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FamZoo News

End of January, 2022
Preparing kids for the financial jungle.


Teen with FamZoo debit card

Grown and (nearly) flown.

So your teen is getting older — heading off to college before you know it, or perhaps already there. Time to move on from the FamZoo card, right?

Not so fast!

FamZoo cards aren’t just for youngsters. 43% of our FamZoo card carrying kids are in the high school and college age range of 15 to 22.

Here are my top ten FamZoo features to try with your older teens:

  1. Direct deposit — teendom is the time to start transitioning from chore and allowance payments from ParentCo to a real paycheck: summer jobs, part-time jobs, online gigs. My son scored an internship last summer and had his paycheck deposited directly to his FamZoo card — very convenient!

    You’ll find the routing and account numbers for direct deposit to your teen’s card on the Card Information screen.

    Pro tip: as soon as your teen earns some W-2 income, consider setting up a Family 401(k) arrangement. I did for all five of our kids, and it’s among the smartest financial parenting moves I’ve ever made.

  2. External account linking — For better or worse, meme stocks and crypto have captured the rapt attention of many teens. Neither can be purchased directly within the FamZoo platform. However, older teens can link their FamZoo card accounts with their investment accounts to shuttle funds between the two. My 19 year old has added his FamZoo account as an external account to both Robinhood and Coinbase. Suffice it to say, the recent rollercoaster market has been a quick education on volatility and risk tolerance. 😬 Hello index funds!
  3. Digital wallet linking — digital wallets like Venmo, CashApp, and Apple Pay are all the rage with older teens. Even the less-hip PayPal is a good way to get paid by neighborhood parents for odd jobs like mowing lawns and babysitting.

    See a summary of our digital wallet linking options here.

  4. Additional cards — A backup card always comes in handy for older kids who are traveling or away at school. You never know when their everyday card will get lost, stolen, damaged, or compromised.

    Setting up a savings card is a great way to teach teens to pay themselves first. Encourage your teen to sock away some savings every payday into a separate card that isn’t tied to their regular spending.

    See here for how to order additional cards.

  5. Parent-paid interest — OK, I confess. I find bribery to be the best encouragement when it comes to building a savings habit. The more you shell out in parent-paid interest, the more dollars your teen will tuck away on that separate savings card. Pay them to pay themselves first. With a little luck, the life-changing habit will persist long after the parental bribery ends.
  6. Transfer requests — You’ll know your bribes are big enough when your teens start issuing transfer requests to move money from spending to savings just to cash in on your sweet interest offer.

    Transfer requests also create useful friction in the opposite direction — moving money from savings to spending requires a little extra effort, a rationale, and parental approval. Often, that’s just enough hoop-jumping to inhibit impulsive spending.

  7. Money requests — unforeseen expenses increase as teens roam further from home base. Who knew you had to buy your own shampoo when you’re on your own? Forcing your teen to fill out a money request with a short justification and a negotiable amount filters out frivolity and favors frugality. It’s like a teeny-tiny budgeting lesson each time.
  8. Reimbursement requests — Reimbursement requests are similar to money requests, but they’re submitted after the purchase has already been made.

    For example, I make my 19 year old pay the rent and utilities for his college apartment each month. He submits a reimbursement request for each payment to recoup the costs from me. The arrangement requires him to maintain a hefty account balance to cover the end-of-month payments — a healthy financial habit. Furthermore, experiencing the harsh reality of the eye-opening amounts each month seems like a good subliminal reminder to take college seriously. 😉

  9. Activity alerts — making sure your teens know their balances immediately after each purchase makes activity alerts more than worth turning on. Alerts are the simplest, yet still effective, budgeting tool there is: just knowing where your funds stand at all times. Beyond that, see four more compelling reasons to use activity alerts here.
  10. Decline details — no more coming to mom or dad when the card won’t work. Teens need to triage card failures on their own. Fortunately, FamZoo shows declined transaction details and remedies right in the app: incorrect PIN, security block, wrong billing address, insufficient funds, locked account, and more.

    Some require contacting customer service to resolve. Make sure your teen knows these 11 critical card numbers before contacting us.

Now, if you can just check off a gaggle of those ten financial flight safety tips, your teen should soar from the nest. 🦅


The FamZoo parent community.

It takes a zoo.

Recently in the FamZoo parent community:

  • Diana asked about having chore items that both reward on completion and penalize on expiration (which launched a discussion about different chore schemes and their pros/cons). ✅
  • Bill (that’s me!) posted a reminder that you can save up to 58% with a pay-in-advance subscription versus paying $5.99 monthly (you can switch your subscription plan anytime). 🏷️
  • Kimberly inquired about automatically locking down a kid’s phone until a chore is done (a parent can dream!) 🔒

Got an experience or tip to share? A question?



Dumb and dumber gets smarter.

Our opener about older teens reminded me of this classic gem:

“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.” ~ Mark Twain

My advice? Keep doling out your “dumb” money lessons to the kids. The appreciation will come later.


🙏 A big THANK YOU to...

  • TJ Carrie — for teaming up with Boys Hope Girls Hope to integrate FamZoo into their Financial Football program. From TJ’s recent tweet: TJ Carrie Financial Football has created a unique program allowing the scholars to earn up to $400 in “Carrie Cash” incentives. “Carrie Cash” is real money loaded onto a @FamZoo Debit Card each week as they accomplish specific tasks and incentives. #tjcarriefoundation
  • Experian — for announcing a program to allow building a credit report from scratch without the need for credit cards or loans. I’m watching this carefully. It sounds like a wonderful option for older FamZoo kids who want to build a solid credit score early while avoiding debt altogether.
  • Lynne N. — for the wonderful unsolicited email: “Hello, I just wanted to send you a message and tell you what a wonderful thing you developed here with FamZoo! My kids are learning how to manage their money, give money and save money. I spend less money on things that they request that they may not have bought if they used their own money. I love FamZoo and I tell everybody I can about you. Your customer service is without a doubt A+. The money managing aspect of this for children is out of this world! I thank you from the bottom of my heart!💕💕”

    Since we don’t advertise, your positive reviews on Facebook and the app stores, as well as your private referrals to friends (worth a bonus! 💰), are greatly appreciated!


Dear Bill...

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I’m no robot, just an everyday dad on a youth financial literacy mission. Hit reply, and I’ll respond.

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Best to you and your family,

Bill Profile Picture

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