Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees, or Does It?

 

Are You Your Child’s A.T.M.?

By LISA BELKIN

(Illustration by Barry Falls Money)

Times are tough. Kids should be learning harsh financial truths right  about now, no? Lessons learned: Money doesn’t grow on trees, nor is there an endless supply in Mom or Dad’s wallet, right?

Not necessarily. A survey by the Northwestern Mutual Foundation, conducted on its financial literacy site, themint.org, finds that today’s parents are “incredibly lenient” about handing their children extra money. The lesson that is being taught, the foundation warns, is one of immediate gratification rather than budgeting or financial discipline.  The survey asked children, ages 17 and younger, “How often did your parents say ‘O.K.’ when you asked for extra money beyond an allowance”;  63 percent answered “always” while 26 percent said “sometimes” and 6 percent said “never.” Only 5 percent of children said they had never asked.  And how does this compare with earlier generations? Among adults, ages 18 to 45, 12 percent agreed with the statements “I always got extra money beyond an allowance from my parents when I asked”; among adults ages 46 to 59, 8 percent agreed; among adults 60 and older, 13 percent agreed.

The reasons kids want this extra money appears to be changing, too. Today’s teens say they spend it on tickets to movies, concerts and sporting events (40 percent), food and drink (24 percent) and toys and games and phones (19 percent).  Only 15 percent said they wanted something for school, compared with 47 percent of adults over 60 who gave education as their reason for asking for extra money when they were young.

It could be, of course, that memory and perception are in play here. But the numbers are dramatic enough to make you think about whether today’s parents open their wallets too easily and too often.I personally recognize a changed family dynamic in these statistics.

Students: Share how this issue plays out your family — and whether you are learning money management skills like budgeting. Do you believe in getting an allowance? Do you ever need more money? If so, why? How do you think your family could do better in terms of teaching you how to deal with money issues, or how are they doing well?  What advice do you have for younger children who are just starting to be responsible for handling money?

(Want some advice on how to structure allowance, and not cave when their allowance runs out? TheMint.org has a guide here.)

 

 

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78 responses to “Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees, or Does It?

  1. I think that this article explains how some parents are giving out to much money to their children with little persuasion. My parents usually give me money if i need it or if i am spending it on something like food or something important. However, they don’t give me an allowance unless i do work around the house, and they don’t give me money unless it is for something that i really need, which I think should be the case for most kids.

  2. I think that this article is about how parents are giving their kids more money than ever. In my house if I were to ask my parents for money they would give me money and than make sure I bring back some change. My parents usually estimate how much the activity I am going to will cost and give me a little bit of extra money. This is to make sure that I don’t go over budget, therefor teaching me money management skills. I think that allowance is a very good thing for kids to get. It lets them set a goal for an item and they save up for it by doing chores. I get an allowance and it makes me appreciate the item I buy a lot more. Whenever I go out I do not use my allowance money, I use my parents money. I use my parents money when I golf, go to the movies, or going to lunch. I think that my parents could limit the amount of money I get a week to prepare me for the real world. Some advice I have for kids starting to get money fro their parents is to bring back change so your parents know your not spending the money on junk. Also, I would tell a kid just starting to get money from their parents is to take advantage of it now before you get into the real world.

  3. This article talks about how kids spend a lot of their parents money. In my family this issue plays out like this: I go to Sports Authority and I see a really cool basketball that costs $80 and I only have $30. I go to my parents and ask for $50 and I do that a lot because I like a lot of stuff. I do not believe in an allowance, I wait until holidays and my birthday. I manage my money fairly well, but when i see something really cool I take out my money and buy it. Sometimes I do this a lot because now a days i see a lot of things that I like.My advice for younger children is to get a savings account and put 75% of your cash in the account and to not buy everything you see.

