Allowance: When? How much? What for?

To give or not to give allowance, that is the question (and sometimes a controversial question at that). As piggy banks become obsolete and the need for physical cash dwindles in today’s fast-paced society, one thing hasn’t changed: the call of a child saying, “Hey Mom, I need money.” Whether parenting a 7-year-old or a 16-year-old, chances are pretty high that the A word (yes, allowance) is going to come up.

According to a T. Rowe Price survey, 51% of parents give their kids allowance. While the decision about whether or not to give allowances, the frequency of giving allowance and the amount of money that a child should receive for allowance can be highly personal to each family. 54% of parents who give allowance firmly believe it should be earned. 

Greenlight mom Maggy Parker shared, “I have always viewed allowance as a right of passage for my children. When the kids are old enough to take on regular responsibilities around the house, they are old enough to earn an allowance for their contribution.”

With age comes wisdom (and more allowance money) 

One of the most frequently asked questions about allowance focuses on what age is the best to start handing over money. While there are no official rules when it comes to allowance and each family is different, age 8 is the reported national average.  

Here’s a breakdown of what Greenlight kids average each week (ages 8-18): 

“I set my child’s weekly allowance after researching what the national average for allowance was and then cushioned it by a few dollars to ensure I was giving my son a little extra for his needs now that he’s driving,” said Greenlight mom Eliza Newell. 

Cha-ching, cha-chores! 

According to the most recent survey from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, four in five parents who give allowance expect their kids to work for money. and their kids average about five hours a week of household chores. 

With the majority of parents expect their kids to earn allowance, chores often factor in as a stairway to an allowance pay out — however, this can look different for different families. 

Some families expect a completed chore list for an allowance pay out. If the lawn isn’t raked, the Lego’s aren’t put away, the bathroom trash isn’t taken out and the reading log for the week isn’t filled out, no allowance gets paid. 

Other families assign specific dollar amounts to chores, so if the child only completes five of their eight chores for the week – they don’t get the total allowance amount, just what each task equaled. 

Greenlight dad Allen Anderson shared that he gives his daughter a baseline allowance every week, but he gives her the opportunity to earn more on a weekly basis by doing more chores. 

Allowance leads to smart habits

Greenlight kids who receive allowance save 26% more and donate 37% more money than those who don’t. This suggests that allowance, paired with parental guidance, leads to healthy financial habits.

Payouts made easy

When it comes to paying out allowance, it shouldn’t be complicated. Since remembering to get cash back at the grocery store or finding an ATM is a hassle, Greenlight has made it easier on parents by offering an auto-funding option.

Parents can set weekly or monthly allowance payments tied to chores within the Greenlight app, so funds can be easily distributed. 

To encourage good habits, parents can also allocate those allowances to their kids’ Spend, Save and Give accounts. 

Try Greenlight now

Sign up your family for Greenlight today! 

Using your kids’ debit cards to talk about money this summer

The money talk — not as scary as the birds and bees, but still a big deal.  In fact, 49% of parents say they’re not sure how to explain money to their kids [1]. Enter: Summer Break. More time at home means more time to talk about money management. Follow along for some conversation starters and tips on how to have the money talk.

EXPLAIN WHY BUDGETING IS IMPORTANT

79% of Americans keep a budget [2], which is great. Budgets may be a bit more involved for grownups, but that doesn’t mean your kids can’t start learning the basics. How? Start off by explaining why budgeting matters. There’s a good chance they’re already wondering that.

Conversation Starter: “What’s something you really want but you haven’t had the money to buy?” Maybe it’s something you can’t fit into your parent budget, or maybe it’s something you think they should buy on their own. During the summer, there are lots of opportunities for your kids to make money — help them figure out how to manage their earnings.

BREAK DOWN COMMON BUDGETING TERMS

Fixed expenses and variable expenses — ring a bell? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, these are important words to teach your kids about budgeting. Break it down into Summer Break terms and they’ll get it.

Conversation Starter: “A fixed expense is one that doesn’t change. Like, our Netflix subscription. It’s the same price every month. A variable expense is one that does change. Like, a meal at a restaurant. It can go up or down, depending on where we eat.”

TALK ABOUT SAVING MONEY

Budgeting for Summer Break is one thing — saving for it is another. Instead of handing over a wad of cash and hoping they stash it away, make it a hands-on experience with a bit of fun along the way.

