Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

New business teaches financial literacy to kids


April 15, 2020

Courtesy Photo

Lorne Jenkins learned the basics of money management at a young age, thanks to his mom.

When Lorne Jenkins was eight years old and his sister was five, they were constantly asking their mom, Ellen Ross, if they could eat out for dinner.

"She just got fed up with it, so she posted on the refrigerator a job opening for son and for daughter," said Jenkins.

They had to interview for the jobs, and Ross even called their references.

Fortunately, Jenkins said, "We got the jobs and then we got a salary every week." They had to pay for rent, transportation, and for bills.

Eating out on any given night was $3, while staying in for a meal was only $1.

By all accounts, the money management experiment was a smashing success. By the end of the summer, Ross asked them if they wanted to go out to eat, and, according to Jenkins, "We said 'no, that's too expensive.'"

Their mother, who is a lawyer in Longmont, had hit on educational gold. "It was fun for us to learn how to use money," said Jenkins.

Jenkins is friendly and personable on the phone. He's a natural storyteller who laughs easily and naturally.

A former Niwot High School football and track & field star, with a state championship in the triple jump under his belt, Jenkins has been featured in the "Courier" as recently as 2016, when he set career personal records at Campbell University, in North Carolina. He studied economics at Campbell and then went on to earn his masters in finance at University of East London.

After school, Jenkins got an "ideal job out of college" as a portfolio manager for a foreign exchange specialist in London.

"It was absolutely horrible," said Jenkins. "I literally felt like we were ripping off people every day."

He went to his boss and said, "I feel like we're not really helping anybody." His boss' response was, "If you want to help people you're never going to make money."

Jenkins took it as a challenge.

The model his mom used to teach him and his sister financial literacy is now the foundation of Jenkins' new Longmont-based business, Mini Money Management.

Jenkins started developing the money management app in the fall of 2019 in collaboration with local teachers. They had plans to launch it in four to five classrooms in the region this spring.

"We get the whole school version done, and that's the same week that coronavirus hits schools and everybody goes home," said Jenkins.

They had always planned on eventually releasing the app to individuals and families, so they quickly pivoted to develop a parallel version. They officially launched the app to the public on April 9.

Courtesy Photo

The Mini Money Management app launchedon April 9.

In the current coronavirus paradigm, Jenkins said, "Parents need stuff to do with their kids, and everyone is trying to find something that is fun and creative and educational." They are launching the app with a 30-day free trial for anyone to sign up.

No real money is exchanged in the app, which is focused on making household money management fun. Both parents and kids have their own log-ins. Kids have a savings account, a checking account, they can take out loans and buy virtual items in an online shop.

In some ways, there couldn't be a better time to start a business focusing on financial literacy for children. For many, money is suddenly very tight, and parents and kids have lots of time at home together.

Jenkins' goal for the web app is to teach financial awareness, and he added, "I want people to be able to make informed decisions."

Learn more at https://www.minimoneymanagement.com


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