The allowance debate: Pro

“In order to appreciate the true value of money, you have to start with a little something instead of nothing.” — Chris Hunt

Riley Hunt. Photo Credit Angela Jacques


Last year, my 11-year-old son Riley asked his mother and I if he could have an allowance. Apparently, many of his friends received allowances, and he wanted his due.
We discussed it and agreed he may receive an allowance, provided he earned it. He’d get a set amount every two weeks provided he helped out around the house. 
He ardently approved and we ended the discussion with an agreement that he’d receive his first allowance when he started his chores. This was almost a year ago. He has yet to receive an allowance.
But I’m thinking maybe we should give him a small allowance regardless.  The sooner a child learns the value of money, the better. And it’s important that parents are involved with their children’s financial evolution.
My spouse and I had vastly different upbringings. I grew up very poor.  While we seldom went without food, we certainly didn’t have the disposable income available to throw a few bucks my way every couple of weeks.
I didn’t have any significant experience with money until I got my first job as a teenager. I remember writing a list of things I was going to buy with my first cheque. I didn’t know how much it was going to be, but I didn’t care because the list contained two things: a video game and chicken nuggets.

I also remember being surprised at how miniscule my cheque was.  Who knew taxes were an actual thing?  Not me, apparently. And the entire sum lasted for maybe three hours before I spent it all. 

I didn’t learn about budgeting or saving when I was a kid, and that lack of knowledge permeated my adult life. I’m terrible with money and finances in all shapes and forms. I literally just forward the bulk of my salary to my spouse and she handles everything, save for my personal bills.

I have credit cards; I have no idea how much debt I have on them or how much I am supposed to pay monthly. I have taken to just paying a lump sum each month, which sounds fine except I seldom use my credit cards.  There was one point where Mastercard owed me over a grand.

My spouse is significantly better with money than I am.  She pays her bills early and will frequently take the time to pre-emptively plan for expenses months in advance.

I make around 30 percent more than she does, yet she always seems to have more money than me.
She had an allowance of five bucks a week. Doesn’t sound like much, but that allowance was used to set the financial foundation for the rest of her life. She wanted something expensive? She had to save for it.

Her dad made her get a bank account and encouraged her to regularly deposit money into it. And he made her get a credit card when she was old enough. He instructed her to use it every month so she could build her credit. In short, that weekly pittance set the foundation for her financial independence.

There will be plenty of time for my son to realize what he will earn will be directly tied to his level of effort, but in order to appreciate the true value of money, you have to start with a little something instead of nothing.