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Kids$ave Software / Raised for Richness

By Karyn Hodgens

PO Box 184
Rocklin, CA 95677

Kids$ave Software: Developing a Cents for Saving  is a kids' savings and money management tool. The idea is that an allowance is a good way to teach children to manage money, and the software is intended to help parents facilitate this. A parent functions as the banker, setting up an account for each child. Allowance payments can be automatically put into the child's account at certain time intervals. Children can earn interest on their account balance from the banker. The rate can be adjusted at the parent's discretion, or this feature can be turned off if the parent doesn't wish to pay interest. This feature helps children to visualize the concept of compound interest. Another feature is the savings match. Parents can set it up to contribute an extra amount for each dollar saved. This encourages saving and shows children how something like a 401K match from an employer works in the adult world. There is also a savings lock, allowing a percentage of all deposits to be unavailable for spending by the child. All of these features are designed to encourage savings and to help children visualize money management concepts. The settings can be adjusted separately for each child's account. Deposits and withdrawals are recorded, and a printable statement is available. The children can log into their own accounts with a PIN number. On their screens they see an account summary with withdrawals, deposits, rewards, and allowance payments. A starting balance and ending balance are given. The child can set savings goals, and the software will track the progress toward the goal. There are also some customization options for how the child's screen looks.

I think this product is absolutely brilliant. It effectively addresses many of the problems I have had with consistently administering allowances and helping my children understand savings concepts. Children watch their account balance grow, which is very motivating. I like that the parent/banker and the children can log in separately. This gives children a feeling of having some control over their accounts. The program is easy to set up and easy to use.

Raised for Richness: Teaching Kids Money Skills for Life is a 116-page book by Karyn Hodges which nicely complements the Kids$ave Software but also can be used without the software. The author believes that the best time to teach children about financial literacy is while they are young and their habits are forming. Each chapter has a section called "Chew on This" that is intended to be a conversation starter on a financial topic. The conversations are intended to take place over a long period of time, not all in one or two sittings. While the book is written to the parent, the conversations and lessons are for parents to use with children in the 6-16 age range. Parents can adjust the depth of the conversations to the age and interest level of the child. Parents who use the book as intended will find that talking about money subjects with their children becomes a natural part of family conversation. The book is designed so that once the reader has read the first chapter, the other chapters can be read in any order, allowing parents to target the discussions to the child's needs and interests. Lessons, activities, and worksheets help communicate the messages to the children. I especially appreciated the detailed information on the different money personality types and how to best teach each type. In the Kids$ave Software and Raised for Richness, Kidnexions has developed two valuable tools for parents to use as they work to develop financial literacy in their children.

Product review by Whitney Dunahee, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, March 2011

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