The founders of Sniggle Zoo realized that raising kids to be money-smart is essential for their development.  As kids struggle to manage finances when they get older, especially when dealing with university debt or buying items on credit, they can be lead to bankruptcy if they aren’t properly educated.

Early education helps to determine a child’s decision-making process as they get older — and what could be more important than a solid foundation in successful financial management?

Sniggle Zoo has created a youth marketing program called “The Money Mammals” where credit unions are connected with families and schools through online games, offline activities, financial literacy apps and more. The program provides banking activities that encourage interest in money smarts, for kid’s aged 11 and under.

Tell us about yourself and the founding of your company.

My wife and I knew we wanted to raise money-smart kids. The seeming randomness of our own behaviors – she a spendthrift from day one and I the markedly less frugal son of a banker – inspired us to figure out a way to help kids become more financially aware.

Parents needed a program to help them help their kids become “money comfortable” – a tool to help them teach kids that money itself is just that – a tool. I surveyed the landscape, and found a dearth of materials for kids so we set about to create fun, engaging materials designed to get kids excited about a subject that would normally have them running in the opposite direction.

How is your company looking to change the world?

We created The Money Mammals to help our kids and many more become money smart. It was when a credit union came to us to create a youth program based on our ideals that we knew we were really onto something. Everything we do is designed to be as engaging as possible.

Of course, getting kids excited is just the first step. We want our materials to be as fun for the kids as it is for the parents, teachers and credit union educators that are shepherding them along. Then we provide tools; our Family Kit for the parents and our Teaching Kit for the teachers. These utilities help them build on that excitement with real world and classroom learning.

Are there any interesting trends that are happening in your space?

 Virtually every notable money guru (Dave Ramsey, Jean Chatsky, Ron Lieber) has jumped into the kids and money space. Even Sesame Street dipped its toe in the pond a few years ago. This space is big enough for all of us and the more attention that we can all bring to this, the better. Having spoken with thousands of folks, I believe that raising “money comfortable” kids, reducing consumerism and focusing more on happiness than luxury are among the most important issues for families today.

Is there a specific announcement you would like to make?

My new book, “Joe the Monkey and Friends Learn About Spending Smart,” is available now for credit unions