On Roosterbank we have found that there are all sorts of reasons as to why parents start giving pocket money and age is only one factor in many that influences the decision.
When do most parents start giving pocket money?
When we built Roosterbank we anticipated that our youngest users would be six. This is the age where children are starting to gain some independence, are starting to have conversations about money with their parents and those conversations in the supermarket about why the REALLY NEED that action toy are well under way.
However, we have children as young as three using the site and as old as 14. To be fair, in many cases, where the child is under five it’s because an older sibling is already receiving pocket money and their younger brothers and sisters understandably want to be like them. That said, how much they get and how it is given will differ – so while older children tend to get a more regular weekly or monthly amount, younger children will be awarded pocket money via a Reward Chart or on a more ad-hoc basis.
Most parents we have spoken to would agree that factors such as what their children’s friends are getting, what their kids are spending money on and what they are required to get with it (school lunch, clothing, sweets etc), will all influence this.
What age can children start developing good money habits?
A study published by the Money Advice Service shows that adult money habits are set by the age of seven years old. Behavioural experts at Cambridge University found that by the age of seven most children are starting to understand the value of money and how to count it out. They have also understood that you use money to exchange for goods, as well as what it means to earn money. We aren’t convinced that they are shaped by seven – we see lots of children aged 8 and over joining the site and slowly adopting good habits.
Sue Atkins, the parenting expert thinks that introducing pocket money to children between the age of 4 and 7 can be a positive first step, as they will understand that you need money to get things from shops and understand that spending all their money today means there is no more until the next payment time.”
We agree – the earlier you feel you can start having positive conversations about money, the better. Children are decisive about what they do and don’t like but if you can get them to start thinking about the cost opportunity of a decision (if they get one thing, it will be at the expense of another) and the value of things, it will set them in good stead to save and spend responsibly.
How you give it is as important as when you start giving it though. Tracey Bleakley the Chief Executive of PFEG, recently said in an interview with BBC Cambridge that ‘children should be given pocket money from a very early age, but in the right way… which is giving them the right amount of responsibility’. How much you are happy to give your child and what they can use it on and where, all determine that level of responsibility.
Getting into a pocket money routine which allows you to manage the amount you give them, how much you give them and for what (we always recommend your child feels they have earned it), will make it an educational experience. If you can use something like Roosterbank to make that simple and fun, it will also make the lessons stick!
Other pocket money tips and advice.
Be sure to check out our other pocket money resources and tips. You can also see the latest results from our Pocket Money Index to show you how other parents on Roosterbank are managing pocket money.
What are your experiences with starting to give pocket money? Do you think there’s a such thing as a ‘right’ age?