WhyMoolah Act 2 launches

Singapore, 1 August 2014 – PlayMoolah, makers of life simulation application WhyMoolah, today announced the launch of Act 2 due to popular demand. Act 2 enables players who have completed Act 1 to play out their lives from age 35 to 55.

Staying true to the app’s original intention, Act 2 provides users with unique learning experiences that mimic real-life decisions through a wider range of scenarios, such as raising a family and taking care of aging parents, while balancing career growth and a healthy lifestyle.

“With Act 2, we hope that young adults can be spurred to take action to prepare themselves for the realities of their life choices. From all that we have learned and the overwhelming response we received from our users in Act 1, we felt empowered to continue developing Act 2 independently for the benefit of young adults in Singapore,” says Audrey Tan, Dreams Architect and Co-Founder of PlayMoolah.

She continues, “To a young person, a 50 year old version of themselves is simply unimaginable! The key to helping young people take action on their finances lies in being able to visualize how their decisions affect the outcome of their lives.”

In addition to Act 2, users can also look forward to an enhanced version of Act 1, which remains available for free. Many of the enhancements were made to introduce the complex topic of insurance by breaking it into simpler pieces. “The aim was to make insurance jargon easier to understand and more relatable to real-life scenarios,” says Tan.

“We live in an era of unprecedented financial complexity. Money management can be daunting that we can understand why young people procrastinate dealing with it. Our goal with WhyMoolah is to allow users to play out their life’s big decisions in a light hearted way, reflecting the steps one can simply take to take control and be less intimidated by money,” says Tan.

To achieve this goal, the team has expanded their efforts beyond the app, taking WhyMoolah’s mission offline.

The team founded Honesty Circles as part of the efforts in empowering young people to build a positive relationship to money. These monthly gatherings of the community are safe spaces where people come together to dialogue about their relationships with money.

“Now that WhyMoolah has been an independent effort since April 2014, we feel that we have more freedom to experiment with solutions that work best for our users.”

Act 1 was launched in October 2013 in partnership with DBS Remix to positive reviews from users, who have shared how it has impacted their lives. “I’m studying now and currently mooching off my parents… this [app] really prompted me to think outside and understand how expensive life really is,” reviewed WhyMoolah user Samantha.

“The team has learned a lot from our positive working relationship with DBS Remix in developing Act 1,” says Tan. “We gained a deep understanding of the local market in terms of their money habits and money relationships. From all that we have learned and the overwhelming response we received from our users, we felt empowered to continue developing Act 2 independently for the benefit of young adults in Singapore,” says Tan.

WhyMoolah Act 1 is available to download for free on Apple App Store and Google Play, and Act 2 is available as an in-app purchase at an introductory price of $1.28 for a limited time.

About PlayMoolah

PlayMoolah designs authentic experiences for children and young adults to learn about and how to responsibly handle money. Partnering with parents, peers and financial / learning institutions, youth and young adults learn to earn, spend, save, invest, and give in a way that’s fun, educational, and safe. PlayMoolah designs game mechanics to inspire real-world action, giving the knowledge, skills, and tools needed for financial literacy at all ages. PlayMoolah is on a mission to empower the next generation to realize how money can help achieve their goals and create value in the world.

Find out more about PlayMoolah at www.playmoolah.com

If you have further queries, please contact
Wong Bi Ying
Marketing Lead & Ignitor of Excitement, PlayMoolah
biying@playmoolah.com
+65 9841 0327

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How to Teach Your Kids to Invest

Apart from providing them with education, teaching children to invest is one of the best ways you can help them prepare for a brighter future. While saving is a virtue and there’s no harm in putting your money in the bank, you can be sure that the rate by which your savings earn interest is bound to be outpaced by the rate of inflation within a given period of time, lessening your money’s buying power.

As soon as kids are old enough to understand basic math and the concept of money, you can start teaching them to invest. Ideally, the importance of investing should be ingrained as firmly as the importance of brushing teeth or changing underwear.

