By John Drachman
They are smart, compassionate, digitally savvy and still don’t pick up their clothes.
They make up the 74.1 million children growing up in pandemic-haunted America. While Generation Z is comprised of 11 to 24-year-olds, the oldest members of this youngest cohort – Generation Alpha – just turned 10.
Market researchers are already taking this generation’s pulse by their skinny little wrists. According to The Atlantic, Generation Alpha “cares more about all issues than their Millennial and Baby Boomer [predecessors] did when they were kids, or even than they do now.” Distinct from prior generations, more Generation Alpha children will spend some if not all of their childhood without both of their biological parents present.
With future school attendance uncertain and less adult supervision, legions of short people are warming to the idea of earning some money. While every child can’t count of being the next seven-year-old you-Tube toy review multi-millionaire, they can still start an at-home business and invest – as long as one parent opens their bank account.
In addition to conducting paid online surveys to flipping products on e-Bay, minor children are also pitching in as mother’s helpers and dog walkers among dozens of other money-making schemes. Blogger Whitney who covers the working-from-home beat tells kids to “Remember it’s important to make money but even more important to save it, so you’ll always have it.”
Digital developers too have been responding in kind with dozens of award-winning gamified apps to entice and engage young ones to save and invest.
- Savings Spree, designed for the seven-and-up crowd, teaches kids the basics about earning, spending and saving money, as well as the drawbacks of too many “impulse purchases.”
- Renegade Buggies teaches financial literacy from the perspective of a frantic, fast-paced grocery shopping trip. Six-year-olds and up can game their way through strategies that measure such trade-offs as buying in unit sizes versus buying in bulk.
- Designed by an 11-year-old who was trying to save her own money, Bankaroo provides goal-oriented kids with a virtual bank that helps them save for that new bike or drum set.
- iAllowance offers a way for parents to help manage their kids’ earnings through a live bank account. The app features push notifications to help parents remind kids to finish their chores – or eBay transaction. Once a child gets familiar with the app, parents can gradually let them use the account on their own.
- Star Banks Adventure from T. Rowe Price combines slick-looking puzzle solving with quizzes in a game that teaches kids about fundamental financial concepts. The objective: Save the imaginary planet of Polaria from economic collapse. As they perform their “rescue” mission, children learn about financial planning, asset allocation, inflation and more from educational content created by registered financial professionals.
As young users are proving, sheltering in place with gamified financial literacy apps like these isn’t like slogging through the curricula at the New York Institute of Finance either. They are living examples that short people too are eager to save and invest as long as they have the right app, a touch of parental oversight and educational insights grounded in fiduciary principals and professional advice.
John Drachman is a contributing writer at MyPerfectFinancialAdvisor, the premier matchmaker between investors and advisors. John is an IABC award-winning writer, who applies his 30 years of financial marketing experience toward advancing the dialog between investors and investment professionals.