  4. This article about how kids should be budgeting their money instead of asking their parents for money. At my house when I ask for money I almost always get it. But, unlike other kids I don’t get an allowance, but I still have to do chores. I think that this is why I get money usually when I ask for it. I am learning budgeting skills though, because my parents always are telling me that I have to save up for a car. So, every time that I get a lot of money at like Christmas, or my birthday I put at least one third of that into the bank. So, I am budgeting money, but not so I can go and hang out with my friends but so I can save up for a car. And I think that I am allowed to ask for money from my parents because I do my chores without getting paid, and because they know that I am saving money for a car, so they think that its fair to give me money when I ask for it. I would tell a younger kid to start saving money because you will probably need it when your older, like for a car.

    • I am also saving up for a car, but I am using my allowance money. However, we are still setting a goal and whatever way you can come up with the money is great. This is teaching us as kids to get ready for the real world.

  5. This article is about how kids these days are greedy with money. I agree with this fact because many of my friends ask their parents for money, and the parents hand them their credit card. I think this is more about the parents being too lenient with setting boundaries for their kids. My parents are more towards the middle in that sense, they are not to giving but if I ask for money they will give it to me.

  6. This article is about how many kids spend their parents money. I agree with this article. I know a lot of kids who don’t have any idea of how money works and abuse it. My parents are not too lenient with money, if I go somewhere with my friends they will give me money but if I want more than they gave me I have to use my own money. I think that it is more the fault of the parents when their kids have no sense of money because the parents never taught them!

    • I completely agree! My mom says if I want anymore they I give her, I have to come up with that money. I guess our parents are very similar!

      • I also agree that it is mainly the parents fault, many kids don’t even see the wrong doing in taking hundreds of dollars from their parents.

      • I dont agree with you because if you really want something and u alost have that much money, they will probally give it to you.

  7. This article is about how parents now a days are willing to give their kids money, when they ask for it. In my household when I ask for some money, I usually get it. My parents are teaching me money management skills. A way they do that is by making me put a certain amount of the money that I earn into a bank account. For instance, say I made a hundred dollars snow blowing driveways. I would put seventy dollars into a bank account, and the other thirty dollars I would spend on what ever I wanted to spend it on. I do not believe in a set allowance, but I do believe in something like an allowance. I think that kids should do chores, and because they did those chores. If they ever do ask for money to go to the movies, they will get it. The money they get would act like a sort of pay off for the chores that they did. So, it isn’t exactly an allowance, but it is similar to one. I feel that my family has done a good job teaching me about money management. One thing that I would say to someone younger than me about money management, is start saving early. That is because the earlier you start saving, the more you will save, and you will need all the money you are on your own.

    • I completely agree with you. Like your parents my parents make me put a certain amount of money that I earn/get into the bank. Nice job!

  8. This article is basically about how kids and teens take advantage of their parents’ money, even though times are tough. I think that is important for children to learn to save and spend wisely, because our parents won’t always be there to give us cash for the movies or for going shopping. Kids nowadays kids have small jobs or chores to raise an income, and if they learn to use the money for important items, or to save for a more expensive item, parents won’t have to pay for things besides the necessities. Money is an important thing, and our generation needs to learn to spend it wisely.

  9. This article is about how teens can take as much moneys as they want from their parents, but some cant. I think that it is okay to be able to ask your parents for money once in a while, but excessively isn’t good nor fair for your parents. If children and teens always relay on their parents they wont excel in life and work for themselves. Being dependent is very important as you get older. Some parents don’t even lend their children a dollar, the child has to work for it. I think that working hard for money is good and having your parents giving you money once in a while is okay too.

    • I agree with you a lot! I think that it is okay once and a while for parents to give their kids money, but when they always give their kids money and the kids only relays on their parents to supply them with money. I also think the kid will have no sense of independence and they will never want to make their own money because they will just think their parents will give it to them.

  10. This article is about how kids always ask their parents for extra money and most times they always say yes. Kids today take advantage of their parents money by using it for things like concerts, sporting events and the movies rather than using it for necessities like food. I think kids shouldn’t rely on money from their parents because one day kids will be on their own and will have to make their own money. Kids should have to work for their money by doing chores and helping out their parents. I think it’s okay to ask for money once in a while for little things but remember to also help out their parents to make up for it.

