When people say they don't think kids should get allowance, it disappoints me.
We pay allowance...but we call it commission.
We have 5 marble jars on the counter. One is the "Honey Pot". When the kids accomplish a task, they earn a marble. At the end of the pay period, we count the marbles and exchange them for cash. Each is worth 25 cents.
They have to do their chores no matter what. They earn marbles for the following:
INITIATIVE (doing chores without being asked)
GOING ABOVE and BEYOND (doing something extra)
If I have to tell them to do their chores, they don't get a marble for initiative. If they intentionally hurt another child, they have to pay that child a marble from their jar. It's like a fine for disobeying laws in the real world.
Ok...so with investing....we have the 401-Dad plan. They can set an intention. My girls each want an iPad mini. They know how much it costs. If they save 50% of the cost, my husband will match their savings. Even if they earn every single marble, every single day, and they save every penny, it will take close to 18 months for them to earn the iPad. It takes goal setting, drive, dedication, and focus. Do you see the benefit or learning these skills early?
We budget for this like any other bill and we sacrifice certain things like fancy cell phone plans and cable TV to make this possible. In total, we know that our kids can earn a collective $90/mo. That's if they do everything right, every day (doesn't always happen). On pay day, we put $90 in small bills into an envelope. Whatever they didn't earn at the end of the month, goes back to the bank.
Even if you can't afford $90/mo, I'm sure you can come up with a plan that suites your budget. Make the marbles worth 5 or 10 cents instead of a quarter. Make them a little hard to earn. Set up a 401-Dad Plan that will match up to a certain amount...like $20. It's worth it. Too many adults have never learned to manage money and it lands them into a mess.
Take them to the store and teach them to read price tags. Teach them to plan and to shop sales. Help them understand the worth of a dollar.
Kids need to learn that work = money and they need to learn how to save, give, invest, and spend wisely. It NEEDS to start early.