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Military Money Manual Podcast Episode 60 Links
- My First Nest Egg app (sign up for FREE, lifetime access using code “militarymoney” for first 300 listeners)
- Wait Until 8th pledge to delay smartphones for kids
- Raising Your Money Savvy Family for Next Generation Financial Independence book
- Ramit Sethi’s I Will Teach you to be Rich podcast
- Beyond 8 Figures podcast
- My First Nest Egg on Instagram and Facebook
Outline of Episode:
- How two moms created the MyFirstNestEgg app when their kids were financially illiterate
- Money habits are set by age 7 and kids as young as find have emotional reactions to spending money
- Teaching kids to be generous with money and their actions
- How My First Nest Egg app gamifies financial literacy learning for kids
- Doug Nordman and Carol Pitner’s kid’s 401(k) concept
- Using the bank of Mom and Dad to teach your kids about saving, spending, and giving
- How the My First Nest Egg app helps military families
- Why teaching kids about money is hard
- Why younger generations are better at saving
- Teaching kids about delayed gratification
- Maintaining consistency for your kids during military moves
Military Money Manual Podcast Episode 60 Transcript
[00:00:00] Annie: Every kid says, “I want, I want, I want,” and we are turning those “I wants” into “I want to earn.” The second way is by teaching them to save. Kids need to save a portion of their money, just like adults need to save a portion of their money. And if they start when they're young, putting aside 20-30% for the future, they'll do that when they have their first job and all the way through their careers.
[00:00:50] Spencer: Hey, podcast listeners. Welcome to another episode of the Military Money Manual podcast. I'm Spencer Reese, your co-host of the podcast, owner of MilitaryMoneyManual.com, and author of the book, Military Money Manual. Today my co-host Jamie and I are talking about healthy money habits for children and military families.
We're honored to have Annie Shoen and Nicole Hood from My First Nest Egg, MyFirstNestEgg.com, or in the Google or Apple App Store, the My First Nest Egg app. These two moms developed the app during Covid to teach their kids about money and have some really incredible lessons that Jamie and I think you'll enjoy.
They even have a special deal for our listeners. You can use promo code “militarymoney” to get a free, that's right, a 100% lifetime free license to their app, if you use promo code “militarymoney”. But it's only for the first 300 subscribers. So head over to MyFirstNestEgg.com or in your app store and sign up using promo code “militarymoney” and that's a free license for military families.
So thank you so much to Nicole and Annie for offering that incredible discount to our listeners.
The three main ideas for today's episodes are building your children's financial education, teaching your kids good habits that are bigger than money, and how money habits are set by age seven, a statistic that totally blew my mind when I first heard it.
Hey, if you get value from this podcast, the easiest way you can say thank you is to leave us a five-star review on Spotify or a review on Apple Podcasts. We're almost up to 40 reviews on Apple Podcasts and over 100 five-star reviews on Spotify, so thank you so much for that. It really helps grow the podcast, get the word out there, and let other military service members, military spouses, and military families know about the things that we're talking about on this podcast.
Annie, Nicole, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. We're super stoked to have you. Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves and how you guys got started in financial literacy?
[00:02:48] Nicolle: Sure. Thanks so much for having us on. We've been really looking forward to today.
I'm Nicole and I'm here with my best friend and business partner, Annie. We are first and foremost moms. We have seven kids between us, all 12 and under, and about two and a half years ago, we discovered that our kids were financially illiterate in the worst ways and finding this out, we set off on a mission to find an age-appropriate solution.
And when we couldn't find one, maybe it was Covid, maybe it was being locked down with seven kids, we decided to make one. And since that time we've been rolling out our company, My First Nest Egg, to give kids healthy money habits right from the start, really geared towards ages 3 to 12.
[00:03:32] Jamie: So how did you take that idea, Annie, from the problem that you had and turn it into an app and a business about financial literacy and making it better for kids?
[00:03:42] Annie: Well, as I'm sure you know, the world is just going increasingly cashless, and we move around a lot. So we knew that whatever solution we came up with or our kids had to move with us, and it had to teach them how to be money smart in a cashless world.
