5 Awesome Summer Gifts for Your Wired Kids

You'll never have to hear those dreaded words, "I'm bored!" with these cool, techy toys.

Summer is nearly upon us, and if you have kids, you know that means coming up with activities to keep them from getting bored. Cool tech toys that keep their brains and bodies active can help keep them occupied between the swim lessons, away camp and other activities. We tapped retail expert Rebecca Lehmann of Brad’s Deals for some toys that are sure to impress your wired kids this summer so you’ll never have to hear those words “I’m boooored!” Here are her techy picks.

1. Cozmo by Anki

The robotics startup that stole the show at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in 2013 is back, this time with Cozmo, a “real-life robot like you’ve only seen in the movies,” Anki’s site says. Use the app to check Cozmo’s Daily Goals, a list of recommended activities for keeping him healthy and energized. The more you hang out, the more skills Cozmo learns — and the more he wants to play, which kids will love, Lehmann said. (Cozmo will send you a message if you leave the Cozmo App open so it doesn’t drain the battery.) Cozmo is available at various retailers starting at about $180.

2. Hatchimals by Spin Master

The toy that took the holidays by storm is still available, and popular as ever. Like Cozmo, Hatchimals “learn and evolve as you interact with them,” said Lehmann, specifically by requiring your kids’ touch in order to hatch. Kids can teach these colorful furry creatures to walk, talk, dance and play, and engage them by listening to their heartbeat, tapping and more. Hatchimals are available starting at about $55 at Target, Walmart and Kmart, as well as sites like Amazon and the children’s entertainment company Spin Master.

3. Love2Learn Elmo by Playskool

The cuddly toy responsible for Black Friday madness all those years ago has gotten an upgrade. Now the beloved Sesame Street character encourages little ones’ daily routines, like cleaning after themselves and brushing their teeth. Clap Elmo’s hands to learn all about numbers, letters, colors and shapes, or play games to see his real-time responses. Parents can also program Elmo with an app, said Lehmann, which is available on select Apple and Android devices. Playskool’s Love2Learn Elmo is available on Amazon, starting at about $32.

4. PlayStation VR by Nintendo

Sony’s new, long-awaited headset has moved hundreds of thousands of units, according to PlayStation executive Jim Ryan, and for good reason: Virtual reality is hot. Though not every gamer’s convinced the PSVR is a must-buy gift, it’s still an affordable foray into virtual reality, even at around $400 on Amazon. From the funny (“Job Simulator”) to the scary (“Until Dawn: Rush of Blood”), these games will keep your kids busy.

5. Nerf N-Strike Elite TerraScout Remote Control Drone Blaster

“There’s a whole new crop of toy drones,” Lehmann said, noting Nerf’s ultra high-tech N-Strike Elite TerraScout Remote Control Drone Blaster. Priced at a cool $249.99 on Toys R Us, the toy lets kids record the fun in photos and videos, command remote-controlled dart blasts and use the controller to adjust the angle of the blaster. There’s also a live video feed for viewing out-of-sight targets because this blaster takes dart-launching seriously.

Tips for Spending on Toys

With some toys costing hundreds of dollars, some parents may be wondering how they’ll pay for them without going into debt — should they opt to use layaway, savings, low-interest credit cards or something else? No matter what you do, you’ll want to make sure you don’t hurt your budget. (You can see where your credit currently stands by viewing two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.) You may also want to take a look at these 13 ways to save at Babies R Us if you plan to shop there.

Beyond that, parents may want to ensure the toys are safe for their kids to begin with. For recall information and other news on potentially dangerous products, you can visit the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Image: Imgorthand

The post 5 Awesome Summer Gifts for Your Wired Kids appeared first on Credit.com.

5 Awesome Summer Gifts for Your Wired Kids

You'll never have to hear those dreaded words, "I'm bored!" with these cool, techy toys.

