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Family Forum: Discussing Children and Money

Our Family Forum shares ideas on when and how to give your kids money.

Welcome to the Family Forum; your stop for discussion on all of the hot topics that affect families in our community.

Our discussions will be led by valued community members from our Miller Place-Rocky Point, Three Village and Port Jeff Patch sites. They are:

Miller Place-Rocky Point: , , ,, , , , and .

Three Village: , , , , , , and .

Port Jefferson: , Lisa Dix,  , and

If you would like to volunteer and become more involved in the forum, please email Patch editor expressing your interest. The Family Forum is designed for moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles and caregivers all to share ideas on topics, questions and ideas involving families in our community. Let's get the discussion going with this week's question:

When and how do you begin to give your children money? How do you go about helping them understand the value of a dollar?

If your kids are too young for money, tell us what your parents did when YOU were a child and what you plan on doing when your children come of age.

We encourage everyone to share their thoughts in the comment boxes below. Stop by Patch each week for another community discussion.

Lisa March 30, 2011 at 11:39 PM
We have never used an allowance with either of our sons. When our oldest was younger and now with our 11 year old, they had would have to do different things to help out- like take out the garbage, pick up their room, feed the dog but never for an allowance. We always have provided them with clothing, sneakers , sports equipment etc when needed. The extras like video games, and items that are not necessary, our boys save(d) their birthday money, or recycled bottles and cans money (whoever stands in front of the machine to do this gets the recycle money) to purchase these items. They also could earn a special item (video game, toy) within reason for doing something spectacular- like getting an award, or earning a great report card. Our oldest (now 20) was luckily a hard worker and still is and always had a knack for finding odd jobs outside our home, since he was 12. He is a good saver now and pretty much uses his own money for all his necesseties. He is in college so we still give hime some money for gas and college related costs.. This type of system seemed to work for us.
Kristin Colvin March 31, 2011 at 01:42 AM
Like Rosetta, our daughter is 6.5 years old and we have been contemplating an allowance system for her for some time. She has had her own bank account since she was a baby, and understands (age appropriately) how savings account work. She has also had a 529 Plan set up since I found out I was pregnant, but none of her money would ever be expected to contribute to that. I happen to love Suze Orman myself, & agree with much of what she has to say about childhood "allowance." She says that we, as parents, should change the word to "salary," and that the work determines the salary. The payout should be small for young children, the chores kept simple & decided upon by all. As a teen, use the salary/chore conversation to introduce taxation. After all, we are trying to prepare our children for the real world. Suze also encourages real employment once your teen turns 15 or so. The salaried chores should be assigned monetary value & just like in the real world, children should not be allowed to jump to the higher paid chores before performing the more menial tasks. Personally, growing up I did not receive an allowance. I received money for my good grades, starting in elementary school (i.e., $10 for every "E" or "A", $5 for every "VG" or "B", etc). By high school, I had accrued quite the savings! I also started working at age 12, babysitting. I think one of the very best lessons we can teach our children is a financial one. It can only benefit them for a lifetime!
Cheryl Donnelly March 31, 2011 at 08:14 PM
My kids are young, but we have started an allowance with our oldest who is 5. I like Kristin's idea of calling it a salary, so the children understand that there is work involved. My husband is a CPA, and my oldest like his dad is really into "numbers". We are using the allowance right now as a way to also teach Kieran about the value of money and the concept of saving your money. Kieran enjoys saving his money to get something he really wants, like a new wii game.
valerie garritano March 31, 2011 at 11:11 PM
When our children were young, before the age of about 10, we did not bring money into the equation other than their birthday money. Money is important but we felt they should be of a responsible age to understand and manage it. My husband and I decided that there needed to be a sense of earning when it came to money so it would not be taken for granted or the importance of earning a buck diminished. We agreed that there were chores that were expected of our kids so we did not pay them for that...cleaning their rooms, cleaning up after dinner or helping in the house. These were the obligations of the house. However, when they wanted something, we took this opportunity to inform them they will be able to work for their own money soon, and we offered money for special projects around the house ...spring cleaning outside, painting the fence or shed, creating a garden.
valerie garritano March 31, 2011 at 11:12 PM
At age 12, all were eligible to work at my husband's office for a salary. We took them to the bank and opened their accounts together. Part went to their college education and part they could keep. At a later age, they were also taught quickbooks to manage their money and spending. We closely observed how each child managed their money and our teachings were directed accordingly...some kids saved everything and spent nothing, some spent everything and saved nothing. It was challenging sometimes, guiding their issues, waiting for them to get motivated to work and trying to motivate them positively without pressure...but it all turned out very well for each child.

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