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Two things that turn me off a personal finance story in an instant: use of the word “pocketbook,” and pictures of piggy banks. Piggy banks are yesterday’s saving technology. An example of current tech for teaching kids to save is Mydoh, an app developed by Gaurav Kapoor, a tech guy who has worked in banking, with help from a division of Royal Bank of Canada called RBC Ventures. Mydoh allows parents to assign tasks to their kids and then reward them by adding money to a physical or digital prepaid Visa card that can be used to pay for things in stores. I invited Mr. Kapoor to a Q&A session to find out more about Mydoh, and learn what it has to tell us about how much allowance kids are getting from their parents these days:

What are your thoughts on Mydoh creating a transactional relationship between parents and kids with respect to tasks around the house? I mean, kids getting the idea that the reason to help out is getting paid?

Parents have been deploying the “carrot” of money or allowance to entice kids to complete household chores for generations. The traditional piggy bank concept encouraged parents to reward kids for good behaviour or helping around the house – Mydoh has made that experience real and digitized it. Parents using Mydoh have shared that their kids are way more disciplined in helping around the house and have a much better appreciation of the value of money through the experience of earning. In fact, it’s the value of money derived through the appreciation of earning that is at the heart of good money management behaviours. Also, parents aren’t deploying big dollars to enable tasks – some with young kids usually give $1 tasks.

How does Mydoh reinforce the importance of saving? Is interest earned on the cash balance in an account?

Mydoh introduced a feature called Play where we make learning about money easy for kids with fun facts and trivia. Play is focused on continuing Mydoh’s mission to improve kid’s understanding of the value of money and how to safely use it over their lifetime. They learn about everything from savings and loans to money and peer pressure, as well as the balance between needs versus wants. Currently, no interest is earned on savings.

What is the subscription fee for using Mydoh, and are there any costs associated with the Visa prepaid card that goes with the app?

Families can start their Mydoh smart-money journey with a 30-day free trial where we allow parents to open their Mydoh account and their kids’ accounts for free and also deliver both digital and physical cards for the kids to give them an opportunity to try our product before deciding to pay for the service. After the free trial ends, RBC clients will be charged $2.99 per month and non-RBC clients will be charged $4.99 per month. There are no additional costs associated with the prepaid Visa card.

Do parents have the ability with the app to keep an eye on spending by their kids using the Mydoh prepaid Visa card? Can parents lock the card if they think it necessary?

While Mydoh is designed to help kids develop a sense of ownership and independence with their finances, it’s also very important that parents still maintain control. Parents get full transparency into where their kids are spending and can use emojis to show how they feel about a specific purchase or overall spending habits. Kids can only spend what their parents have added, and parents can lock the kid’s cards (digital and/or physical) in real time. So, while kids are given a degree of freedom, parents can manage their child’s spending as they see fit.

As a guideline for parents, can you tell us what your experience with Mydoh shows about how much kids at various ages are getting as a weekly allowance?

While there is a broad range of allowance amounts used by Mydoh parents, our data show the following averages based on age:

Kids under 10: $7

Kids 10-14: $10

Kids over 14: $13

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The Get Cyber Safe Gift Guide, courtesy of the federal government. Tips on how to maintain your privacy and foil hackers when using smart devices around the home.

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