Have you ever heard someone describe another person as being “good with money”?  Adults with these habits generally start handling money early in life from summer jobs or daily chores giving them an understanding of the value of a dollar at a very early age.

From a very young age my three girls were earning an allowance and had a savings account with “The Bank of Dad” where they would keep their money stored until they were ready to spend it on something important.  To avoid a sense of entitlement, it is important to teach children that they need to work and save for the things that they want.

Some good summer jobs for children:

  • Elementary School:
    • Chores at home – Take out the trash, clean their room, rake leaves, dust and vacuum the house.
    • Baked goods, lemonade stands or car wash can involve interacting with potential strangers.  A parent or adult should be close by.
  • Middle School:
    • Pet sitting and/or dog walking.
    • Children engaging in indoor cleaning that involves chemicals should be made aware of safety hazards associated with chemicals.
    • American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children wait until 12 years old to mow lawns.
    • Make and sell a craft or good.
  • High School:
    • Fair Labor Standards Act requires that children wait until 14 years of age before working for a company.
    • Babysitting.
    • Life-guarding, swim instructor, or camp counselor.
    • Once eligible, getting a job that involves interacting with adults, time management, productivity and/or sales helps set young people up for success when making decisions about a career/future education.

Part one is motivating or creating the environment where your child can work to earn an income.  Part two is teaching them to save either for a special purchase, a trip, or school.  It is certainly hard for a young person, more focused on immediate satisfaction, to give much thought to the future.  If you teach children at a young age the importance of saving, by the time these children sit down with someone like us to plan for large purchases, trips or starting a business, they are far more likely to be in a better position with a willingness to save and invest in their future.

Authors:  Robert Gaskin & Ivey Gaskin Baker, CFP®

Photo: Daniel Watson

*Any opinions are those of Robert Gaskin and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James.