If Warren Buffett is any example, teaching kids about money at a young age could reap big payoffs. Now the third richest person in the world, Buffett was a mere eleven years old when he bought his first shares of company stock.
“By age 3, your kids can grasp basic money concepts. By age 7, many of their money habits are already set,” Beth Kobliner, author of ‘Make Your Kid a Money Genius,’ told PBS.
A new app is hoping to create healthy money habits for kids. Tanya Van Court is the Founder and CEO of Goalsetter.co, a savings tool that teaches kids basic financial literacy and the benefits of saving money. That’s something many American adults are failing at.
“We've become a nation of adults who aren't saving,” Van Court said, “and we're passing those habits down to our kids.”
Van Court, a former Shark Tank contestant, is hoping to turn that trend around. Goalsetter is an app that allows kids to create an account and set savings goals. Family members can contribute to the account and an additional feature allows parents to round up debit card purchases or set up a weekly autosave amount.
“For our kids as young as 7, or quite frankly, even 7 months old, that kid can save for college,” Van Court said. “And then family members and friends who are giving them money on their birthday can say, ‘Hey, I want to give you this goal card for $50, but $25 will go towards college, and $25 will go towards the dance classes that you really want to take.’”
‘Kids who have savings accounts in their name are not only six times more likely to go to college’
And after learning how to invest in themselves, kids can learn about the market.
“By age 7 or 8, you can explain how the stock market works,” Yahoo Finance’s Jeanie Ahn explains. “Take a company they know and like — maybe it’s Disney (DIS) or Mattel (MAT) — and explain that a lot of people together own the company, and they can buy a piece of it, too.
“When the company does well, your money will grow. When the company doesn’t, you can lose money. But you don’t want to discourage them by the thought of losing money, so remind them that your money will likely grow if you spread it out in a lot of different companies in the stock market. You just have to be patient.”
But compound interest and savings rates are terms even adults struggle to understand. Goalsetter’s approach is to use kids’ language.
“We have financial literacy quizzes and games,” Van Court said. “And we do it all through the lens of hip hop artists, recording personalities, television stars, and YouTube influencers.”
She added: “Kids who have savings accounts in their name are not only six times more likely to go to college. They're four times more likely to own stocks by the time they're young adults. So it literally changes their perspective and their outcomes with respect to money and their lives.”