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    Kids and Money ? Time for an Allowance?
    Tanya Altmann, MD, FAAP posted:
    "When do I get an allowance?" my kindergartener asked. "All of my friends get an allowance."

    Well, I doubt they all do. But most experts agree that starting to teach children about money at a young age -- maybe as soon as your preschooler or kindergartner says, "I want that!" -- is the best approach.

    Experts don't all agree on how allowances should be given, whether for chores, good behavior, good grades, or simply as a set amount on a regular basis. I prefer a combination -- a set amount every week that cannot be taken away, plus extra for working hard at school or helping out at home. As parents, you can decide what you think is important.

    My own financial philosophy came from my upbringing. My parents were not big on allowance. Although we were often rewarded for doing well in school, they stressed that we should never buy anything that couldn't be paid off in full (future home excluded). In today's credit card world, where our children see us swipe multiple times a day for groceries and gas, spending and saving are very important concepts that need explaining.

    Here are a few age appropriate guidelines for teaching children about money matters at different stages:

    ? Preschool: It's fun to get a piggy bank and start depositing a few coins here and there. Around age 4, many children can learn to recognize different coins and how much they are worth. Start with coins and work up to dollars.
    ? Elementary School: Children can now learn about saving, spending, and donating. You can create separate "banks" for what children want to do, including savings for the future, or a coveted toy; donating to teach the importance of giving back to the community and helping others; and funds for immediate spending.
    ? Tweens: At this age, you may want to add a fourth container so they can divide savings into short term and long term. You may decide to increase their allowance and let them pay for certain items on their own, such as clothing, video games, or hobbies. Supervise their spending and continue to teach them the importance of saving and donating.

    Do you have any tips for teaching children the value of money? Any allowance stories to share about your kids, or even from your own childhood?

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