Are Allowances Important for Kids?


Does it seem to you that you are constantly reaching into your wallet to give money to the kids? I can be unending. The solution is to give your children an allowance and teach them how to manage their own money?

Let’s talk money.

Mom, Dad, I need fifty bucks

The best time to learn about money is at a young age. “If you help your kids develop good money habits when they’re young,” says senior wealth advisor and author Paul Lermitte, “they will have a better chance of being successful managers of money.”

Money makes the world go round, but is seen as an adult concern. All too often we avoid the topic with our children, who then become adults with a limited understanding of finances. The challenge is to raise our kids to handle money responsibly.

And the answer is to give them an allowance. In his excellent book, Allowances, Dollars and SenseDreams Dollars & Sense and Decisions Dollars & Sense,  Lermitte lays out a plan for teaching kids about money that is understandable and works.

Parents in my audiences often ask whether they should give kids an allowance, how much to give them and whether the money should be tied to chores. These are all good questions and ones addressed in this book and in my presentations.

Kids should be receiving an allowance. They need to learn how to handle money and the way to do it is by experience.

So how much should they receive?  That depends on what they will be purchasing. Sit down with them and develop a budget. Is the money only for treats or does it include transit tickets and lunch money? Figure out what they need the money for and set the allowance accordingly.

When kids get older and want a raise, they needed to present the evidence of increased needs and costs.

In our house, when the kids turned 14, we added a clothing allowance. Having them responsible for buying their clothes from their own money avoided all kinds of arguments with our teens. And let me tell you, once they were in charge of clothing they loved it when we bought them socks, underwear or pyjamas as gifts! How you determine the amount is up to you. We did work with them when it came to large purchases such as coats. We also found that a growth bonus was sometimes necessary when one of our teens had a huge growth spurt over the summer and nothing from the previous school year fit.

Lermitte suggests that Sunday evening be allowance time. He points out that if we give it to them Friday evening or Saturday morning they will spend it on the weekend. Giving it to them Sunday means they have to make it last the week if they want to have cash to spend the following weekend.

Many families divide allowances into three sections. Money to save, money to give to charity or church and money to spend.

The money to spend is theirs. If they choose, they can blow it. Mind you, then they’re broke and that can be a tough but important lesson. Let’s say that during the week they go out and spend their money on junk food. Saturday they want to go to a movie. But, their money has all been spent and they won’t get another allowance until tomorrow. A responsible parent will allow them to miss the movie. A loan will not help them learn how to handle money.

An occasional loan, as long as it’s truly a loan, is fine but if you find yourself constantly doling out money and having to keep track of the money owed, one of two things is happening. Your child needs some help learning how to manage her cash or you need to reconsider the size of her allowance.

And what about tying money to chores? Receiving an allowance should be separate from chores. This money is designed to teach them how to handle money, not how to earn it.

Chores are the responsibility of all family members and cash rewards should not be tied to taking out the garbage or setting the table. These are things we all, young and old, need to do as part of living together.

There is an argument that tying money to chores teaches kids about working for a living. Once they are old enough they can get a job and that will start the process of learning about earning a living. Being paid for household chores is not real world. Adults do chores for free and every person who lives in the house should be expected to pitch in and do their share to make the household run smoothly.

When we pay kids for chores it can backfire if they decide to ignore all chores because they don’t need the money or they have a part-time job that pays better.

If we want our kids to grow up to be capable young adults it’s essential that they know how to handle money.

Bring Kathy to your Community

Do you want to hear more? I am always happy to come and speak in your community, at your event or as a workplace wellness presentation. On her website you can find more information on her material.

My presentations will share a basic value that I call

P.U.R.E. Parenting.

P — is a parenting plan

U — is unconditional love

R — is respect for your child as he is right now

E — is encouragement

Digital Books Make Parenting Information More Accessible.

Next time you’re sitting in the doctor’s office, lying about fighting a cold or on transit and wish you had something to read, think about Parenting Today’s digital parenting books.You can choose from Who’s in Charge Anyway? whichtalks about roots. It provides a clear road map for parent to focus on the tough but rewarding job of raising children to be responsible, self-disciplined adults.But Nobody Told Me I’d Ever Have to Leave Home talks about raising children to become capable young men and women. Vive la Différence focuses on specific parenting issues.
The first two are also available in print. Just log onto the store on the site and they are yours for the reading.

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