Our Cashless Society
The cashless society is knocking on our doors and the question to be heard is, Will our kids be prepared!?”
The following article I wrote, explains a culture shift, a new paradigm never before considered and how this vision of the future will change the lives of our financial education system at home forever.
It’s time to evolve past our 200 year old financial education tool we call “cold hard cash”, because I’ve seen the future, and physical cash is no longer relevant for currency, teaching about money or learning about financial accountability.
I’m a huge fan of Dave Ramsey’s cash envelope system and I know it worked for my wife and I, my parents, and millions of other adults in this country, but cash simply doesn’t work for my kids and it won’t work for your kids either.
Cash failing brings new success:
A 5 year old is not mature enough to handle physical cash, carry a wallet or keep it without losing it while shopping. I found myself forcing my kids to place those shiny coins and dirty dollar bills in their “piggy banks” because I was somehow teaching them about savings…
Dave Ramsey’s daughter, Rachel Cruze noted in her recently published book, “Smart Money Smart Kids”, about the days when her dad didn’t have cash to pay their weekly earnings. I shared the same problem, but instead of rushing to the bank for 30 single dollar bills. I innovated something amazing which has changed my life and that of my kids. As a 35 year old parent with direct deposits going into my bank account, I never use physical cash anymore and I didn’t have cash on Sundays when it was “pay day” for my kid’s weekly earnings. When I stopped paying them on Sunday, they stopped appreciating work and earnings, when they stopped appreciating earnings; they stopped appreciating spending, saving and giving. I was losing the ability to educate my kids about money and financial accountability!
Close your eyes kids. I’m going to pull a rabbit out of this hat!
The rabbit I pulled out of my hat was a mobile app “gimmick” idea that immediately resolved my cashless payment problem on Sunday. Instead of using real cash, I printed a cool looking “Kid” “Debit” card on my home printer with their favorite cartoon characters on it and covered it with a little clear duck tape. Walla! The magical financial education for my 6 and 8 year old began and I didn’t even know it! My kids earnings on payday, went cashless with KiDebit . Of course all that virtual money now was provided in the real world by the Bank of Dad. Over the next several months, while my kids were actively engaged in using our new innovation, I realized something amazing was happening. My magic trick for paying them virtually, was really an extraordinary RELEVANT education tool about money for my kids growing up in what I’m calling, a CASHless society.
The Ramsey Family Proved My Theory!
A month after my KiDebit app was released to the Apple App Store, Rachel Cruze’s book helping parents teach young children about money caught my attention. We share many of the same lessons, except for ONE major discrepancy. My family does NOT use physical cash, we use KiDebit, which teaches about the same money jars for giving, buying and savings. The next version of the app will have real looking money jars, to show kids visually the money growing and coins rattling around for instant gratification and provide a simulated physical stimulation kids need to learn. The app really helps educate kids about HOW money works in a cashless society, by helping them develop new disciplines and habits like always being aware of their digital balance at home, at the store, or in the car before making that $1 app purchase. They also love to mimic mommy and daddy swiping their plastic cards at stores by scanning their glossy KiDebit cards with the app. Of course all the virtual KiDebit money comes from the real Bank of Dad who helps ensure that even a $1 App purchased on the iPad, becomes a quick KiDebit virtual deduction for the child. Let’s face it; parents don’t go redeem single dollar bills from their child’s old school piggy bank in their room –a subtle unrecognized parenting error about money for the child growing up in the digital micro transaction age.
The Right Education Tool for Tomorrow:
Cash was an obvious failure for me as a relevant tool to educate my kids about earnings when I didn’t have cash at home to pay. But was my own lack of education using a two century old financial currency, clouding my vision to better help prepare and educate them more about the best practices, good money habits and tools they will need to survive in a world using eWallets instead of pocket wallets?
Grandparents laugh because they think it’s fake. Parents are worried because they are in denial. The next generation is excited because it’s easy, instant and it’s happening NOW!!!
