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See personal finance as training - Focus on the goal instead of the chore - Lofsan

June 10, 2020

Giving children a good financial education and making private economy a natural part of everyday life isn’t just something that Lofsan advocates but is also something she is very good at.

In this blog we share our recent interview with Lovisa Sandström where she tells us her best tricks to making everyday life go smoothly without jeopardizing exercise, homework, house chores or quality time with the family!

It was a recent sunny day when Gimi got the chance to sit down and talk to Lovisa Sandström, better known as Lofsan, on their family terrace (outdoor gym) in Södermalm, Stockholm. Handling children's pocket money, managing the family finances and managing the ‘everyday’ together were just some of the topics we spoke about, but we found ourselves delving deeper into how exactly we should be letting kids grow both mentally and emotionally. A subject area that sits close to Lovisa’s heart.

This blog, in partnership with Lovisa will give you inspiration about how easy it can be to give your children economic practice through your simple everyday activities. We also hope that Lovisa's tips will come in handy for you and the family this summer. Enjoy the read!

How to keep your promise to the children when it comes to money

The Renman/Sandström family started using Gimi about six months ago and Lovisa explains that she quickly realized that Gimi was something that all children should know about. As a parent, she found it a wonderful feeling to introduce financial education through an app that the children themselves wanted to use. In actual fact, it was the children who were driven to download the Gimi app, and as soon as it came in place she was pleasantly surprised by how good the experience was as well.

“Now we can no longer say that 'you get money next week when we have cash', now we just transfer the money in the Gimi app right away which is very smooth. In that way it becomes more orderly and the kids get the money they deserve, which feels good.”

Before Gimi, Lovisa’s sons Baxter and Sixten had no recurring weekly or monthly allowance especially as Lovisa nor husband Hans rarely carry cash in their pocket. However, sometimes they used pocket money as a threat or promise for increased or decreased weekly allowance, but in the absence of cash, this became the empty threat and promise, which diminished trust between them. Lovisa has a big smile on her face when she says that thanks to Gimi the trust is now restored in the confidence that digital payments hold the promise.

Lofsan's 10 tips for children’s financial education and pocket money management

1. See personal finance as training - focus on the goal instead of the chore

As the health profile Lovisa is, she sees many similarities between physical training and personal finance and she likes to geek-out on both! Motivation to her is about focusing on the goal rather than the effort itself. She therefore tries to support her children by talking more about the savings goal, such as the snowboard that her son Baxter is saving for, and less about the task of going to the recycling center and sorting the garbage. Just as she motivates her customers in the training she does.

“For example, if a person is going to do hill intervals, I want them to change focus. From thinking 'I have to push myself up this hill' I want them to think 'I want to get up and look at the view'.”

Lovisa also promotes smaller milestones and rewards, which is one of the reasons she likes Gimi in particular. Inside the app, her children can see for themselves how they approach their savings goal week by week. They get thumbs up for the tasks they completed and can visualize the value in saving their money rather than spending it. Lovisa also describes how proud of their performance her children feel by keeping focus on their dreams and goals which is creating an inner motivation in them to fight!

2. Gaining routine on everyday chores - Make them a habit and avoid cheating!

Another thing that Lovisa can relate to her workout is the importance of being consistent. Helping with home related chores can be perceived as boring and something that you want to push out of the way. With that knowledge in the back of their minds, the Renman/ Sandström family decided to make many of the household tasks into everyday routines. In that way, they have not wasted time thinking about how or when to do the chores, they simply happen automatically and are natural elements in everyday life (Use Gimi's weekly calendar to get routine on everyday activities: Add Gimi's schedule to your calendar)

“The children are responsible for their own rooms and there are no question marks about this. That means they have to make their beds every day, take care of their own laundry and make sure that all of the toys are removed and put in the right place before bedtime."

Even when the children were really young, we set a routine of picking up things and keeping order. The sons Baxter and Sixten then thought it was fun to throw things in the garbage, learn to sort and to put the toys back in their proper places. Thanks to these good habits, the family has been able to avoid a lot of whining and moaning about chores. If there is someone in the family who is getting ashamed then Lovisa is herself.

“I am the biggest slacker here at home! It's not uncommon that I tell the guys to clean their rooms and they answer 'Mum now you have to clean your room'. And they are absolutely right!"
she says, laughing.

Regarding family meals, they have a rule that everyone takes away their own plate and puts it into the dishwasher. If, on the other hand, the children want to earn extra money, they can choose to also take care of everything else that was on the dinner table. By doing so, they can choose for themselves whether or not they think it is worth the effort.

3. Talk about what reasonable financial compensation is to your children

Deciding what a chore is worth has previously not been an easy task. For example, if it takes five minutes to empty the dishwasher, what is it worth? Lovisa explains that, with her background as a teacher, she finds it very rewarding to sit down and talk with the children about it, and Gimi has been very helpful in this department.