So of course, we looked towards the app kind of platform to work with that. And when we looked out, we found a lot of apps that had debit cards associated with them, but we really needed one that worked for little kids who didn't need debit cards, and that's why we decided to develop our own that focused on digitizing the bank of mom and dad and digitizing kind of the old chore chart in a way that was actually easy and usable for parents.
[00:04:24] Jamie: One of the things you told me was that financial literacy and money habits are set by age seven. Is that right? I was blown away by that! And how did you take some of that information and reference the experts you have on your board to develop the curriculum?
[00:04:38] Nicolle: You are not the only person to be surprised by that statistic.
It is a Cambridge study from a few years ago. Money habits are set by age seven, and kids as young as five have an emotional reaction to being a spender or a saver. It is truly incredible. So really, if you don't hit them during that window, you are fighting bad habits for the rest of their life rather than creating good ones when it really counts.
Money is a language. And I think if you think about why kids are so good at learning new languages, it's the way that their brains are working at that time. And so if you think about money as a language and how we learn, it makes total sense. But it is amazing. Everyone is shocked by that statistic.
[00:05:21] Spencer: So what are some ways that you guys teach kids about good financial habits, both through the app and then also just day-to-day interactions?
[00:05:30] Annie: I would say everything starts with earning. The main goal we have with our app and our company is to teach kids to say, “I want to earn,” instead of, “I want.” Every kid says, “I want, I want, I want,” and we are turning those “I wants” into, “I want to earn.”
The second way is by teaching them to save. Kids need to save a portion of their money, just like adults need to save a portion of their money. And if they start when they're young, putting aside 20-30% for the future, they'll do that when they have their first job and all the way through their careers.
And finally, it is so important for us to teach kids to be generous. Generous people are 40% more likely to be happy. So our platform very much encourages generosity, not only donations, but also by tracking acts of kindness and community service.
[00:06:23] Spencer: Wow. I love that. Generosity is something Jamie and I talk a lot about on the podcast, so that's so cool that you are instilling those habits at such a young age.
For the kids, they probably don't even notice that it's happening, right? It's not like you're sitting them down and lecturing them. You're just creating this environment and they're going and playing in it, and they realize that, “Oh, when I'm generous, good things happen and I feel better and I'm a better person.”
[00:06:47] Annie: I was just going to say, you're absolutely right, and one of the things we did very early on was to bring on a child psychologist to help advise everything we do because having kids feel that happiness and feel like they're being a better person is so important to childhood self-esteem.
[00:07:04] Spencer: So how does My First Nest Egg gamify their learning?
And one concern that I would have, I don't have children myself, but I do see screen time as an extremely negative aspect of modern childhood. I see these kids out in public and the parents just throw an iPad in front of them and they're zombies in front of Paw Patrol or Octonots.
One thing I would be concerned about is if my kid was using an app, and it's pinging them with notifications and it's gamifying it to the point where they're hooked on it. Is that something that your app does? Or have you taken a different approach?
[00:07:38] Nicolle: We took a very different approach.
So Annie and I are definitely among the parents who are really concerned about giving our kids tablets and iPhones. In fact, Annie and I took a pledge that our kids won't get an iPhone until eighth grade, and even then we're probably getting them flip phones. But we knew that the world is becoming digital and we had to be smart about how to teach kids about money in a digital world.
What we created with our app is a gamified platform, and I'll tell you a little bit about that in a second. But the interactions that kids have on the My First Nest Egg app take maybe 30 seconds to 2 minutes, and we really tried to make it concise and fun.
One of the ways that we've gamified earning is through puzzles.
Other chore apps have a check box. You complete a chore, you check a box. What we've done is allow parents and kids to set up a puzzle for earning, whether it's for their weekly allowance or something they'd like to earn. You take a picture of it and that puzzle is shattered into an age-appropriate number of pieces, or based on the goal.
As kids complete the task, they're awarded a puzzle piece, and so they actually get to watch their goal become a reality one piece at a time. And one of the really great things about a puzzle is it teaches delayed gratification, which is one of those indicators that's so important to being a successful adult.
