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My 14 year old son has just won his first ever job, working at McDonalds. His first shift is this afternoon after school and he is so excited. We are extremely proud of him and the young man he is growing up to be.
Last night my husband and i were talking and began wondering about what (if anything) kids should be expected to contribute to the household once they get a job. For us, its certainly not about the money but more about wanting to teach him responsibility and skills for life. Obviously he won’t be earning a lot and he is very excited about being able to buy things for himself but should we now be charging him for things like his mobile phone? What do other parents do in these situations these days? Our son is not a natural saver. He’s more of a ‘spend everything you get’ kind of kid and we are wanting to teach him good money management skills.
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Congratulations to your son on securing his first job! As parents, it is exciting to see our kids start taking the first steps towards financial independence. I had this exact same thought when my teens were employed on a part time basis for the first time, and this is what I decided:
1. My kids had to set aside 20% of their earnings in a savings account.
2. I encouraged make donations amounting to about 10% of their earnings to charitable causes close to their heart.
3. Rather than contributing towards the household, we sat down and made a list of all the non-essentials I had been paying for such as entertainment, phone data, and "nice to have" clothing items and we decided which of these they would be responsible for. I would continue paying for all of their basic needs, but if they wanted a luxury item or a brand that was more expensive than what I was willing to pay, they could buy it from their own money.
4. I also encouraged my kids to draw up a budget and to have a long term savings goal in mind. If one of my kids was specifically saving towards a big ticket item, they tended to be more cautious about their spending.
I believe that unless it is a financial necessity for a family, school aged children should be able to be children without the burden of responsibility that comes with contributing to a household. Once your child is at college or out of school with a full time job, if they are still living at home, then they should definitely make some kind of contribution to the household, either financially or by taking on some household maintenance. In my circle of friends, parents who can afford to do so ask their young adult kids to pay "rent" at home, but they set this money aside so that when the child leaves home, they can return it as a nest egg.
What a great milestone in the life of your young boy. Congratulations to you for raising a responsible young man. I wish and hope that his first ever work experience turns out to be a positive and memorable one.
It is a great feeling to be able to earn and spend independently. This phase of life is quite important and you as parents can surely facilitate him in learning money management.
You can assist him in making a budget for himself. Budget can simply be divided into few basic expenses that he has to bear by himself. Now, it totally depends on how you and your son want to prioritize the expense heads.
You might want him to contribute towards household expenses or encourage him to become more responsible towards his own expenditures like clothes, shoes, academics etc. Instead of regularly contributing to groceries or other such expense, he might initially like to buy gift on his sibling’s birthday or on parents wedding anniversary. Buying bed spread or blanket for his room can be another way of sharing expenses.
Most important,,, First earning ought to be spent in a joyful way. So, if I was him I must have spared some amount for fun and chill activities.
I always encourage young boys and girls to contribute some amount (not matter how little) from their earning to charitable activity. It can be as simple as buying a coffee or lunch for a homeless person. I remember when I started my first job, my mother encouraged me to contribute to the groceries she was buying for someone in need. Ever since it has become a habit to spare some amount for supporting some noble cause.
Happy earning young man.
I think it is wise to consider how your son should spend his job earnings. Teaching responsible money management does not come naturally, and many parents miss the mark on teaching this essential life skill to their children. You are on your way to raising a responsible adult.
I would probably let my teen blow their first paycheck as a reward for getting a job. Then help them to divide their money into 3 categories. The first is savings. The 2nd third is for fun and entertainment, and the last portion is for expenses such as phone and car insurance.
So yes, I think he should be contributing to his own phone expense. That way, he will learn that the privilege of having a phone comes at a cost. Also, when it is time for a new phone, he will need to pay a portion. Some kids just expect the latest and greatest technology and don't appreciate that there are a lot of costs associated with it.
Working in a school, I have noted that older kids with too much money get into trouble, so this is one way of avoiding that problem. Your son may not appreciate your restriction on his money, but in the long run, he will be a much better person because of it.
What a great question!!
I think it is very important that you and your husband are wanting to help teach your son financial responsibility at a young age. This will provide him with valuable life skills for the transition into adulthood.
Here are my thoughts on if he should contribute to the family household expenses, now that he has a job.
1. Firstly, help him to understand what the family household expenses are. You don't have to go into great detail as to the costs of things, but it's important for him to know just what bills are part of running a home. So share with him that you have utilities expenses, car payments and/or insurance, grocery costs, home repairs, etc. With him having the knowledge early on about how to pay for household needs, it won't come as a shock to him later on in his young adult life.
2. Help him learn how to budget his newly acquired funds. Ask him what he expects he will spend his money on, if he has any plans to start saving some each paycheck, what he thinks he should do with his money. Also ask him how much he thinks those things he wants to spend his money on will cost him. And then get real with him. If he wants to spend money on eating out each week, or each time he gets his paycheck, help him to tally up this cost on a monthly basis, and provide him with a percentage of how much this will take out of his check.
With budgeting, if he is not sure of what he will spend his money on, offer to help him track his spending, (or introduce him to an app like Mint) which will do it for him. That way, he can see where his money is going.
3. Have him open a checking account. This will provide him with a clear picture each month of where his money is going. Also, if he has a debit card, this will help him spend less money, as he will have to think about how much he actually has available to him in his account, before he swipes his card. If he only has cash to spend, he won't even think about opening his wallet.
4. A great way for teens to be encouraged to contribute to the household expenses is if you let them off the hook from some chores. If he doesn't want to empty the dishwasher every other day anymore, because he's now working, then it's $5-10 a week in the household pot, so he can still be contributing.
5. Be careful that asking your son to contribute financially to the household does not cause him added stress. He may feel like it is not his responsibility to help pay for the house, after all, you are the parents. But, as you said, having him pay for his own expenses--like a cell phone, clothing, dining out, social life--are all good ways he can feel like he is being responsible with his money.
Just some tips! Hope they are helpful!