“The chore; ‘cleaning the dishwasher’ is something they can do and something that is relatively quick to complete, this is something they have always understood. But how much money that task is worth has been more difficult to understand. In the past, they could have said they wanted SEK 500 to do it, but after using Gimi for a while, they have an easier time understanding what a reasonable sum is. "

4. Remember that everything wasn't better before - from physical money jars to digital piggy banks

Lovisa explains how the children used to have savings jars in their rooms, but they did not understand what to do with neither the jar nor the money inside it. The cash was not carried around with them, so it became very difficult for them to understand the application of the money in day to day situations. Once they brought the cash with them to the city, there were hardly any stores actually receiving cash. The savings jars therefore became more of a dusty decoration in their room than anything else.

Another aspect that Lovisa raises regarding the transition from cash to digital money is the risk that the children will either be robbed or lose the money.

“I had high respect for the risk of robbery, but above all I was worried that they would lose the money. The great sadness and shame a child feels when he or she has lost a banknote is terrible! There is a lot that happens to a child’s everyday life and it’s therefore so easy for something to get lost. Having the money digitally facilitates a lot, making it easy to block the Gimi card if something does happen."

Lovisa also sees a big advantage with Gimi because children are already so digital today. For example, the ten coins her sons previously received from the tooth fairy used to sit there forgotten about, so seeing the tooth fairy money digitally is both more fun and becomes more distinct. Then they can easily see how their balance is being refilled and how they are approaching their major savings goals too.

The fact that Baxter and Sixten now have control over how much money they have is another positive effect of going from cash to digital pocket money. Previously, they had to pour the entire money jar on the floor and count the coins every time they wanted to buy something, now they instead can track their income and expenses directly in the Gimi app. This means that they can keep an eye on it daily and therefore always remind themselves of their budget.

5. Seeing the positive side of the children's gaming

Before Gimi, the sons Baxter and Sixten had no real relation to digital money, they had only seen their parents do their banking on their mobiles. But the children had used different currencies in games which Lovisa thinks is very good. However, these currencies are sometimes somewhat abstract and it is difficult to understand the exact value. She describes how the currencies, points and money can vary from 150,000 points to 3 points which is intangible for children. With Gimi it has become much clearer for them.

“Just as they look at their points in Pokémon, Fortnight or FIFA, they can look at their points in the Gimi app, but there it's about money. They are used to seeing money that way, so it is easier for them to understand the value of the money compared to when they had cash."

6. Focus on financial education instead of the money itself

For the Renman / Sandström family, the use of the Gimi app and the Gimi card is not about the children having to bear their own costs, the purpose is primarily to give the children a sense of what it is like to be financially independent, for example understanding the consequence of a reducing balance when using the card.

Lovisa describes how via Gimi the children can visualize how when they choose to buy small things it impacts their savings, they can then understand that it will take longer to achieve big dreams and savings goals if they are spending their money. This is what Lovisa and Hans believe is the most important reason behind their children receiving their own pocket money. Thanks to the fact that Gimi is fun and intuitive, Lovisa explains how the understanding has happened very quickly and that the guys' savings goals are something that both feel very driven about.

“They already know that Hans and I do not want them to buy sweets and so on weekdays but since they started using Gimi there is no discussion anymore. Now they make an active choice to refrain from buying small things.”

She also describes how awesome it is as a parent to see the pride in the children's eyes as they understand how they are approaching their savings goal. The balance between pedagogy and practice is something that the former educator Lovisa appreciates.

“The school is very controlled and must follow the curriculum. So being able to apply the theoretical bits into real life feels important. Then they get to repeat and understand that the same principle can be applied in different areas."

7. Get everyone in the family involved in personal economy - Start talking about what things cost

Since Gimi was introduced to the family, it has also become easier for grandparents to become involved in Baxter's and Sixten's financial development. Now they can easily swish money directly in the Gimi app and contribute to their grandchild's savings goals. Lovisa laughs and describes that Gimi in this way made it very easy to be 'a great granny'.

Having different family members involved is something that Lovisa sees a tremendous value in. For example, now that summer and vacation plans are getting close. If the family is going to do something together, she wants the children to be part of their holiday decisions and understand their priorities together.

The fact that the children are aware of the overall costs of certain activities, makesfor an easier experience when it comes to communication in the family. Then they can avoid nagging and instead help out and together reach their dream vacation. When the sons Baxter and Sixten feel involved in the decisions, she witnesses that the holiday is much more enjoyable.

“For me, it is important that the children understand that it costs money to do things. For example, we sit down together to discuss whether we should spread out the activities throughout the whole holiday or whether we should do everything at the beginning and just stay home and live cheaply for the rest.”

