Sunday, November 1, 2009

Kids’ Allowance: The New Normal

Anton Simunovic, a father of six from Norwalk, Conn. has ditched piggy banks.

He’s come up with “ThreeJars,” a new online service that teaches children to earn, use or donate money and track their activity along the way.

Sounds like the early pinning of lessons in personal finance doesn’t it?

Well - Simunovic wanted to give families a resource that makes it easier for parents to monitor household finances, while teaching children how to responsibly manage money and help their fellow man, or animals or the environment at the same time.

Using ThreeJars, kids divvy up their allowance, or other money they have earned, into virtual jars representing three categories and actions: Save, Spend, Share.

Parents guide them in their decisions on how much to stash away, how much to spend and how much to give to a cause they select. Each month, children may choose among four new organizations to contribute to and they can help direct donations made by ThreeJars.

Some examples include Save the Children, The Nature Conservancy and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society.

“It’s 100 percent safe,” Simunovic said. There are no advertisements, no outside links “and no bullying,” he emphasized. “I have six kids, so for me it’s a deal.”

Save, spend, share are values he said he wants his children to have as they experience life.

“Kids are learning that money is an infinite resource. When using their own money, they are much more thoughtful. It turns into better decisions,” he said.

We Care.
We care about your children as we care for our own - a lot. We all want a better future for our kids, and we owe it to them to show them the right path.
----The ThreeJars Team

The site does not act as a bank or a custodian of a family’s money. Parents hold the cash and demonstrate for their children how to reconcile the financial records online. “Everything’s very organized. It’s very convenient,” Simunovic said. “It’s really the child that’s making all the decisions, but the parent is in control.”

It also is up to the parents to pay the interest that accrues on the virtual accounts.

The site has been about two years in the making. Families are allowed a free trial for 15 days and after that, membership is $30 per year per family.

“The 2008 meltdown taught us about the need to be financially self-reliant. ThreeJars is an empowering and fun service which gets kids thinking more positively about their own money,” Simunovic said.

posted by Angela Carter at 6:00 AM