WASHINGTON -- Getting children to do household chores, and teaching them the value of money, can be a challenge for parents.
But an online chore chart and reward system called My Job Chart can help parents teach these life lessons.
Gregg Murset, founder and CEO of My Job Chart, says he invented the product out of a personal need.
"I have six kids," says Murset. "I realized as they were growing up they needed to learn two things: how to work hard and how to make good, smart money decisions."
After trying motivational charts and stickers, Murset figured, "There's got to be a better way than putting some piece of paper on our refrigerator every morning."
Murset says the lure of video games is having an unsettling effect on young people and their parents, as well as their desire and ability to organize money.
"Their kids are stuck in this technological trap, getting sucked into the couch where they kind of lose themselves in technology, and it's zapping the work ethic," he says.
Still, Murset acknowledges technology can play a valuable role in getting children interested in chores, earning, and saving: "That is the way kids learn these days. We've taken it off the refrigerator and put it on the Internet, where parents and kids pay attention to this stuff."
The software also provides a more realistic view of how to save for a rainy day.
"Gone are the days of the plastic piggy banks," says Murset. "How many times do our kids see us, as parents, paying for things with nickels and dimes? We're way past that now."
How My Job Chart works
My Job Chart works on desktop computers, tablets and on iOS and Android mobile apps.
Parents and children each get a login. "A parent creates jobs for their kids, and gives them those jobs," Murset says. "As they do them, they check them off, and they earn points, and those points represent money: a penny a point."
Murset says setting money goals is an important skill for children to learn.
As children accomplish chores, the software tracks the points they have earned.
"They can do three things with them -- they can save; they can share; and they can spend," Murset says. "That's fundamentally what we do as adults: We go to work; we earn money; and then we save, we share, and we spend."
While the software is convenient, Murset says it doesn't replace conversation between parents and children about money goals and values.
"My Jobs Chart is a parenting tool," says Murset. "It's not an autopilot."
Parents and children work together to determine how much the child wants to save, share with charities or spend.
"If they're really into getting that new bike, we have an integrated Amazon store that makes it super-easy," says Murset.
Once the child earns enough money, parents get an email notifying them the child has made enough to buy the specified item.
"They just click on the link; it brings them right to their Amazon shopping cart. They check out, and the bike appears," says Murset. "It makes it fun for a kid to know what they're working for, and then go after it."
Murset says children respond to the daily routine of logging in to see what their chores are.
"Our system breaks it out into morning jobs and evening jobs," says Murset. "They can log on and see what's expected."
Teaching children about personal finance makes a major difference in their lives, says Murset.
"When you get a kid to really understand the relationship between work and money, you really are changing the game for that kid, because those two things will change the rest of their life."
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