One of the other ways that we've gamified our platform is we saw kids on Roblox. We saw kids gaming and having a lot of interactions on video games and competing. Well, instead, we wanted them to compete for things that were really important. So our social leader boards allow kids to see where they rank in terms of how many chores they did this month compared to other kids, how many acts of kindness they did, and how many instances of savings.
We never talk about the amounts, but just the act of putting away money. So we have 10-year-old boys who are in stiff competition to see who's making their bed the most, and moms are really excited.
[00:09:35] Jamie: That's awesome. I think I see a lot of aspects of your parenting style that are similar to mine, and I love it.
What about different age levels? So I have an 11-year-old and a 3-year-old, and another one in the middle. But the way that I teach financial literacy is very different between the two age groups. So how do you balance that if some of our listeners might have 4or 5 kids at different age levels and different stages of development?
[00:09:57] Annie: Our app is fully customizable depending on the age of the child. So you're right. 3-year-olds think in a very different way than 11-year-olds, and they might be a lot more visual. So 3-year-olds tend to love to see the puzzle pieces actually snap into place and love to watch the puzzle come together.
Whereas our 11 and 12-year-olds, they don't care quite as much about that. What they love is getting the notification that money has been added to their account when they complete a task. Also, the chores are completely customizable. I have a little boy, he's five, but one of the chores he's been doing since he was three is just neatening up the shoes on the shoe rack. So that's something he earns a puzzle piece for. Whereas the older kids need to empty the dishwasher and put all the dishes away.
So children earn very differently depending on their age. And also you can customize what you give. A 3-year-old probably wants to earn a piece of candy or a kinder egg or a little dollar store treat or a toy, whereas your 12-year-old or your 11-year-old might want to earn money.
So it's fully customizable depending on what the kid wants to earn. They can even earn screen time or movie time. Anything, however your child likes to earn it will work for them.
[00:11:13] Jamie: Very cool. What are some barriers, as you've talked to parents that are trying to teach about financial literacy and do better for their kids? What are some barriers that parents experience as they're trying to make the next generation better than the way that our parents taught us about money?
[00:11:28] Nicolle: So I would say consistency is one of those things that we generally see. Star charts work when teaching kids good habits. And it's us as the parents that always fail the process because it's hard to stay consistent.
You are away on Saturday when one of your kids does their chore, and you forget to mark it off, and suddenly, if they're not being rewarded for it, it starts to fall to the wayside. So consistency is so important, and that's why we put it in the form of a digital app. So parents, no matter where you are, if your kid has completed their chore, they can request it through a view-only mode.
You can accept it whenever you want. We tried to make that as easy as possible.
The other huge barrier is a lot of parents feel insecure about their own money IQ, and so we see them pulling back and maybe not diving into the questions. So I think a lot of the taboo about talking about money is people being a little timid that they may not have those skills.
So what we did is we built a one-question, financial literacy quiz that gives parents an opportunity to discuss with their kids, age-appropriate and really simple money lessons.
[00:12:35] Spencer: So is the app customizable? Because one thing that I remember from my childhood was we didn't get paid for chores. Chores were basically the price of admission to the family. My dad went to work, he made the money. My mom looked after the kids and made sure we got to school, and then the kids had to empty the trash or mow the lawn. That was just part of being part of the family. So we weren't paid for that.
But as members of the family, we basically had a profit share. We received an allowance and that was every week. It didn't depend on your behavior, you just received an allowance. So can you customize the app to those two different approaches?
[00:13:15] Annie: We love this question because our families use this app very differently depending on the family, really.
I would say we are a value-neutral platform. We don't want to impose our values and how we do things on other families, so you're absolutely right. Some families like to give children money based on their chores. Some families do the allowance system every week. You can do either.
On the app, we actually have a preset allowance you can engage so that your child will get paid the same amount every single week so you don't forget.
Or you can not do that, and you can pay them per chore.It's, however, you want to do it. Some families make it so that there is a puzzle that is just like you said, the child's price of admission in the family.