Here are a few tips to help you out:

Start with a goal

The first step to doing anything is knowing why you’re doing it. Explain to your child that investing is not simply a means to get more money or get richer. Teach kids that money is a tool and not an end in itself.

Whether you drive a Porsche or a Honda, whether your children go to community college or Stanford University, whether you need to get up in the morning for a two-hour commute to your office or work from home: these are all dependent on how much money you have to make them reality.

Make the concept of investing more relatable for younger children: buying that bike or affording a trip to Disneyland all depends on whether or not you can afford it.

Keep it simple

Your children don’t have to have Warren Buffett-level skills to get started on investing: this is exactly the reason why you’re teaching them. Don’t flood them with jargon like mutual index funds or portfolio diversification. These advanced concepts they can learn later on. Teach as you need: the important thing is to get started.

Start with the basics: explain that owning stock means owning a piece of that company, and that the value of that company depends on how well it performs (or how much it earns).

Go to the next level by talking about compounding: how much money you put into an investment determines how much money you’ll make out of it. For example, USD 5 at a monthly rate of 3% will earn them USD 0.90 at the end of six months, but USD 15 at the same rate will return USD 2.70 at the end of the same period.

These are not real rates, of course, but they’ll get the picture: money makes money.

Get them invested

By this, we mean getting them to invest in something that matters to them: they can pick stocks from companies like Disney, Mattel, or McDonalds (this might be the one time that you won’t mind your child being associated with fast food). If your kids like Corvettes, by all means let them buy stock in General Motors.

Remember that intellect and emotions are not always each other’s diametric opposites: working hand-in-hand, these two create powerful motivation. Knowing why you have to do something won’t be enough to keep you going, but liking it will.

Be an example

Beyond explaining the basic principles, there’s really not much you can do to convince your children to invest, except by walking the talk. Never force the conversation because this is the fastest way for them to develop aversion to it.

Take a leaf from Jack Bogle: he says he’s never had to talk about it much to his children and grandchildren, but they follow his investing strategies to a T. Give your children credit and be a hero. Allow them to see what you do and live up to their expectations — live frugally, build good credit, use credit cards wisely, and of course, save.

Author’s Bio

Ryan Del Villar is a Content Strategist for MoneyHero. Ryan is also a freelance writer at Helm Word, an Online Reputation Management company.

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3 Years of Dreaming, Creating and Executing Amazing Experiences

To our Investors, Customers, Partners and Friends,


Celebrating our third birthday earlier this year has made us so thankful for the amazing Company we have grown – it wouldn’t be the same without our fantastic team, partners and customers!

As you might know, when we started out, our focus was really on children and how we could arm them with the knowledge and skills necessary to enable smart money decisions. We launched the MoolahVerse, a self-directed learning tool for children to cultivate their own money management skills in a safe learning environment, through interaction and the power of play. With the success of the MoolahVerse, our natural progression was to broaden our reach and design a real-life simulation for young adults. Our app, WhyMoolah, was launched last year with DBS Remix, to empower young Singaporeans (aged 21-35) to visualize their financial futures by mapping out the choices and consequences of money and life decisions.

The journey PlayMoolah has taken us on has really been a unique one, and we’re very excited to share some of our highlights over the last year!

From play to simulation: Introducing WhyMoolah!

We decided to move into financial management for young adults after noticing the insecurity a lot of our peers were facing – they were graduating or about to leave school but no idea how certain financial structures or institutions work. There is a lot of information out there but it can be overwhelming, and people don’t generally talk about finance and money, so there’s limited access to experienced resources.

WhyMoolah confronts users with life events and decisions like college loans, CPF contributions and buying an HDB, and social engagements like dinners, entertainment and health and fitness. WhyMoolah makes money easy to understand and provides a powerful demonstration of how current lifestyle decisions play out in the future. WhyMoolah is a more complex and reality-based version of our previous products for our younger audiences.

