LIFE HACK

Teach Teens About Personal Finance

These apps help build healthy habits for saving and investing.

Pennybox - Pocket Money

Teach Practical Money Skills

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The earlier children understand the relationship between spending and saving, the more financially healthy their lives will be.

And with teenagers accounting for more than $75 billion in spending each year, there are huge lessons to be learned.

One way to ensure the financial wisdom you impart isn’t vague and boring? Work with real numbers and real spending.

These three apps make money management tangible...and fun.

Introduce your kids to financial goal-setting

Pennybox helps manage all the transactions that regularly take place between teens and parents. All you have to do is set up tasks (finishing a chore, getting good grades) and corresponding financial rewards. Then the app takes over.

Kids are reminded to complete tasks (a calendar view provides a quick overview), and as those tasks are completed, you’re reminded to pay up. Everybody wins: Your children learn the value of working for a dollar while you enjoy sparkling-clean dishes or the prestige of being the parent of an honor-roll student.

    Pennybox - Pocket Money

    Teach Practical Money Skills

    VIEW

Teach them how to spend

Greenlight is a debit-card account that parents manage. Fund it, add allowance money, authorize purchases at specific stores, let friends and family contribute, and even set an interest rate for your kid’s savings.

We’re not saying that every teen’s spending needs to be monitored. We’re just saying Greenlight lets parents do it. If it comes up. Just saying.

The app functions as a powerful savings tool too. At a glance, kids can see how much they’ve saved, how close they are to achieving their goals, and how much interest they’re earning on the savings. And since you’re the one running this bank, you set their interest rate! What better way to learn the magic of compound interest?

Help them understand budgets

Although simple enough for a teenager to use, Current is a sophisticated app designed to help anyone who wants to create microspending and microsavings accounts.

Current helps keep your teen’s account in the green.

When you sign up, you’ll receive a Current Visa debit card that your teen can use to make purchases. What’s cool about Current is how it lets you automatically direct money to various “savings pods”—mini-accounts you designate for specific purchases. Teens can see these savings pods in the same view showing the overall balance. 

Like a traditional card, transactions are posted immediately for you both to review. And if, let’s just say, an unauthorized charge for four front-row concert tickets mysteriously appears? You can easily pause the account with a tap.