Do you want your children to be financially fit? Would you
like to raise a money wizard? A good place to start is by
giving your child an allowance. Before I even get into the
best way to manage an allowance, let’s start by checking
your financial fitness. There’s no doubt
kids mimic what they see and their initial attitudes about
money come from you. Are your lights or gas constantly suspended
due to lack of payment while you sport the latest Gucci
handbag or name brand shoes? Did you allow your phone to
get turned off ‘cause you’re avoiding creditors?
Is Mr. Piggy Bank full in the morning and hungry that night?
Perhaps you’re continuing the
verbal legacy of your parents by saying, “Money doesn’t
grow on trees!” “Do I look like I’m made
of money?” or “Money is the root of all evil.”
Well, it’s time to break the cycle.
Sure, many of us have seen or will
see hard times in the form of a layoff, reduction of work
hours, inability to find gainful employment or a financial
emergency. For the rest of us, there are many free credit
counseling programs like www.genus.org
that can help you manage the funds you have coming in and
going out. Developing good financial practices is key.
Money is not good or bad. Money can
be used for good or bad. Earning money is key, but don’t
you know someone who never seems to have any money and they
always seem to be taken care of? They’re most likely
implementing the principle of sharing money. Put all illegal
methods of obtaining wealth out of your mind; a quick fix
today will surely be your doom. What goes around does come
back around. But, remember that you don’t have to
work hard—work smart.
Wealthy people work smart, putting
their dollars to work for them via various types investments.
They sprinkle lots of seeds knowing that the yield will
be far greater if one sows more seeds. I’m not trying
to turn you into Oprah Winfrey overnight because even Oprah
didn’t become the Oprah we know overnight. Adjusting
the way you feel and think about money is a process. As
a result you will change the way you handle money. You will
then be able to be an example for your offspring as you
strive to raise financially fit children.
you can do right now
Stop spending money on what
you don’t need. You are entitled to treat
yourself, but do this after your financial house is in order.
Pay your bills as soon as
they come in or make arrangements with your creditors.
Change the way you refer to
money. If you talked about a person badly or said
she wasn't important, would you expect her to stick around
Give more. If you
can donate to a charity that represents a cause you are
passionate about, donate! If you’re not passionate
about something, get passionate about something. If you
are not giving your 10% in church, up your tithing. Money
doesn’t have a chance to grow if you are holding it
Get a piggy bank for the family and for your child. An old
water jug or a vase from the 99 cents store will do fine.
Encourage your child to put in this family piggy bank as
well as his own and praise him for it.
Give your child an allowance.
David McCurrach, author of “Allowance Magic”
suggests giving the following allowances:
McCurrach says, “Don’t use these ages as an
absolute guide. Think of them more as an indication of when
you may want to consider giving additional allowances.”
Teach and guide your child early.
Set a goal. If you
don’t know where your money goes each month, give
yourself an allowance and track how much is being
spent on what. Revise this if necessary for the next month
and then STICK to your plan. Set a goal to have enough saved
up for a family outing or something special for yourself.
Start small and you will learn how great of a money manager
you can be! Encourage (not dictate) your kids to set goals
also. Keep the pressure off—don’t turn this
into, “Use your own money to buy your own…!”
Provide the essentials and work with your kids to set realistic
and sensible goals that fall within your family values.
The real magic to this whole
process is that you already possess the ability to change
your financial picture and to raise financially fit children.
Now step up, take stage, and start wielding your wand!
Wilma Ann Anderson is the Editor-in-Chief
and Cofounder of Mahogany Baby. She's also an accomplished
singer, and works as a model and film executive. This mother
of four has freelanced for ESSENCE and Working Mother magazines,
enjoys crafting, and is based in New Jersey.