Summer is nearly upon us, and if you have kids, you know that means coming up with activities to keep them from getting bored. Cool tech toys that keep their brains and bodies active can help keep them occupied between the swim lessons, away camp and other activities. We tapped retail expert Rebecca Lehmann of Brad’s Deals for some toys that are sure to impress your wired kids this summer so you’ll never have to hear those words “I’m boooored!” Here are her techy picks.

1. Cozmo by Anki

The robotics startup that stole the show at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in 2013 is back, this time with Cozmo, a “real-life robot like you’ve only seen in the movies,” Anki’s site says. Use the app to check Cozmo’s Daily Goals, a list of recommended activities for keeping him healthy and energized. The more you hang out, the more skills Cozmo learns — and the more he wants to play, which kids will love, Lehmann said. (Cozmo will send you a message if you leave the Cozmo App open so it doesn’t drain the battery.) Cozmo is available at various retailers starting at about $180.

2. Hatchimals by Spin Master

The toy that took the holidays by storm is still available, and popular as ever. Like Cozmo, Hatchimals “learn and evolve as you interact with them,” said Lehmann, specifically by requiring your kids’ touch in order to hatch. Kids can teach these colorful furry creatures to walk, talk, dance and play, and engage them by listening to their heartbeat, tapping and more. Hatchimals are available starting at about $55 at Target, Walmart and Kmart, as well as sites like Amazon and the children’s entertainment company Spin Master.

3. Love2Learn Elmo by Playskool

The cuddly toy responsible for Black Friday madness all those years ago has gotten an upgrade. Now the beloved Sesame Street character encourages little ones’ daily routines, like cleaning after themselves and brushing their teeth. Clap Elmo’s hands to learn all about numbers, letters, colors and shapes, or play games to see his real-time responses. Parents can also program Elmo with an app, said Lehmann, which is available on select Apple and Android devices. Playskool’s Love2Learn Elmo is available on Amazon, starting at about $32.

4. PlayStation VR by Nintendo

Sony’s new, long-awaited headset has moved hundreds of thousands of units, according to PlayStation executive Jim Ryan, and for good reason: Virtual reality is hot. Though not every gamer’s convinced the PSVR is a must-buy gift, it’s still an affordable foray into virtual reality, even at around $400 on Amazon. From the funny (“Job Simulator”) to the scary (“Until Dawn: Rush of Blood”), these games will keep your kids busy.

5. Nerf N-Strike Elite TerraScout Remote Control Drone Blaster

“There’s a whole new crop of toy drones,” Lehmann said, noting Nerf’s ultra high-tech N-Strike Elite TerraScout Remote Control Drone Blaster. Priced at a cool $249.99 on Toys R Us, the toy lets kids record the fun in photos and videos, command remote-controlled dart blasts and use the controller to adjust the angle of the blaster. There’s also a live video feed for viewing out-of-sight targets because this blaster takes dart-launching seriously.

Tips for Spending on Toys

With some toys costing hundreds of dollars, some parents may be wondering how they’ll pay for them without going into debt — should they opt to use layaway, savings, low-interest credit cards or something else? No matter what you do, you’ll want to make sure you don’t hurt your budget. (You can see where your credit currently stands by viewing two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.) You may also want to take a look at these 13 ways to save at Babies R Us if you plan to shop there.

Beyond that, parents may want to ensure the toys are safe for their kids to begin with. For recall information and other news on potentially dangerous products, you can visit the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Image: Imgorthand

The post 5 Awesome Summer Gifts for Your Wired Kids appeared first on Credit.com.

5 Awesome Summer Gifts for Your Wired Kids

You'll never have to hear those dreaded words, "I'm bored!" with these cool, techy toys.

Summer is nearly upon us, and if you have kids, you know that means coming up with activities to keep them from getting bored. Cool tech toys that keep their brains and bodies active can help keep them occupied between the swim lessons, away camp and other activities. We tapped retail expert Rebecca Lehmann of Brad’s Deals for some toys that are sure to impress your wired kids this summer so you’ll never have to hear those words “I’m boooored!” Here are her techy picks.