Since its launch, we’ve been so grateful for the response we received – we’ve gotten very encouraging feedback from our users on how it’s personally helped them. One user recently told me the App was a real “eye opener” and that he hadn’t realized his financial situation was that dire. WhyMoolah made him realize his parents funded a lot of his lifestyle, but that has since changed and he’s being a lot more prudent. A father recently said to me that he wished he’d had WhyMoolah when he was younger, and that he was going to introduce it to his daughter.

It’s stories like this that really inspire us – and is also the reason behind the “WhyMoolah Community” we are currently building. The Community builds upon the safe learning space WhyMoolah provides, going one step further to offer an open, collaborative environment where users can interact with each other, learn tips and strategies and gain different perspectives on financial management. One of our aims for 2014 are to strengthen our Community in terms of its awareness and the depth and breadth of knowledge we can offer.

The importance of “Financial Access”



We were inspired by a research report by Johnson & Sherraden (2007) which focuses on the idea that financial literacy by itself is not enough to prepare young people. Practical information is also needed before they can make informed decisions; the knowledge they have must be backed up with “financial access” – access to financial institutions, savings accounts, investment accounts, retirement funds etc.

“Financial capability” is the result of financial literacy combined with financial access, and it’s one of the major reasons why we are working with financial institutions. They are the key players who deliver financial products and services to our users, and working so closely with them allows us to collaboratively provide the appropriate education and awareness for our users. For example, co-creating with banks provides WhyMoolah a more accurate depiction of the hidden costs of a housing loan or late fees on credit cards, and this is crucial for our mission to educate young people on the unknowns of money management. This works both ways though; PlayMoolah serves as the platform to represent the voices and insights of young people, providing relevant feedback and suggestions to banks and financial institutions in an effort to simplify the process and shape the kind of banking products and services young people want.

WhyMoolah stimulates the financial knowledge, skills and abilities in young adults, and the institutions we work with provide the access. Our partnerships with OCBC and DBS have been very important to the success of PlayMoolah, and we look forward to growing our relationships in the coming years.

It ain’t easy to be honest…

…. It’s difficult to talk about money, for many reasons – we might not be where we’d like to be, we don’t have clear financial strategies or might simply be ashamed of admitting we don’t understand all the financial instruments or concepts out there.

Whatever the reason, we saw the need for creating a safe environment where we could hold frank, open, and face-to-face discussions about money without the fear of being judged. This year, we launched our Honesty Circles – groups of people from all walks of life, discussing their current or past financial situations and what they have learnt. Imparting knowledge is another great way to learn, and again feedback has been very positive and we’ve really learnt a lot! We’re grateful for those who have shared their experiences and look forward to more of these discussions in 2014.

What’s Next? PlayMoolah in 2014

We’re so happy with the way PlayMoolah has developed and grown as a company over the last 3 years – the amazing people we’ve come across that inspire us and help us grow, the innovative and unique products we’ve designed, the fantastic feedback we’ve gotten from our users, and the great partnerships we’ve cultivated that helped bring us to where we are now.

Our vision for the upcoming year is to extend our reach into the lives of many more young people – we intend on scaling PlayMoolah to make it relevant to young people in all life stages, couples preparing for marriage or starting a family. We aim to provide more information and enable more choices to make the app as comprehensive as possible. We’d a lot like to reach into the lives of young adults outside Singapore, as the issues our young people face are definitely not limited to Singapore.

As PlayMoolah embarks upon the next era, we are extremely excited about what’s to come as we continue to learn and grow. We will continue to work with young people to find out what drives them, to better enhance our services and continue to build and release the best possible products to achieve our goals.

From our team to yours, thank you again for your help, support and interest in PlayMoolah and we look forward to another fantastic and fulfilling year ahead.

Audrey & Min

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APEC Young Women Innovators Honour for Playmoolah Founders!

Playmoolah founders Audrey and Min  were proud to be honoured as Young Women Innovators at the 2013 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Women and the Economy Forum(WEF) held on 6-8 September 2013 in Bali, Indonesia.

