestly, there aren’t many. I can usually find a few negatives quite easily, but MoneyTime is comprehensive, great value, and straightforward so there’s not much to pick on. There are two little things though….
Grammar and syntax isn’t always correct – Some punctuation is missing and sentences aren’t always complete. Issues are minor, and it hasn’t caused any confusion for us, but if it’s something that really irritates you it may stand out. I know I’m not perfect either, so I can forgive this.
Calculators could be improved – this is picky, but the interest calculators only provide the final amount for the sum given. I’d love to see the final amount without the factor in question as well. As an example, in the savings calculator it currently shows that the final amount saved with interest but doesn’t show how much was saved without interest. I feel that this would provide a more concrete example of the concept.
Overall, MoneyTime is fantastic. It’s rare to find a program that is comprehensive, great value, and teaches concepts clearly. I’d highly recommend it if you want your kids to have high financial literacy.
It’s also great if YOUR financial literacy is a bit shaky. If you’re not quite sure why compound interest is great, or how to prepare for retirement, you’ll learn a lot from MoneyTime as you work through it with your children.
Thanks for reading this MoneyTime review. If you have any questions please leave me a comment below.