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

For 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 [3] 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 [4] 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 [5] 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 [6]. 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 [7])