Should Your Kids Contribute to Your Family’s Financial Stability?

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kids and moneyFor many families, the recession still hasn’t ended. While “technically” the Great Recession has been over for years, practically speaking many families are still feeling the pinch. As a result, some are getting creative about the side businesses they are ready to start, as well as how they bring money into the family.

In some cases, this might include encouraging children to get summer jobs and help contribute to the family finances. Indeed, there are some families that ask kids to contribute to family finances in some way.

Putting Kids to Work on the Family Business

One way to do this is to put kids to work with the family business. Instead of paying employees, kids might help clean up, serve customers, or even just do some of the filing. This can be a way to cut expenses on a family business, while giving kids good work experience. While many parents would like to pay their kids for this kind of work, when money becomes tight, it might be that it isn’t an option.

Cut the Allowance

Whether you normally pay your kids for chores or not, if you might need that money for groceries, instead of to be used by your kids to buy a new video game. If you are in financial straits, paying an allowance, or paying for chores, might no longer be an option if you want to maintain some level of financial responsibility.

Appropriating Money from Outside Jobs

Still other families make the difficult decision to appropriate money from outside jobs. If your teenager has an after school job, the money made can be a valuable addition to the family. When that is the case, you might feel justified asking for a portion of the babysitting money, or the lawn care money. In many cases, kids are amendable to this idea — as long as it is clear that the money is needed for the good of the family.

Helping Your Child Understand Your Decision

If you do decide that your children need to help contribute to the family’s financial stability, it’s important that you be honest and up front about the situation. Explain that you are going through a difficult time, and that you would appreciate it if the child could help by taking a “pay cut” in allowance, by working at the family business for an extra few hours a week, or contributing after school earnings to the food budget.

Realize, though, that you can’t ask your child to make such sacrifices and then make none yourself. Show your child that you are sacrificing by forgoing some of your favorite activities, or by selling some of your stuff. If you are still having “date nights” while your kids are stuck at home, and having some of their money appropriated, they will become resentful.

You should also make it a point to talk about how everyone is helping, and thank your child for being an important part of the effort. When kids feel like they are making a real difference, they are more likely to want to help.

What do you thin? Should kids have to help maintain financial stability in a family?

(Photo: lantzilla)

{ 17 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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17 Responses to “Should Your Kids Contribute to Your Family’s Financial Stability?”

  1. Matt says:

    I would never take money from my kids that they earned working.

  2. Carl Lassegue says:

    The most important part of making your kids contribute is making them understand your decision. If they do not have a good understanding of why some of the money they are earning is being taken away, this can lead to friction between the parents and children.

  3. daenyll says:

    my dad was charged rent while he has still in high school. somewhat harsh, but great incentive to get out and be self sufficient.

  4. Frugal says:

    I wouldn’t take money from my kids. It is my responsibility to take care of the family and happy to do it.

    If necessary, I would rather cut my expenses than asking kids to contribute for family expenses.

    • Frugal says:

      If grown kids are home and barely earning, I will take a portion and put it for their use behind their back. Currently my kids are in middle school, so they do not need to contribute anything for any reason.

  5. Yep I think that kids have to learn the value of money and hard work. Of course they need to have their own childhood, but getting your children involved in the family business is a great idea and it gives them invaluable business and employment skills in the future.

  6. mylindaelliott says:

    I would never make a child under 18 give me money they had earned at working a job. I do make them contribute a token amount to gas if I’m their ride.

    Grown children who are looking for a job or in college do give me $100.00 towards rent. If I’m their ride they have to give money towards that too. They need to be able to contribute and learn how to do these things.

    I haven’t had grown working children at home yet. I guess it might get more complicated then.

  7. ImpulseSave says:

    This is a very interesting topic. My parents never “took” money from us, but in a few cases where they were a little bit short on a college payment for older siblings, they would ask to take a short-term loan from one of us kids to help cover the costs. They always repaid us as soon as possible, and we felt good about being able to help out. It was our money, but it taught us to give to others when they are in need.

  8. Derek says:

    Great topic. In today’s economy, I believe more and more households are being forced to have the young adult kids (under 18) pitch in to cover the home expenses. I do believe every parent has the financial obligation to take care of their children; however, every situation is different and, in some cases, it may be necessary to have the kids contribute.

  9. I think this is an interesting topic – Canada definitely didn’t get hit with the recession even a fraction of the amount that the US did, but I think it is SUCH a good idea to get your kids to work. When I was 15, I got a job (the legal age in my province) and paid for all of my clothes, entertainment, and everything. I didn’t have to contribute to the household, but my work experience built up really valuable skills.

  10. Kenny says:

    This is an interesting topic……I guess, everyone in the house needs to contribute to the ‘financial draw-downs’ as much as ‘financial freedoms’.

    The question is what is the ‘weightage’ of responsibility for Dad, Mom, Kid1, Kid2 and Kid3? I would say that less than 10% of responsibility falls on the kids, with majority on combination of Mom and Dad, and if Mom is NOT working then, a lop-sided-weighting for Dad (the ultimate responsible party), whether there is recession or not.

    Just my 2 cents……


  11. Shirley says:

    I can see cutting back on allowances, payment for chores, and vacations or family outings that are not free or very low cost. I would always include an explanation of why this has to be done and make sure that all involved understand the necessity.

    I’m not sure about asking for money that the kids have earned on their own although, in a desperate financial crisis, I would probably take it if it was offered. I would also pay it back as soon as I could.

    For young working adults living at home to save money, $100 each month to help with the increased food and utilities costs is not unreasonable at all. It could truly be likened to paying taxes… if you want the amenities, you have to help pay for them. 😉

  12. Within limits of course, I think it’s a great idea to get the entire family involved on both the earning end and the spending end of household financial management. It’s amazing how one’s perspective on spending priorities changes if family resources are partly dependent on your labor!

  13. 20 year old says:

    I been working at Mcdonalds ever since 16, my dad has been in my pockets since the 1st little minimum wage paycheck. I been trying to save what cash I have from what he has taken. The total amount taken is about $12,000. I’m sick of Generation X parents thinking they are entitled to everything from their kids.

    I’m going for a certification in my major field this year and hopefully moving the hell out.

  14. You can actually hire your children for your own business,(starting at maybe 12 or 14??), and you don’t have to pay taxes on up to a certain amount of that(a few thousand maybe).

    Any accountant should know the specifics but it’s a great little trick.

  15. Kris says:

    Very interesting question. I do ask my oldest son (who is 18) to contribute towards his car insurance costs. He is old enough to live on his own so I don’t think that is too much to ask. Also, if the younger kids want their own toys, fancy clothes, or other non-essential things, we do ask them to buy for them, to teach them how to save. But we supply all the essentials. This has taught them to seek ways to make money, and hopefully this is a priceless lesson for them.

  16. Fern says:

    When I was in high school I gave my mother 1/4 of each paycheck. And when my son lived at home and worked, I expected him to pay 1/4 of each of his paychecks.

    Actually, that’s LESS than he would have been paying if I had him pay for his share of the car insurance.

    I had to decide what would help him learn to budget more, paying rent or paying for ALL his other expenses. I decided on “rent”; plus the gas he used; plus his clothes; plus his cell phone; and of course he paid for his own social life. We paid health insurance, copays, glasses, food, car insurance, car maintanence and repairs (one car for the 3 of us), food, housing, toiletries, etc.

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