Don’t Make Allowances

Allowances

I know I’m a killjoy and probably a horrible woman, but I blame a part of how Americans fail to get economics and how people expect something for existing on allowances.

It might be sour grapes, of course, because I didn’t get any.  My parents not only didn’t believe in allowances, they snorted at my “convincing” argument that it would teach me to handle money.  Either fortunately or unfortunately they also didn’t provide any way for me to earn money.  And they COMPLETELY failed to understand that science fiction books, along with air, water and food are one of the necessities of life.

I say fortunately or unfortunately because this led me to an ever more ridiculous pursuit of “ways in which a kid can make money” starting with the highly unorthodox – hand copied – neighborhood paper, escalating to (I think illegal) lotteries and eventually culminating in tutoring/teaching jobs and a summer job in a hotel in Germany when I was an adult.

I’ll confess I never did THAT to my kids, but neither would I allow my husband to make them an allowance.  Not being a killjoy, I allowed them to keep birthday/Christmas gifts up to $100 per gift, to do with as they pleased (gifts ARE a part of life, even as an adult.)  Anything above that got socked away in their savings account because well… I figure they’ll appreciate them as adults.

However, for everyday, can-count-on-them running expenses I gave them the opportunity to earn money.  

Part of this is that, being mostly libertarian (Rational Anarchist, she said) I didn’t approve of assigning the kids tasks.  Yes, they live in the house.  Yes, they get fed.  BUT that’s my duty for choosing to have them.  And cleaning and cooking are values for ME – unless what they’re cleaning or cooking are their own stuff – not them.  To force them to do tasks smacked of slavery.  I wanted to raise FREE men who don’t let others indenture them.  I wanted them to GET no one had a RIGHT to command them.  (Teach them, yes.  Which is why a smack on the behind is more honest than a time out.  It’s ‘yeah, you can do that.  But it will hurt.’)

Since mom – me – is a bum-ish writer and cleaning ladies and time are both expensive, these opportunities were usually of the “you’ll do this and get that” sort.  Older son had amassed $500 in $3 to $5 increments by 5.  Jobs like “Setting the table for a week.”  Or “Feeding the cats for a week” or “taking out the trash for a week” (when they were older.)  Also at around five “dusting the house” for $10.

Yes, I exploited them horribly, but you also have to understand they weren’t very good at it.  (As teens, for instance, they “cleaned” the house for two weeks without NOTICING that the cats had peed on a pile of books on the coffee table, doing so much damage the books had to be throw out and the table refinished. $20 for “cleaning” – meaning that there are no OBVIOUS piles of dust and mess, at least if you don’t have a nose – a whole house is reasonable in the circumstances.  As they became better, I paid them better.

As for spending money the rules were – and still are – simple.  Unless we decide to make the kid a gift (which we do, occasionally) or the thing they want is for eating, wearing or school (in which case it’s our job) then what they want MUST come out of THEIR earned money.  (It’s amazing how few games they want when they must pay.)

Mind you, I’m not going to say the kids are perfect about money.  Younger one still confuses “want” with “need” but by and large they understand money doesn’t grow on trees and “we can’t afford it” or “it’s that or food” never gets an argument.

Am I attributing the appalling lack of economic clue of the public to the allowance custom, something that has been going on since… well… forever?

To an extent.  While allowances were parts of life for the wealthy in Europe since probably the renaissance – children and adults alike got an allowance made by the head of the family – I don’t think it invaded middle-class western civ till the last few decades.

And if you think about it, allowances in a society based on family centralization AND land made sense.  You didn’t make your own money, and your prosperity and doing well depended on obeying/making the head of the family happy.  Allowances and their withholding trained you for that.  It does NOT train you for the free market.

And while I will agree that allowance or not is a small part of raising the kids in a free-market mentality, I want to warn you the schools won’t.  They’re imbued through and through with Marxist ethos and even the younger boy’s “economics” class had them take in account in “hiring a new employee” things like “where could you do the most good.”  (Which made me scream “to each according to his need????” a string of profanities and THEN “Sarah Smash!”) And as polluted as the “assumed beliefs” have become with “finite pie” and eternal redistribution (infernal redistribution!) ideas, even the kids’ first jobs might NOT give them a clue about producing something, or doing something people will willingly pay you for being the SOURCE of wealth in their personal, greedy little (in my boys’ cases, big) hands.

