Wednesday, March 20, 2013

FamilyMint Money Management

A Review for Mosaic Reviews

It seems that you can't turn on the computer or tv or read current material without running across a story or information about money, the economy or something closely related. It is an inescapable fact that money is a necessity in our lives. Because of its necessity, money management skills are becoming a crucial part of a well rounded education. Not just facts about money, but also the opportunity to practice related skills.

FamilyMint was designed to help young people practice and acquire useful and positive money management skills.  FamilyMint was created when two fathers, Robert Masterson and Jeff Eusebio, saw the need to help their own children learn about money and collaborated on the program. They felt strongly that attitudes and behaviors about money are formed outside the academic setting, in the home, and set out to create a money education/ management program for families. They also realized it takes time to develop and practice money skills, so it was important to have a program that was ongoing.

FamilyMint began as an online program, similar to online banking, to help children learn about saving and spending money. A parent sets up and maintains the bank account for the family and then sets up individual subaccounts for each child. A parent becomes the banker for the family. Each child has the opportunity to set up multiple spending and saving accounts, each with various goals or purposes. When they have money to deposit the child has the opportunity to decide which of their accounts to put money into and can divide it between several as well. When the child deposits money into their account the parent receives it and places it into safe keeping until the goal has been reached or the child has a spending request. Also as the banker the parent has the responsibility to approve or deny deposits the child requests. Parents also have the option of adding interest to any or all of a child's accounts.

After the FamilyMint program has been online for a while they received requests for written materials to go along with it. These requests resulted in the workbook. The FamilyMint Money Management Certification Program contains 4 chapters, a summary, and many reproducible forms and worksheets as well as brief directions for parents. Each chapter includes several vocabulary words to learn.The workbook concludes with a parent checklist to help parents make sure they have covered everything in the program and assess their child's knowledge and retention. The final part of the workbook is a certificate attesting to the students knowledge and abilities.

The workbook chapters cover

  1. Tracking Your Money
  2. Goal Setting
  3. Budgeting 
  4. Interest
Tracking your money covers income, expenses, several ways of tracking money and benefits to various methods, and learning about checks and deposit slips. Activities include practicing check and deposit slip writing, matching vocabulary and definitions, and determining how much money a child already has.This amount of money is entered into the Family Mint online program or the general savings tracker worksheet.

Chapter Two discusses goals and the importance of developing attainable goals. Children are guided through the process of determining goals and breaking them down into parts that are attainable. They are walked through this in steps. Goals are then transferred to the online account or Goal Tracking worksheet.

Chapter Three is about budgeting. Here children are taught about the envelope method of budgets, which uses a separate envelope for each category they are saving towards. The text presents one example to teach with and one to practice with. Additional practice is gained with the child's money online or on a worksheet.

Chapter Four presents the concept of interest. Both simple and compound interest are defined and demonstrated. There are basic tables illustrating both concepts. The chapter concludes with exercises for the child to compute both simple and compound interest and which one results in greater earnings.

The final exercise has the child define four terms and write about how their money habits have changed because of using the program.

FamilyMint Premium Online is accessed with the code found in the back of the workbook.

FamilyMint also maintains a blog with many ideas for helping children learn money management, fun money related activities to do with children, and helpful money advice for parents. I particularly like the ideas about encouraging children's entrepreneurial aspirations and frugal holiday ideas.


Money Management Certification Program workbook + 
aLIFETIMEsubscription to the FamilyMint Premium application  $29.99

Premium Online Application Subscription   $24.99 Annual Subscription    $4.95 Monthly  

Online Application Only Free 14 Day Trial

Additional Workbooks are also available with purchase of book and lifetime subscription

Visit FamilyMint for more details on packages available.

My Thoughts

I like how FamilyMint covers the basics of money management in simple clear steps. Each chapter of the book presents the concepts clearly and concisely without extra, distracting material. It's also relevant to children in the examples it uses, like a goal of saving to buy a present for Mom or budgeting for a game and shoes. The material is presented in short bites so that even with practice children are still engaged at the end.

All of the budgeting and planning worksheets in the back are wonderful. While many of the things covered in the worksheets are also done with the online program I feel being able to write something down makes it more concrete than just seeing it on the computer. I think it is easier for concepts to become concrete if they are experienced in written form and it is easier to discuss them as well.

I found the online portion of the program to be challenging to use. It took some playing around for me to figure out how to apply what was in the book to the online component. Part of this maybe that I have not switched to online banking so the format is not familiar to me.

One part of the online program which is very attractive to me is that the child is told the parent "banker" will keep all deposited money safe for the child. This eliminates battles over the child keeping it safe in some location of their choice. The parental approval aspect is nice as well as it helps the child with making good choices as to prioritizing the amount of money in each account.

While there is a lot of flexibility for the child in using the online portion of FamilyMint, there is ample opportunity for parent/child discussion and parental guidance.

How I customized FamilyMint for our family

My children don't receive an allowance or money on a regular basis so I came up with my own system. My youngest really needs to work on writing legibly so I gave him 10 virtual cents for each item of work which was nicely written. He then divided his "earnings" between three goals he choose; computer time, baking, one on one time. My oldest earns "money" for piano practice without being told and for doing it at a certain time of day. She also chose three in which to put her "earnings".  This seemed to work well for us and I have ideas for other incentive possibilities.

They also have their long term saving money in FamilyMint which will make it much easier to keep track of.

The book is very complete, but I made up vocabulary review for chapters two through four as there isn't any in the book.

My children's thoughts

Twelve Year Old Daughter
"I liked the online component for tracking money and knowing how much you have to spend as well as save. I had fun practicing writing checks and deposit slips."

Eight Year Old Son
"I liked the idea of separate envelopes. I liked being able to keep track of my goals on the computer. I also liked being able to give each of my goals a different color to see how close I was getting."


  1. Wonderful review! I'd have to agree with your son -- I love being able to pick the color for my goals!

  2. Love that your shared your kids' thoughts on the program. Nice touch!