I recently had the pleasure to speak at a TEDx event in Huntsville, AL, on November 16th, 2014 called TEDx Youth –“World Imagined” . An audience of inspiring middle and high school students, parents and teachers were there to listen to my talk. For the first time publically, I enlightened everyone about the vision I have about our CASHless future. As entertaining as I tried to be, the fundamental topic was one of a dire, urgent and threatening realization that our kids are in financial danger. My challenge at TEDx youth was convincing our next generation of kids and their parents, that the world is no longer transforming from our 200 year old cash currency, but it has in fact already evolved from the physical to the digital era of currency! The tools, disciplines, money habits and methodologies for financial accountability used by myself, my parents and their parents -no longer apply for our kids today. There is a cliff ahead called the CASHless cliff and the first generation of middle and high school children today will be on the frontier to discover the new practices, tools and lessons required to be money smart.
The Challenge: It’s never been about cash, debit or credit cards.
The challenge hasn’t changed for over 200+ years! We want to best prepare our children in order to make them financially accountable for their spending and future savings. CASH, has been the easy and obvious tool for us to use and even after 1972 when the first plastic card was introduced by Western Union, our nation started to see the negative impacts from families who decided to stop using cash, and went plastic. That’s when the misunderstanding of the challenge first started to occur.
Money Habits: Plastic Money = Bad Spending Habits and Causes Child Obesity? WHAT!?
At school kids are using more prepaid plastic cards to buy lunch and according to researchers in behavior economics at Cornell University who spoke this past year on NPR : it was concluded that child obesity is being contributed to this increase in the use of plastic cards. After observing the spending habits from over 2,300 children during the school lunch period. They concluded that kids who use cash, spend less money on junk food because they have a better sense of cause and consequence in spending and eating. Compared to the children using prepaid cards, who do not obtain the same obvious physical economical loss and gain more weight with junk food purchases. The researcher’s solution was to force schools to only allow junk food to be purchased with CASH.
They tried solving the ‘problem’ with an ancient solution, CASH! The actual problem stems from the kids not having the financial education about the value of money when they spend it using CASH or PLASTIC. Providing a relevant education today concerning their financial accountability disciplines and practices at lunch could save them money and pounds in the future. So unless those same researches campaign across the country for every fast food and restaurant to require physical CASH for chips, soda and desert ice cream, these kids being forced to use cash today for elementary lunch, will be facing a heavy bill of health in their future.
FACT: By the age of 7! Most children’s financial habits have been formed, according to a study by two researchers at Cambridge University in England.
FACT: You no longer have to leave your couch to transfer money between friends in different states.
FACT: Bitcoins, Square Cash , Paypal , Apple Pay , Snapchat and making Amazon one click purchases is how we handle cash today! These cashless technologies are becoming THE preferred way for most adults and it’s easier, quicker, and faster than ever before to spend money. Yet, we are still trying to solve and educate a financial crisis in the new world of a Cashless society through the teachings of a two century old tool, CASH.
We are pushing our kids over the inevitable Cashless cliff with a piggy bank full of coins and cash on their back, instead of a modern day money smart parachute to save their financial future. The time is right NOW, to innovate, adapt and transform our methods and our ancient old culture about how we teach young children about money today and how it will benefit or hurt them in “A CASHless Society” .
A mobile app and education tool for kids, (http://www.kidebit.com/), KiDebit
TEDx Event, (http://tedxhuntsville.com/site/), TEDx Huntsville Youth Event on November 16, 2014
Research Economics at Cornell University Study on NPR (http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/01/17/245033267/cash-or-credit-how-kids-pay-for-school-lunch-matters-for-health),.
Research Authors David Whitebread and Sue Bingham Paper, Cambridge University in England , “Habit Formation and Learning in Young Children”
Reference URL for Square Cash, (https://square.com/cash/)
Reference URL for PayPal, (https://www.paypal.com/home)
Reference URL for Apple Pay, (https://www.apple.com/apple-pay/)
Reference URL for Snapchat, (http://www.snapchat.com/)