So, DON’T make allowances for your kids.  Make them earn them.  What do you have to lose?  The neighborhood cool dad award?  So what?  Your kids will be better prepared to survive in the real world.

Or, of course, I could be insane.  At any rate, it doesn’t seem to have hurt the boys.

61 responses to “Don’t Make Allowances

  1. There are many ways to approach this, as many as there are families and then some. An allowance makes sense if it is premised on the principle that young’ns are members of the collective and expected to contribute labor. Doing it on the proposition of work for pay is an effective way of managing, with many collateral benefits. I strongly recommend, urge, suggest buying/borrowing Cheaper By The Dozen for some illuminating examples of how the Glibreth family — pioneers in the field of industrial efficiency — addresses these issues among their dozen children.

  2. We’re currently contemplating an allowance system based on assigned chores as well as the opportunity to earn more doing things that are not on that list. The list is going to include the usual; clean room, homework/piano, household chores, etc, but will be based on a checklist system. My kids LOVE checklists and they seem to get very motivated by them. My wife also does incentive cash ($1 per night) for dry nights for our little 4-year-old bed-wetter.

    As far as savings accounts are concerned, I thought my ex had a pretty good system. Any money that my first son got from birthdays/Christmas, etc, was split 50/50 with half going into a savings account. I changed my mind when he turned 18 and moved that money into his own bank account, totaling a whopping $1500ish. That’s not a lot when you think about it.

    I’ve got a book by Dave Owen called The First National Bank Of Dad which I bought as a result of coming up with the concept myself during an extremely long commute one day. Let that be a lesson. I came up with the concept. I’m sure millions of moms and dads have as well. David Owen went and wrote a book about it and is making money from it.

    In any case, his point was that you cannot just confiscate money and put it in a normal savings account where you’d be lucky to earn 2% interest. That’s simply not motivating for a kid. In essence, you need to have an interest rate that will grab their attention and teach them how to save; say, 25% or so. Kids understand video games and batteries. They understand about “charging up” things. If you give a good rate of return, they will also understand interest and the value of saving toward future goals.

    When my kids are a little older, I plan on doing fake bills paid through a fake bank account. Something that apes the way I reconcile my checking account every day and pay bills electronically once a week.

    • Doh! Included the link to Owen’s book twice.

      Sarah, do you have a link through to Amazon where you would get credit for purchases? I’m weary of putting links to books here because of that.

      • Don’t. If you do, put those. We live in — ARGH — Colorado. I’m losing about $100 a month — or was when they took it away. Might be more now. ARGH.

        • Care to expand on that? What does CO have to do with it? They don’t allow that sort of thing? I hung out on a political blog for years (had my fill, thank you very much) and she had a link like Insta’s. I bought a bunch of camping gear through that link over the years and I’m sure she got a cut.

          • Free-range Oyster

            Sounds like Colorado has or is attempting an Amazon tax, which results in Amazon simply shutting down their affiliates in that state. Stupid .gov drones. /grumble

            • Yep. two years now. That’s… a lot of money. IDIOTS.

            • Texas has actually succeeded in making Amazon collect sales taxes for them — as of eighteen days ago, July 1st, I now pay Texas sales taxes on anything I order from Amazon. I guess Texas’s argument that a major warehouse & distribution center (Amazon has one in Irving, TX) counts as a “physical presence” prevailed, because I never heard about Amazon threatening to withdraw their assoicate program from TX.

              • Free-range Oyster

                That is correct – I was under the impression that Amazon never fought that one. However, claiming that an affiliate’s residence counts (as CO, IL, and others have attempted) will lead to them cutting the program there lickety-split. And then that projected revenue that the idiot legislators used to sell the measure never appears. It’s a standard pattern now, but some states are still attempting it.

                • Well, this is what I got when we elected an all new legislature in 08. Or practically new. “We voted in a new legislature and all we got was a bunch of dumb sh*ts.”