  11. The article is about how many teens are continually taking advantage of their parents money and not learning proper money management skills. I feel that kids should keep in mind that the economy isn’t so great and they shouldn’t just ask for their parents money and maybe learn how to make their own. In my home I only get an allowance if I do my chores. Also if I ask my parents for money it depends on how much it costs and what it is I’m buying. I think my parents are teaching me good money management skills. In order to make my own money I babysit my neighbors, so when I ask for money my parents always say I should use my own money. I feel that learning how to manage your money will help teens in the future when they have jobs and homes and have to save and spend money wisely.

  12. This article how some kids can get as much money as they want from parents and some kids don’t get any money from family. I fall under the second category. Even in a recession some kids don’t know how to save up because they just ask their family for more and more money and I think that idea is terrible. They should have to work for their money. Some kids think that they can get anything they want whenever they want but that is a bad thing. 6% say that they can’t get any money. That stat should be much higher. I think this generation should learn how to make their own money.

  13. The majority of children take advantage of their parents leniency in giving them extra money. As generations pass, parents seem to become more lenient in this subject. In my family, my parents sometimes give me money. Then again, I do not get a weekly allowance to go along with it so it is not as if I am taking advantage of them for trying to get more money. I wish that I did get a weekly allowance though. If I got one then I would prepare myself for when I get older and may need to handle my money responsibly with a budget. If I got a few dollars per week I would learn to save and divide my spending more evenly. Although, it is always nice to have extra money. 🙂

  14. This article talks about how kids spend a lot of there parents money. I think parents to lend way to much money to kids. I mostly use my money for things. I do not spend a lot of my parents money. My parents will lend me like 5 dollars if i go to 7-11 or something like that. This article also talks about how little kids think that their parents have unlimited money with there credit cards. They think “money grows on trees”. The only time my parents really spend money on me if it is a birthday gift or a Christmas gifts. Sometimes they will just spend money on me for something i want because i do not ask for that much.

  15. I think that it is good for kids to work for their money, but parents should supply their children with enough money to got to the movies with friends or buy food. In my family, I get 30 dollars every month for doing chores. That money I use for things like food, lacrosse sticks, and things that I would like, not need. My parents buy me things that I need so when I need new lacrosse pads or new shoes they buy me those things. This may sound good to some people, but for me I think I need a little bit more. My parents say that I can use my 30 dollars on movie tickets and food, but when I go to the movies and buy a ticket, I use half of my allowance. Things are too expensive and I think that kids need more money to use on their own.

    • I agree with you when you say that kids need to use more money on their own when buying expensive things. If we NEED the thing we are buying we need to use our money.

    • I agree with you about how kids should get some money from their parents. Things are too expensive, and kids need some money from their parent.

  16. This article is about how kids are asking their parents for money more and more. I think that kids should find a way to make their own money. Parents have enough to spend their money on, never mind their kids’ needs like for movie tickets and video games. I have a lot of money my self. I don’t have a job right now but next summer I’m going to start working in my dad’s Irish bar and restaurant. Then i will be making my own money and wont have to ask my parents for money because we all do ask our parents for money every once in a while.

  17. Personally i think this article is relatable to all kids. When we are going out to the mall or boulder run,most of us don’t think about not getting money. We ask our parents and usually they’ll give us 10 20 30 dollars. We don’t think this is a problem, just good parenting. In the short term it’s not. But how much of that money do we pay back. Over a week the money could add up to hundreds of dollars, we don’t have that money. But our parents do. I’m sure they are fully aware of the situation. But not all kids are. We aren’t worrying about college tuition at this point, our parents are. We aren’t worried about our dinner costing a lot, they are. I’m not saying we should NEVER take money from our parents, just before you do, think about the long term affects obsessive loaning can cause.

  18. I believe that it would be a good idea for kids to be able to work at an early age so they don’t spend their parents money, and when they go to spend their own money they will actually watch how much they spend. Kids think that money grows on trees and they think that there is no limit to how much money they spend. It would also be a good idea for parents to stop buying their kids stuff that they cannot afford, because that is what puts people into debt. In conclusion people should watch how much money they spend because money does not grow on trees.

