CLARKSBURG, WV (WBOY) – What makes us adults? Bank of America asked 2,180 18 to 26 year olds to define adulthood in their own words, 39 percent answered with financial independence.
If personal finance is a major skill to being an adult, why aren’t Americans learning it before they reach the legal age to be considered an adult? In fact, 62 percent of young Americans, that define adulthood as being financially independent, don’t feel like adults when they turn 18.
Gregg Murset, saw this issue of financial illiteracy in America and decided to make a change. In result, he created an app known as BusyKid.
BusyKid is an app that teaches kids (primarily ages 5 – 15 years old) how to master the skills and knowledge of personal finance, that they won’t learn in school. He describes it as “your child’s first job with direct deposit,” giving them hands on experience of real life.
“BusyKid really primarily does two things. Teaches kids how to work and actually earn the money, right, getting out there and doing it. And managing that money once you’ve got it,” said Murset, CEO and Founder of BusyKid.
The way it’s designed allows for the parents to assign chores for their child to do, the child marks that they did it, and then get paid every Friday. Every payday, the parent approves the payroll and the money is moved from their bank account into their child’s BusyKid bank account.
From there, the child can choose what they do with their money. They can:
- Save – BusyKid automatically saves a percentage of the child’s allowance, but they can choose to put more money aside in their savings account.
- Invest – The app allows the child to invest their money in real stock, just like adults.
- Spend – A prepaid card is given with the app, which allows the child to put their money onto their card to spend it.
- Donate – They can also donate a percentage of their allowance to a charity of their choice.
“This mirrors reality. This is what all of us do as adults. We go earn some money. We save, usually put stuff in like a 401(K) or something. We share it, we give it to church, charity, something we care about. And then last, spend. We put it on plastic and go out and spend it. So that’s exactly what BusyKid does,” Murset said.
In the state of West Virginia, it isn’t mandatory to teach a personal finance class to children in schools. For high schools in the Mountain State, personal finance is a scarcely touched on in their required Civics class.
While Civics is a required course in Social Studies credits, students are able to take AP Government in place of their Civics class. This means, not every student is learning basic financial literacy. For K-8 students in West Virginia, the basics of personal finance is taught through economics.
The American Public Education Foundation (APEF), along with BusyKid, recently conducted a study to grade each state on their standards for teaching financial literacy in schools. West Virginia was graded a C on the Vision 2020 Report Card.
West Virginia was graded ‘average’ for their school standards, however, it also means there is room for improvement.
In comparison, West Virginia’s neighboring state, Virginia, earned an A. This is because Virginia guarantees kindergarten through grade 12 financial literacy instruction. Schools in Virginia teach a stand-alone personal finance course, that is required for high school graduation. The state also require individual grade standards for financial literacy embedded in K-8 history standards.
While the Mountain State can improve its standards on teaching this life skill in school, Murset believes it’s also important to teach the children in their own homes. They can learn the fundamentals in school, but having teachers give the children physical money is a little more difficult than a parent giving them money.
“Even if they nail that, we as parents can’t just turn a blind eye and say ‘oh good, the school is going to teach them all of that and I don’t have to’. I think that if parents think that way, they’re setting themselves up for a problem down the road,” Murset said.
Most children learn best by doing, which is why BusyKid allows them to practice this real life skill before they reach legal adulthood.
BusyKid can be downloaded in the Apple Store and Google Play. You can learn more about BusyKid on its website by clicking here.