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Monday, March 18, 2013

FamilyMint~a Mosaic Review Team Review

Ever wanted to teach your kids money management but wasn't sure how? Looking to teach them in a way that uses a variety of methods? Let me introduce you to FamilyMint's Money Management Certification Program. There are many options to choose from, depending upon your needs or wants. The price varies as well, however the most "expensive" package is only $29.99 at the Special Introductory Price-this option also allows you to purchase additional workbooks for 50% off the normal rate. The least expensive? FREE! Yes, free! This is the online application only and includes a 14 day trial of the Online Premium version as a bonus!
The workbook is recommended for grades 5 and up (ages 10+), but the online application can be used by anyone age 6-14.

The item that I received to review was Option #1. It comes with both the workbook AND the online component. For this product, you may choose to use 'real' money or just teach them using 'pretend' money. We opted to use their allowance and money they had already saved. Here is a picture of the workbook:

Upon opening the workbook, you will find an Introduction and Instructions. Then, it is divided into four sections: Tracking Your Money, Goal Setting, Budgeting, and Interest-Growing $. Follows is a Learning Summary, Worksheets and Forms, and Answer Key, Parent Checklist and on the back cover is a Certification of Achievement printed onto the same material as the cover of the workbook.

This is an example from inside the book on teaching how deposit slips work and having them fill one out for practice:

The second part, (or the only, depending upon the option you choose), is the Internet component. Here is where you access that. If you opt to go the Premium route, the workbook includes a code for you to access the online content.This is the image of my son's account: 

We used this program for a 6th grade, 12 year old boy and his 9th grade, 14 year old brother. The 9th grader filled out the workbook, the 6th grader primarily did everything online except the practice, (and real), deposit and check slips. They loved this program! Here is the 14 year old in action:

We always try to teach our children about Stewardship, and Biblical principals for handling money. This isn't included in this book as such, but it does mention saving for charity. My 12 year old set up an account primarily for Tithing as well. 

They were both especially excited about goal setting. Many ideas came to mind--my 12 year old actually created a long-term goal for a "college fund". He was so interested to see how his money was adding up and how long he had to go to reach his goal. They are given allowances each week and 'deposited' the money into their accounts. They then withdrew the money as per weekly expenses-example: tithing. 
They created short term goals as well. A particular video game was interesting to my 12 year old, so he set that goal. The 14 year old wanted a new hat, so he put money towards that. They had to figure how much of their money would be withdrawn into each account weekly. When their goal was met, we were more than glad to withdraw the money from their account for them, as they had learned the lesson of actually saving for something they really wanted, as opposed to just spending their money week after week on junk.

The parental control component also allows you, the 'banker', to set an interest rate for their accounts if you so desire. We chose to operate this much like a bank. The children wrote deposit slips to add money to their account, and then a check, (and a well prepared explanation), when they were ready to withdraw anything not considered and 'expense'.

Other than some user error--for example, mom 'forgetting' to withdraw/deposit the money on the parental portion (the kids did a really good job of doing it from their end), we really thought this was a well thought out, educational yet fun learning experience for them. Due to the 'bankers' error, it created problems on the bookkeeping end of the parental account. This in no way had anything to do with the product or the FamilyMint program, it was an oversight on this overextended mama. Overall, our experience was extremely positive and my children were very excited to learn about managing their money. The only cons I could see was the brevity of the workbook. However, considering the price and the online component, it is still a wise investment.

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