Gregg Murset is a Scottsdale-based financial planner and a Queen Creek father of six who has long thought about preparing his kids to be financially independent. In other words, he jokes, “How do I get all of these people to move out of my house and never come back!”
Murset’s basic philosophy is this: Early on, you need to teach kids to tie money to work. If you don’t, you get entitled kids living in your basement. Forever.
As a dad, Murset, 44, says he started with stickers on chore charts and coins and cash for completed tasks. As an entrepreneur, he created My Job Chart in 2011, a free app that had nearly a million users. He’s now CEO of BusyKid, which launched this fall as a more sophisticated version of My Job Chart. An app for Android was just released, and the Apple app is expected to be released soon.
At BusyKid, parents pay $14.95 (no matter how many kids) annually to set up chore assignments (or money-making opportunities, depending on how you think of it) linked to a parent’s bank account.
Murset sees BusyKid as “your kid’s first job with direct deposit.” On Fridays, kids get paid and can then save, share, spend or even invest their funds in fractional shares of popular stocks — like Disney or Apple — through a partnership Murset has with Stockpile.
For another $5 per year, kids can also get their own (gasp) prepaid debit card (tied to a parent’s name) through BusyKid, which is billed as the best way to start teaching your child how to live responsibly in our near-cashless society.
“You have to start it early,” says Murset, who recommends kids start learning about earning and budgeting money by age 5. “If you wait, you’re too late. They have habits at that point. They’re smart. They can pick this stuff up.”
Murset insists you can’t throw a kid out into the world and expect her to become an entrepreneur. Home is the first place kids learn about doing a job well, which is why he doesn’t mind paying for chores. He also points out teaching kids that money comes from work is the most effective way to nix an entitlement mentality. He adds very few schools teach anything about personal finance, especially early on.
Then, there’s technology. Murset thinks it’s valuable for kids to learn online banking.
“The one big challenge that parents have is this concept of financial abstraction: invisible money. Who has coins? No one does that anymore. The old ways are just antiquated,” he says.
Not only is it inconvenient for parents to have cash on hand to pay allowances, it’s also not how adults pay the bills. We pay them instantaneously, on our phones, and we track savings and investments online.
“This is a perfect place to learn on a very basic level. I believe people learn best by doing,” says Murset, whose 18-year-old son saved $10,000 and asked his dad for permission to put $2,000 in an IRA. As we spoke, Murset was busy setting up new “chores” for his kids to earn money and to make his house cleaner — such as mopping the floors. A win for both parent and child, since hiring the job out would cost a lot more.
The bottom line on BusyKid: “It empowers a kid to learn these life lessons at a young age, and it makes it easy for a parent to do it,” Murset says.