The thing that's neat about the puzzles is it doesn't necessarily equate to money. It can be a puzzle of a picture of your family, and they make that picture every week with those puzzle pieces and they feel engaged and a part of the family.
The thing that is consistent across everything, however you choose to use it, is that it really validates children helping, children achieving, and children accomplishing so that they get those good feelings and they carry them into adulthood.
[00:14:29] Spencer: Can you offer an interest rate on the savings that the kids put in?
[00:14:34] Nicolle: Absolutely! The bank of mom and dad has an ability in our save section of the app for the parent to pay their child monthly interest. And it was really funny. We started it off a little high with a 5% rate, and we were getting kids making way too much money. And so one of the very first comments we got back was, “This is not the fed rate!”
So now we have it completely customizable where you can set an interest rate, as low or as high as you want, but it's a great way to learn about what interest when they actually get to see that every month.
[00:15:07] Spencer: Yeah, it reminds me a lot of Doug Nordman and Carol Pitner who wrote a book Raising Your Money Savvy Family for Next Generation Financial Independence.
And in that book, they talked about the kids' 401k, which was a concept that Doug came up with back in the 1990s. And I think is a great idea where you basically set this impossible long-term goal. Like when you're eight years old, you will have enough money by the time you're 16 to buy a car.
And to a kid, it's like, $10,000, $8,000. That's insane. I could never save that much money. But you figure out how much would you have to put in? What interest rate would you have to give them? And then you just make it happen. So the glide path takes them so when they turn 16, they're like, “Oh my gosh, I have $5,000 or $10,000 set aside for a car.”
And every week you're checking in and it shows that kind of slow progress of compounding interest where for the first four years, we're never going to get there. And then it starts taking off at the end there. And it really drives home that point of, oh my gosh, this ability to have money, to make money is extremely powerful. And if you can teach that lesson to a child, they could be set financially for life.
So is the app tied to a bank account or is it just money in an account that the kids are unofficially allocated? Do you have to add money to it or does it pull from ACH transfer? How does it work?
[00:16:29] Annie: The answer is that it is tied to the “bank of mom and dad,” so it is not tied to any specific bank account. We really built this app for little elementary-age kids, ages 3 to 12, who do not need a debit card. So when they spend money, they're usually with their parents. Parents can buy the thing they want on their card and go in and easily debit it out of their account, and they see that debit on their side.
One of the reasons we did this is because when Nicole and I were first looking for this app before we decided to make one, Nicole kept complaining every time she had to sign up for a platform, it was asking for her social security number to put in her bank account information, and she would not do that.
It was a big barrier of entry to people who aren't comfortable with that, and my husband's ID was recently stolen, so this is even more sensitive to us now. We want as little information as possible. We just want it to be easy. Think about it as the first bank for kids before they need an actual debit card.
[00:17:33] Spencer: That's amazing. I really like that concept. Why pull in more information than you have to make it super easy? And I have the same problem when I sign up for apps. Even when it asks me for an email address, I'm like, “You don't need that. I just want to use your app. Gimme some advertising, but you don't need to add me to your mailing list. I'm not interested in getting a 10% off coupon.”
What are some of the benefits that you've seen from families who have used the app?
[00:17:57] Nicolle: I love how you're talking about security here because this is what makes our app, I think, so different than some of the other platforms out there. We're moms, and so we really put the safety of our kids first, and we've asked for as little information as possible about kids.
We're not looking to sell to kids, we're not looking to use the data. We really wanted to anonymize it as much as possible. So when you go to sign up, we ask for the parent's name and email address. And when it comes to the kids, the only information we ask for is the year of birth so we can make age-appropriate recommendations for puzzles and chores.
And we also ask for a nickname to put on our leaderboard. So we have the “goose” competing with “man dog” competing with “the grammar queen” competing with “Bobo.” It's really cute to see, so kids who know their friends are participating can find out what their nickname is. But otherwise, we wanted to keep kids safe on our platform, and that is always going to inform every decision we make because being moms, we value the safety of our children.
[00:19:02] Spencer: Yeah. That's awesome. I really appreciate the approach that you guys have taken there. What are some of the benefits that you've seen from families who have started using the app?
