A weekly allowance: yes, no… maybe?

Mathieu is 11 years old and begs for money for this, that and the other thing. His sister Annick is 9 and never asks for a cent. Should they both be given a weekly allowance?

Every case is different, but one thing is certain: giving kids an allowance gives them the chance to learn to manage money. The younger children are when they start to manage their money when mistakes don't yet have dramatic consequences the faster they learn from their errors. For both Mathieu and Annick, receiving an allowance can be an enriching experience they'll carry with them.

Things to think about before deciding whether to give an allowance

An opportunity to learn about saving

A weekly allowance is a learning opportunity and a formative experience. When children are younger, an adult should go over with them what they expect to spend and save during the week. Later on, a larger allowance will be sort of like an income and will be used for expenses such as transportation, clothing and activities, ensuring there is some left for savings.

Clear agreement

If the allowance has no conditions, it has to stay that way. It can’t be taken away the minute a child disobeys and should not be called into question either. If the allowance comes with conditions or restrictions, the child should understand and respect them from the start.

If the allowance is given in exchange for work, you need to agree with your child on the responsibilities that are tied to it.

Consistent rules

In some families, giving an allowance in exchange for everyday chores at home can be the right approach. A reservation about this is that everyone in the family should have duties. This is a collective effort by all family members, which doesn't mean that a harder job or specific responsibility can't be compensated as a gesture of encouragement.

Learning experience

To determine the amount of the allowance and future “raises,” don’t be afraid to look at the usefulness of the allowance and the child's behaviour. After all, children are learning and the adult is their guide.

An allowance is a good way for children to start learning to manage money. They'll already have solid footing when they are old enough to have their first paying job.

No to the allowance, yes to the budget

If you don't want to give your children an allowance, why not sit down with them and explain the family budget?

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