Allowance for Children

May I ask you a question? Oh wait… That was a question…

Do you give your children an allowance?

We just started, and I thought I would share what we’re doing in an article to get some feedback and ideas from everyone. Our kids are eight and five, so they understand a little bit about money and their just learning that it takes money to get things.

The first thing that Kristine and I discussed was, Do we make them work for the money or not? Eventually what we came up with was more along the lines of: If you’ve been good (this can include doing chores) you will receive an allowance for the week. It is entirely up to us, and either parent can choose to withhold a weekly allowance for any reason.

Once the ground rules were established we needed to come up with an amount. We decided to simply give them one dollar for each year old they are. This was mostly for ease and a simple way to remember.

Now we dug into what I consider the most important part… We designed some simple deductions that would teach them about real life. I chose to use three straight forward and simple deductions: TAXES, SAVINGS, and CHARITY/TITHING. I know we could have said, Roth IRA, 401K, health insurance, FICA, 503b, and so on and so forth… Alas, we want to make this easy and enjoyable. We also want it to be a learning experience. So, we stuck with three main deductions

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Next, we created easy percentages for each deduction to explain how percentages work. So we came up with:

TAXES = 20%

In this way, we can easily and quickly calculate what they owe.

During our first “payday” the kids were enthralled and thrilled to learn. Mostly I think they wanted to get their grubby little fingers around some cold hard cash!

I showed each of them what their gross pay (whole amount prior to deductions) was. $8 and $5. Then I explained deducting taxes by saying, “This is what we have to pay the man.” HA! In all seriousness, I explained that our military, police force, firemen, roads, and agencies need funding to exist. After pulling that out, we talked about what savings was and we deducted that. Finally, I explained charity and tithing and the importance of giving back to the community and helping others. The kids were excited and took it all in.

Once all of that was done, I explained what net pay (take home after deductions) was and handed them each their allowance. $4.80 and $3. This actually hit home with me when I saw how much of a chunk was missing.

It was fun for the whole family, and we can’t wait to continue with this.

By the way, Kristine and I are keeping track of their taxes, savings, and charity/tithing… Our plan is to give them a lump sum (approximately $2000) of this “savings” on their sixteenth birthday. This will be our final financial lesson; which is that saving money REALLY pays off!!!

What do you guys do (or plan to do)?

See you next time,
Mr. V

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