In today’s economy with so many families struggling with money, it is imperative that we teach our children sound money management skills now. WealthQuest for Teens is a webinar based program that provides parents and teachers with a tool for teaching habits and attitudes about money to teens and helping those teens to develop a money management strategy they can begin to use now.
The WeatlthQuest for Teens program, currently available for $39.95 was developed by Jill Suskind. The program targets teens ages 14-19 and utilizes an online video seminar. The Video Seminar includes an online workbook. The program also includes a Quick Start Guide for Teens EBook and a Free Parent’s Guide. The program recommends MoneyTrail, a free online program for helping teens track their allowances and items like gift cards and checks received.
I worked through this program with my 15 and 17 year old daughters. We took about 1 1/2 weeks to go through the 7 modules of the online video seminar. You cannot rewind the videos but you can pause them and you can re-watch them. We paused frequently to discuss the ideas and concepts presented. We worked through the online workbook together through oral discussion while watching each segment. The girls each had a spiral notebook for taking notes or writing out journal like answers to questions such as “what causes are most important to you.” They used those same notebooks while we worked through the ebook portion.
The e-book is laid out as a 30 day plan. There are 30 journal like assignments that are very similar to the online workbook material. We used these as discussion opportunities. The girls did take time to think and write down in their notebooks some of the more thought provoking questions. Though I did not write down answers, I participated in the discussion verbally sharing my lists of big ticket items or my favorite charities.
We did sign up for a family account with the recommended MoneyTrail.net however, I’m not sure we’ll continue using it. There are options for family account or for an individual teen account and you can choose between an allowance plan which automatically deposits the allowance in the student account or a non-allowance account. The categories do not match the “silo method” described in WealthQuest and the program encourages a credit or rather debit like situation. The example listed tells of a mom and daughter out shopping. The daughter wants to buy something but she has no cash but mom “owes” her x number of dollars of allowance. Mom can use her smartphone to check the daughter’s balance on MoneyTrail.net and can purchase the book for the daughter. Mom then simply deducts the amount from the account. It is just a transaction recording program and no money is transferred out of mom’s account.
Some things I liked:
- “measuring the habit not the amount” ~ I like the emphasis on building a habit. The amount of money distributed into each category is not as important as the habit of using a money management system
- “keep a money journal” ~ I didn’t agree with everything they suggested for the journal but the basic idea of keeping track of your money and perhaps keeping track of what you are learning about money, that is something I like. In fact I have something similar. I call it my “budget book” but it is the binder or journal that contains the money management system my husband and I use.
- the encouragement to talk to my teens about money ~ I agree with Jill that we need to talk with our teens about money. We have to get them thinking about money and about their future now while they are still young.
- Encouraging teens to think about charities or causes they support.
- Encouraging teens to set up their “silo system” and to actually use it.
Some things I didn’t like or disagreed with:
- The idea that teens learn best by being in groups of other teens.
- The secular nature of the program. I would prefer a more faith based approach.
- The overall style of the program. Some people like tomatoes some don’t. This is purely an aesthetic issue.
- I didn’t care for the titles of some of the categories such as “Future Financial Freedom” which the parent guide defined as retirement fund but which my daughters interpreted to mean being young and not ever having to work again.
- In the parent guide she said “budgets don’t work”. A money management system *is* a budget.
- Jill emphasizes the role of attitudes. There were several attitudes she outlined that I did not agree with because they conflicted with my worldview.
At times, I really struggled with this program. I found myself nodding my head in agreement going “yes, yes, yes!” and then with the next breath I was shouting “NO” at the top of my lungs. I agree with the basic idea or premise that teens need to learn about money. I want my teens to understand how money works. I want them to be prudent and wise. I want them to have effective strategies that maximize their ability to give money to charities. But… but…but… I don’t want them so focused on money that they lose focus on Jesus Christ, the fountain of life. For my family this program, used alone, is not a good fit.
Because it is a secular based program that can be used by a wide variety of people, I found that the priorities or attitudes didn’t always match or agree with my faith based worldview. The program encourages, assigns actually, additional reading of your choice. I specifically chose one of the extra readings book to be a bible based view of money so that we could bring that aspect to our discussions.
A couple of things to point out:
- In the Parent Guide, “ is used instead of ‘ which made it difficult at times to read. I would see the quote marks and expect a quotation and I’d have to stop and re-read because it didn’t make sense. It should have been an apostrophe.
- At least once the author uses “OMG”. I found it out of place and distracting
Thoughts From Turtlegirl: “I thought the teens in the video were shallow and not really enthusiastic. I wish that it could look a little more ‘real’. Also, they imply that in order to think like a rich person, you apparently have to be very knowledgeable and focused about money, you have to almost make it an obsession. I didn’t agree with that. I did like that they state that you need to make an income to manage money. I also liked that they gave you a budget/money management system to use that you could modify to fit you. It was good for me to learn about money, but I didn’t really like the style.”
Thoughts from BooBear:“It was nice to learn how to manage money and to be given a system to use, but I felt that they put to much of a focus on material things. There was a strong focus on how much money you had, not on what really matters, which is how are you living your life and what are you doing with your money. I think it is a great idea to try to teach teens how to manage their money, it just has too much of a material feel to it. One thing I wish they had talked about was what to do with all the extra change you get. What do you do with that? Does it go back into the envelope?”
My Bottom Line: I wanted to review this product because I want my daughters to develop good habits with money. I want them to have a solid money management system that lays the foundation for financial success. The secular aspect of the program disappointed me, however, I was pleased with the open discussion and conversation that the program generated.
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Disclaimer: As a TOS Crew member, I received this product free of charge to review. I am required to write a review but I am not required to write a positive review. This review contains my and/or my daughters’ honest opinion with, hopefully, enough detail as to why I/ we liked or did not like a product so that my readers can make an informed decision. I received no compensation.
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