    • Dave, I completely agree with you. You make a very good point in your blog. Well done.

    • I agree. Kids don’t think of the long term affect of borrowing money. it slowly subtracts from their tuitions and cars expenses. The more you save. . . the more you’ll have.

  19. This article is about how kids are asking for extra money besides their allowance and how the reasons for the extra money has changed over time. When ever I ask for money it is for something I want to buy, but most the time its only like 5 dollars because I have saved most of it myself. Or my grandma has given it to me for my birthday or just because she’s feeling nice.

  20. This article is about how parents are usually willing to give their children a raise on their allowance if they ask. I personally don’t get an allowance for doing chores. I do chores because that is what is expected of me. My allowance is basically food, clothes, and a place to live. I do however learn how to manage my money because I work for my uncle over the summer and I save it. I also am involved with snow removal over the winter so I get money from that too. Not to mention my birthday and Christmas. I always put at least half of my money in the bank once I’m paid and keep the rest as spending money. My parents and I help me out when I need money sometimes though. For example, if I’m getting a laptop, my parents and I may go 50 50 on it. I think that actually earning my money without chores has better helped me to manage it.

  21. This article is about kids asking for money from their parents. I rarely ask for money but when I’m going out somewhere my parent’s usually give me some money just in case.

  22. This article is about how children take advantage of their parents supply of money. Younger children assume that their parents have unlimited money and that they can buy anything with a credit card. I think children should see how much money their parents actually have in their bank accounts so they know that their money is not unlimited. As I have grown older I have seen that I can’t always depend on my parents for money.

  23. This article was mainly about how parents are lending more money to their children than they did before; especially in these tough times. In my family this issue plays out like this: I want a new lacrosse stick so I go to the store and see it costs $120 dollars, so I pay $50 (I’m not being forced to pay) and I walk out a happy boy with a new lacrosse shaft. I do not believe in an allowance, I wait until holidays and my birthday. I manage my money fairly well, because I never seem to really want/need something. I keep all my excess money in my savings account or my “spending” account ( which is a separate ATM account), both of which I independently manage. My advice for younger children is to get a savings account and put 75% of your cash in the account and to not buy everything you see.

  24. This article is about how kids are borrowing more and more money from their parents than they have in the past, especially now due to economic difficulties. I don’t ask my parents for extra money. I use my money to buy something that I want. The only time my parents pay for things are for necessities. Anything else I want to buy is coming out of my wallet.

    • I agree with your point. I think that parents are giving their children more money than they previously were (in most families). I also get stuff completely from my parents when it is a necessity, but not when its not necessity and I buy it myself in most cases when it is not a necessity.

  25. This article is about how lenient parents are now a days about handing their children extra money. I have to admit I ask my parents for money every time I go out. But it really isn’t a big deal for my family, we haven’t been hit by the economic crisis that is occurring. The money my parents give me is not usually wasted, when I use it for a certain occasion I give it back when I’m done.

  26. This article is about how kids are taking advantage of their parents money. But what do you expect we live in the 21st century with the latest technology and a wide variety of intellectual gadgets. Of course kids are going to want to buy everything because there is so many things to buy. Also, if a kids friend has more money and is buying many gadgets, the kid is going to want to be like their friends and buy the same things, but their family doesn’t have as much money therefore are in trouble. Finally, kids should learn how people lived in the 18th century and what they did in their free time.

  27. This article is mainly about how kids these days mostly use ask and take more money then what they get in their allowance. It shows that we think money is always there. In my family it is a little different. I am expected to do chores, but don’t get rewarded with an allowance. However, when I need money for things I want my parents will help out. Also, I’d rather use my own money. I’d rather use the money I earn from baby-sitting, or other jobs. This teaches me about the values of money management. If I ever need more money, which is rare, my parents will mostly give me the money. I think younger children should learn to work for there jobs. They should ask their parents to help around the house, so they can make small extra amounts of money.

