Can I Earn Some Money?
A common question in our home revolves around finances. With some frequency my children ask, “How can I earn some money?” The occasion prompting such a question is usually something which requires cash for entrance (like a movie, mini golf, or a theme park) or at which they’ll want to buy some treats (junk food). While my children have an allowance, they don’t always manage the monies well, and thus the question. If I were to write out an equation, it’d be (with apologies to real math people, of which I am obviously not one):
Felt Need = (Motivation To Work) + (Instant Cash)
Or something like that.
Anyway, our children have various funds to manage, to spend on clothing and frivolities, for giving, for saving. I’ll admit, though, that beyond real-world teaching opportunities like an invitation to an event that requires money which they don’t have, we’ve been a bit lax on how to practically help them in this.
All this came to mind as I read a Wall Street Journal article about how to approach kids and money. One person offered an “earn everything they get” perspective in which doing chores brings money, while another suggested giving money apart from chores to helps kids better understand finances.
The first view is described as follows:
There are two types of chores in a house: Citizen of the Household, without pay, and Work for Pay.
Citizen of the Household chores are personal things: brushing teeth, keeping your own space clean, putting your toys away, etc.
Work for Pay are all chores in a home—setting tables, doing laundry, etc. Those jobs are paid for with a salary on a weekly schedule.
Citizen of the Household chores are “good behavior,” and if not done, the punishment is behavioral, taking away a privilege, like TV. If Work for Pay jobs are not done, there is no pay.
Here’s the latter approach as expressed by one expert:
Allowances and family chores have different purposes.
Allowances help children learn to manage money and control the need for instant gratification. Family chores help children learn to develop a work ethic.
Paying for extra chores sends a healthy message: Money and hard work go together.
I guess we’re somewhere in between these two views. We’ve given the kids a certain allowance based upon their age, and independent of chores. We also pay extra for extra work – the “above and beyond” kind of help that shows initiative and responsibility. We want to give money because they are part of the family, and eventually they’ll need to take care of their own spending. We also want to reward mature choices.
How about you? How do you handle kids, chores and allowances?