1. Cozmo by Anki

The robotics startup that stole the show at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in 2013 is back, this time with Cozmo, a “real-life robot like you’ve only seen in the movies,” Anki’s site says. Use the app to check Cozmo’s Daily Goals, a list of recommended activities for keeping him healthy and energized. The more you hang out, the more skills Cozmo learns — and the more he wants to play, which kids will love, Lehmann said. (Cozmo will send you a message if you leave the Cozmo App open so it doesn’t drain the battery.) Cozmo is available at various retailers starting at about $180.

2. Hatchimals by Spin Master

The toy that took the holidays by storm is still available, and popular as ever. Like Cozmo, Hatchimals “learn and evolve as you interact with them,” said Lehmann, specifically by requiring your kids’ touch in order to hatch. Kids can teach these colorful furry creatures to walk, talk, dance and play, and engage them by listening to their heartbeat, tapping and more. Hatchimals are available starting at about $55 at Target, Walmart and Kmart, as well as sites like Amazon and the children’s entertainment company Spin Master.

3. Love2Learn Elmo by Playskool

The cuddly toy responsible for Black Friday madness all those years ago has gotten an upgrade. Now the beloved Sesame Street character encourages little ones’ daily routines, like cleaning after themselves and brushing their teeth. Clap Elmo’s hands to learn all about numbers, letters, colors and shapes, or play games to see his real-time responses. Parents can also program Elmo with an app, said Lehmann, which is available on select Apple and Android devices. Playskool’s Love2Learn Elmo is available on Amazon, starting at about $32.

4. PlayStation VR by Nintendo

Sony’s new, long-awaited headset has moved hundreds of thousands of units, according to PlayStation executive Jim Ryan, and for good reason: Virtual reality is hot. Though not every gamer’s convinced the PSVR is a must-buy gift, it’s still an affordable foray into virtual reality, even at around $400 on Amazon. From the funny (“Job Simulator”) to the scary (“Until Dawn: Rush of Blood”), these games will keep your kids busy.

5. Nerf N-Strike Elite TerraScout Remote Control Drone Blaster

“There’s a whole new crop of toy drones,” Lehmann said, noting Nerf’s ultra high-tech N-Strike Elite TerraScout Remote Control Drone Blaster. Priced at a cool $249.99 on Toys R Us, the toy lets kids record the fun in photos and videos, command remote-controlled dart blasts and use the controller to adjust the angle of the blaster. There’s also a live video feed for viewing out-of-sight targets because this blaster takes dart-launching seriously.

Tips for Spending on Toys

With some toys costing hundreds of dollars, some parents may be wondering how they’ll pay for them without going into debt — should they opt to use layaway, savings, low-interest credit cards or something else? No matter what you do, you’ll want to make sure you don’t hurt your budget. (You can see where your credit currently stands by viewing two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.) You may also want to take a look at these 13 ways to save at Babies R Us if you plan to shop there.

Beyond that, parents may want to ensure the toys are safe for their kids to begin with. For recall information and other news on potentially dangerous products, you can visit the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Image: Imgorthand

The post 5 Awesome Summer Gifts for Your Wired Kids appeared first on Credit.com.

7 Things You Can Do Now to Solidify Your Child’s Financial Future

There are plenty of things parents can do now to help set their kids down the right path financially.

If you have kids, or are considering having them, you’ve likely started thinking about what that will mean for your finances. But have you thought about how you can help your kids become prepared for their own financial future? There are plenty of things parents can do now to help set their kids down the right path financially. Here are a few.

