All about your child's allowance
Even at a young age, children can begin learning about money.
"Children as young as age 4 can learn coin recognition and basic financial principles such as the exchange of goods and services for money," says Solter.
The amount of money should be minimal because children
at this age tend to lose or misplace money. That's OK. It's all part of the learning
process. If your son is playing with a few quarters and loses them, he won't have
the money to buy a baseball card or a pack of gum.
age. By 5 or 6, most children can understand the differences between spending,
short-term savings, long-term savings and donating. If they sort their money into
those four categories every week, they'll be developing responsible money management
skills. As they get older, children can begin paying for things such as gifts
for other people and their own personal hobbies.
years. During the tween years (ages 9 to 12), children who have been given
an allowance from an early age will be able to step up their responsibilities
as the amount of their allowances increases.
Some tweens are
ready to take on the challenge of purchasing their own wardrobes and paying for
all of their entertainment expenses. Many tweens will feel empowered by their
allowances, although they will still need constant supervision and guidance.
not to say that parents should stop them from making mistakes. Remember, the sole
purpose of the allowance is a tool for learning good money management principles.
One of the best ways to learn is by making mistakes and dealing with the consequences
of those errors.
Teen years. Most
experts agree that by the time children are teenagers they are ready to receive
a clothing allowance. So, instead of opening your wallet every time Junior wants
a new pair of jeans, consider giving him a clothing allowance.
may want to do this in two distinct clothing allowance chunks, rather than making
it part of the allowance, since clothes shopping happens a few times a year rather
than weekly. Let him use his clothing allowance the way he wants to, and when
the money is gone, don't offer more -- even if he's forgotten to budget for a
new winter coat and needs to wear his old one, which is ever-so-snug and showing
Freedom within limits
Some parents fear that giving children an allowance is like giving them permission
to purchase whatever they want, whenever they want. Not true. The allowance gives
children some freedom to choose what they want to do with their money, within
For example, you may require that a
certain amount of your child's allowance be saved for college or donated to charity,
or both. It's your call. And, as always, you set the limits on what's appropriate
to buy. If your child is not permitted to watch PG-13 movies or play T-rated video
games, then those are off-limits regardless of whether they have the money to
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