Allowance Sites—the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
This past Wednesday, Marketplace Radio aired a story, “A Virtual Bank for the Kids’ Allowance.” The way they work, parents who sign up have their real bank transfer to the allowance site however much allowance they give their kids (on average, $15 a week, according to the American Institute of CPAs). Their kids can log on to see how much money they make.
As Marketplace notes, many of these sites also have a store where kids can buy things, or links to Amazon or other stores. So instead of encouraging kids to save, some of these allowance sites just makes it very easy for them to spend.
But some sites emphasize teaching kids good basics of personal finance. And if the parents are willing to sit with their children in front of the computer to talk about things like saving, budgets, interest, and compound interest, for example, then they could be useful. One allowance site I happen to like a lot is Bill Dwight’s Fam Zoo. It has extremely well-designed, flexible tools for tying allowance to chores, setting up budgets and saving goals, as well as charitable giving. You can take a tour to get an overview, and you can even sign up free for two months to see how it works for you and your family.