[00:19:12] Nicolle: We actually just spent the weekend collecting testimonials, and I don't think we could have had a more emotional moment than watching how our app is affecting families.
We had a mom who just simply cried because she said she was transitioning from being a stay-at-home mom to back in the workforce and knowing that she was going to need help and getting her kids to participate in helping around the house.
One of the big changes in mindset that we have from kids is loving to be helpful because they're getting this small recognition about it, and the way that they are thinking is just awesome.
We don't hear kids that say, “I want.” We hear kids that say, “I want to earn this. I want to earn that.” And that mindset change is so important because it really, just helps them from being overs-spenders. But it really helps them to start prioritizing their needs versus wants, everything in life that they think they want.
Well now they have to prioritize it themselves, and I think giving them that power and authority over what they want to earn right now helps them to really digest that lesson and become just much more money fluent.
[00:20:23] Jamie: Can you tell me a little bit more about the financial literacy questions you mentioned that come up each day?
[00:20:29] Annie: So when we were developing the app, we knew there needed to be a curriculum, but since we are moms, we know how well our kids do with any curriculum. So it had to be fun, it had to be quick. It had to just take up a couple of minutes every single day and build over time. So that's how we came up with the idea of a lesson every day hidden in a quiz.
They get one quiz question per day. These quiz questions are written by an early education elementary educator. Then they are all reviewed by our curriculum director, who used to be the executive director of the Iowa Economic Council on Education. So they all follow the Jumpstart and the Council for Economic Education Curriculum that they have developed.
We take them from wants and needs. The first question is, ‘What do you need?” Do you need water or do you need a juice box? Very simple. And then we take them through ideas such as interest and saving. How much should you save credit cards? Each question builds on the last one, and they all are written in weekly blocks, so it's really fun.
Before you had asked us to be on this, the weekly block had to do with military families actually. So every week kind of deals with a different topic. And Nicole was just telling you that her daughter just got the question, “What is a head hunter?” And one of the answers is someone who collects Barbie heads, right?
They're just funny, they're fun. It's an easy way for kids to learn and just compound over time their knowledge.
[00:22:11] Jamie: I actually got a question wrong last night on my middle daughter’s. The question was something like what to need and want. Something along those lines. It was trying to get at needs versus wants, and the answer was Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
I was like, “That's not a need,” but it is because it's food. All the other ones were not food. So you need food. So it's both a need and a want because it's food, but it's treat food. So I got that one wrong and I was, my six-year-old was making fun of me for not knowing the answer to that one.
[00:22:39] Nicolle: I just wanted to share another testimonial that we had, if that's okay.
Another mom was telling us that the financial literacy question of the day is incredibly helpful, not just to her daughter, but she sent us a note and said, “These questions are so great because even I'm learning a little bit,” and we loved that because it's a very non-judgemental way. It's really smooth, even as parents to bring things that maybe we haven't thought about in a while to the forefront, or maybe there's just a tidbit of information there. And we love that the whole family is learning together and that really inspired us, that comment, and we're really excited to hear that because I think it's great to learn as a family.
[00:23:21] Spencer: Yeah, that reminds me of my military career, I never really knew something until I could instruct it. And for parents, there's topics that I'm uncomfortable with and I'm sure that financial literacy, in America, like the stats are horrible. So I'm sure there are some parents out there who are like, “Ooh, actually this is helping me.”
Because either they go and Google it and it tells them the right answer and then they have to think about it. And some of it too might be stuff that they learned at one point, but they've forgotten. And so I think that there's a lot of value there in instructing the next generation because it's going to reestablish the good habits for the older generation.
[00:24:04] Jamie: I wonder what the average American, they may have gotten something in high school maybe, but like you said, Spencer, most people probably aren't getting any kind of really good training about financial literacy. So it's bigger than just kids.
[00:24:16] Annie: It's interesting you say that because every stat that comes out every year is simply about how Americans are failing very simple financial literacy quizzes, and one of the other interesting things is that parents hate to talk about money.
Americans hate to talk about money. We saw something the other day that said they would rather talk about politics or religion or anything other than money. So it's no wonder that our kids aren't being educated on a topic nobody wants to talk about.