                • Apparently Amazon has made a major course correction and will soon no longer fight these taxes because they plan to start offering same-day delivery in most states. To do that they’ll need distribution facilities and as has been pointed out, once they have a distribution center in a state they’ve established what we call “nexus,” which is shorthand for “your ass is grass and the DOR has a big honkin’ lawnmower.”

                  Whether this means they’ll re-establish the associates/affiliates programs in states where they start offering same-day, I don’t know. It seems likely that they will, since I have to assume the program makes money for them or they wouldn’t have it in the first place.

                • Actually, Amazon did fight over it since they owed at least 3 years back taxes at the time but didn’t go scorched earth like they did for the affiliates program.

              • Same in NV because they have a warehouse in Fernley, Nevada.

          • well. after CO passed a tax on Amazon — or tried to — Amazon cut out their associates’ program in CO. So… no money for Sarah.

    • Yes, but my parents’ gifts to the kids started OUT at 500 which for a three year old would be insane. $100 was the limits of his avarice. (He actually INSISTED on taking us out to dinner once. I think at six. Because we were broke and couldn’t go out to dinner for a long time, and he got a gift in. Yes, he was a terror, but not without charm.) They each now have about what we put in for our first house downpayment. Now it wouldn’t cover it, unless they want to live in the slums. BUT it will give them a couple months of expenses when they move out and/or furnish the place AND give them a couple months of expenses, if they’re careful.

      The BEST part of the way we did it was that once they were both teens they competed for chores. “Oh, come on, I’m better at bathrooms than he is. How come you let him do it?” “It was on the board. He got up earlier, did it first.” We used to have this HUGE white board in the kitchen with “need done” and a space for initial when it was.

      • I can definitely see doing something like the big board. My wife would be all over that. Dovetailing with the savings account thing, my brother, father and I were talking about the various cars everyone has. He’s got an 8 year old car and a 13-year-old son. He was talking about hanging on to the car for a couple years and giving it to the son. My father and I both sat up…”your going to GIVE it to him?” My wife’s family is very liberal with the doling out of cars. My family, on the other hand, doesn’t have any $250k-a-year peeps, so we had to work for them. My dad always did a 3-to-1 matching funds deal for cars and, of course, co-signed for them. I’m most likely going to do the same. My brother’s reasoning was with all the sports and schtuff his son does, giving him a car would make it easier on he and his wife. I didn’t say anything, but that’s not really supposed to be the goal.

        • My family had the old clunker I was allowed to drive, but it didn’t belong to me. It was so Mom wouldn’t have to drive me all the places I needed to go, and when my sister could drive, we shared it. I bought my first car with my own savings.

          All the kids I knew who had nice cars given to them wrecked them within six months, no exceptions. People don’t value things that are just handed to them, for the most part.

          • I should point out that my parents gave them money for “first cars” as in “used cars about 10 or more years old” not for brand new spanking cars. BUT it’s transportation and that’s fine.

          • All the kids I knew who had nice cars given to them wrecked them within six months, no exceptions. People don’t value things that are just handed to them, for the most part.

            My first two cars were gifts from my parents. The first one lasted 3 years before I totalled it and the second was traded in on a new car after I got out of college. DH also got two (much older) cars from his parents and drove them til they couldn’t be fixed. Older son got a nice truck from Grandma and is still driving it 5 years later. He’s put some bad dents in it but no real crashes.

            I think it has more to do with the attitude of the person than the gift of the car. I definitely appreciated the cars I got but I’m an impatient driver which led to my crash.

            • Since this is gift-from-grandparents kid KNOW if the cars die, we simply CAN’T get them others, even if we wanted to. (Used and third hand though it is, Robert’s car is worth almost twice what my car is. Neither is madly expensive.) Which means… if I can’t afford to replace mine — possibly even when the transmission finally gives up the ghost — he’d better be careful with his. He is. VERY careful. “Granny driving to church careful.”

          • Daniel Neely

            My parents gave me access to their spare car (Dad was a mechanic who did his own repairs, so we always had beaters growing up) and covered insurance and gas money for me. The catch was that I was responsible for driving my three younger siblings and friends around for extra curriculars after school and on the weekend. This generally ran 10-20 hours a week; although on occasional weeks when everything hit at once I probably put in between 35-50 hours depending on if you counted the time I spent reading on layovers not worth driving home for.

