Schwab survey says kids with chores become money smart

Kids doing chores teaches financial responsibilityHere's an excuse for getting your house clean while being altruistic: Give your kids chores, and watch them learn the value of money. At least that's what the results of a recent survey seem to prove.

The 2010 Charles Schwab Families & Money survey found that 53% of parents whose children had four or more regular chores while growing up considered their now young adult children to be "very financially responsible," compared to 46% of parents whose children had one to three regular chores, and 39% of parents whose children had no chores. In other words, the more chores they did, the better the kids were with money -- at least in the parents' eyes. I bet anyone who ever did chores for an allowance or had a job as a kid can remember how it helped them learn the meaning of a dollar.

Of course, you could just tell your kids to do their chores because that's how it's done in a family and everyone has to pull their own weight. But more than likely, money delivers a fiscal responsibility message.

When my daughter turned 5 almost a year ago, my wife and I gave her some nightly chores to do before going to bed. We had a chore chart and promised to take her to the toy store for a gift when they were completed in a month. It worked for awhile, but then waned. Some chores got done, but laziness on my part quickly set in, and we stopped filling out the chart. Her toys are still scattered all over the living room, but this Schwab study gives me new hope to start again.

I've tried teaching her about money by opening a savings account so she can deposit some of the money that grandparents send her, but I don't think she yet gets the concept. She also has a college savings account we contribute to each month, and I will someday explain that to her.

For now, her financial savvy comes from a Dairy Queen gift card from grandma and quoting Mr. Krabs. That's about to change with four regular chores. We'll start with a nightly toy pickup.

Aaron Crowe is a freelance journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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