So a few months back we started exploring ways to support James and Andrew's understanding of money. To this point they both had piggy banks that we'd toss spare change in now and then. We had also opened up savings accounts that we deposit money even less frequently. There was no real rhyme or reason towards when money would go in or what it would be used for when it was there. We figured at five it was time to take the plunge in establishing an allowance. Simultaneously we created a "Helping" Window which engages Andrew and James in daily and weekly tasks to help around the house. So the crux is that we encourage them to help out and they receive an allowance. The allowance then goes into a jar which has a tally of what they need to save to achieve a goal (usually Lego of some type).
|Here's a pic of the "Helping Window"|
A key to this system, is that the allowance is the same every week as long as they make an effort to help. We also don't remove money from the jar. In this way, we aren't tying financial learning to behaviour, punishment or guilt. The outcome for us is the learning and not simply rewarding the work they are doing.
What we've seen so far: Andrew and James have shown a new understanding of the need for patience and persistence in pursuing a goal. They have also learned that saving for an item they desire is a necessity of life and that it can take time. They have also shown a desire to help out around the house, not for financial reward, but so they can contribute. A major learning was that if they worked together, they could save for an item more quickly than if they only saved as individuals. Lastly, they've learned to prioritize how there money is used. Sure they can buy that toy car at the register of the grocery store but if they do they won't be able to purchase the Lego set they'd really like.
This process has also provided a great moment of empathy when Andrew mentioned to Adrienne that he wanted to donate his next two weeks of allowance to Jump Rope For Heart! Cue proud Papa tears!!!
So my not so little men this post while it started out as an update does have a strong life lesson. That even in the smallest of hearts there is desire to give, help, and empathize. Thank you for reminding me how philanthropy and supporting others should be a priority when managing my own money. You're truly lovely!!!
PS - thanks for putting up with another Movember moustache I appreciate that you saved your comments about hating it until the last day. I'll shave tonight!