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Every parent’s dream come true: Turning “I Want!” into “How do I Earn?”

Every parent’s dream come true: Turning “I Want!” into “How do I Earn?”

Personal finance expert and co-founder Doug Lebda helps parents set the right financial foundation for kids

As a parent, we’ve all been there.  You’re walking down the aisle when your child spots a $200 toy they can’t live without.  When you say “No” they crumble into tears screaming to the heavens in anguish and suddenly all eyes are on you as the worst parent in the world.  It’s that awful moment that you ask yourself:  “Why me?” It’s an inevitable situation for just about every single parent.

What if you could avoid this embarrassing situation and make that trip down the store aisle truly enjoyable. Sound too good to be true? Not necessarily. With patience, discipline and the use of innovative new online educational tools available to your kids it’s not impossible to transform your kids into ambitious money savers who work hard to earn the things they want.  Help might just be on the way.

For starters, according to the National Financial Educators Council, over 92 percent of parents agree that developing good habits around money is an important element to having a successful life.[i]  However, many parents struggle with imparting strong financial know-how to their kids.  A recent T. Rowe Price survey notes that 59 percent of respondents said they felt their kids were not equipped to manage their money. [ii]  Is there any reason then to doubt that the stomping of a kids feet in a store aisle isn’t inevitable, particularly if parents are not proactive in addressing these issues early on.

Many parents say making their kids ‘money-smart’ has no price tag and that they dream of days when their kids skip the temper tantrum and strategize about how to reach their goals.  Luckily, personal finance expert, dad, blogger, philanthropist and successful entrepreneur Doug Lebda recently launched, a free parenting tool and rewardbank that rewards kids for good work, helping to  streamline family workflow and making it fun for parents and kids to work together to become smarter about managing their finances.

Here are some quick tips from Doug on how to best use Tykoon to get started teaching your kids about money while making it fun and engaging:

  1. Change “I want!” to “How do I earn?”:  Parenting is tough, and it gets much tougher when kids don’t get what they want.  Instead of saying ‘no’ or ‘yes’ during the next demand-driven fit, try diverting your child to think about what they can do to earn the things they want so they start developing a strong work ethic.  To help jump-start the process, Tykoon enables parents and their children to set and track toward achieving their goals.  Families can set-up allowances and pay for specific tasks or accomplishments.  Tykoon then helps complete the money conversation by showing kids how their earnings can be used to get what they want.

  2. See like a bird but save like a squirrel: Encourage kids to take a bird’s eye view of the money they have coming in like allowance, rewards for tasks accomplished or birthday gifts. With Tykoon’s help, parents and kids can easily organize the portions of income they will put towards saving, giving and spending. This helps your kids develop healthy patterns and plans around money that they can carry with them as they get older.

  3. Be consistent about expectations and rewards: Make sure your kids know what they’re expected to do before they get their allowance. Be consistent in rewarding a job well done as well as withholding rewards if they don’t fulfill their responsibilities.  Using Tykoon encourages parents to sit down with their kids and outline exact responsibilities around the house.  The system is designed to let kids easily track chores they have been digitally assigned by mom or dad and identify the compensation associated with each accomplishment.  As kids adapt to the program they themselves can even suggest ideas on how to pitch in around the house.  The easy-to-use platform supports the development of a strong work ethic by more concretely structuring household rewards. 

  4. It takes a village, so get it involved: Inform extended family and friends about your mission and get them involved! Work together to teach and encourage your kids to save and get rewarded for achieving milestones. Consider having family match their savings for birthdays or treat kids to non-cash rewards like a special family outing for good financial planning.  Luckily, the extended family feature on the Tykoon platform makes understanding and discussing money management easy for the whole family.

  5. Make learning fun: Make it a fun family project to teach your kids how to make money by starting a lemonade stand. Turn saving money into a game by celebrating and rewarding kids for meeting savings goals. Lastly, don’t forget the Internet! 85 percent of kids say that an online game would be helpful for them to learn more about the basics of money. [iii] With today’s digitally savvy kids, it’s important to meet kids where they are already. Apps like help parents use the powers of virtual gaming for good and streamline the workflow of instilling healthy financial habits early.

Tykoon ( is an online rewardbank for kids and parenting tool (Web & iOS) that makes it easy to apply all the tips above. It turns chores and parent-assigned tasks into an engaging virtual experience that helps kids easily learn about money.

  • Steph Zayury

    It’s refreshing to see that not only is money management emerging as a more pressing issue, but that we are putting more emphasis on financial literacy with a younger audience. I definitely agree with Doug that its essential to start this conversation early.