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Can children learn money management? Yes!

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The older one often lost focus on savings goals. Our son has no problem with the actual saving process. His problem is that he gets heavily into saving for specific goals, but by the time his savings starts to approach a goal, his interests have changed and he ends up having a new target for his savings. Thus, when he actually reaches a goal, it’s usually for an item that he’s just recently decided on.

He typically does not use his “spend” slot for small things, as he prefers to be patient and use it as part of his “savings” slot. He has expressed a desire to give the money in his “donate” slot to Jump for Joel, but that hasn’t occurred yet. The “invest” slot is going to eventually turn into a savings account at our local bank, perhaps around his sixth birthday.

Not using the allowance as a form of punishment or leverage has worked well. We want to establish that the basic things we expect from them around the house, like clearing the table after meals, basic politeness, and so on, are not tied to any form of compensation. Such basic behavior is expected. Their allowance is merely a tool to teach simple money management. Our children seem to respond better when there are not bribes involved – bribery works well the first time, but after that, would you really expect them to do that thing you want them to do without compensation?

The children anticipate allowance day. Typically, allowances are doled out on a Sunday, and both of our children anticipate it and request it. They’ll often ask on Saturday if that day is “allowance day” and an allowance request is usually out there by noon on Sunday. It doesn’t seem to be a money-grabbing thing; I think they just have fun putting the coins in their bank and then lifting them up to feel how heavy they are.

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