Sunday 21 June 2020

Questions and Answers (Thirty-Seven): Money Skills for Children - Right Age to Start

At what age should we start giving children money to handle?

This is an excellent question. Thanks for asking. In a sense, this might be subjective and vary from place to place, culture-to-culture, and civilization-to-civilization. It can also vary based on the parent's economic status of the parent(s) and personality – how controlling or trusting they are. All in all, the effect is the same on the child. So, let us focus on answering from the child’s perspective.

Giving money to your child is a show of trust and belief in the person of your child. Unknown to a lot of parents, it means the world to them. They want to be able to say, “This is my money.” So, the earlier you can, the better. Even before you start handing over the physical cash to them, carry them, and use the money gifts that come in for them. Share with them how you break down the money and what you are allocating it for. It goes a long way in building your child.

Opinions vary as to whether or not to give children allowance or pocket money. Some people are all for it. Others are totally against it and would rather have the child always come to them. I think somewhere between the two extremes is the right answer. Life is all about balance. Extremes are easy and lazy positions to take in anything. They do not require exercising one’s endowment – the ability to think.

Three years ago, I decided to stop giving my children offerings and money for petty things. Rather, I estimated an allowance to give to them every month. Then my children’s ages ranged from 10 to 14. Like I told them, I do not give them money because they need it. I give it to them because I want them to learn how to handle money.

The first thing they do for EVERY MONEY that comes into their hands, whether from my wife and myself or their uncles and aunties, is to take out their TITHE, SAVINGS, AND INVESTMENT. This they ALWAYS DO without failing. Funny enough, my youngest has the biggest eyes for money. She has since increased her savings and is already putting money aside for what she calls “Free Time” in college.

To answer your question directly, the age to start giving them physical cash is when they can handle it without losing it. That, too, is subjective. Sometimes the loss is part of the training.

In conclusion, once your own agenda is right about what you want to achieve, your heart will lead you.

Hoping this helps and answers your question.

© 2020 Akin Akinbodunse

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