Would you like to subscribe
to the FamZoo blog?
We will send you an email whenever
there is a new post.
close this window

29 Tips for Teaching Your Kids to Stack Benjamins from Joe, Tai, Len, and Bill

Stacking Benjamins Family Finance Panel

Your kids know how to stack blocks, but do they know how to stack bills? How about 100 dollar bills? You know, the “Benjamins.”

They will if you listen to last Friday’s episode of the popular personal finance podcast Stacking Benjamins. The host, Joe Saul-Sehy, invited me to join fellow panelists Len Penzo and Tai McNeely in a lively round-table discussion on teaching kids good money habits. Joe plucked a range of topics from three recent articles.

Here’s an outline of the discussion with the 29 key points and tips. Check out the timeline if you want to jump right to your favorite spots in the podcast:


6 Tips for Building the Charitable Giving Muscle with Your Kids

Help your kids build that charitable giving muscle!

I have a shortlist of healthy habits I’d like to instill in my kids, and charitable giving is definitely on it. It’s right up there with a solid work ethic and regular exercise. In fact, charitable giving has a lot in common with exercise:

  • Nobody else can do it for you.
  • It can be tough to get started.
  • You always feel good about it afterwards.

You might even argue that charitable giving is better than exercise because it makes other people feel good too.

So how can you motivate your child to get started with charitable giving and, ideally, turn it into a life-long habit? Here are six approaches that have worked well with our kids so far.


FamZoo for Family Financial Capability: The People's Choice at FinCon15

FamZoo CEO Bill Dwight (middle of check) holds first prize award for FinCon15 FinTech Startup Competition

“Which business best addresses a consumer personal finance or investing problem?”

That was the question posed to 900+ FinCon15 attendees via a mobile polling app. The outcome would determine the winner of the People’s Choice Award at the annual FinTech Startup Competition.

The people spoke: FamZoo. Woot!

I can’t tell you how gratifying it is to earn the respect of the FinCon community for our efforts to improve the financial capability of kids and teens — and, surreptitiously, parents too! Here’s an audience who lives and breathes the personal finance challenges that everyday people face. Their opinion is a tremendous validation of the FamZoo mission and efforts to date.

But what about the formal competition judges? James Ray of Chase Merchant Services, Rachel Schneider of the Center for Financial Services Innovation, Dan Roselli of Packard Place, and J. Money of Budgets Are Sexy. What did they think?

They mulled over the following formal judging criteria:

  • Has the summary/presentation clearly articulated the value proposition?
  • Has the summary/presentation demonstrated market opportunity?
  • Has the summary/presentation demonstrated a sustainable business model that will make money, or, in the case of a venture with a social purpose, make money and have the desired social impact?
  • Has the summary/presentation demonstrated competitive differentiation/intellectual capital?
  • How effective was the overall presentation?
  • Would you invest or back this opportunity?

The judging panel spoke too: FamZoo. And TickerTags. A tie for first.

A tremendous honor, and a nice check to boot!

But what about you? What do you think?

Here’s an informal Periscope broadcast where I walk through an extended version of the demo.

Not seeing the embedded video? Click here

The FinCon people have spoken. The judges have spoken. What say you?

P.S. Several folks have asked us how we plan to use the money. We always coach families to split income between important buckets like spending, saving, investing, and giving. That’s sound advice for families and companies alike, so we’re taking it ourselves. Here’s the game plan:

  • 50% to spending: We have some immediate needs to address in our iPhone app, so we’re going to spend $3,000 on a dedicated iPhone development resource right away.
  • 16.6% to saving: You never know when that next unanticipated expense is going to pounce! $1,000 is going in our “Emergency Fund” for the next thing to hit the fan.
  • 16.6% to investing: Smart investing often entails having “dry powder” available to jump on an opportunity. We’re parking $1,000 to deploy on the next serendipitous growth partnership that comes our way.
  • 16.6% to giving: FamZoo’s “secret ulterior motive” is to jumpstart the lifelong habit of philanthropy, and we like to walk the talk in this department too. We favor charitable missions that are tightly aligned with our own. That’s why we’re donating $1,000 to the fledgling Plutus Foundation to help bring financial capability to those who need it most.