By Jodie Lynn
What is the best way to teach my 12-year-old son more responsibility regarding his money? Once he spends it all, he asks me for a loan. Should I do this a limited amount of times and should I charge him interest? How do I get him to understand that the real world doesn't always work this way?
ANSWER FROM READER:
Kids need to learn how to be more responsible with their allowances. In our family, once it is gone, they are done spending unless it is an emergency situation. Paying it back is a must unless it is something their dad and I would have covered anyway. Our children are younger though, seven and nine, and also may not want or need as much as your 12-year-old son. - Jenny James in Chicago, IL
There are various things that need to be considered before deciding to give your nearly-teenage son a loan. For example, the frequency with which he asks for one, the amount asked for and the things it is spent on. Is it mostly for big-ticket purchases that his allowance just doesn't cover or is it for things he doesn't really need but only wants because he saw a commercial or one of his friends enjoying it? Maybe keep up with the items he is buying as well as the price. Teach him how to be a more savvy shopper and not to just buy things on a whim but to wait for a sale. If he is trying to save up for a new bike or something else you'd sincerely like him to have, make arrangements with him to withhold a part of his money each time to be saved for the item. As to the question about charging him interest, it all boils down to whether or not he actually pays it back and how soon after the loan the repayment takes place. In reality, there are several ways to settle up with you. It could be in doing extra chores, bartering for work on the computer, babysitting younger siblings, etc. Keep in mind that your son is at an age where just about everything costs more. If you feel he is making wise choices where he is spending it, perhaps it's time for you to increase his responsibilities and raise the amount of his allowance, if possible, so that he can have a little more leeway with his monetary resources.
CAN YOU HELP?
This is the first time my new husband and I will have our blended families under one roof for the upcoming school year. When discussing homework the other night with the kids, I realized my husband and his ex-wife had some very different rules than what I have for my own two kids. How's the best way for us to figure out how to mesh these without upsetting our new family and each other?
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