        • Well, my parents gave money for car to older son and have sent (some) money for car to younger son. Falls under “gifts” and that’s fine. We figure it’s a nice start in life, and the only thing they’re likely to get, so that’s fine. They still will have to work for everything else.

          • I bought my first car and my parents co-signed, which meant that a year later when I realized I couldn’t go to college and pay for the car, I gave the title to my mother. She used the for her work for a year or so and then she wrecked it. *sigh

            My first experience with entitlement was when I was in college and found out that parents paid for tuition, books, and housing (I had to work two jobs and carry a full credit load – it burned me out). The lucky stiffs used the extra time they had (privileged students) to play, and play, and play. I had better grades than many of them because I had to be smart. I remember being tired and hungry all the time.

            It tried getting grants, but I was not of the right group. Plus I didn’t want to be owned by a bank.

            –Oh yea, this was about allowances. Never had one. If we wanted to do something special, we had to make our own money through a bakesale. The family business (farming, and selling stuffed dinosaurs) went to the family bank account for housing and food. I sometimes would get twenty dollars for my efforts when there was extra money, but with nine children in the house, there just wasn’t much of anything. Plus with four boys with hollow legs, the food seemed to disappear quickly.

            We were just expected to do the work with no compensation except for the usual – housing, food, and clothing. Everyone of us left as quickly as we could. One brother left at sixteen because he could make more money as a mechanic than at our house. He started a home business at thirteen where he took care of our neighbors animals when they were on vacations. Except when the parental units found out they were really upset. They made him hand over the money. He was smart enough to not hand over the entire thing.

            It was a matter of control in our house. – so I think I have a skewed idea of economics i.e. I just don’t like anyone taking my hard earned dollars –even the government.

    • Some chores should be required and unremunerated because they are part of living. Keeping your room clean, for example.

  3. I got an allowance, but it started being tied to chores by the time it was worth anything. I actually started getting a teeny one from age 5 (5 cents a week) – and that did teach me about saving money for something I wanted – if I blew it on candy, I couldn’t save it for the little plastic toy I wanted.

    It didn’t go to the astronomical $1 a week until I did basic chores, and every raise was tied to additional chores – just like a salary. And if I didn’t do those chores on time, I didn’t get the money (if I didn’t do them by the late day, I had to pay the equivalent amount, out of my own pocket, to my little sister. My parents were big into psychological punishments).

    I absolutely agree, the money should be tied to something the kid has earned. I liked the regular chores because it gets the kids to contribute to the family, and it teaches them basic household stuff, plus I liked the schedule of it. I know people who grew up on farms, and those kids had regular chores from the time they could walk, but they’re helping out in the family business. But it’s whatever works for you and the kid.

  4. Sensible attitude, I’d say. (Yours…not so much for your parents’.) “We’ll feed you, clothe you, and educate you just because you’re ours, you’re breathing, and you’re underage, as is both our moral and legal obligation. Want fun? Make it yourself, or acquire the means to do so by doing useful work.”

    I’ll confess, though (and this might be partly due to the non-native English speaker thing) that I was four sentences in before I realized that you were talking about money…at which point my previous reaction (“Wow. No making allowances for kids? Harsh!”) went away, to be replaced with “Oh, she means ‘don’t hand them money for nothing’, not ‘don’t calibrate your expectations of their behavior to their ages and demonstrated levels of maturity’! Right…makes way more sense, that way.”

    So yeah. Definitely make allowances. But don’t _give_ allowances to your kids.

    • Not from ESL — from “being so sharp I cut myself” — I was trying to make a pun.

      OTOH to an extent, I don’t make allowances either. I never told them something was wonderful because they were small. I’d say “It’s good for your age.” UNTIL they started playing in my turf. Short stories got critiqued without allowances. A friend heard me critique Robert’s story when Robert was 12 and accused me of child abuse. Well, Robert’s first pro sale was at thirteen. So I say I was right.

