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Ask Dave

The Right Balance

Frida's son does good with the commission money he gets from chores, but she wants to know how he can best use it.

QUESTION: Frida’s son earns commission doing chores and is generous at church, but he spends the rest of the money after that. What percentages should she have him give, spend and save in order to have balance later in life? Dave tells how he did it with his own kids.

ANSWER: We usually didn’t include birthday money there, unless our kids voluntarily wanted to do it or the birthday gift was an unusually large cash gift, and then we would. That money pretty much was for them to spend. We’re Christians, so we’ve taught our kids the tithe, which is to give a tenth of their income to their local church. We started with that as a basis. We pretty much taught our kids to give 20% of their income, spend 40% and save 40% when they were little.

When they got older and were making some serious money, you may want to back the giving down a little bit, maybe even the savings too. But a healthy percentage in savings is good. The great theologian Wesley said if you give 10% and save 20%, then you’ll never have a problem. We were a little more healthy in the giving and saving in that formula, but it depends on how much money the kid is dealing with. If they have a $1,000 income, that’s different than if they get $10 for doing some chores.