DR. WALLACE: I'm 14, and my parents give me a $20 weekly allowance. My only problem with that is I must save $10 of it. In fact, they actually only give me $10 in cash, and they put the other $10 in my savings account each week.
I would like to have the full $20 each week because I have many things I need to spend my money on. The remaining $10 does not even cover my school expenses. Do you agree with me that I should receive my full allowance in cash? — Allowed Only So Much, via email
ALLOWED ONLY SO MUCH: I believe an allowance should be given with really only one restriction: no purchasing of items not approved by the parents. And while I also believe teens should be assigned chores at home, their allowance should not be tied directly to baseline chores. When a family has sufficient earnings, teens should be given an allowance.
Now, in your case, I commend your parents for teaching you the value of learning to save money regularly. You will be quite happy someday when you're older and see how much your savings has grown. I am also sympathetic to your current situation. I suggest a compromise in which you politely ask your parents if you can earn an extra $10 per week doing extra chores. There are likely items at your home, in your garage or in the yard that could use a little attention. And it'll serve as another good life lesson your prudent parents will likely agree with.
ARE DRUGS OFTEN SMUGGLED OUT OF THE USA?
DR. WALLACE: I'm always reading about illegal drugs being smuggled into the United States. I know the reason is the importers of the illegal drugs make a lot of money selling them in our country. What I'm wondering now is if Americans smuggle drugs into other countries to sell them. We always hear about drugs coming in, but does America export a lot of illegal drugs to other countries as well? — Anonymous, Miami, Florida
ANONYMOUS: It appears that virtually all of the drugs grown or manufactured in the United States stay in the United States. Many countries around the world are plagued with the use of illegal drugs, but the problem is much worse in the United States than in other countries.
Although our country represents only about 5 percent of the world's population, America also has the most illegal drug use of any country worldwide. That's why so many drugs are smuggled into America. Sadly, this consumption drives the problem your question addresses, and it also explains why there is basically no demand for the export of illegal drugs made in the USA. Interestingly, the legalized marijuana market may eventually become an export market, but that is another story entirely — one that is presently unknown but sure to play out in interesting ways.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.