PlayMoolah founders Audrey and Min strike a pose with the Japanese Delegation at the APEC Women and the Economy Forum

The Young Women Innovators Honour is given to women entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 40, who are successful in the field of ICT or women whose ICT innovation has allowed other women to participate more broadly in the economy. In this instance, Playmoolah innovated the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) field – a field traditionally heavily dominated by males.

Playmoolah was nominated by Singapore’s Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF). MSF was impressed with their win at the Innotribe Challenge where they were awarded the “Top Startup” title at the Innotribe Challenge showcase in Singapore last year, and subsequently becoming the overall winner of Innotribe Startup Challenge 2012 at Sibos in Japan.

This year’s dialogue had a special focus on the importance of Small Medium Enterprises (SME) led by women to the region’s economies. With over 1000 business owners in attendance, much discussion was centred on topics like the enhancement of cooperation in the Asia Pacific region to empower SMEs with women at their helm. Policy discussions called for greater inclusion of women in the promotion of entrepreneurial culture and their access to finance.

“PlayMoolah was started in response to the global financial crisis a few years back,” said Min Xuan Lee, Co-founder. “We noticed that in spite of the financial turmoil surrounding us, most people were still unaware of the personal finance issues affecting them. We soon realised that these problems originated from families that were struggling to develop this core life skill. That’s when we started Playmoolah to address this critical need.”

Audrey and Min (fourth and fifth from the left) receiving the Young Women's Innovators Honour

Added Audrey Tan, CEO and Co-founder, “PlayMoolah will always strive to empower young people and children to understand money in different perspectives. That’s when we started thinking of ways to make financial literacy fun, which naturally pushed us to constantly come up with creative ways to package the material in an engaging way.”

Their accolades have not gone unnoticed. Elim Chew, a well-known entrepreneur – founder and president of popular  youth and young adults streetwear fashion and accessories retail chain young brand 77th Street – and community leader in Singapore, commented, “It’s a joy to see the next generation of young entrepreneurs adding tangible value to our society and at the same time being recognised far beyond our shores.”

Concluded Audrey and Min: “The PlayMoolah team is extremely proud to receive this honour, and we will continue to stay innovative and provide the right tools for young people to achieve their goals and create value with an informed perspective of money. “

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PlayMoolah and OCBC Bank partner to educate children about the need to start saving early through new Mighty Savers campaign

More important for children to learn about saving at an early age as Singaporeans save less

Singapore, 25 July 2013 – PlayMoolah, a Singapore based company that enables children to make smarter money decisions, is working in conjunction with OCBC Bank for the second year running, in a mission to teach young children about the importance of saving and starting early as saving rates in Singapore keep dropping.

The need for children to begin saving from an early age is especially critical now. Singaporeans have been saving less than before, reaching the lowest saving gross domestic rate of 49.16% of annual GDP, a 7.5% drop from 2007[1]. By building the habit of saving from a young age, children would grow into adults with a more healthy relationship with money.

As part of OCBC Bank’s Mighty SaversR engagement programme, children can get their hands on a new line of limited edition plush toys that feature the programme’s mascots dressed in space suits and ready to visit the various planets in PlayMoolah.com – with one new mascot available each month from July through to October, culminating in an inflatable space ship to hold the mascots.

OCBC Bank remains committed to innovating around the savings experience and therefore will provide access to the full version of PlayMoolah.com for all participating kids, an online platform that helps children to learn and understand the value of money at an early stage, with every plush toy earned by a child.

“I look forward to collecting all 4 secret codes for each deposit that I made and I can learn through Playmoolah money management online tool! ” said 10-year old Darius.

 

The Moolahverse

The PlayMoolah.com universe allows children to learn about money in a playful context

“We’re very excited to be working with OCBC again especially as people in Singapore are putting lesser and lesser emphasis on the habit of saving money. We both believe that there is a big need for children to build a positive relationship with money from a young age and learn about it through the power of play. One of the lessons we teach on PlayMoolah.com is the practice of working towards a savings goal. With Mighty Savers™, savings is one of the fundamental learnings that allows parents to kickstart money conversations with their children early on,” said Audrey Tan, CEO, PlayMoolah.