Conversation Starter: “Saving money lets you buy things that you might not have enough money for right now. When you add a little bit of money to your savings over time, it adds up so you can buy those things one day.” Tip: Help your kids make a savings goal (or better, lots of goals). Then, work together to plan out how they’ll reach that goal.

GIVE KIDS THEIR OWN DEBIT CARD

The fun part about the money talk is giving your kids their own debit card. Unlike a credit card, they can only spend what’s on it. The best part? They won’t realize that they’re learning valuable lessons every time they use their card — but trust us, they are.

With the Greenlight debit card and app, your kids can:

  • Set savings goals.
  • Learn to make trade-off decisions. Keychain or shark-tooth necklace? It’s their call.
  • Earn allowance through chores. Cool fact: Greenlight kids who earn allowance save 26% more. Woohoo!

A few other things you can do in your app:

  • Manage access to ATMs. Are they withdrawing a bit too much? Set limits.
  • Choose stores. You decide where they can and can’t spend. Gas only? Just at restaurants? Adjust the settings in your app.
  • Get real-time notifications and monitor their spend levels.

GET SET FOR SUMMER

Join Greenlight today and help your kids get a head start on budgeting for their Summer Break — and for life! Sign up now

[1] Investopedia.com [2] Debt.com

Everything you need to know about National Decision Day

For many high school seniors, May 1st is an important day: National Decision Day. It’s the day they decide what comes after high school — the first of many big decisions they’ll make for themselves. This year, it also marks a day in which their decisions are heavily impacted by the world around us. 

They did the work, took the tests, made it through the teenage years and now have their sights set on graduating high school. While you and your family explore different ways to commemorate this milestone (perhaps with video calls and virtual graduation parties?), we hope you can still find time to talk about the next chapter of your child’s life.

The new-age debate

Our Gen Zs live in a world of entrepreneurs and self-starters. They’re seeing success as seven-year-old YouTube influencers make millions and 16-year-olds start their own companies.

So it makes sense why your kids will have different thoughts and considerations surrounding the college talk. That’s not to say that they don’t want to go to college — they just may not see it as the only option. As parents, we need to listen to that so we can guide them toward a decision that we all feel good about.

To sign or not to sign? What to consider

The college talk isn’t just on National Decision Day — it’s year-round. It’s a good idea to stay in the loop with the merging views on the subject. When you delve into the college talk, you may come across split views on a few things: 

Student loans: 

Because every financial situation is different, student loans are a hot button for many parents. If you and your kids are thinking about student loans, take time to explore every avenue and talk about how it will impact them throughout and after college. 

In 2018, the average individual student loan amount was $29,200. Loans may or may not be an option for your family. Either way, National Decision Day is a great opportunity to talk through the numbers with your soon-to-be grad. 

Public vs. private vs. community:

The good news is we’ve got lots of options. The not-so-good news? Well, it’s hard to decide! It’s no secret that most private schools come with a heavy cost and community schools are typically the most affordable. Public schools tend to sit somewhere in the middle of the two. 

Talk to your kids about finances — how they’ll be managing their money throughout college, pros and cons of an expensive school and what matters most to them. Your conversation could bring you to a cost-benefit analysis (bonus!) or it could spark up a new outlook on the entire decision-making process. 

Career analysis: 

Anyone else feel like their kids are too young to decide on a career path? In many ways, they are. That being said, they may have a different perspective. 91% of high schoolers believe they know their dream job, according to a survey done by EY and Junior Achievement. 

To them, a career is fun, exciting and adulty (their word, not ours). You know better than them that careers are not just about fun — they’re about financial security and stability. 

The transition out of high school is a prime time to have an open, honest conversation with your kids about this. You have the best insight into your kids’ strengths and interests, and you can use this knowledge to help them choose a path that will give them the biggest return on investment. (Props to you if you can make ROI sound fun!) 

Looking for a way to start the conversation? Try these: 

“Are we there yet?”

You’ve got a lot to think about, but no need to stress about it. National Decision Day is an exciting time for you and your kids. No matter what path they choose, the most important thing is that they have you. 

And… they have Greenlight! They may be growing up, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to stop helping them make wise money decisions. If you haven’t already, join Greenlight to keep your kids financially-healthy and happy throughout this next chapter of their lives.