When the bubble burst in the year 2000, Tanya Van Court lost over $1 million in stock and options over the course of a few minutes. Then and there she vowed to never let something like that happen to her children.
Five years later, her daughter Gabrielle was born. At the time, she was a VP of Digital Product Dev at ESPN. She then went on to work as SVP of Digital Products, Parenting & Preschool for Nickelodeon and, in 2013, moved to SVP of Marketing at Discovery Education, leading the charge to roll out digital textbooks nationwide.
Today, she runs Goalsetter, an app that allows parents and their kids to replace gift-giving with goal-giving.
It started when her daughter Gabrielle was eight years old. Van Court told her daughter that if she could save $100, Van Court would match that $100 and start her an investment account. After learning how exactly an investment account works, Gabrielle decided all she wanted for her ninth birthday was a bike and an investment account.
“I thought that these are amazing things for a nine-year-old to want, but she was going to get all kinds of stuff she didn’t want or need instead,” said Van Court. “I realized how early consumerism starts. We all have more and more and more and value things less and less and less.”
After conversations with fellow moms, Van Court got to work on Goalsetter. The app has two main branches: a savings account for kids and a financial literacy learning center with fun quizzes.
Kids and parents together sign up for the app, where kids input some of their goals, from college tuition to a new bike or gaming console. Kids can then earn their allowance through the app, and can also receive ‘GoalCards’ (replacing a gift card) from parents and relatives to save towards their goals.
Moreover, parents can round-up their debit card swipes to go towards their kids bigger goals, such as college tuition or a first car. Parents can also set up auto-save to set aside a few dollars each month.