 

Mascots in Mighty Rocket

Mighty Savers mascots Simon (for July), Sally (August), Baby Sarah (September) and the Mighty Rocket are waiting for collection by young savers

Ms Ng Li Lian, Head of Mass Segment at OCBC Bank said: “We are encouraged by our customers’ overwhelming reception of this quarter’s OCBC Mighty Savers Space Adventure theme. The integration of the Mighty Savers’ gift redemption with secret codes to unlock an online experience is an innovative way to encourage children to save and learn.  Once online, the PlayMoolah money management tool teaches them important savings concepts. We believe this is definitely a fun way to teach children to save, an important outcome for our OCBC Mighty Savers programme.”

The release of the Mighty Saver’s mascot Simon in July has already been highly popular, with both parents and their kids, as the plush toy acts as an attractive incentive for children to find ways to save.

Using PlayMoolah.com as an incentive also reiterates the real life exercise of saving, by challenging kids to understand different dimensions of money, and building a healthy relationship with it.

 

About PlayMoolah

PlayMoolah is an innovation company based out of Singapore and San Francisco, US that designs authentic experiences for children and young adults to learn about and how to responsibly handle money. Partnering with their parents, peers and financial / learning institutions, kids learn to earn, spend, save, invest, and give in a way that’s fun, educational, and safe. PlayMoolah designs game mechanics to inspire real-world action, giving children the knowledge, skills, and tools needed for financial literacy. PlayMoolah is on a mission to empower the next generation to realize how money can help achieve their goals and create value in the world.

Find out more about PlayMoolah at www.playmoolah.com

 

For Media Enquiries:

Lars Voedisch
PRecious Communications for PlayMoolah
Mobile: (+65) 9170 2470
Email: lars@preciouscomms.com

Lynnice Ng
Group Corporate Communications
OCBC Bank
Tel: (+65) 6530 1268 or (+65) 9745 0179
Email: nglhlynnice@ocbc.com

 


[1] The World Bank (2013) Data Catalog http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDS.TOTL.ZS


 

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A generational thing: why we don’t understand money

It’s interesting looking at the attitude of various generations towards money.

The War Generation was raised to be in debt to no-one for nothing.  Don’t take credit and, if you do have to borrow, pay it off as fast as possible.

The Boomer Generation was raised to borrow as much as possible from everyone.  The aim was to leverage as much as possible in youth years in order to create wealth and capital for the grey years.

Generation X was raised without understanding money at all.  Just spend and the bank will find a way to give you credit.  So they lived the life of Reilly and are now paying for it.

Obviously all of these attitudes are shaped and formed by banks and bank marketing.

Generation Y are now entering the brethren of banking with a loathing for the profession, a fear of credit and a disdain for those who borrow to own.

Obviously, these are very sweeping generalisations and fairly market specific, e.g. the above would not apply to consumers in Africa or China, but they are very true for my friends and family.

Equally, if bank marketors are responsible for these attitudes, then it is interesting to see how they are shaping the next generations’ understanding of credit.

I’ve noticed this in three recent illustrations of money and children.

The first was the winner of innotribe last year.

Against stiff competition from many innovations and innovators, Playmoolah from Singapore won the overall prize for a startup innovator in finance.

Playmoolah

I was personally a little disappointed by this, not because Playmoolah is a poor choice but because there were many other startups more relevant to the core business of banking such as those that improve security, risk and reward.

But that may be the point, that the bankers were choosing the safe choice.  The one they could partner with and the one that would teach our children about banking, money and finance.

If you don’t know Playmoolah, it’s a fun way for parents to teach their children about how to manage money.  Here’s their innotribe pitch if you want the full insight:

watch?feature=player_embedded&v=7y-HzeEtjM4

So we see education of children as important.

This is reinforced by another company offering a financial education product that I recently encountered called Ekomini.