      • When The Daughter was in a grade school High AG program the Fourth and Fifth graders took a trip to Washington, D.C.. Enough parents came along that nobody was responsible for more than a few kids. The day we spent at the Smithsonian we were each given a check list of what we needed to see, and the rest of our time we were free to pursue the group’s interests.

        One group took the opportunity to go to a planetarium show at Air and Space. The kids decided that they were going to see if they could name each constellation before it was named by the narrator. They succeeded, happily calling each out, as their supervisor tried to keep them at a whisper. Afterwards an fellow patron pulled aside the supervising adult. This gentleman did not object to the noise. To him that was ‘normal’ kid behavior. He asked her what in the world she thought she was doing to these children making them learn all this at their tender age. Her comment? “I couldn’t have stopped them if I tried.”

        When she told the rest of us about the encounter we all understood.

  5. Free-range Oyster

    We’re all gamers here, so I pay my boys for their work primarily in XP. Now if we could just get a routine of checking for when they’ve leveled up, we’d be golden.

    • That’s one of the problems with this Real Life (TM) game: you can only tell you’ve leveled up in retrospect. Example: I didn’t level up in boot camp. It was at boot that I realized I’d been leveling steadily for several years. Similarly, when I’d talk to my fellow junior enlisted and almost do a spit-take. “Wait, you’re spending how much on weekly bar tabs?”

  6. My 6-year old has a list of “jobs” she can do for a small allowance, but these are on top of the chores she already must do. Plus, she’s responsible for when she commits an “economic mistake” – she was spinning around in our TV room, fell, and cracked the wall electrical socket. After ensuring she wasn’t hurt(more pride than anything else), she went to her room and got the $2 that the new cover panel cost. She gave the cashier the money at Home Depot and promptly vowed never to do that again.

    I told her it was okay to be silly – as a writer, I encourage it – but if silly causes damage, she has to take responsibility for that. ;-)

  7. Well, we were a little different.

    Yes, we made sure the kids understood that we covered food/NEEDED clothes and school expenses.

    But we included the kids, from quite young, in the family budget discussion. Since my wife and I did not ever earn “the same” money, the money that came into the house from us went into a pot. Sherry’s spending money, and my spending money, as well as the bills came out of the pot. It seemed fair that since the kids were part of the family, they got something out of the pot. They got a cut of the family income. It was very small, but it started them able to spend something when they wanted to. We -never- told them what to spend it on. It is impossible to squander a dollar. It impossible in the 70’s also.

    Then, there was a “just because” component that was an indirect reward for effort above and beyond. Notice the book shelves are a mess and organize them, make dinner for the sick neighbor, you might get a “just because.”

    Then, there was a “pay for work performed” component, with, as everyone else pointed out, a schedule of fees.

    Our kids relatives -never- gave them cash, so that wasn’t an issue.

    But by the time they were 7 or 8, they were keeping balances in their ATM account on the close order of a couple of hundred dollars in the early 80’s.

    It seems to have worked. They are both successful adults.

    -_ Rick

  8. I’ve never thought of the current culture and situation quite this way, but it makes absolute sense – the feds give you an allowance, no strings attached, just like your parents. *shivers and a creepy feeling goes up and down her spine*

    My family had the “chore wage” system as well. And no toys except for birthdays or Christmas, and then a limited number. However, book requests within reason were granted. (Within reason meaning that comics and utterly fluff fiction below our reading level came out of our savings or we found them at the library). My sib maxed out the credit card the first month sib had it, in public while trying to impress friends by buying their admission at a major museum. Never, ever maxed it out again. Sib and I also worked as soon as we escaped college, if not sooner.

  9. [Frown]

    Just looked what I missed while driving to LibertyCon. [Wink]

  10. I never got an allowance — except sometimes my grandfather would slip me a few dollars every week or two. When I was about 15. In the 1980s. I didn’t get paid for any chores, either. (Further, at least half the time the reward for doing something like vacuuming the floor was rewarded by not just another job, but also my sire going and doing it himself because it Hadn’t Been Done Right. This pretty much taught me to do as little as possible (since it didn’t really matter if one was trying to do a good job or not), then go hide in my room before I could be corralled for another job. It also completely failed to teach me any healthy way to instruct a kid in Household Chores.)

