Yesterday I wrote this post about how I have told my kids they have to wait 30 days before spending any of the money they happen to receive for their birthdays.
And I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the past couple days.
I want to do a better job about teaching my kids about money. About how to save it and when to spend it. About what is a smart investment and what is a waste of money. About long-term planning.
Of course, they need to be receiving money in order to learn how to manage it.
That can be tricky though when you are ten years old. Or younger.
I could give my kids an allowance.
But I have a problem with giving kids money just for, well,
Because that doesn’t happen when you are an adult.
People do not give you money every week simply because you have a pulse.
I also don’t agree with paying children for everyday chores.
I will not pay my kids for doing the things they are supposed to do everyday no matter what.
You are supposed to clean up after yourself in the bathroom and the kitchen. If you contribute to the mess, you are obligated to clean it up, too. Free of charge.
Nobody pays you to do that when you turn 18.
As far as I’m concerned, your reward for taking care of your responsibilities at home are all the extras — things like watching TV or playing on the iPad.
But I do want my children to have opportunities to earn money.
I saw Mark Cuban in an interview a while ago, and he was talking about how he got his start in business.
When he was twelve years old, he wanted a new pair of basketball shoes. He told his dad, and his dad told him he better get a job. And so he started selling garbage bags to earn money to pay for those shoes.
I want my kids to understand that making money is hard work.
And I want to teach them to be proactive. Because sometimes you may have a fairly easy time finding work.
Other times, it’s going to be really, really hard.
And sometimes you get to do work you really enjoy. Other times, you have to do stuff that is just no fun at all.
And even the fun stuff has aspects to it that suck.
Number 4 gets it.
She is a go-getter.
Two years ago she broke her elbow in the middle of the summer. She missed the whole swim season and couldn’t really swim in the pool. She was devastated.
She has been begging me to help her make another one ever since.
Last summer I just couldn’t get it together. But this summer, since she had still been so persistent, I set her up with everything she needed.
There are no concession stands at our home baseball games, so I told her whenever Number 3 has a home game this summer, she could set up shop.
So far, she has opened for business twice.
She had fun making the lemonade and making the signs and setting up her table and dealing with customers.
But she also learned that people like to come experience all the glory without putting in the work.
You know. Like The Little Red Hen.
She learned that people will try to take advantage of you.
And people will steal your shit when you aren’t looking.
But she has also made $45 so far.
It was hard work, but it was very rewarding and mostly fun.
The younger kids can’t really do this.
They could help Number 4. But she’s kind of in business for herself.
Number 3 can’t set up a lemonade stand when he is on the baseball field.
I hope that they learn something from Number 4 taking the initiative.
But we talked about this tonight.
And we decided that there are things the kids can do around the house and the yard that are beyond the scope of everyday responsibilities.
Things like weeding garden beds.
Raking up the grass after the lawn has been mowed.
That kind of stuff.
Those jobs will be assigned a dollar amount.
And should the kids decide to be proactive and choose to do those jobs, they will all have the opportunity to make some money.
The good, old-fashioned way.
By earning it.