Ekomini is a USB connected piggy bank for children to see how saving builds toward goals.  Again, a simple tool for parents to get their children understanding finance.  A video overview gives you a good insight of this product.

watch?feature=player_embedded&v=mPQLNhPocRk

And as can be seen from their marketing:

Ekomini

It’s a product that is multilingual and going global.

On a more localised basis however, I spotted this new play that’s being performed in London at the moment: Bank on it.

It’s a theatre show that aims to introduce children as young as five to the world of finance and starts with booking a ticket online as though you were opening a bank account.  The show itself then starts with a broken ATM and an evasive bank-manager, just like in real life (?).

Interestingly, when you see why the show was created, there some interesting views. Sue Buckmaster, the Show’s artistic director, says:

“When adults try and explain what went wrong, they get very complicated very quickly.”

Her proposal was to consult kids themselves.

When she asked them to explain a bank, “Five year-olds went: ‘It’s this thing in the wall. You put a card in and get money out. Then you go inside and buy stuff. It’s called a Sainsbury’s Bank or a Tesco Bank.’ They understood it as a shop.” Older children had a slightly different take. Asked why there might be a shortage of money, they suggested robbery and accidental overspending.

By jove, I think they’ve got it.

Credits: The Financial Services Club

 

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PlayMoolah Makes Online Virtue of Thrift

Audrey (left) and Min Xuan of PlayMoolah 

Money makes the world go round. Like charity, however, money management habits should begin at home.

With the world still reeling from the 2008 financial crisis and the more recent European sovereign debt crisis, it is clear that greater financial education is in order. While we Singaporeans (and many of our Asian counterparts) still have some moolah in the bank, it is difficult to foresee what the future may hold.

I guess this is why I like what PlayMoolah is doing.

Founded by 25 year old Audrey Tan and Min Xuan Lee, PlayMoolah is an online platform which teaches kids to manage their money through virtual and real-life activities. Focused on five key activities - EarnSpendSaveInvest and Give – the website employs game mechanics to make financial discipline a fun and exciting activity for kids.

As the “Dream Architect”, Audrey formulates the business model, develops the business, forges customer relationships, and manages investors and employees. Her partner “Princess of Possibility” Min Xuan explores cutting edge innovation, manages technology, and works with ecosystem partners to champion the cause.

Fueled by the mission of “inspiring kids to take control of their money, and become empowered by using it to live their dreams and create value for the world”, PlayMoolah considers itself a financial empowerment company. Through helping kids and their parents to make better money decisions, it seeks to give them the tools to live confidently and freely.

The impetus behind PlayMoolah was triggered by the American mortgage crisis in 2007-2008. Then NUS exchange students at Stamford University, Audrey and Min were hit by the shocking news that checking accounts were so prevalent in the US. Financial literacy was so low in the States that people were spending money they did not have, caught in the wave of consumerism and instant gratification.

An awful realisation then struck the girls. It wasn’t the kids who had problems with money. Rather, the problem laid with parents, who weren’t providing the right role models to their young ones.

Spurred by their sobering experience in the US, the founders decided to tackle the root cause of financial ignorance by building a portal which teaches families how to deal with their dough. Backed by the firm support of their mentor professor Tom Kosnik in Stamford, it combined their interests in technology, financial literacy and entrepreneurship. With angel funding from Silicon Valley, Singapore and the Philippines, PlayMoolah was eventually launched in Singapore on January 2011.


Screenshot from Save Planet

With Singapore as its test market, PlayMoolah is targeted at global markets in the US, Europe and Asia. The growing enterprise embraces the principles of Lean (see my book review on Lean Startup for more details) and was developed based on the following iterative cycle:

1) Build customer development model by talking to parents and kids in order to understand what their needs and experiences with money were;

2) Create wire frames and mock-ups while seeking usability feedback from parents;

3) Building the system and platform itself while continuing with user experience testing;

4) Testing it constantly by taking in user feedback and refining its products.

