Friday, February 7, 2014

Show Them the Money....

I like to listen to the radio early in the morning. I've been listening to Guy Phillips on Y98 since my college days, when he was half of Phillips & Wall and the station's call letters were KSLQ. The duo parted company years ago, and these days, the drive-time show is called Phillips & Company. It's the only radio program I listen to for the talk more than the music.

A couple of mornings ago, they had, among other things, a discussion of childrens' allowances. Three members of the team have children. Guy said he based his kids' allowances on the age of the child: a dollar for each year. They discussed whether or not the money should simply be given to the child, or if it should be earned by doing appropriate chores around the house.

When I was very young, I got a dollar a week--which, back in the late '50s-early '60s, was worth a lot more than it is in 2014! As I grew older, that amount increased--especially when Mom and Dad were oblivious to the fact that they were both paying me!

Collin also received an allowance. He also had multiple sources of income. My dad once promised him a certain toy on the 3rd of the month, when his Social Security check arrived. Unfortunately, it came on the 2nd that month because the 3rd fell on a weekend--so even though Collin got the toy on the 2nd, he thought he should also get one the next day.

Dad bought him a second toy on the 3rd.

I sold my first novel when he was six years old, and he quickly learned to use the ATM machines. He used to tell his teachers and classmates that my publisher didn't give me any money--just a card I could use to get money. Whenever I got an advance or royalty check, Collin got to go shopping.

Not that he wasn't good at saving. He once saved the money to buy himself a bike with all the extras: banana seat, headlight, horn, the works.

Just before Dad passed away, I received a partial advance payment for my novel Luck of the Draw--$35,000. Dad was in the hospital (at that point, we thought he'd be coming home the following week) when Collin spent $350 at Children's Palace. When Mom told him about it in a phone call, he told his roommate--who didn't believe it. Dad couldn't wait for us to get to the hospital that evening to verify it.

One might think that Collin would have grown up with no sense of the value of a dollar--but he's actually quite good with money, in ways I never was. These days, he manages everything. He pays the bills and does the budgeting. He got that from Dad. I guess it skipped a generation....


  1. I think it's a mix of things- it should be based on doing chores, but also progressing as a child gets older to help them understand the use of money.

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  3. I have no money sense at all. I think it's inherited. But my guy is Mr. Frugal like his mom. We clash quite a bit but I get him to loosen up sometimes and he gets me to think before I spend sometimes.

  4. I think it's great to have children learn about money somehow, whether chore-based or not. I'm sure having your son handle money when he was younger helped him learn something about managing it! Start 'em young:)

  5. Heavens, my parents gave us 25 cents. My older brothers thought we were spoiled. Of course, we had chores. We were on the farm. We paid our children allowances and thought we were really generous. We found out later (this was the late 60's early 70's, that their contemporaries were getting between $15.00 & $20.00. We didn't even give them $5.00.

  6. I think if kids want money, they should work for it so they know how hard it is to earn money.

  7. I think there's a fine line between a child's chores as a contribution to the overall household and being paid for those chores. However, an allowance is an important tool in a child's development as he/she travels life's road.

  8. My children revived an allowance because they were part of our family. But because they were part of the family they had chores to do. If needed they did extra ones when asked but not for money. Keeping their rooms neat, when older they did their own laundry, and they even cook meals. I sent them out into the world knowing the basics.
    All of them are very good at saving money.

    cheers, parsnip

  9. I had an allowance. But then, I did do work around the house. My mother died when I was 12. I did housework, dishes, and eventually learned how to do laundry. I grew up fast. As far as managing money, not so good. I couldn't save a dime, and I'm about that way now. Only now it's all spent on bills.

  10. @ William: That's where Mom and Dad went wrong with me, I guess. I was a spoiled brat!

    @ Cheryl: Welcome to the club!

    @ Lulu: My dad said I was only teaching Collin how to spend it. I'm amazed at how good he is at managing!

    @ Mari: I think kids today are overindulged. I see eight-year-olds with smartphones.

    @ Gina: Fewer and fewer parents, it seems, make their kids earn anything.

    @ Kittie: I think you're right!

    @ Gayle: That's a good way to teach them. Mom and Dad just gave me money, never taught me how to handle it. When I was on my own, I was at a disadvantage...until I was making a lot. And even then, I was never good at managing it.

  11. @ Lorelei: Looks like you and I have something in common beyond being authors!

  12. I can't really remember Norma, it was too long ago :) My two did get an allowance, I don't think they had to do terribly much for it but for some reason they are both now extremely good at managing their own household monies, go figure :)


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