A friend told me of her friend who finished school, got a job and left home to stay on her own. Stacy was suddenly under pressure because she could not understand money especially the spending and saving part of it.

Stacy exclaimed, “Toilet tissue is expensive!”

If Stacy had earned pocket money while in school, she would not be surprised at the cost of toilet tissue. Her bewilderment implied that her parents must have catered for all her needs without exposing her to money and how to manage it. Consequently, she finds that she runs out of money before the next pay check. She was not prepared to face life on her own.

Most times people do not know how to manage money they did not earn and it does not occur to them to save or invest because they live on the assumption that they will continue to receive. However, when the older children are encouraged to earn money in their teens and asked to be accountable, they begin to learn to manage money. Parents can train them by withdrawing the provisions of some things that their pocket money can take care of. Because it is their money, it is easier for them to agree with you when you suggest they save some money out of their earnings. You can even train them to delay gratification. This can be done when they desire certain things that weekly or monthly earnings cannot buy. They are then challenged to be patient and keep saving until the money is enough. Or there can be an agreement that they bring a certain percentage towards the purchase of whatever they so desire. By so doing the children are gradually prepared for the challenges of money out there in the world. The initiation would not be as traumatic as it was for Stacy.

Older children earning their pocket money would also make them understand the challenges their parents face in the marketplace and so would not throw tantrums each time they cannot get whatever they want. They would also help them to manage things around the house knowing that the money used in buying these things did not come easy but through hard work.

As the children earn, they learn to be content and the girls especially would not be lured by the dangling of money. They grow to be independent and master money instead of money mastering them. They may not dare to steal when they do not have because earning and managing money has taught them to control their appetite for material things. They learn how to set priorities in spending. As they earn in the marketplace, they learn to save and invest based on parents’ advice as well as what they learnt from colleagues.

The focus should not be for the older children to help offset family bills but for the children to be better managers of money, which would enable them face the ups and downs in the marketplace when they set out on their own.

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