Help Children With Cognitive Disabilities Learn To Manage Money Safely

Card for Child With Williams Syndrome

Earlier this year, I received a wonderful email from Ned, a father of a child with Williams syndrome.

Ned wrote: “Hi Bill, FYI — I wanted to let you know what I posted to the Facebook group for the disability my daughter has regarding FamZoo. The card has been very important for us personally for the past few years, and many other parents of young adults with my daughter’s disability have issues with financial management. This post was long overdue, but hopefully it will help others learn more about the benefits of FamZoo.”

I was blown away by Ned’s Facebook post. With his permission, I am reproducing it here verbatim. I’d rather you read the authentic message word-for-word from Ned than have me dilute its authenticity in any way through adaptation.

Here it is:

Consider this a PSA and endorsement/testimonial. I see many people struggling with how to help their young adult children with managing money, spending, budgeting, etc. This is a real challenge for any child, even more so for our daughter with WS.

Several years ago, when our daughter graduated HS we decided to try the FamZoo card. If you haven’t heard of the FamZoo card, the founder (Bill) has a ton of information on its site and the blog he runs regarding parent/child financial teaching.

While the website and blog are educational, the real benefit is the card itself and its simplicity of operation. At its root it is simply a bank debit card, which acts as a rechargeable prepaid credit card. But everything about it is driven and managed by the parent “funding card” and the parent management account.

You can “fund” their card in multiple ways. Push money immediately for an immediate need, set up recurring payments (weekly/monthly allowances), tie payment to activities, etc. You can give money… and take it away if necessary, all through the management website or the phone app.

You can set up the funding card to get electronic bank transfers from your primary bank when you need to fund it, and if your funding card runs out of money when you “owe” your child money, for example an automated weekly allowance, the account is smart enough to credit an IOU and automatically pay the child card when the funding card is replenished.

You can create checklists of tasks, with automated payments. Multiple allowance types, create budgets and savings goals, etc. It is extremely full featured.

For our daughter, she has learned that she has a weekly allowance while at school (she is in a special program at university) that she has to live within for “personal” or “entertainment” spending. She also knows if she has an unexpected need, for example a prescription or a textbook, we can immediately add money to her card so she can pay the expense.

However, we never just add a lot of money to her card, because that way there is very little liability. She can’t give the number somewhere that bleeds hundreds of dollars, or racks up thousands in credit charges, because the card will decline any transaction over its balance. Again, she only gets a small weekly allowance in school right now, but I can see this also helping with money management in the future and getting used to requesting funds from (for example) the administrator of a trust, or the manager of her STABLE account, etc.

One final note. Every time I have had any question or issue (ex: I transferred money against the wrong account), Bill at FamZoo has gotten back with me immediately (as in: within minutes) and taken care of the issue. Amazing customer service from him.

FYI, The card has worked so well we use it now for our youngest son at college as well. I really can’t fully describe how useful the FamZoo card has been for us — but I fully endorse it, and I’m not paid to say that.

Post a Comment