Monday, July 19, 2010

Financial Lessons for the 8 yr. old

As you may know, I have fairly young children. I also am quite determined that my parenting duties include raising kids with financial awareness. It distresses me every day that my in-laws, (who were financially successful) obviously never imparted their financial savvy onto their children. I pray that I can do a better job of raising kids who can go out into the world and not come running back to mom & dad even into their 50's to bail them out of the latest financial mess. My mother-in-law must have known this; otherwise why would she have named me (a daughter-in-law) as executor of her will and trustee of the remaining assets.

Even though my children are only 8 and 4, I am trying. We do chore charts every week, and they are paid weekly based on what they have accomplished during the week. (Don't work = don't get paid!). We have complaints, we have whining, we have moaning....but they are always motivated when they get that cash every Sunday.

At the risk of running into flaming here, I do have what could be considered an extravagant ongoing expense for my 8 yr. old daughter. She loves to dance, and this week is tryouts for what will be her third year on a competitive dance company with the studio. No is expensive. There are more intense (and therefore more expensive studios) in the area, so comparatively it is a good option. But it is, nonetheless, a sacrifice I make.
(not my daughter)

After realizing that I could hire a twice-a-month housekeeper for what I pay to the studio (and the dancewear store), we had negotiations. She has agreed to be my right-hand cleaning helper each week in return for "being on team". It is a good indication how much passion she has for dancing since she kind of has a lazy streak....which is another thing I need to work on as her parent. It also helps me....and will ensure that I also don't raise a kid who doesn't have any idea how to clean a toilet or start the washing machine. We're 2 weeks out from the negotiations, and so far, so good.

On Saturday, we had another "lesson." I had purchased an accessory at the dancewear store that she decided she did not want. When I was leaving to run errands and return it, she asked if I would buy a pair of jazz shoes instead. The jazz shoes cost approximately $20 more than the item I was returning, and I just happened to know that she had $20 left from the vacation money she had raided her piggy bank for. At first, she balked about kicking in the $20 from her own money. I told her to think about it....the store is only a mile from home and we could always stop in and buy them if she wanted. About 30 minutes before the store closed, she asked to go buy them. She even said, "I can make back that $20 in about 3 weeks."

I am so glad she took her time making the financial decision, weighed the costs, and came to the realization of just how much work (3 weeks worth) it will take to replace this money. Could some of my lectures have sunk in? Based on what happened Saturday, I believe the lessons are working!


  1. No flaming here! We do this kind of negotiations all the time, on a daily basis. It even gets down to the micro-level - if we are stopping by a fast food and I have agreed to buy everyone a $1 item, one son may say that he'd like to upgrade his to a meal. He offers to pay the difference for that upgrade - and he does!

    It's to the point that they apologize if I "have to" buy them some things (have I overdone it? Nah...) and I reassure them with humor that I consider it my job to buy them sheets, shoes, school supplies, etc. and I do not want them to pay for certain things. I'm really lucky that they are boys (this may be part of my luck) and don't ask for lots of things (except the 18 year old who is starting to want a lot of things but knows he has to pay for those things and doesn't even want to ask anyone else to pay for them - hmmm... my lessons may have paid off with this evidence of ethics development in him)

    But when they want some fancy auxiliary school supply that is not required or necessary, they pay for it themselves.

  2. that is awesome - we too have paid chores... and dd is pretty good about spending her own money when she wants something.... super important thing to teach our children for sure!!!