As a father of children who use GoHenry, a big reason we decided to use the app for our family is because of how it helps kids learn about money. Better yet, GoHenry's Money Missions, a series of gamified financial literacy lessons for kids, is a great way to give my boys a structured introduction to some key concepts in how to manage their cash.
As we all know, financial education can often be too dry or technical (it's no wonder the kids' eyes start glazing over along the way), but Money Missions makes all of that fun with animated videos, video game-style points known as XPs, and interactive quizzes.
GoHenry's in-app Money Missions has a kid-friendly design that gives them a better understanding of how money works and boosts their financial confidence. Depending on your kids and how they like to learn (and earn), you might want to go through Money Missions with them, or dole out a "bonus" allowance based on how many Money Missions they complete.
I talked with my 13-year-old son about Money Missions, what he's learned from it, and what other families might want to look for as they use this helpful resource.
Learning the basics of money
Money Missions is broken down into nine key categories, including topics like:
The lessons are engaging, interactive, and bite-sized, with different levels that are age-appropriate for the child.
Some of the lessons and insights that my son enjoyed most included:
- “What are some good ways to make money as a teenager?"
- 30 million Americans are self-employed; less than 10% of the national population.
- How to understand taxes
- Digital payments
Money Missions gives kids a broad overview of what it really means to be employed and earn income, and what it takes to earn a higher income. “One lesson I took away from it is that if you start your own business, you might make a lot of money, but you might have to work long hours," my son said.
He also enjoyed learning about digital payments and how so much of our financial lives has become digital in recent years, with online money transfers, online payments, contactless payments, and peer-to-peer payment apps to send money to other people. Paper checks are becoming less common. Some businesses and even entire countries are trying to go cashless and are only accepting cards or digital payments.
Building better savings habits
One new thing my son learned from Money Missions is that he didn't realize how compound interest works. “Do all banks pay interest?" he asked me. “All banks pay interest, but only on certain accounts," I said. “And interest rates at the moment are very low, and some banks pay higher interest than others."
We talked about the difference between interest-bearing accounts (savings accounts, CDs) and checking accounts, which typically do not pay interest.
My son also learned a good tip from Money Missions: If you want to save money, it's more effective to save smaller amounts more frequently than trying to save bigger chunks of money all at once.
“If you save little bits of money over time, you're more likely to not spend the money, because you don't notice it being gone from your checking account," my son said. “It's about building habits. Saving smaller amounts more frequently builds a habit. Trying to save larger amounts makes you more likely to miss your goal, because it might feel like you're saving 'too much,' or the target feels too big."
For example, if you save $10 per month for a year, you'd have saved $120 at the end of the year. But if you save $3 per week, you'd have $156 at the end of the year. Which amount might feel more difficult to save during your everyday life? Most people won't notice $3 per week, but they'll be happy to have that extra $156 at year-end—especially kids!
Getting started with investing
Money Missions also covers the basics of investing: what investing is, how it works, and the types of things people tend to invest in.
“One lesson I learned about investing is that you shouldn't invest everything into one stock—you shouldn't put all your money in one place," my son said. “Instead, you should diversify" (another new word he learned thanks to Money Missions).
The GoHenry tool also helped him understand the basics of different types of risk assets. “Don't put all your money into the stock market," my son said. “You also need to have cash in a savings account."
We talked about how savings accounts usually pay lower interest rates than the higher returns that the stock market tends to deliver, but savings accounts are also safe and FDIC-insured. The stock market and other investment assets tend to be riskier than savings accounts but can generate higher returns.
Parents and kids learn together
My son said that Money Missions are fun to go through, and he learned some good new information about money. He also felt like it's a good activity for parents and kids to do together.
“You already taught me a lot about money, so I already knew some of the content, but Money Missions helped money feel more real to me," my son told me. “Parents and kids should do these together, so parents can share some examples from real life. It's a good learning platform to teach about money."
Learn more about GoHenry's in-app Money Missions.