David Trinko: Accounting for how children use their money

Conversations in our house these days are more like discussions in an accounting department.

If our 16 year old daughter drives her sisters to the basketball game, would the tickets be an approved expense, paid for by our fictitious holding company Trinko Inc.? Approved.

If this is a joint transportation trip, will the household pay for gas? Approved.

What if she stopped at a convenience store to buy snacks for those same sisters? We need more information.

It’s interesting to see how young minds think about money.

Three of our four daughters are employed and earn their own money. We will continue to beat this 10 year old girl that she needs to start earning her own livelihood.

The 16-year-old is the queen of wanting to spend her money only on herself, which seems fair at first glance. It gets more complicated when she invites her sisters on after-school outings for slushes or ice cream that her parents don’t consider necessary or even wise, considering what they do for appetites at the hour dinner.

Our 15-year-old daughter, on the other hand, is very generous with her limited disposable income. She doesn’t believe we should pay for most things in her life. In fact, she is absolutely convinced that every expense could be the one that plunges our family into financial ruin and subjects us to life in a van by the river.

Our 22-year-old lives alone, so we don’t usually hear much about how she spends her money. When we do this, I usually make comments about needs versus wants, either out loud or in a low voice.

I struggle when it comes to disposable income. Honestly, my family didn’t have many when I was growing up. We were seven children and our parents provided us with everything we needed. There just wasn’t much room in their budget for many unnecessary expenses. If we wanted to attend a sporting event, for example, we would spend the money we won or received as a gift. That’s how it was.

Looking back, I’m happy about that fact. It helped me become financially independent. I learned to evaluate what I really wanted. It instilled in me a work ethic, and I’ve always had a job since I chose to work in newspapers in my early teens, back when newspapers allowed kids to do that kind of work. things.

Unfortunately for my kids, it also makes me a little stingy. In other words, I’m cheap. As my only daughter said recently, you just ask dad if you want to hear no.

Fortunately for my children, their mother has veto power over financial decisions. She has a broader view and a more child-friendly way of looking at these expenses.

The good thing about all of this is that our children will likely learn a little of this from each of us and apply it to their own lives. Sometimes they apply Dad’s money-saving methods. Sometimes they use mom’s generosity. They will develop their own financial morality to decide when it is right to lean in which direction.

Everything eventually balances out when you’re part of a family’s accounting department.

David Trinko is editor-in-chief of The Lima News. Reach him at 567-242-0467, by email at (email protected) or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.

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