1. Set up a College Savings Account

One of the most important things you can do is to consider how (and if) you’ll help them obtain a college education. An analysis of Labor Department statistics by the Economic Policy Institute found that in 2016, Americans with four-year college degrees made almost twice the average hourly wage compared to those without a degree. So a college degree is still important. However, you should never save for your child’s college at the expense of saving for your retirement. Instead, consider whether, and how much, you can responsibly save for both. (You can read this to help determine if a 529 college savings plan is the right avenue for you and this one about how much is enough when it comes to college savings.)

2. Have a Life Insurance Policy

Don’t think of a life insurance policy in terms of what would happen to your kid if you die. Consider it a way to ensure your child is taken care of in the future, no matter what happens to you. Talk to a certified financial planner if you aren’t sure where to start, or which option is best for you. (Or you can read this article that outlines seven essential documents to fill out.)

3. Put a Guardian in Your Will

Putting together a solid will so your child will be taken care of if something happens to you should be a top priority when estate planning. Picking the best guardian for your child is equally important. You can name two types of guardians — one to physically look after your child and one to look after their assets. Think seriously before simply naming your mom or best friend as your child’s guardian.

4. Open a Savings Account for Your Child

When it comes to helping kids become financially savvy, teaching them how to save — and why savings are important — is crucial. Your kid doesn’t have to be walking yet for you to open a savings account in their name. Ask your bank about a custodial savings account. Once your child is old enough for an allowance, you can discuss why everyone should have savings and how much to put away. Many experts say saving 20% of your income is a good way to build up a safety net.

5. Give Them an Allowance

Experts differ on whether giving kids an allowance helps them become financially savvy, how much to give and for what purpose (just to help them save, or in conjunction with chores, etc.). Research from T. Rowe Price, an investment management company, showed that children who receive an allowance are more likely to think they have a good understanding of basic financial topics than those who don’t get one. The important thing is to not give your kid an allowance and let him do with it what he will — you need to talk about money with your kid, as well. Discuss the importance of earning money and how to make it last.

6. Talk About Your Finances

Money is often a taboo subject in families, but it shouldn’t be. Consider talking to your kid about money early and often. A 2014 study from North Carolina State University and the University of Texas found that children pay close attention to issues related to money. Make sure you’re filling them in on the important facts. (View your free credit report snapshot on Credit.com to help see where you stand.)

7. Involve Them in (Certain) Financial Decisions

Your young child probably won’t help you save for a down payment on a new house or have detailed conversations about your debt-repayment plans. However, there’s no reason they can’t help put together a grocery list and come shop with you while you discuss how food costs money and the importance of family budgeting. Or perhaps on vacation, your kid can help decide how family money will be best spent on a few outings or can watch you fill up the gas tank to get an understanding of how much your road trip costs. Teach your kid early that it costs money to do fun things and how saving helps you achieve certain financial goals. You might be surprised how much your kid remembers later from your early — and repeated — money conversations in the future.

Image: szeyuen 

The post 7 Things You Can Do Now to Solidify Your Child’s Financial Future appeared first on Credit.com.

7 Things You Can Do Now to Solidify Your Child’s Financial Future

There are plenty of things parents can do now to help set their kids down the right path financially.

If you have kids, or are considering having them, you’ve likely started thinking about what that will mean for your finances. But have you thought about how you can help your kids become prepared for their own financial future? There are plenty of things parents can do now to help set their kids down the right path financially. Here are a few.

1. Set up a College Savings Account

One of the most important things you can do is to consider how (and if) you’ll help them obtain a college education. An analysis of Labor Department statistics by the Economic Policy Institute found that in 2016, Americans with four-year college degrees made almost twice the average hourly wage compared to those without a degree. So a college degree is still important. However, you should never save for your child’s college at the expense of saving for your retirement. Instead, consider whether, and how much, you can responsibly save for both. (You can read this to help determine if a 529 college savings plan is the right avenue for you and this one about how much is enough when it comes to college savings.)

