I am not sure how I feel about this. Having them responsible for other human beings scares me. Having first hand knowledge of their interaction with one another raises doubts. It is the context of being asked repeatedly to perform the task that surprises me. And having them earn their own money excites me!
It was the youngest’s first adventure last week that allows me to advance my claim. Let’s just call her our baby sitter in training. I am not a gambling man, but we did stack the cards in our favor. She was right next door and in constant contact with her mother. In the end, she returned the children alive and in the same condition she took charge. And she got paid and this stuns me!
Baby sitting is the prefect experience to start teaching them to be responsible. Let’s focus on the money. Where will my Girls learn financial matters if not in the home and from Mom and Dad? Maybe one of these days our schools will stop teaching achievement tests and start teaching our students how to learn. The basics of money management should be taught in the home and reinforced in elementary and high school. In what classes are they introduced and taught to excel in finance? I’m not sure if our universities are any good at it either (stepping off my soapbox).
The Girls will need to learn how to live within their means. The world isn’t very good at this.
Everywhere we look shouts that we should have instant gratification in all things and spend everything (running up credit cards) to achieve it. A budget assists us with living within our means.
Have you heard of the 50-30-20 rule? This was popularized by Elizabeth Warren in her 2005 book “All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan.” It suggests allocating 50% of your after-tax income on needs, 30% on wants, and 20% (I definitely champion this) to savings. I am not billing my children to stay under my roof, yet. At their age, they’re not going to be accountable for many bills. But I do feel that they should be fiscally responsible in two areas.
First, they should be involved with the household finances; knowing what the bills are and what the family budget involves. Second, they should spend their money to gain experience with wants and needs; and being broke. My rule for them at this age is to give back a 10% Tithing on their increase and divide the remainder in half between savings and spending.
The plan is to ultimately learn to live within 90% of their income and have 10% start making money for them. Anything above 10% would be that much better! We all should have the financial know how to avoid sinking and rise to the butterfly stroke. Please leave your comments at Scott@arenscp.com. ■