Teach financial responsibility with these 3 apps for kids

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It’s hard enough to get kids to talk about serious issues, let alone money, a topic that can seem terribly boring.

Your kids’ faces are already buried in their smartphones or tablets. Why not use these devices to help educate them on financial matters?

A March 2015 survey by T. Rowe Price found 69% of parents say it’s important to set a good financial example for their kids. Yet, 41% of parents say they sometimes avoid talking to kids about money, while only 28% of kids say they are very or extremely knowledgeable about managing personal finances, according to the survey.

Apps and financial games can be a great means to bridge the gap between parents and kids on money issues.

“If you don’t teach your kids about money, no one else will. Anything that makes money fun and visual will entice kids to become involved,” says Brette Sember, author of “The Everything Kids’ Money Book.”

Here are 3 apps to help lead your kids down the right financial path.

Savings Spree (iOS)

Designed for children ages 7 and older, this fun app uses games to teach kids how daily lifestyle choices can impact their savings.

Savings Spree features easy-to-understand games with 6 rounds of play that focus on savings, earning money, rainy-day funds, spending avoidance and wealth habits.

In one game, players get paid for decorating cupcakes; in another, graphics illustrate how $1.50 spent on a drink every day can add up to nearly $550 for the whole year. There’s even a challenge where a character moves though a mall trying to make the best purchasing decisions.

All the games keep a running “score” in an account balance that can rise or fall depending on how the kid plays the games.

You can buy this app for $5.99 in the App Store.

FamZoo (Android, iOS)

More of a serious app than a game, FamZoo serves as an online “virtual family bank” that enables parents to record and guide their child’s spending and savings habits.

Parents set up a family bank account and teach their kids through example how to earn, save, budget, spend and donate. Virtual accounts can be tied to real accounts accessible by prepaid debit cards.

“Use your child’s allowance like a salary,” Sember says. “Teach your child to save some and spend some. Create budgets for things like monthly purchases.”

Financial plan templates allow users to easily configure their family bank account. Parents can also set up repeat payments, which can then also be automatically split up between accounts, and they can pay interest to encourage their kids to save.

Note: FamZoo is a subscription service. You’ll pay as much as $5.99 a month to use it.

The Game of Life app (Android, iOS)

The electronic app version of the board game, which dates back to 1963, is an excellent way to teach kids about life choices, responsibilities and the value of money.

Kids can choose college or an immediate career path and face grown-up decisions like marriage and having kids. How they manage or use their money is all up to them. They can be frugal and engage in conservative investments, or buy fancy cars, play the lottery and walk the edge of financial disaster.

Because The Game of Life allows kids to make multiple choices, it’s a great way to learn how financial behavior and decisions can affect their future.

The Android and iPhone versions of the app cost 99 cents, while the iPad version is $4.99.