DR. WALLACE: I'm thankful that my parents give me $15 a week for allowance to spend any way I choose. Of course, bad things — drugs, alcohol and tobacco — are not an issue. I'm a good kid.
I spend all $15 every week. In fact, I could spend more if my parents would give me more.
My grandmother lives with us, and I love her dearly, but sometimes we don't agree on things. She thinks that I should save some of my allowance and open up a savings account. She keeps encouraging my parents to get me to save some of my allowance. She even said that she would match everything I save, but I couldn't take it out unless a huge necessity arises, and in that case, my parents and she would make a final decision. It would take 2 of the 3 to agree to allow me to take out the money.
I still don't like the idea of saving, at least not now. — Happy Young Consumer, Ogden, Utah
HAPPY YOUNG CONSUMER: I think you should accept your grandma's generous offer. It's time you learned how to budget and save. Start with at least $3 a week, which is 20% of your "income." Be thankful that you will still have $12 weekly to spend as you so choose.
Many teens are given less than $15 as a weekly allowance, and some receive no allowance at all. And on the investment front, your grandma is offering you a 100% return on your investments — instantly! Take that great offer, and do not look back. You'll be proud to see your money build over time. A teen of any age is absolutely ready to start learning how to handle money.
TEEN NEEDS A DERMATOLOGIST
DR. WALLACE: I'm a 15-year-old girl who has a terrible problem: acne. I wash my face a half-dozen times a day, exercise regularly and do not eat junk food. I'm not bad looking, but my self-esteem is zero because of my complexion. I try to cover up the blemishes with makeup, but I don't want to just hide them; I want them to be gone! I'd like to go to a doctor for help, but my parents keep telling me that there is no cure for pimples and "eventually" they will go away. I don't want to wait for "eventually." Please tell my parents a doctor can help me, if you're OK with doing that. They always read your column, and it would at least open up a discussion about this within our family. — Acne Girl, via email
ACNE GIRL: I do fully agree that it's extremely important your parents arrange for you to consult with a dermatologist very soon. There was a time when time alone was considered the only cure for this dreaded teenage curse, but modern science has developed drugs that improve complexion problems or, in some cases, eliminate acne completely. You deserve to have the best of our current medical science on your side.
To this girl's parents: As you can understand, her self-esteem is extremely low due to her complexion problems. Please see that she gets the medical treatment she needs immediately. It will make your daughter extremely happy and will be the right thing to do. If costs are an issue, perhaps a payment plan can be set up, and your daughter can do some babysitting in the local community to help pay for the costs. Your whole family should tackle this issue together — immediately.
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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