  28. In this article it talks about how easily and often some kids get money from their parents. I personally don’t get allowance but when I need money for something my parents usually just give it to me. Although, my parents are pretty good about making sure I am not spending to much. Also, my family hasn’t been affected by the economic crisis, meaning we don’t have to be as careful as others. When I am in a rush I just grab some of my own money. I am more careful on what I am buying and how much I am spending when I use my own money.

    • I do the same thing you do, when I’m in a rush I just grab my own money. I agree with that parents usually give their kids money when they go out.

      • When I am in a rush I grab my own money too, but if I go out to the mall or to the movies my mom will usually give me money. I agree with you completely, but I do think kids should work for money or do something to deserve it. Also I am very careful about what I buy too.

  29. This article did a good job of bringing up the point that kids do ask their parents for money like there is an unlimited supply. My parents will buy me things, but when I ask for money they have to know what I am buying before they hand me the money. I suppose they’re right in the sense that they should know where their money is going. I personally don’t ask for that much and I prefer to save up my money for something that I really want (ex. I am currently saving for a kindle). It gives me incentive to work harder for money to get what I want. My brother, on the other hand, is always asking for money because there is always something newer and cooler than what he already has. I am very simple, however. I don’t feel the need to get something newer if it does the same thing as what I already have.

  30. This article is about how kids ask their parents for money all the time, as if it grew on trees or multiplied in their parents’ wallets. I don’t get an allowance, and I rarely ask my parents for money, so usually they’re lenient when I ask. In my house, if I’m in a rush, I’ll ask my parents for money for the movies, mall, food, etc., but otherwise, I spend my own money. When I use my own money, I’m more conscious of how much I spend because I only have so much money in my room, as oppose to my parents who have a monthly wage and extra money in the bank.

    • I feel the same way when I spend my own money, I am a lot more careful. I also ask my parents for money when I go to the mall, movies and out for food. Great thinking!

  31. This article is about how parents are for the most part freely giving money to their kids. All the kids need is to ask. A study by Northwestern University asked kids when you ask your parents for money how often do they give it to you? 63 percent answered “always” while 26 percent said “sometimes” and 6 percent said “never. This also means that kids are taking advantage of their parents.

  32. This article is about how money isn’t always easy to gain and shouldn’t be wasted. I pay for many things. My parents pay for all the necessary items but, the things I just want, I pay for. I learn management skills just by seeing bills or things like that. I don’t believe in allowances. Wether the money is from your pocket or your parents, it stills leads back to someone. If your parents give you money, no one is gaining anything. I want more money. I usually don’t need it. My parents could make me pay for more things but, it wouldn’t change too much. I would want children to understand that allowances are pointless but, most would not understand why.

  33. This article is about how kids are constantly asking their parents for money. I personally never ask for or borrow money. I do loan and sell my things to my family members expecting my price or loan to be paid back if full. I believe kids today are becoming more spoiled because they are receiving money for little or no work. I feel that by doing this the parents aren’t doing their job, they should be teaching the value of money and how to save and spend wisely.

  34. For me, I would fall in the sometimes category. My Mom is much more lenient then my Dad so my strategy is to ask my mom first. I know wrong but it works sometimes. My dad on the other hand is much more strict. I’ll be at a store with him and I’ll say, “I’m thirsty” as we pass a vending machine and he’ll just reply with, “Theres a water fountain over there.” Although it doesn’t cost anything, $1.00 won’t break his wallet. I think that I would fall in the sometime category because if I want spend money, I use my allowance. My dad also got me and my siblings a pre-paid card so he can add money onto the card but we can only spend what is on the card. I think that it is a good thing to have because we don’t have to carry cash and it prepares us for using ATMs and credit cards. I think that many parents are waaaaay to lenient and hand out money to their kids like it dirt.

  35. This article is about how more kids ask for money from their parents. I personally do not ask for extra money from my parents. I get a weekly allowance and bonuses for extra work.

    • Andy, I too get weekly allowance but I don’t get bonuses, I just help out around the house and thats how I earn my Allowance.

