GOLDEN RULES

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Daugh­ter: ‘‘Can I have a fid­get spin­ner?’’

Me: ‘‘No, I don’t want to spend my money on that.’’

Daugh­ter: ‘‘Please, Ev­ery­one at school’s got one.’’

Me: ‘‘No, it’s a waste of the world’s re­sources.’’

Some­times, I am pleased to say no. My mum be­lieved chil­dren shouldn’t get ev­ery­thing they want. I agree.

When I was my daugh­ter’s age, there was no point in ask­ing for money to buy stuff.

In the 1970s no­body had money to spare. Pocket money was fairly min­i­mal. I can’t even re­mem­ber re­ceiv­ing it.

I only got spend­ing power with my first news­pa­per round. Un­til then, I had to rely on Christ­mas and birth­day for new stuff.

Th­ese days, it is fash­ion­able to ‘‘fi­nan­cialise’’ your chil­dren early through elab­o­rately mi­cro­man­aged pocket money sys­tems.

The kids can spend a third, save a third, and give a third away to char­ity. Set your chil­dren an ex­am­ple Be open about money Ex­pect self-re­straint

Some par­ents tie pocket money to chores.

My par­ents didn’t tell me what to do with my money.

Ini­tially, I spent it on sweets be­cause that’s all I could af­ford. Later with my own earn­ings, I tran­si­tioned from Star Wars toys to books, records, clothes and beer.

De­spite not be­ing ‘‘taught’’ (forced) to re­strain spend­ing, be char­i­ta­ble and to save hard, I do both, like my par­ents did.

My ex­pe­ri­ence has made me a pocket money heretic. I have my doubts as to the ed­u­ca­tional value of pocket money to a girl my daugh­ter’s age. It’s one of the rea­sons she doesn’t get any yet.

There are oth­ers, in­clud­ing be­cause she doesn’t need it. Get­ting pocket money at a young age en­cour­ages recreational shop­ping (shud­der), and spend­ing on sweets and cheap junk.

In many fam­i­lies pocket money for young chil­dren isn’t the best use of money.

The me­dian pocket money for girls my daugh­ter’s age is $20. That’s a grand a year!

Chil­dren’s hap­pi­ness is less im­proved by $20 in hand, than by know­ing you’ve paid off the mort­gage (and how you did it), have ad­e­quate in­surance, and the fam­ily could live off one par­ent’s in­come if the other lost their job.

If my daugh­ter has a rea­son­able need, or want, she can talk to me or her mum about it.

In time, she’ll need money as she be­comes in­creas­ingly in­de­pen­dent and her so­cial life re­quires it. When she makes that case con­vinc­ingly, she’ll win the ar­gu­ment.

There are four key el­e­ments to a child’s money ed­u­ca­tion: 1: Learn­ing self-re­straint.

2: The ex­am­ple par­ents set.

3: A chatty, ‘‘ask me any­thing’’ cul­ture at home.

4: Long-term sav­ings that are talked about.

Fail to have any of those, espe­cially the first, and an elab­o­rate, in­cen­tives-based pocket money sys­tem ain’t go­ing to help.

Par­ents, get your own fi­nan­cial houses in or­der, be­fore you worry about the chil­dren’s!

When my daugh­ter starts need­ing pocket money, I won’t tie it to chores. A child’s ‘‘job’’ is to learn. Help is ex­pected.

In fact, like many girls her age, my daugh­ter spends hours each week do­ing a ‘‘chore’’ to sup­port the house­hold: She goes to af­ter school care.

We’ve built a so­ci­ety where it takes two good salaries to get ahead. That’s a hell of a con­tri­bu­tion to ask of a child.

AMIR CO­HEN/REUTERS

Please, please, please. I want a fid­get spin­ner. Ev­ery­one’s got one.

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