2. Have a Life Insurance Policy

Don’t think of a life insurance policy in terms of what would happen to your kid if you die. Consider it a way to ensure your child is taken care of in the future, no matter what happens to you. Talk to a certified financial planner if you aren’t sure where to start, or which option is best for you. (Or you can read this article that outlines seven essential documents to fill out.)

3. Put a Guardian in Your Will

Putting together a solid will so your child will be taken care of if something happens to you should be a top priority when estate planning. Picking the best guardian for your child is equally important. You can name two types of guardians — one to physically look after your child and one to look after their assets. Think seriously before simply naming your mom or best friend as your child’s guardian.

4. Open a Savings Account for Your Child

When it comes to helping kids become financially savvy, teaching them how to save — and why savings are important — is crucial. Your kid doesn’t have to be walking yet for you to open a savings account in their name. Ask your bank about a custodial savings account. Once your child is old enough for an allowance, you can discuss why everyone should have savings and how much to put away. Many experts say saving 20% of your income is a good way to build up a safety net.

5. Give Them an Allowance

Experts differ on whether giving kids an allowance helps them become financially savvy, how much to give and for what purpose (just to help them save, or in conjunction with chores, etc.). Research from T. Rowe Price, an investment management company, showed that children who receive an allowance are more likely to think they have a good understanding of basic financial topics than those who don’t get one. The important thing is to not give your kid an allowance and let him do with it what he will — you need to talk about money with your kid, as well. Discuss the importance of earning money and how to make it last.

6. Talk About Your Finances

Money is often a taboo subject in families, but it shouldn’t be. Consider talking to your kid about money early and often. A 2014 study from North Carolina State University and the University of Texas found that children pay close attention to issues related to money. Make sure you’re filling them in on the important facts. (View your free credit report snapshot on Credit.com to help see where you stand.)

7. Involve Them in (Certain) Financial Decisions

Your young child probably won’t help you save for a down payment on a new house or have detailed conversations about your debt-repayment plans. However, there’s no reason they can’t help put together a grocery list and come shop with you while you discuss how food costs money and the importance of family budgeting. Or perhaps on vacation, your kid can help decide how family money will be best spent on a few outings or can watch you fill up the gas tank to get an understanding of how much your road trip costs. Teach your kid early that it costs money to do fun things and how saving helps you achieve certain financial goals. You might be surprised how much your kid remembers later from your early — and repeated — money conversations in the future.

Image: szeyuen 

The post 7 Things You Can Do Now to Solidify Your Child’s Financial Future appeared first on Credit.com.

5 Basic Credit Lessons to Teach Your Kids

Your parents may have prepared you as best they could for the financial realities of adulthood, or they could have left you to figure it all out for yourself. But if you were taught the basics of finance and credit before you left the nest, you may have encountered less of a learning curve than your clueless counterparts. No matter your level of understanding, you likely have to do some learning yourself.

But now, if you’re the parent, one of your priorities is to prepare your kids for adulthood. Just as you would teach your children to dress themselves, ride a bike or do their laundry, you may want to impart lessons about credit to them to help them become successful and financially independent.

Here are five credit lessons you may wish to impart.

1. It’s Important to Regularly Check Your Credit Reports & Credit Scores

Credit reports and credit scores may seem like abstract concepts to teach your children. But you can use simple metaphors. School-age children can understand the concepts of grades and report cards, and these concepts apply to credit. The work you put into your credit is reflected in your credit report and credit score, which “grade” your performance. These grades can then be used to help you get “rewarded,” like by getting the best rate on a credit card or a loan, like for a car or home. (You can check out your free credit report summary on Credit.com, which includes grades on how you’re doing in the five key areas that make up your scores.) This brings us to our next lesson …

2. Credit Affects Their Life

Once your child understands the concept of a credit report and credit score, you can demonstrate how credit has affected your lifestyle. Many of your possessions — your home, car or credit card, for instance — were obtained using credit, and are examples of the power of credit. Of course, credit is not just a way to get “things.” It’s a tool that can help provide shelter, comfort and freedom.

