Friday, October 25, 2019

Kids-n-Money: The Pre-Teen Years

Pathways Advisory Group, Inc.
Dustin J. Smith, CFP®

In 2017 I wrote about our first humbling experiences with our kids-n-money and diving into the book The Opposite of Spoiled. We’ve made some progress since then. The kids, now pre-teens, have developed stronger temptation muscles and they ask a lot of questions:

How much do you have in our College accounts? 

Can I use my Donate for the jogathon at school?

How much do I have in my Invest account?

Why should I add to my Invest if you add to it for me every month?

I’ve got a hundred dollars in my Save but I don’t have anything in mind, can I just add it to my Invest? 

What would it be like if everyone had a summer break?  My favorite question!

How much did we pay for this house?

How much do you have in your Truck account?  

How much do you have in your Retire accounts?

The kids have outgrown their Money Savvy Pigs® but, as you can see from their questions, the spend, save, donate and invest money choice experience has shaped how they think about money.  That’s definitely a win!  Now, about those tricky allowances:

Allowances:  The suggestion from the Opposite of Spoiled, was to separate your child’s allowance from their chores.  This made sense to us, as household chores are responsibilities not compensated tasks, so we went with it.  However, we quickly learned that an allowance without daily expectations feels like an entitlement – not exactly our intention.

Summer Chore Cards:  Inspired by Michelle’s post about the Carter household, we decided to take a break from allowances and experiment with chore cards for the summer (Unload and put away groceries = $1, Fold and put away Laundry from the Laundry basket =$1, etc.).  Without an allowance, there will be more incentive to help out.  Hopefully this, plus the extra free time, allows them to experience the value of hard work, a sense of accomplishment and the joy of being helpful.

Back to School:  Fresh off the lessons of summer, it was time to reset expectations and reinstate allowances.  We went with the usual $7/week, settled on the typical expectations (homework, lunches, make your bed, etc.) but decided to add one weekly rotating household chore from the summer list. 

Like most parenting topics, the kids-n-money topic has evolved through lots of trial and error.  We learn something new with each experiment.  Life also gets in the way periodically.  I am at least two weeks behind on their allowances, as of this post.  Please do not tell them to ask for interest!  We are trying to take it all one year at a time – soon, whether we like it or not, they will be teenagers!!!!


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