TEENS: A 16-year-old girl recently wrote to say that she has a part-time job after school that pays her $85 a week. Because she was earning her own spending money, her parents decided to discontinue her $25 a week allowance. This girl felt this was unfair because it seemed to her like she was being financially punished for having a job!
I agreed and recommended that her parents put the $25 a week into a savings account for her. In addition, I encouraged this young lady to add her own $25 each week to watch her money grow.
I thought it was a reasonable answer, and so did many of our teen readers. In fact, not a single one of you wrote to say that I had rocks in my head. The parents, however, were quite a different story. I received many emails informing me that I blew it! I haven't changed my mind yet, but I'm following my standard rule of giving any matter that a large group of readers disagree with some more consideration. While I'm continuing to ponder this case, I thought you might enjoy reading what some of the moms and dads thought of my response:
DR. WALLACE: I'm a parent who really enjoys your column and generally agrees with the advice you give to young people. However, providing an allowance in addition to funds from a part-time job creates a false sense of financial security. The important lesson necessary for financial survival is not being learned via your advice. My own teenage son does not receive an allowance in addition to his part-time job. I do not consider my withholding an allowance from my working son a punishment directed at him; I feel I am doing him a favor. — Proud Mother of a Working Son
DR. WALLACE: I can't say that I agree with your advice to this young lady regarding her allowance. Working, earning money, budgeting and saving are the elements she must learn when she is on her own later in life, so it makes sense for her to start working on these skills right now. It is erroneous to give her a false impression early on that there is always going to be a financial safety net when she overspends. Paying her own way completely with her own money will give her a special dignity while fostering her independence and a sense of personal accomplishment. — Father of Three
DR. WALLACE: This young lady feels that she is being punished for working! That's negative thinking. Actually, she's being rewarded by her parents to have the opportunity to make three times more by working than only collecting an allowance with no job. — Frugal Mom
DR. WALLACE: Tell this young lady that she is fortunate that she received an allowance up until now. I'm a single mother, and I have two teenage daughters. I supply all their needs, and they are grateful. Allowance? In our house, the word is never mentioned and never will be. We can't afford allowances here. — Working Single Mom
DR. WALLACE: This young lady should consider herself very fortunate to have received a $25 weekly allowance. I have a 15-year-old daughter and a 16-year-old son. I do not allow them to have part-time jobs because I want them to get better-than-average grades. Therefore, they spend their free time studying. Each of my children receives a $10 weekly allowance, and neither complains at all. But when they do work during summer vacation, their allowance is suspended because they earn much more working and because I burn money in gas taking them to and from their jobs in my car! — Mom Who Chauffeurs
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.
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