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'Virtual bank' website teaches kids savings

January 5, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Can a website help your child to save money, then spend it wisely, or even share it with others? A new website that is like a virtual bank may be the answer.

Like a lot of kids, 9-year-old Adrien Navarre likes to play with video games and toys. Right now he would like to have something his best friends have: radio-controlled cars.

But instead of expecting his mother to buy the remote-controlled cars for him, Adrien is saving up for it himself. In fact, Adrien's mom, Brandy, is teaching him how to save through a new website called Kidworth.com.

"Kidworth was like the perfect way for us to go online, which is interesting for kids, go on a computer, sit down and look at our money, look at graphs and charts and see where we are, how much have we saved, what are our goals. So it was really a natural progression of things when he started getting an allowance," said Brandy.

Kidworth.com was started by attorney Rudy DeFelice. Rudy says he was influenced by his own children when they went to a friend's birthday party and saw the pile of gifts.

"A bunch of parents and I calculated that was probably $700 worth of plastic that would go straight to a landfill in a couple of weeks," said Rudy. "It just seemed like a broken system, and I thought that together, we parents could come up with something better. And Kidworth is that system."

Los Angeles-based Kidworth is like a virtual bank that at no cost to the child helps them to organize their savings so later they can spend it, continue to save it, or even share it.

"If you could get kids to think about just the money that comes into their life ordinarily, and use it in a productive way that serves their interests, it would do them a great favor, both in terms of building a nest egg, but also in giving them some skills," said Rudy.

Whether your family uses Kidworth or not, a financial education should begin at home.

First, start them young. It's easier to create lifelong saving habits when the child is young, so open a bank account for them where they can put money from birthdays and other holidays, as well as their allowance.

Then talk about the money they're saving and how they want to spend it.

Finally, have them set goals for how much they will need to save, spend or share.