3. There Are 5 Main Influencers of Credit

As your kids get older and have a firmer grasp on these concepts, they may be able to better understand how they can make credit work for them. You can show them credit is determined by five main factors:

  • Payment history
  • Debt usage
  • Age of accounts
  • Types of accounts
  • Credit inquires

If you own credit cards, have loans and monitor your credit report, you have teachable moments built into your financial routine. When your children are old enough, you can involve them as you pay a bill or check your credit report, explaining the process as you go.

4. Mistakes Can Cost You

Mistakes can be valuable life lessons for young people. But when it comes to credit, mistakes can be costly and their effects can be long-lasting. One late payment can cause your credit score to drop dramatically. And negative items such as accounts in collections and judgments can stay on your report for at least seven years. To a young person, seven years can be a long time to have difficulty obtaining loans or credit cards. You can also show them how errors on your credit report can be fixed by using this guide.

5. Credit Cards Are Merely Tools

Credit cards are not a magic wand for reckless spending, but they are also not inherently risky items to be avoided. They are tools. They can be invaluable to build credit and financial independence, but they can also be damaging if wielded incorrectly.

It’s no secret that young people can have trouble with impulse control. But you may want to impart that credit cards can be used responsibly or irresponsibly. The results will depend on the user.

Image: Liderina

The post 5 Basic Credit Lessons to Teach Your Kids appeared first on Credit.com.

3 Strategies to Teach Your Child to Invest

Chicago, Ill.-based actor Mike Wollner says at ages 7 and 10 his daughters are already learning how to invest.

Three years ago, Wollner opened custodial brokerage accounts for the girls through Monetta Mutual Funds, which has a Young Investor Fund specifically for young people to invest for the future. Through the fund, parents can open custodial brokerage accounts or 529 college savings accounts on behalf of their children, as well as get access to financial education and a tuition rewards program.

Wollner decided to open the accounts once his daughters began to nab acting gigs and earn an income. They’re already beginning to understand what it means to own a part of the world’s largest companies. “They will ask me to drive past Wendy’s to go to McDonald’s and say, ‘well, we own part of McDonald’s,’” he says.

Wollner hopes his daughters will have saved enough for college by the time they graduate high school. His 10-year-old’s account balance already hovers around $13,000, while his 7-year-old has a little less than $10,000 saved for college in her account.

The contents of the package a child receives in the mail when an adult opens a Monetta Mutual Young Investor Fund custodial account on their behalf.

The Value of Starting Young

The Monetta Fund is only one example of a way to invest on a child’s behalf. The downside to using an actively managed investment account like the one Monetta offers is that it comes with higher fees — the fund’s expense ratio of 1.18% in 2016 is higher than the 0.10% – 0.70% fees typically charged by state-administered 529 college savings plans.

In addition to 529 plans, parents can open Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, or other custodial brokerage or IRA accounts through most financial institutions like Fidelity, Vanguard, or TD Ameritrade.

A college fund serves as a great way to teach kids a little about the time-value of money, but they’ll need to know more than that to manage their finances as well as adults.

“There’s no guarantee that they are going to be financially successful because anything can happen in life, but you’ll be better off with those skills and have a better chance of being successful with those skills than without them,” says Frank Park, founder of Future Investor Clubs of America. The organization operates a financial education program for kids and teens as young as 8 years old about financial management and investing.

He says FICA begins teaching financial concepts at an early age with hopes that the kids who start out with good money management habits now will continue to build on them as they age.

“If they fail to get that type of training now, it may be years into their late 20s, 30s, or 40s before they start. By then it could be too late. It could take 20 years to undo the mistakes they’ve made,” says Park.

3 Ways to Teach Young Kids About Money

Use real-world experiences

Wollner has each daughter cash and physically count out each check they receive from acting gigs.

“They just see a big stack of green bills, but that to a child is cool. It’s like what they see in a suitcase in the movies,” says Wollner.

