Book Smart vs Birds, Bees, and Bank Smart: Family Finance Picks #62

It’s all about the B’s this week: books, birds, bees, and (virtual) banks.

Highly Educated Have Biggest Debt Problems

Book Smart Doesn't Equal MoneySmartIt seems logical that the “highly educated” would have a leg up when it comes to managing their money, right?

Wrong. Don’t confuse “book smart” with “money smart.” One definitely doesn’t imply the other.

Dan describes a recent study showing that “highly educated Americans were most likely to take on unmanageable debt in the pre-crisis years.”

Read about it here.

Related FamZoo Activity: Make sure your child is money smart, too. Start a virtual family bank.
Discuss on FaceBook.

New Sex Ed Program Focuses on Personal Responsibility

Birds, Bees, and BankIt’s been said that the money conversation with kids is harder than the sex conversation for parents. Awkward!

Lindsay writes about a new Personal Responsibility Education Program for 10 to 18 year olds that attacks both birds with one stone. Perhaps a super clear picture of what it really costs — both actual costs and opportunity costs — to raise a baby will help the decision making in those under-developed teen frontal lobes.

Read about the PREP program here.

Discuss on FaceBook.

A Virtual Bank for the Kid’s Allowance

The Bank of SkyvaraLast month, the New York Times picked up the virtual family bank story. Last week, it came to public radio. Kai Ryssdal, host of the popular Marketplace radio program, describes how Suzanne Skyvara and her husband use a virtual banking site to teach their kids good money habits.

Guess which virtual bank site the Skyvaras use? That’s right: FamZoo. Woot!

At the end of the segment, Beth Kobliner asserts that virtual family banks will just cause kids to spend more, not less.


In the comment section of the online article, Suzanne responds directly to Beth’s concerns. She writes: “Our experience has been the exact opposite. Our kids — who are featured in this story — actually save a lot! They have specific accounts they have set up to save for big ticket items (like a computer), for college and also for charity donations.”

Suzanne’s experience matches what we’ve heard from other FamZoo families: once kids start managing their own finite pool of money and making specific savings goals, they tend to become very frugal. They’ll voluntarily cut out miscellaneous purchases that are not aligned with their goals. An excellent unsolicited example we received illustrating this effect can be found here.

Of course, unlike some other sites, we don’t marry our virtual family bank with a storefront. Perhaps that was the crux of Beth’s concern.

Listen to the Marketplace podcast or read the transcript here.

Related FamZoo Activity: Set up a savings goal.
Discuss on FaceBook.

We’re constantly scouring the Internet looking for articles related to family finances and teaching kids good personal finance habits. You can visit our ever growing list of family finance bookmarks here. We’re up to 2,967 now!

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