Pocket Money – Cartoon Illustrator
Do today’s kids get too much pocket money? In a recent survey carried out by the Irish League of Credit Unions @creditunionie , teenagers are apparently receiving an average of €13 a week, while research commissioned by Danske Bank shows that most parents are giving an average of €27 a month to children aged between 12 and 15 years.
Is this overkill or the expected stipend for teens to survive in today’s economic climate? And if mums & dads don’t cough up, are we bad, cheapskate parents? I heard the Credit Union findings on the radio recently while driving my teenage kids to school. “Huh!” muttered daughter cynically, turning up the volume. With MP3 headphones blaring in his ears the younger fellah heard nothing until his sister drew attention to their supposed injustice.
“Why doesn’t Dad give us pocket money?” she charged. “OK, you don’t get it every week but we give it when you need it,” I defended. “Not enough. I’m always short and hate having to ask.” Brother in the back seat concurred. “Well, you could do jobs around the house. Earn it, like I had to.” “Look, Mom, we’re not little kids. Over 15’s certainly need some sort of allowance to cover costs like public transport, clothes, socialising. Isn’t it better to blow it all on a PlayStation game, but learn to ration when you’re young rather than spending the rent and food money without realising it when in college or adulthood?”
“I don’t know anyone who gets weekly pocket money,” she continued, “But some of my friends have ATM cards with accounts that their parents top up.” “Good for them,” I muttered. Geez, her guilt trip worked a treat – I felt like a right ‘auld Scrooge.
Maybe she’s got a point. Isn’t it better to give kids pocket money and encourage them to manage it? Save for stuff? Learning financial skills gives them independence, empowerment and the ability to make decisions. And understand that actions have consequences – spend too fast and it’s gone!
It’s easy to talk, though. If families are in financial straits there’s no way a regular allowance can be given. And the “Earn it” mantra won’t work either, if jobs aren’t available.
“I find it funny that the Child Benefit doesn’t go to the children,” commented daughter. Yeah – hilarious. I won’t be organising an ATM account for her any time soon, or let her brothers swipe my credit card to buy computer games. Or divulge my pin number. They know the score – in exchange for jobs they might get some pocket money!
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Maeve O’Keeffe, the Frazzled Mammy! ©Maeve O’Keeffe 2015
Maeve O’Keeffe is a Cartoonist, Illustrator and Journalist in Cork, Ireland