A social enterprise with a heart for kids, PlayMoolah was a dream come true for both Audrey and Min. Indeed, speaking to Audrey, I couldn’t help being infected by her enthusiasm and passion for the business.

Recounting her childhood, Audrey shared that she used to create a “business ecosystem” at home using “pretend money” when she was six or seven years old playing with her brothers. She also started various small businesses during her teens.

In a similar fashion, Min started a design firm in her younger years. Like Audrey, she loved kids and nursed a passion to nurture and educate them while embracing the possibilities and scalability of technology.

Spotlighted by the National Youth Council (NYC) as an outstanding social enterprise started by youths, PlayMoolah is a tenant of The HUB Singapore – a curated co-work, event and community space in the heart of Orchard Road. Made possible through a S$100,000 grant from NYC, HUB Singapore seeks to “gather the country’s best entrepreneurial minds, changemakers and professionals” in a collaborative work and event space.

To encourage more Youth Sector Organisations (YSOs) and Youth Social Enterprises (YSEs) like PlayMoolah, the Ministry of Community, Culture and Youth (MCCY) – parent Ministry to NYC – has recently launched the National Youth Fund (NYF). With S$100 million in its kitty to be drawn over the next 20 years, NYF encourages YSOs and YSEs to initiate the following:

- Capability development projects that improve organisational capability while leading to more cross-sharing and partnerships;

- Public, People and Private (3P) partnerships that promote community engagement, volunteerism, arts and sports; and

- Research studies that contribute towards the youth sector’s understanding of youth trends and concerns.

(More details of the NYF can be found here.)

I’m glad to hear that talks are already underway between PlayMoolah and NYC to explore how they could bring the enterprise further. This could hopefully provide greater support to the company’s growing initiative such as “Sekolah Bisa” – a community project in Indonesia which seeks to educate kids on financial literacy while serving them.

For the future, the road appears bright for the fledgling financial empowerment firm. To date, they’ve already won awards like Echelon 2011 (Asia’s TechCrunch) and Top Startup of SWIFT Innotribe Challenge 2012. Partnerships with financial heavyweights like OCBC Bank have also been inked.

To find out more about PlayMoolah, do sign up for a free trial at their portal here.

“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.” – Will Smith

 

Credits: Cooler Insights

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Replacement Theory

I like new things, I think almost everyone does. The smell of something untouched, like pages of a fresh, new book. The pleasant surprise that comes with unwrapping a recently bought gift! Or, if you indulged yourself, it’s the anticipation of enjoying your newest possession. The reality however, is that the joy of something new wears off quickly, and you’re back to your underlying level of happiness. Until you set your sights on something new. Then the coveting begins afresh.

So if this is normal human behaviour then how do we teach our children the difference between wants and needs, or to take care of their toys, or to simply be content with what they have?

Some parents shared with us a fairly effective method of limiting the number of possessions their children seem to want to accumulate. They call it the replacement theory and though no research was done to arrive at this theory, it is one we believe may prove very effective. It works as follows. At a certain point in time, hopefully before the children’s bedroom can’t be entered unless you squeeze in sideways while breathing in, toys are only replaced should they break through regular wear and tear.  So with a limit to what they have, children learn to optimise and prioritise.

So if less is more, what benefits can parents expect from this approach?

Children become less self absorbed. We all know an overindulged child who gets everything they want. And sensible parents know that children who believe they can have everything they want will develop an unhealthy expectation about their future lifestyle. On the flipside, a child who is not overly indulged may become one who understands what it would truly mean to work and strive for what they desire as opposed to simply asking for it.

Children learn to find contentment outside of toys (possessions). Delinking possessions and happiness will help a child understand that contentment is not related to material goods.

Children take greater care of their things. When children have too many toys, they will naturally value them less and treat them with less respect. And why not, he knows he has plenty to spare. If your child seems to be particularly destructive with valuable toys then it may be fair to say he’s reached his limit.

