I wrote recently about beginning to give my daughter an allowance. I want to teach her about money, and with kids—as many of you know—when they show an interest, you have to jump on it! So, I have given her some chores, which she did willingly enough in the beginning. Now when I remind her, because I think at four she stills need an occasional reminder, her typical response is, “Aw, man!” She still does it, though, so I’m pretty content.
There is one teeny, tiny thing I didn’t count on encountering this early on in her financial education: greed. Like I said, it wasn’t something I’d given any thought to or expected, but ever since she has begun pulling in the dough she is even more curious about this thing called money. After having a conversation with her dad, during which he informed her that he has to go to work to earn money, she told me I needed to get a job! I told her I had a job, it’s just that taking care of her doesn’t pay well!
One day, after I told her she would be getting her coveted dollar, she began chanting, “More money, more money!” until I felt like I had a union riot on my hands! I tried to sit her down and explain that people are more important than the things that money can buy. Unfortunately, every time I used the word “money” it just got the chant started again. I really did try. I kept repeating it over and over, trying to explain, until she finally said, “I hear you, Mama, I hear you!” Then she went back to her chant.
The lesson obviously wasn’t sinking in like I’d planned, so I tried another tact. I said, “Ali, would you rather have a dollar from my purse—” I paused dramatically, “or have me play a game with you?” I held my breath and waited for her joyful exclamations of “More money, more money!” Boy, was I relieved when she said, “Play a game with you!”
“You see?” I asked her. “Money isn’t important. People, and the things we do together, are what’s important.”
Lesson learned? Come on, we all know I’ll be going over this again and again! Ah, motherhood!