Should your teen contribute to the family income?


One question to ask yourself is: What is your motivation for having your teen contribute to the family income? During difficult economic times, having your teen contribute to the family finances can seem to be a helpful option. In other cases, you might just want your teen to start learning how to manage money or perhaps start learning some personal responsibility.

These can all be good reasons, but your teen has enough stress without having to share the responsibility for seeing to the family’s financial health. However, with proper guidance, you can have your teen make a financial contribution to the family without giving him/her the pressure of financial concerns.

A good place to start might be to have your teen start to take some financial responsibility for some of his/her own needs, such as cell phone bills, clothing, music, car insurance, or social life. Taking this approach will help your teens learn the value of money, how to save money, and how to prioritize their spending, all while helping the family with its overall spending.

You can also share the family budget with your teen. Once you’ve reviewed the budget with him/her, you can then add in a portion of your teen’s earnings into the family income line items. Then, again in the family budget, allocate your teen’s contribution to family expenses he/she particularly enjoys, say to pay part of the cable or Internet bill. Your teen will then know exactly how his/her money is helping and where it fits in the family finances, which can help him/her appreciate the value of his/her contribution rather than just feel like his/her money is being taken away. However, as the parent, you should still let your teen feel safe and secure -- so it’s not recommended that you allocate any of his/her money to the survival basics, such as rent/mortgage or food expenses.

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