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Friday, September 17, 2010

Kids and Money: Now and Then

Once again, I am looking in vain for something I read a mere two days ago in the Wall Street Journal. ****UPDATE: Here it is, thanks to Lillian. It was about kids and money, that perennial topic, with the usual range of opinion. I liked the article because it began with a little story about a fashionista teen or preteen, who craved new clothes for school. Not having money from Mom and Dad, the fashionista sold her clothes at a consignment store and used the cash to buy new. I LOVE the story.

I would appreciate it if someone could find the link. This is not the first time that the SEARCH in WSJ hasn't come through for me. It's not like I'm looking for some obscure piece from days of yore.

That's the NOW of my title. Here's the THEN, from Sir Francis Bacon's essay Of Parents and Children.
The illiberality of parents in allowance towards their children is an harmful error; makes them base; acquaints them with shifts; makes them sort with mean company; and makes them surfeit more when they come to plenty. And therefore the proof is best, when men keep their authority towards their children, but not their purse.

Francis Bacon (the 17th century writer, not the modern painter) argues that children with the meager funding will "surfeit more when they come to plenty."

So the WSJ story suggests that small help from parents will make the child more resourceful; Bacon argues that the child will over-indulge in times of plenty.

Are you on Team WSJ or Team Bacon?

For me, I don't know. My children are still in process.


Lillian said...

Is this it?

Frugal Scholar said...

@Lillian--Yes! Thanks! How come it didn't come up in my search???

Anonymous said...

Moderation in all things?

What do I know though, my kid is still in preschool.

Marcela said...

Very interesting post and very interesting article from the WSJ.
I know what peer pressure is: I attended the most expensive private school in my city but we didn't have money for anything else than tuition. My parents always explained to me what the situation was and I learnt to live with that. I worked whenever I could, looked for scholarships and found ways to make money, even if little, whenever possible. I think kids should be aware of the cost of things but should not have to worry all the time about how their parents make ends meet (I know one can feel responsible for helping parents cope with debts, and that's too much for a kid). I believe an early financial education is a very valuable asset.

BTW I saw this book yesterday and was wondering what you thought about the subject!

Duchesse said...

Kids need to learn to live within means, relative to the family's. W
I believe it's best to give children something to work with- a modest allowance- but not so much they don't know (as my Dad always said) what it takes to earn a dollar.

Psychoanalysts such as Alice Hoffman in "The Drama of the Gifted Child" point out that great indulgence of a child is a form of abuse.

Lillian said...

I didn't search WSJ - I used Google and searched WSJ kids clothes consignment.

Shelley said...

My impression is that my Grandparents spoilt my Dad, him being an only child and the son who would carry on the name; I know they loved him, but I think he was spoilt and it made him rather an undisciplined and unhappy man; a spendthrift all his life. My parents supplied what I needed and a little of what I wanted at birthdays and Christmas. I got loads of attention, but not so many things. Later on I did ironing or babysitting for the neighbours or friends Mom's for pocket money. I think I was very fortunate in my upbringing. I agree that too much indulgence is a form of abuse.

Duchesse said...

Wanted to mention a book, "The legacy of Inherited Wealth: Interviews with Heirs" by Barbara Blouin (available through Amazon). Useful to anyone working with clients or handling one's own wealth (and one need not have a fortune to face these issues.)

Frugal Scholar said...

@nicoleandmaggie--It's not over till it's over.

@Marcela--Based on this--and other things you've written--I'd say your parents gave you a good financial education.

@Duchesse--What I've seen is that kids often don't know what the family's means are and so don't have a concept of "living within." this is true for families on the high end (who don't tell their kids) and families on the lower end (who borrow).

@Lillian--Thanks again!

@Shelley--I will have to think more about this. I've never read the Alice Miller book (have meant to).

@Duchesse-Thanks for the recommendation. I really like the Millionaire Next Door's section on "economic outpatient care."

Frugal Scholar said...

@Marcela--Oops--forgot to thank you for the book recommendation. I think the writer is a bit of an iconoclast--I try to be that way myself. I will see if my library will order it.