[00:24:46] Jamie: I mean, they're going to learn about money, they're going to learn about sex, they're going to learn about all these things. And so if parents aren't involved, they're going to learn it somewhere.
[00:24:54] Spencer: I was listening to this podcast the other day, and it was Ramit Sethi’s I Will Teach you to be Rich. And he was talking to this couple. The one partner had been raised in a wealthy household and she knew about a Roth IRA from the age of seven years old.
In the other household, they had never talked about money. He came from quite a poor background, and it was just showing the dichotomy of how wealthy families, rich families tend to talk about money because they see it as a tool. They see it as a way to get to their goals. Whereas more impoverished families or middle-class families might see it as a negative.
They might see it as debt. They might see it as something that holds them back from achieving their goals. And if you can bridge that gap between the rich families and the poor families, I think all of American society will be better off.
[00:25:43] Nicolle: I think that really highlights one of the things we learned about financial literacy right from the beginning is that it equally affects rich and poor.
It arms them with the same information that helps them, because we've heard stories from people who have very rich children that they say the entitlement has become an issue.
Well, teaching them to earn, teaching them about wants and needs, teaching them to save, that really has the same impact that it does on someone who's growing up without a lot of means. It's the same lessons that help, but they're just applied a little differently in different families.
[00:26:17] Spencer: Yeah, there was another podcast I was listening to called, I think it's Beyond 8 Figures, and the guest on the podcast was talking about how he's raising his children. He's made quite a lot of money in business, and he had that problem with entitlement where the kids, it was how much could the kids wheedle and cajole and try to get money out of the parents.
And he flipped it on its head and said, just like you guys are teaching with the app, “No, you need to earn it.” And when you earn it, and all of a sudden it was their money, they were performing work or they were setting up businesses, and he would sit them down and say, “What can you do to earn this money? To buy the PlayStation or to buy the candy at the store?”
And what they picked up very quickly was, Oh this goes fast. If I spend it, it goes very fast. That just encouraged them to build that savings habit and to start investing and recognize that, just like you were saying, you have to prioritize.
It's not an infinite resource, and you have to prioritize what is important to you.
[00:27:21] Annie: It's interesting you say that because we have been hearing from pretty much everyone we talk to that this next generation is actually very good at saving, and do you want to know why? It's because they're spending their parents' money.
So they're very good at saving their own money and very good at spending their parents' money. And one terrible stat is that parents are actually spending $500 billion a year on their adult children, which is twice what they're putting aside for their own retirement. So that idea that you need kids not only to learn to earn and to save, but also how to prioritize and spend their own money is very important to teach in early childhood.
[00:28:06] Jamie: A couple minutes ago, Spencer, and I think Annie mentioned the divide between a wealthier family and a middle or lower class family. So some of our listeners may be younger enlisted, and they're struggling to make ends meet or they're trying to pay off debt, and month-to-month is just really tough. Other families might be well on their journey towards financial independence or building a large nest egg for retirement.
How does each group teach financial literacy and is there a way that you can teach it when you only have a couple extra dollars a month versus a lot of money extra a month?
[00:28:38] Annie: Absolutely. There is no set amount that each puzzle piece is worth. Some families make them worth a lot less, and some make them worth a lot more.
Like we said, we are a completely value-neutral platform, so it is whatever your family values are, it is whatever you can afford. It is whatever your kids are earning. That is something you can put into the app. We really wanted to be something that everyone could use regardless of circumstances.
[00:29:06] Nicolle: One of the studies that is out there since the 1970s, I'm sure you've heard of the marshmallow test that measured delayed gratification in children. Well, the same test from the 1970s was redone, I don't know, maybe about five, or six years ago. And one of the things we learned about delayed gratification was how we react as parents had more to do with whether a child can delay gratification than who they are or how they were.
And here's the interesting thing. If you have a parent of a child with a lot of money that says “you have to do this in order to earn this,” and yet when the kid doesn't do it, they give it to them, that child is not going to develop delayed gratification because they know that they're going to get it anyway.