      • I don’t get an allowance because I feel that I better manage my money if I have to work for it other ways and those chances to work only happen once in a while.

    • I find this article not too relatable, as I don’t ask for money a lot. My parents sometimes give me an allowance and do let me have lose change. All the lose change adds up eventually. It’s enough for me to get a new game every now and then and to get devices for my computer, or a new tennis racquet.

    • That is a fantastic way to earn money, my friend.

    • I pretty much do the same as you Andy, but I do find myself asking my parents for more money simply because they don’t give me enough every month. I get 30 dollars a month, maybe if that 30 dollars was spread out evenly every week it would feel as if I had more money

    • I don’t get an allowance, but I wish I did so I would be able to prepare myself for when I get older and may have to deal with my money more responsibly. Perhaps even have to deal with budgets.

    • I also get an allowance but only when I do my chores. I don’t think that kids should take advantage of their parents money. They should learn how to save and spend money wisely for future purposes.

    • I also get money for completing chores. It is really important for kids to be willing to work for money, and not expect it to be handed to them all the time.

    • I also get extra money for extra work, I think it’s a great way for kids to get prepared for the future.

  36. This article is about how kids these days ask for and receive money whenever they want. I somewhat agree with this article. I personally don’t ask my parents for money that often. I babysit and make my own money. My parents won’t give me money for extra things because they know I have my own money. I do agree with this article because some kids these days are very greedy and their parents will give them whatever they want, but, that is not me. My parents tell me all the time that money doesn’t grow on trees.

    • Kristen, I agree with what you said completely. My parents say that all the time. Kids shouldn’t get money if they were good, because they should be good anyway. You shouldn’t be rewarded for something that you are supposed to be doing.

    • Kristen, I agree with you. My parents tell me the same thing, about how money doesn’t grow on trees. Also, I agree with Caroline, who said that kids shouldn’t be rewarded for being good because they’re supposed to be good all the time.

  37. I think it is a horrible lesson that children are learning about money. Children should understand that they can’t get money whenever they want and they should earn money, but if parents keep giving there children all the money they want, then it would be impossible to learn. I think parents should be less generous when it comes to giving there children money, and follow through with a steady allowance. With an allowance children will learn how to save money, and work for what they make.

    • I agree. Parents need to teach the value of money to their kids. My parents have taught me and more parents need to teach their kids. Money is not in an unlimited supply.

    • I agree with you. Parents are too generous when giving out money. They need to help there kids learn the values of money. Good job!

    • I agree, if children just get money whenever they want, they will not understand when they need to get a job and work for money.

  38. This article is about how teens and children ask for money from their parents. Of course teens and children of today ask their parents for money. I hardly ask, but when I do every time my parents say, “I didn’t do this to my parents.” So I’m not surprised to see that 8% of adults in my parents generation said they agreed. Times are tough thats the truth, but it seems like it isn’t for our parents in today’s world.

    • I agree with you, times is tough and children should respect money more then they currently.

    • I agree with you when you said, ” So I’m not surprised to see that 8% of adults in my parents generation said they agreed. “

  39. This article is about how kids are taking advantage of their parents money, and how the things they want to buy with the money has changed a lot over time. I don’t completely agree with this article. I think that a lot of kids, including me, have their own money. For example, I make my own money babysitting so I don’t need to spend my parents money on silly things like movie tickets. That’s why I babysit, so I can make money to spend. The only time I use my parents money is for things like new clothes or when we go out to dinner…the usual things. I believe that kids who live in “more expensive” areas tend to be more greedy and ask for more money. I also believe that kids under a certain age who are not able to make any money themselves should be allowed to ask for money, just not all the time. Only for necessary items.

    • I agree on how you say that people take advantage of their parents’ money.

    • I completely agree with you. I make my own money, also babysitting. Because I make my own money, I don’t need to ask my parents for it. They also won’t give it to me because they know I make my own money. Good job!

    • I completely agree with what the concept of kids working for their money for movie tickets or material possessions like Ipods, or video games. Though some parents can be very strict with money and pay very little for a lot of work and time.

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