Lovisa's best trick for having a nice holiday, however, is to focus on what is fun instead of what to do. Jumping on the trampoline, swimming in the sea and hanging with many friends really costs nothing but is often what everyone in the family appreciates most.

8. Let the children see the benefit of contributing and keeping organized

When it comes to getting the kids engaged and getting them to want to help with things at home, Lovisa explains that it often comes naturally.

“Our children are 10 and 11 years old and very eager to quickly get away and find fun things to do. Now they have begun to understand that to get us adults free for their activities they can help out a bit more, which means that they see the value in getting rid of the dishes or packing their own things.”

Keeping order instead of just dropping things all over is also a carrot to get away quickly. When the guys put away their stuff themselves, they know where the things are and can immediately retrieve them when the opportunity comes to run out to their friends.

“If they want to go out and kick the football and have put the football shoes away themselves, they know where the shoes are. Instead of when we have cleaned the hall and put the shoes away which is when they need to search for them which takes more time and keeps their friends waiting."

Lovisa also describes that it becomes a lot more fun when they all help each other. For example, her son Sixten has zoned in on cooking and gathering recipes. Instead of her having to stand and deliver endless pancakes to them, the children can participate in various cooking stations and help with dinner. The former problem of children not eating vegetables has completely disappeared there too, the cucumber pieces which they themselves hacked they chew with pleasure.

Keeping things organized and helping out at home is something that Lovisa thinks should be standard and nothing which the children should receive money for. If, on the other hand, they want to make an extra effort that is outside of everyday routines, they will be perfect chores to add to the Gimi app.

9. Focus on continuity and the long-term

When it comes to getting paid for chores at home, Lovisa and her husband are keen to do so only after habits are formed on a continual basis. That money comes when the children have done a chore repeatedly for an extended period of time, for example, making the bed every day for a month. By doing that, Lovisa wants to teach Baxter and Sixten endurance and show the value of fighting for something in the long-term. This is something she also relates to in her work as a personal trainer.

"Just as with training, it's about keeping in a good habit over time, it's only then the real result is gained."

Visualizing the savings goal and adding a savings bonus when money is not spent is something Lovisa highly appreciates. The difficulty of maintaining routines and habits is often the reason why many people turn to her for personal training in the first place too. Short milestones and rewards are often good methods for keeping the spark alive, Lovisa favours people aiming high but at the same time focusing on one task at a time, just like she sees her children doing every day in the Gimi app.

10. Choose what is fun, easy and that gives children a lifelong value

When asked why Lovisa would recommend Gimi to other families, the answer is fast.

“Because it's so simple! The children get the money they deserve while creating an economic understanding. In addition, we as parents do not have to have bad conscience about forgotten weekly allowance, which is very nice.”

Just like with training, personal finance for Lovisa is about finding a method that is easy to get started with, fun to implement and easy to continue with in the long term. She believes that the most important thing is that the person themself feels a motivation rather than the person being told what to do in a certain way.

“Just as with the children's gaming or screen time, as a parent I do not want to go in and judge or interrupt, it just creates bad mood and disappointment rather than lessons. Instead, I want to make them aware and remind them of the outside world. I want to give them tips and inspiration that can help them act differently.”

When it comes to giving the kids tips, inspiration and motivation, Lovisa thinks that Gimi is on point. She smiles and tells how she gets warm inside when she sees the development of her sons and their tremendous strive to develop and learn more.

As if Lovisa's inner warmth wasn't enough, the sun was at its peak in the sky when an hour had passed. We laugh and end our conversation in the hope of meeting again soon, if nothing else to hear the continuation of Baxter's savings goal for the snowboard and about Sixtens cheffing skills!

Summary:

Gimi helps families make their children's financial education a natural and fun part of everyday life. With the Gimi app, families find a routine with everyday chores to motivate their children to put money aside for their big dreams instead of spending cash on small things.

With the Gimi card, children can put their theoretical knowledge into practice and become more financially independent. Research from the OECD's latest PISA study shows that children who have been able to manage money digitally have a significantly higher understanding of the value of money compared to children who have only managed physical cash (read more about the research here)

By using the Gimi card and app, children can gain financial literacy in a fun and interactive way and get Financial Superskills for life ©

Lofsan's 10 tips for children’s financial education and pocket money management

  1. See personal finance as training - focus on the goal instead of the chore
  2. Gaining routine on everyday chores - Make them a habit and avoid cheating (add Gimi's weekly chore schedule to your calendar)
  3. Talk about what reasonable financial compensation is to your children
  4. Remember that everything wasn't better before - from physical money jars to digital piggy banks
  5. See the positive side of the children's gaming
  6. Focus on financial education instead of the money itself
  7. Get everyone in the family involved in personal economy - Start talking about what things cost
  8. Let the children see the benefit of contributing and keeping organized
  9. Focus on continuity and the long-term
  10. Choose what is fun, easy and that gives children a lifelong value

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