He then uses the opportunity to teach how taxes work as he has his daughters set aside part of the stack of cash to pay taxes, union fees, and their agent.

“They start to see their big old pile of money diminish and get smaller and smaller,” says Wollner, who says the practice teaches his daughters “everything you make isn’t all yours, and I truly believe that that’s a lesson not many in our society learn.”

Kids don’t need to earn their own money to start learning. Simply getting a child involved with the household’s budgeting process or taking the opportunity to teach how to save with deals when shopping helps teach foundational money management skills.

Park urges parents to also share financial failures and struggles in addition to successes.

“They need to prepare their kids for the ups and downs of financial life so that they don’t panic if they lose their job, have an accident, or [their] identity [is] stolen,” says Park.

Gamify investing

Gamified learning through apps or online games can be a fun way to spark or keep younger kids’ interest in a “boring” topic like investing.

There are a number of free resources for games online like those offered through Monetta, Education.com, or the federal government that aim to teach kids about different financial concepts.
Wollner says his youngest daughter benefited from playing a coin game online. He says the 7-year-old is ahead of her peers in fractions and learning about the monetary values of dollars and coins.

“This is how the kids learn. It’s the fun of doing it. They don’t think of it as learning about money, they think of it as a game,” says Bob Monetta, founder of Monetta Mutual Fund. The games Monetta has developed on its website are often used in classrooms.

When kids get a little older and can understand more complicated financial concepts, they can try out a virtual stock market game available for free online such as the SIFMA Foundation’s stock market game, the Knowledge@Wharton High School’s annual investment competition, or MarketWatch’s stock market game.

“The prospect of winning is what makes them leave the classroom still talking about their portfolios and their games,” says Melanie Mortimer, president of the SIFMA Foundation.

Anyone can play the simulation games, including full classrooms of students.

Aaron Greberman teaches personal finance and International Baccalaureate-level business management at Bodine High School for International Affairs in Philadelphia Penn. He says he uses Knowledge@Wharton High School’s annual investment competition in addition to online games like VISA’s websites, financialsoccer.com, and practicalmoneyskills.com, to help teach his high school students financial concepts.

Adults should play the games with children so that they can help when they struggle with a concept or have questions. Adults might even learn something about money in the process. Consider also leveraging mobile apps like Savings Spree and Unleash the Loot to gamify financial learning on the go.

Reinforce with clubs or programs

For more formal reinforcement, try signing kids up for a club or other financial education program targeting kids and teens.

FICA, the Future Investors Clubs of America, provides educational materials and other support to a network of clubs, chapters, and centers sponsored by schools, parents, and other groups across the nation.

When looking at financial education programs, it’s important to recognize all programs are not equal, says FICA founder, Frank Park.

“Generally speaking, you’re going to go with the company that has a good reputation of providing these services, especially if your kid is considering going into business in the future,” says Park.

The National Financial Educators Council says a financial literacy youth program should cover the key lessons on budgeting, credit and debt, savings, financial psychology, skill development, income, risk management, investing, and long-term planning.

Mortimer suggests parents also try getting involved at the child’s school by offering to start or sponsor an after-school investing club. She says many after-school youth financial education or investing organizations nationwide use SIFMA’s stock market simulation to place virtual trades and compete against other teams.

The post 3 Strategies to Teach Your Child to Invest appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

6 Toy Drones for Your Holiday Wish List

best-toy-drone-2016

Image: sezer66

The post 6 Toy Drones for Your Holiday Wish List appeared first on Credit.com.

15 Easter Basket Goodies That Aren’t Candy

easter_basket

Image: Purestock

The post 15 Easter Basket Goodies That Aren’t Candy appeared first on Credit.com.

5 Things to Get in Order When You Have Kids

Overcoming the Struggles of Unpaid Maternity and Paternity Leave

Everyone likes to talk about how much money it costs to have and raise kids, but one other topic that sometimes gets glossed over is all the other financial and life details that new parents should have in place before their first child is born (or shortly thereafter, at least).

