Four Piggy Banks
My oldest son, Seph, turned nine this month, and he racked up this year with birthday cards, most of which had money in them. And when the dust settled, my boy had amassed a wealth of $60, which is more money than he has ever had in his possession.
The first day after his birthday he wanted to spend some of his money. He has been playing this video game called Roblox. It’s a kid-friendly platform with all kinds of different games.
Now, whoever came up with Roblox was a genius — not because the graphics or plots of the games are great, because they’re really not very good. But because the developer came up with a fantastic way to make money off the game by having a store where players can outfit their avatars. And kids go crazy over it. But in order to purchase things in the store, you have to buy something called “Robux.”
Robux is the currency of Roblox. And wisely, the developers of the game didn’t make it have an equal exchange with dollars. The reason why this concept is smart is because you can spend $5 and get 400 Robux. And for a kid, that sounds like they’re trading up. But it’s like converting dollars to pesos because one Robux doesn’t go very far in the store, and kids will blow their 400 Robux in minutes.
Seph’s first purchase was with $10 that equated to 800 robux. I have to digitally approve anything he buys with my Apple ID. He gave me $10, and I approved it. But later that evening, he came back wanting to spend more money on Robux. When I told him I didn’t think was a good idea, his response was, “Why? It’s my money.”
That’s when I told him it was my job as his dad to train him up in the way he should go (I referenced Proverbs 22:6), which includes training him in how to use money the right way and to not abuse it. I told him to wait, and we would come up with a plan the next day.
On the next day, I went for a mile swim and a 13-mile bike ride to contemplate an age appropriate way to help him start understanding how to be responsible with money. And about halfway through my ride, I had a plan.
When I got home, I got out one of my old columns titled “The three piggy banks” and read it to him. As we read, he learned about the idea of taking a portion of your income and setting it aside into three banks: tithing, saving and investing.
He and I talked about each bank. He already understands giving 10% to Yahweh and has tithed since he was little. And then we talked about why putting a tenth into savings and investing was important.
I told him I wanted him to have four piggy banks instead of three. He had an intrigued look on his face, and I began to explain. We always start with tithe, so that is the first bank. The next bank is something we call profit. We talked about what profit meant, both at the profit per deal side and at the overall company level, in a way that he could understand. And at the end I said, the business owner should get to enjoy the profit they earn each quarter (like it suggests in the book “Profit First.”) I told him his profit account will be money he could use when we go on vacation to spend on anything he wants.
He looked up at me excitedly and asked, “Anything?” And I said, “Well, within reason.”
Next, we talked about how his savings bank should be for big things like a computer or a new bicycle. He liked that idea.
And then, finally we talked about the investing account and how this is the money we put aside to use to make money with. His eyes got big with this one, and he asked how he could use his money to make money. We talked about houses, mobile homes, rents and notes. He couldn’t wait to get started.
We then got four envelopes and put 10% of his income into each one. When he counted the remaining money, he asked if he could take out $5 for Robux and then divided the remainder into his profit, saving and investing accounts. With a proud daddy smile, I said, “Of course,” and that’s what we did. And now, he’s well on his way to learning how to use money responsibly by using his four piggy banks.
Joe and Ashley English buy houses and mobile homes in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to www.cashflowwithjoe.com or call Joe at 678-986-6813.