Both of my boys got their first jobs recently. I’m so proud of them both for wanting to earn money, for the responsibility it takes to hold down a job, and for the life skills they are gaining while working in their early teenage years.
With the first job comes the first paycheck. Seriously, nothing was more thrilling for them than holding that piece of paper in their hands.
That first paycheck brought the opportunity for new life lessons. They opened their own savings accounts. They are responsible for their bank ledgers. They will learn how to reconcile a bank statement.
They will learn the value of the dollar.
My older son wanted to spend his first paycheck immediately. He knew what computer part he wanted to buy.
My younger son had an idea of something he’d like to purchase, but he also wanted to save his paycheck.
It was time to introduce “Save, Spend, Give.”
My parents always taught us to “pay yourself first,” so that’s what I’m teaching my boys. Seventy-five percent of their paycheck went into their savings account. They can buy a car with that money later on, if they can wrap their heads around the fact that this is an investment in their future.
The next part of their paycheck was cashed for spending money. You can decide what percentages work best for your kids and your family. Since 75 percent went into savings, we decided on 20 percent for spending, and the remaining 5 percent goes to giving. Philanthropy is an important value in our family. Whether the money goes to church or to a nonprofit agency, I want them to know that it’s important to give back.
Some families do 40/30/30, and this is great, too! With younger kids, you can use clear jars and actually divide the cash out so that the visual makes an impact on your children.
I hope this lesson will stick with my kids and carry on the very valuable skills they are learning as contributing members of the workforce.