When children hit the preteen years, they can understand more complicated financial concepts and function more independently with money, even though they may not be learning about money in school.
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That makes the early tweens a good time to start kids with an allowance that comes with responsibility for covering the cost of some of the things they want or need, some experts say.
Mary Hunt, the author of "Raising Financially Confident Kids" and the founder of Debt–Free Living, gave her own boys "salaries" when they started sixth grade. They were supposed to save 10 percent and allocate 10 percent for giving away, and then they could spend the rest–though they had a list of things they were responsible for, like gifts when they went to birthday parties.
The boys also had chores they were responsible for, and if they neglected them, they were given citations and fined. By the time they got to high school, the boys were receiving $350 a month and having to allocate it responsibly, Hunt said, adding that it was real household money, not a gift. Letting the boys buy certain things meant she did not have to buy them herself.
Children may make mistakes, and run out of money before the next "paycheck" arrives, Hunt said, but it is good for them to learn that lesson while they are young and living with their parents.
"The bottom line is the only way to teach children about money is to allow them to experience it," Hunt said. "Some children have to be forced in a parenting kind of way to make their own independent financial decisions and then have to live with either the consequences or the rewards."
Hunt herself got a reward as well. By the time her children finished high school, they were managing their own checkbooks and ready, at least intellectually, for financial independence.
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