Try this minimalist approach. We’ve had parents tell us their children become less insistent at the toy store as a result. Watch your children as they decide to donate old but serviceable toys they are too old for to charity, they may be more creative in how they use their stock of toys by inventing games and using their imagination, less toys also means more sharing and being more resourceful in how they create their playworld. And resourcefulness is an important lifeskill to help us achieve our aspirations.

 

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Is My Child Financially Literate?

As parents we spend much of our time experimenting with different ways to teach our children our values and what we consider to be the right behavior. No parent ever gets it
right the first time (or even every time), and moreover, each child is unique and may learn differently.

Because the field of financial literacy is so nascent there are no tried and tested methods
which can guarantee you absolute success in teaching your children sound money management
skills.

So how do you actually know if your way is working? Is Junior going to enter the workforce
completely paralysed by a lack of knowledge about what to do with his or her pay cheque
(apart from having a lot fun with the sudden influx of cash)?

Or will you be one of the relieved and (secretly) proud parents of children who are making all the right decisions around building their wealth for the future?

Here is the Playmoolah view on what a financially literate child might look like:

• Able to control impulse behaviour (with prompting)

A dear friend who qualifies for the Supermum tag has two lovely girls who are reasonably
rewarded with gifts during Christmas and their birthdays. However, for a number of
years now they have stopped asking for ANY toys, clothes, girly trinkets outside of these
occasions. Sound unbelievable?

Well, Supermum admitted to teaching her daughters from a very young age to wait for their birthdays or Christmas (to control the urge to ask for random things) and to prioritise what they want for those occassions.

• Able to save for a goal

Another friend has an adorable eight-year-old son – let’s call him Matthew – who desired an eye wateringly expensive Lego set. He worked out that even with his generous parents and grandparents’ gifts of money, he was going to have to wait for two birthdays and a Christmas before he would be able to get the set that he wanted. So he came up with his own plan to acquire his dream set earlier.

For three months he did extra chores around the house, folding laundry, washing dishes, and washing the dog to top up his allowance. The set was his before the end of the year. Extrapolate that behaviour and for an eight-year-old with a weekly allowance of $8, the ability to save for that $490 set is pretty similar to a new graduate saving for his or her first investment. What this behaviour promotes later on in life is the discipline to save, to remain focused on achieving a stretch goal, and probably less reliance on immediate gratification.

• Is aware of the true value of products

The smart value shoppers are at an advantage here. You know about modelling the behaviour that you want your children to learn from. A shrewd bargain hunter once shared that she brings her daughters to annual sales to teach them about the value of products, to comparison-shop and to look for sales and discounts. She admitted to feelings of pride when her eldest daughter once remarked, “That’s a rip off, I can get that cheaper somewhere else”.

Although there are always products we feel are worth the premium pricing, this smart shopper has started to raise the awareness of value with her children.

Many 20-something year olds admit to almost no knowledge of how to begin saving and some think they are too old to feel that way, wishing that they had better money management skills.

As with all skills that take time to master, the earlier these behaviours are ingrained, the more comfortable a person becomes with practicing, experimenting and building on their knowledge. After all, I know primary school-aged children who seem to be doing a great job of mastering some of the basics thanks to their mothers’ early intervention.

 

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PlayMoolah helps your kids wise up on money

By John Royce

We all want our children to know the value of money and how to spend it wisely. But in our own need to earn cash, we may not always have the time to impart our financial understanding to them.

That’s where PlayMoolah can lend a helping hand. It’s a beautifully-designed online interactive game that teaches young ones all about money management in an engaging manner.

The basic version of Playmoolah is free. But if you subscribe to a membership, you’ll enjoy a whole load of extra features like more games, special items and even a tool for the kids to manage their real life moolah.

Paying members will also be upgraded with a parents’ dashboard that keeps you abreast of everything your child does and learns in the game, as well as receive weekly ideas for interesting projects the whole family can do together.

We at RinggitPlus are quite impressed with this game that was developed in our neighbouring country across the Causeway. We hope to see more of such high quality interactive content (especially those that help improve financial literacy) being made around the region!

Credits: Ringgit Plus

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