The same with kids that are promised things in lower-income families and then it's not delivered. They also struggle building delayed gratification. So having parents that truly follow through with whatever the promise is, it's important. Some people have asked us, “What happens if a parent promises their kid $5 but can't afford it?”
Well, then I would say that they just have to reset that expectation, and those are honest, open discussions, and that's part of the reason we created this app was just to start those conversations. So how we act as parents has a huge impact on creating who our children will be in the future, especially growing that delayed gratification.
[00:30:29] Jamie: Can you explain a little bit about how psychologically, how learning about financial literacy increases self-esteem in kids and helps develop positive contributions to society as they grow, even as they're kids, and then as they grow older?
[00:30:44] Annie: Absolutely. So, we always say that money is more about the mind than it is about the math.
And actually, money is a major contributor, as people grow older, toward stress, just self-esteem goes down not knowing about money, not knowing how to handle your finances, it just leads to a lot of stress, which actually also leads to a lot of physical health issues. So teaching kids money early on is not only good for the mental health of society, it's good for the physical health of society.
So as I mentioned earlier, very early on, we brought on Dr. Jennifer Gatt, who is a child psychologist here in the Phoenix area. And everything we do, we run by her to make sure it helps build self-esteem in kids. Look, Nicole and I are moms to seven kids. Kids' self-esteem and self-worth are so important to us, and we have been alarmed by the increasing reports in the news about kids having real mental health challenges around those things.
So when we set out to build this app, we made that a core principle. Everything we do is going to build up how kids feel about themselves. The puzzles, when we design them with Dr. Gatt, are really meant to do that. Little kids, they don't even need to earn anything. It's physical. It's simply the idea of putting these pieces together and feeling really good about themselves when they accomplish it.
It's the same thing for our leaderboards. Seeing themselves on these leaderboards moving up, every single thing they do is really good for their self-worth. The idea is that first, they get affirmation by you, their parents. Then they get affirmation from their peers, and finally, they internalize it all and all of the affirmation comes from themselves.
So they just automatically get those good feelings.
[00:32:41] Jamie: I love that as military families, a lot of our listeners know how stressful the military life can be between PCSing, Permanent Change of Station, is where we move, usually every two to five years, sometimes less than that. Unfortunately, it can be really tough on the families, and one of the ways it's tough is not only new friends, new system, but new habits, and everything we knew about our old life and our old neighborhood and our old chore chart is all gone out the window. And so having tools where parents can transcend duty stations and moves to a new house where the habits are the same is really powerful I think.
[00:33:15] Annie: One thing I wanted to mention since you just brought up habits is that the app isn't only for money, and it's not only for chores, it is also about building other good habits.
So we have parents using this to stop nail biting or to have their kids just be a little bit more affable so they're able to look people in the eyes and say hello. We had several parents use this to potty train their kids. Essentially, any type of habit you want to build or any type of habit you want to break, you can do it with the app and with the puzzles.
[00:33:47] Nicolle: I have a soft spot in my heart for people who have to move a lot. Growing up, my parents were home flippers from the 1970s, and I moved 21 times before I was 18 years. My heart goes out to people who have to move because it's a lifestyle. One thing that my parents were excellent at is creating consistency.
It was that same couch in every living room with the same TV in every living room, and we had the same bed every place we went. And that is why our app really enforces this consistency. We really wanted to make it as easy for parents as possible to be able to take whatever the chores were in any house and move it along with them.
You can be traveling that day, and kids still need to make their bets. They still need to be helpful. They still need to do these things, and we just know that by empowering parents with something that allows them to be consistent is a gift for their kids' future. We just wanted it to make it easy and it's one click of a button to accept or reject something that your kid has requested in terms of, I made my bed. Well, I know my son, I have to go verify. My daughters, I can tell, I know that when they've requested a bed-made puzzle, they've probably done it. So consistency and giving parents that gift of making it easy was a really big piece for us.
[00:35:04] Jamie: It's really powerful.
I want to go back to one kind of side note, you were marked earlier. I'm interested in this pledge for my kids, the Wait Until 8th grade to give a smartphone. Is that what it is? I think I've heard of it before. It's kind of off-topic, but I'm curious about that.
