Friday, March 22, 2013

FamilyMint Money Management Certification Program- Review

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According to the FamilyMint website, 18-24 years is the fastest growing age group to file bankruptcy.  The lack of financial literacy is becoming more and more of a problem for society.   Robert Masterson, MBA and Jeff Eusebio, MBA saw concerns with financial education and developed the Money Management Certification Program for their own children.  They realized how important this was and turned it into a business for their families in 2010 with the introduction of the online program.  In the fall of 2012, they released their workbook.

The program is broken down into four parts and is expected to take about 2 months for completion, as the student needs time to practice and form new habits.  The program addresses: tracking your money, goal setting, budgeting, and earning (or paying) interest.  This program is geared towards 5th graders and older, but can be modified and used for younger students as well.  The online aspect is appropriate for ages 6-14 with parental involvement.

The Money Management Certification Program is available in several different forms:

The Introductory Offer Bundle (at the time of this posting) is available for $29.99 and includes a workbook and a Lifetime Premium account online with the mobile app access as well.  Additional workbooks can be purchased at 50% off for multiple students.

Premium Online Account and app: $24.99 per year or $4.95 per month (this price is per family, NOT per person!)

Free Trial account: online access only.

Pricing Details and purchasing options can be found here.

In our house, money is something we watch closely.  We have a household of home business and entrepreneurial spirit.  Many of the topics and tactics in the program really stuck out for me.  While there was not really anything that we hadn't covered already, it was nice to have things put together in an orderly format and review some of the finer details that we may have let slip or even forgotten. 

1.  The layout of the website and the book look very formal and "business like".  That somehow makes the user take it much more seriously.  Money is no laughing matter, and the creators of the program were able to capture that and portray it for me in their visual presentation of the products.  This is a formal program, not just a little practice exercise.  I am a visual learner by nature, so this really was the first thing I noticed.

2.  The tasks are clearly set out for the user with straight forward, step by step instructions.  I REALLY like the "SMART" acronym for goal setting!  When setting goals, you want them to be:

3.  The workbook was put together with ample practice sheets, and the authors had the fore-sight to allow for photocopies within your home for your personal use within your immediate family (I personally look for programs that allow this, and I know many of my fellow homeschooling friends do as well!  This is HUGE to us!)

4.  During the conference call that I was not able to attend, but listen to later on MP3 format, there were several who discussed how things fit their family, such as the use of this program to meet badge requirements for scouting programs.  I really appreciate when curriculum and programs are not singly focused and can fulfill multiple purposes for a family. {note here: there are also several significant endorsements of the program that can be found on the FamilyMint website.}

I do have to say that while I signed up my children for online accounts, we never once used them.  We are a pen and paper kind of family and are glad to have the workbook.   For our family, online learning has a time and place and this was just not a great fit for us.  While we do a lot of computer things, money isn't one of them for us when it comes to record keeping.  Having practice checks and deposit slips is something that is very helpful, and they were well done.  Having a formal ledger is great too.  For several years, we have kept the kids' "free spending money" in zipper pouches in a binder, along with an index card for recording transactions.  That made it easier for them to understand the ledgers in the workbook because it was a familiar process in a more formal approach.

I enjoyed the little trivia tidbits throughout the workbook, and appreciate that the answers are in the back of the workbook so that there is no separate teacher's manual to have to navigate and keep track of in our busy house.

I hate to say it, but this particular student didn't love that there was a workbook to do.  She will get over it.  She will appreciate the lessons she has learned along the way.
Her thriving cookie business at the farmer's market in the summer will give her good practice again in just a few short months.  Once she found some of the trivia and details, her attitude toward the workbook softened greatly.  Good thinking, putting those there for those who don't like numbers, guys!  It makes the book more interesting.  We have not finished the book yet, as we need more time to develop the drive needed to make realistic goals and to have steady incoming and outgoing money.

All in all, I really liked this.  I admit it, I am cheap.  The price scared me a bit, but to realize what is included, the price is VERY reasonable by common standards.  This may not be for everyone if your family already has a good grasp of healthy financial management, but I do think most any family could find something helpful in there and I highly recommend at least using the free trial to get a feel for what is in there and how it can help you. 

I look forward to seeing where this company takes their educational approach.  With the products being so new, there are things that they could add in future works.  This current material really doesn't touch on debit cards and the common trend of needing them more than checks.  I would love to see more detailed, intermediate materials.  These beginner level materials gave us a taste of some pretty exciting potential.  My high school age students are facing more than just checking and savings type questions in their finances, and I expect that the authors are facing this as well. 

Last but not least?  They have an active facebook page.  They post financial tidbits regularly and continue to educate and challenge our thinking about how to keep up with the best financial possibilities, along with adding a bit of humor when they can.  I really like a company that keeps up with customers and continues to offer service.  Go on over and "like" them...they have some fun stuff in there.

edited 3/26/2013 to correct my error, FamilyMint is one word, not two. 


  1. Very thorough and personal review, Stacy. Thanks!