Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Dad Weans Teen with Budget

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Dad Weans Teen with Budget

Article excerpt

Once a week, my teen-age daughter would come home from her job last summer and hand me her paycheck.

"Good girl," I'd say, pocketing her money. "Now go do a load of laundry and walk the dog."

Every now and then, she'd ask for a few bucks to go to a movie with friends. I'd grimace. I'd slowly reach back for my wallet, as if it were a painful act. Sorrowfully, I would finger through the bills. I'd select four or five $1s - wince - and hand them over. "That should be more than sufficient," I'd say. "Thank you, Daddy," she'd reply. As an egregious cheapskate, I think that this is the way life should be. Kids earn money hefting tomato boxes at Schnucks. Dads salt it away to await the reckoning with the college bursar. So I was shocked - shocked! - to hear from financial consultant Steven Sanders, who specializes in kids and money. "Each year, kids earn $100 billion. Each years, kids spend $100 billion," he says. The average teen-ager isn't saving a penny. Their money goes to jalopies, clothes, fast food and music. "They buy the wrong kind of CDs - compact discs instead of certificates of deposit," says Sanders. Sanders' crusade is to preach righteous skinflintery to a crowd that would rather hear Smashing Pumpkins. He's sponsored by Citibank, the country's biggest bank. His advice is timely as kids start pounding the pavement after summer jobs: The first step on the path to fiscal rectitude lies in drawing up a budget. First figure your take-home pay, that is, how much you expect to take home over the summer, after Uncle Sam takes his bite for taxes and Social Security. Next come up with a goal for the amount you'll save by summer's end. Divide that by the number of pay-days and that's the amount to be saved from each check. What's left is yours for fun. Unless you want to spend your life bagging groceries for peanuts, you'll need higher education. …

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