[00:35:19] Nicolle: Yes, it's a national campaign, the Wait Until 8th grade pledge. We just thought it was a great way to avoid peer pressure, so you can get your whole class to sign up, and then you don't have to combat your child who's like, “I'm the only one in the class without a smartphone.” It's really been a nice thing.
So we actually started in our school, in all of our kids' grades, and it's been a really nice way to stave off that expectation that every kid is going to get a phone. And as we mentioned, although we have this app that gives kids an opportunity to interact with our app, through a view-only mode, it is such a short interaction that we don't even really consider it screen time.
[00:36:01] Jamie: I love that and I am going to sign up for the pledge as well. I'm already getting hit up from my first grader saying that some of her friends have phones, and there's just no way I'm buying a $1,200 iPhone for a six-year-old
I've really enjoyed talking to Annie and Nicole. Thank you so much for coming on. I love financial literacy. We love helping military families. My family and I have been using the app for a couple of months now since we first met and have really enjoyed it.
It took my kids maybe two days to get the feel for the app and how to really use it and they are just really enjoying it.
So if people want to learn more about My First Nest Egg and follow you guys, can you share more about your work? Where to find Instagram, websites, whatever you have to direct people to.
[00:36:41] Annie: We have a website, which is My First Nest Egg.com, and that is really the director to everything. You can find the place to download the app there.
There are articles for parents and there are also just these adorable videos that you can show your children of kids explaining financial concepts in a very fun kid way. I cannot promise that there will be no fart jokes because they are definitely on there. We are willing to leverage everything to teach kids financial literacy.
We are also on Instagram and on Facebook, so yes, we would love for them to find us. The other thing we would say is that we love feedback. So if your listeners use the app and they have ideas about how we can make this better for them, specifically military families, we're here. Our email address is [email protected]
There's also a contact form on the app and on our website. We really enjoy user engagement and feedback, and I can tell you that there has not been user feedback that we have gotten, that we haven't made an adjustment for.
We are on a mission to be the best tool for families, and we love it when families tell us how to do that.
[00:38:03] Nicolle: That's right. I think we talked about this a little bit, Jamie and Spencer, but we're really excited to be here and we wanted to make sure that your audience had an opportunity to use our app, and we'd like to offer it for free for a lifetime for your first 300 users.
So if they sign up using the invite code “militarymoney”, they'll have free, lifetime access to our app. And the only thing we ask is that they send us some feedback and tell us how we're helping their family.
[00:38:32] Spencer: Annie and Nicole, that is an extremely generous offer, and thank you so much. We'll make sure that our listeners get that code and we'll have a link on the show notes on militarymoneymanual.com as well.
So Annie and Nicole, thank you guys so much for coming on the podcast. Really enjoyed talking with you guys today. I think what you're doing is super cool and can help a lot of military families increase financial education, not just for their children, which is extremely important, but also for themselves.
[00:38:59] Annie: Thank you so much for having us. It's been a pleasure.
[00:39:03] Spencer: Thanks again so much to Nicole and Annie for coming on the podcast and talking to us about financial education for children. I love that they've gamified it. They've put in an app. This is super cool, and I'm really excited about what they're doing.
And again, “militarymoney” is the promo code that you can use to get a free lifetime subscription to their app. That's only for the first 300 people who sign up. So head over to MyFirstNestEgg.com or in the App Store, Google or Apple. You can sign up for My First Nest Egg app and use a promo code “militarymoney” again though only for the first 300 people who sign up.
We hope that the lessons that Annie Nicole shared today will prepare all members of military families to be better members of society, be healthier, and be more comfortable with their money habits.
To review today's main ideas were building your children's financial education, teaching your kids good habits that are bigger than just money habits, and how many habits are set by age 7. As always, if you have any questions or feedback, please message us on Instagram at militarymoneymanual, or you can send an email to Jamie and me at [email protected]
We really enjoy all the interactions that we have with you as the questions come in. Please keep them coming. The audience interactions are one of the best parts of hosting this.