Kids and Money

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Dear Dave,

I’ve started my four-year-old on an allowance structure and a chore chart. I also have a mini-envelope system with spending and saving set up, but I’m having trouble helping him distinguish between the two. How can I solve this? — Monica

 

Dear Monica,

At that age, any type of saving is going to be more of a glorified, long-term spending plan. The point is to teach them to delay gratification when you’re first starting out. And when you’re only four, two weeks is long term.

The contents of the spending envelope should be kind of spontaneous. Let him take it on trips to the store, and if he wants a pack of gum or whatever, he can get it. The saving envelope, though, stays at home. Then, as he grows and his mind and reasoning develops a little more, you can really start teaching him about long-term goals and how to get there—including giving.

Don’t try to force a four-year-old to think five or 10 years into the future. We’re just trying to teach lessons here, and it doesn’t have to be done perfectly. Just be intentional, and try to find teachable moments as you go along! — Dave

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About Author

Dave Ramsey

America's trusted voice on money and business, Dave Ramsey is a personal money-management expert and extremely popular national radio personality. His four New York Times best-selling books—Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover, and EntreLeadership—have sold more than 7 million copies combined. His latest book, EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches, debuted at number one on the New York Times best-selling list.

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