While we wouldn’t call this a finite list, the following are definitely some of the more important documents and plans you’ll want to have in mind before little Junior makes his or her appearance.

1. Put together a will and trust

Besides the obvious advantages of leaving your possessions and assets to the people you pick, a will is important for a lot of other reasons — for people with and without kids. When you do have kids, though, this becomes even more necessary as a way to legally name guardians for your children should something happen to both you and your significant other. When you don’t have a will in place that names these guardians, a court would decide what happens to your children, where they go and who will raise them, if something were to happen to you, and that’s probably not what you’d like to have happen.

One other important thing to keep in mind is the difference between custodians and guardians. Remember, the person you name as your child’s guardian doesn’t necessarily have to be the person who’s also in charge of your child’s finances. That duty can go to a custodian, who will then take care of any money left in your kids’ names until they turn either 18 or 21 and can take over that task for themselves. Check out this piece for more on how to put a will in place if you need one.

2. Get a life insurance policy

When you have a family, it becomes even more important to put some sort of life insurance policy in place as a way of ensuring that, if something happened to you, the spouse who is still around will be taken care of financially, and so will your kids. While you can set up your life insurance policy for whatever your want it to cover, most financial experts who help you pick one will ask you to consider certain factors, such as:

  • Do you have a mortgage to pay off?
  • Do you want to put one or more kids through college?
  • What sort of monthly finances would be necessary to replace the lost parent’s income?

Adding all these factors together, you’ll be presented with an approximate amount that would cover all of these situations, should something happen to you. While the overall number might scare you at first (think in the millions here, especially if we’re talking about putting a couple of kids through college), there are actually some great plans on the market today that won’t cost you an arm and a leg each month to get.

3. Consider disability insurance


When it comes to disability insurance, consider it this way — if you’re young and healthy, the odds are much greater that you’ll injure yourself and be unable to work for a given amount of time than that you will actually pass away (at which point your life insurance policy would come into play). A disability insurance plan would help cover your family’s necessary expenses while you get back on your feet. Group disability plans are often through employers, and while individual plans are available, they are likely to be a bit more costly depending on your particular situation (if you’re older with high cholesterol, for example, you’ll probably pay more than a young, healthy person). On the other hand, if you’re okay with what your employer offers but would like a little bit more coverage, a supplemental plan might be able to help you make up the difference. For more on disability insurance, check out this story.

4. Have a power of attorney


A power of attorney isn’t necessarily something many people think about when it comes to financial planning, but it probably should be. Assigning someone power of attorney gives them certain rights to make decisions for you based on the type of power of attorney you pick. For example:

  • General powers of attorney retain comprehensive rights to act on your behalf, and this type of power of attorney can last until you pass away.
  • Limited powers of attorney can only make decisions for specific purposes and for a set amount of time. This might be useful during something like an illness, where you are unable to make financial decisions yourself.
  • Durable powers of attorney essentially maintain all the same rights to serve for you as a general power of attorney, and their powers remain effective even after a person becomes incapacitated, so there is no need for court involvement.
  • Durable powers of attorney for health care allow you to name someone to make health care decisions for you when you cannot make them for yourself.

Setting up a power of attorney ahead of time for whatever your needs might be can save your family a lot of time and trouble (and legal woes) if something happens to you.

5. Create a living will

A living will is a statement that details your desires regarding medical treatment and the like when you are no longer able to express these things yourself. Putting something like this in place helps take the burden off your family to make these decisions during what will likely already be a stressful and emotional time.

Again, while there is much more to estate planning than just the policies and documents listed above, starting with them will help you rest assured that your family will be taken care of emotionally and financially, no matter what the future may bring.

The post 5 Things to Get in Order When You Have Kids appeared first on MagnifyMoney.