Last week I covered a hot topic in the kids and money arena — allowances. I shared our approach to an allowance (we don’t do it) and shared ideas on the subject from financial experts Suze Orman and Dave Ramsey. I then asked you, the MNN readers, to share your stories with me.
The post here at MNN received several comments, but there was quite a bit of action over on the MNN Facebook page. Here’s what some MNN readers have to say about kids and allowances:
Lori Popkewitz Alper is confused about the allowance issue:
“We have been going back and forth on this one for years. Every time I offer to pay one of my kids for something I find myself taking a step back and thinking that they need to pitch in without payment since we all live together and work as a team to make the house run. So now my oldest son, 10, wants to earn money to buy a special karate uniform. I think on the surface this is fabulous. But now I am completely confused about which jobs to pay him for — which are part of the regular, you live here jobs and which go above and beyond. Maybe thinking of it as a salary would help. Thoughts?”
I understand your confusion Lori, because I also question whether or not I’m doing my children a disservice by not paying them for typical household chores. We ended up going the salary route by offering them financial compensation for helping out with my business, specifically by writing blog posts. Perhaps you and your son can brainstorm ways that he can earn a salary by completing tasks that aren’t part of his typical household chores.
Alisa T. Weinstein shared her story and it may prove to be insightful for Lori:
“Our back story: one day a few years ago my then-four-year-old was...well...loudly begging for another lip balm. I didn't want to buy her one, and in my exasperation, I told her to "get a job." So she did! Since that time, she's been a toy designer, a paleontologist, a curator, a dietitian -- basically, she earns money for tackling kid-versions of adult professional tasks. And, as you pointed out, gets tons of other skill-boosting experiences to boot.”
Fans of the MNN Facebook page take several approaches to the allowance issue. Sarah White explains that her child “has to contribute to the household whether or not it pays. So his small allowance is "free" but can be docked. He can also earn more money by doing chores that aren't a part of his regular responsibility.”
Colin Giblin is a fan of children getting an age-appropriate job to earn money:
“I got a paper route when I was 8 years old. They should help around the house for no pay, and will learn to manage money by getting a job as soon as they can.”
I, too, had a few early jobs including a paper route and a weekly column in our local newspaper. It was rewarding to be able to earn my own money.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to comment on the topic, I have come to realize that I’m not alone in my take on allowances. There were quite a few varied responses, but the main message was that as parents, we all do what we feel is best for our children when it comes to the allowance issue.