A Letter From 13-Year-Old Abby

Dear Mrs. Mary Hunt: My name is Abby. I am 13 years old. So, my mom got your book, “Raising Financially Confident Kids.” She is on Chapter 9, and she wants to do that — give your kids money and make them buy their clothes, shoes, etc., each month.

Well, I didn’t really like the idea. I actually thought it was stupid. But I didn’t say anything. So later on my mom went to bed, so I picked up the book and read it. Then I knew that it wasn’t stupid. It was about teaching your kids how to handle money.

I don’t know how this will work. But I can at least try. My mom thinks you read her mind. Ha! Ha! Ha!

I don’t know if you have ever had a kid my age write to you, but you have inspired me and my family. Thank ya!

Dear Abby: I’m happy your mom is reading my book about how to raise financially confident kids.

Abby, I’ll bet you’re a great swimmer. How did you learn to do that? Did your mom sit you in a chair and tell you all about water and how, when you swim, you have to hold your breath and kick your feet? Did she say that when you grow up you can go into a pool, but until then you just cannot be trusted in water?

I think I can hear you laughing because that is quite silly. But that’s the way a lot of parents teach their kids about money. They just talk about it and describe what it will be like someday when they grow up and leave home. They hope their kids will figure out how to be good with money when they become adults.

And that doesn’t always work out so well.

The plan you and your mom are reading about in my book is a way to teach kids how to manage money while they are young and their parents are still right there to guide them.

Your mom will teach you how it all works. She is going to give you something that all kids want from their parents: trust. She is going to trust you with money and allow you to make decisions with it.

There are rules you have to follow. And you will be getting a Responsibility List. If you want things on that list, then you will have to pay for them. And if you make foolish choices in the way you spend your money, you will have to live with the consequences. That’s the way real life works, Abby.

The more your mom sees that she can trust you to make good decisions about saving and giving to others and exercising self-discipline with the way that you spend money, the more money she will trust you to manage.

I can’t wait to hear how this is going for you, Abby. You can write to me anytime. I would love that!

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Mary Hunt

Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at tips.everydaycheapskate.com/ . This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

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