    I did get $5 an hour if I was working for “the family business” in some fashion or another — I think it was because there could be a tax deduction or something.

    I also got a Certificate of Deposit (donated by the maternal grandparents, in my name) used as collateral for a loan while I was a minor; the loan did not get paid back, and most of the CD got eaten by the bank. I only got that paid back — as well as a few hundred in promised “wages” — when I pointed this out to my sire in front of a Stranger. (The fellow I wound up marrying.)

    When the time came that the kid might require money… The spouse looked up stuff on the web and found something about “give them their age in dollars, chores are expected, unusual chores can be paid for,” and since I had no fixed opinions (except that the mode I’d had SUCKED), we went with that. I don’t know if it’s teaching her much in the way of chore-completion, and she will go on a buying binge now and then, but usually she just saves up her money — and on one occasion, has thrown her own money at a school problem in a quite effective way.

    Time will only tell how it works out… It’s hard, when raising an elf.

    • Beth –
      I don’t know how many times my parents searched our rooms looking for money to pay some bill or other. I hated getting money from my family business because it would eventually be taken back every time. I think I ever spent a penny. So I really understand.

      I finally had the showdown when my mother (when I was 18) expected me to hand over my completely paycheck. I basically told them that I would leave immediately. We then decided on a small compensation to the parentals. I never felt I owed them a dime. Really.

      Money is still stressful to me. Plus I finally talk to my parents once in awhile without getting angry. It took years to get to that point. ;-)

      It’s not funny, but I can see the humor of it in a black sort of way.

      • I can talk to my mom okay — but I told my sire to get out of my life till he could figure out what he did wrong. And, funny, never heard from him since. Guess it’s easier to be a martyr than do some soul-searching.

        (He sent like $100 to the kid, cashier’s check, and after a great deal of soul-searching, we started a savings account for her. (We also added in some “camp didn’t happen; refund the money” that came as a check to her and not us.))

        I… am not very good with money. I tend to have a very poor sense of when I’m being an unthriftful spender (we had a lot of money when I was young) and an unreasonably paranoid miser (after about 10-11, we were constantly “about to have the house taken by the IRS so we’d be sleeping on the street”). I think any form of “money that’s yours, relatively reliably” at that age might have been helpful to me. Dunno.

        • Beth – I am very strict with my money and then there are times when I decide to spend. I give myself an amount that is not out of bounds. However like recently with the truck and then my tooth, I have spent more than I am comfortable with spending. I’ll go on a miser binge for a few months now.

          • Since I’ve been doing the Stay At Home Author Thing — with… varying degrees of success — and the Stay At Home Mom Taxi thing, without good sense of “is this a reasonable expense?” Still neurotic.

            Though now that I’m getting some cash from the book-sales, I’m a little less-so about small things. (Still gotta pay off the covers! And the next covers. But… it’s kind of within reach, if sales don’t fall too far below what they’ve been doing.)

            Maybe I’ll eventually get a more healthy relationship with finances.

            • Snort – I make my own covers. And, I use my own photographs ;-)

              • I’m not even close to being ready to consider how my covers are going to be done, but I’ve opened a file to jot down (is it jotting if you’re typing?) ideas. We’ve got a graphic artist in the extended family, but I’m not really sure what her sci-fi/horror sensibilities are. I married into a family of showtune lovers with only one pen-n-paper gamer amongst the entire clan. It could go either way; I end up with the Hello Kittie equivalent of a sci-fi/horror cover…or she crafts the single most disturbing cover in literary history.

              • I did that for my first three books. Then I needed a picture with a Chinese girl, and the only pictures of Chinese girls I had weren’t right, and I discovered dreamstime.com where I licensed a very nice photograph of a Chinese girl, unlimited print usage for book covers, for seven dollars.

                Even if I had a friend who was a Chinese girl who would pose for free and sign a model release, seven dollars wouldn’t pay for the time to set up the camera. :) Not that I ever did photography to make money but still, time has a value.

                I did do the rest of the cover myself in Photoshop. I set a template for covers for my books (black cover, white type, consistent font, consistent title layout, consistent author layout) and I never deviate from it. I’m trying to establish a brand. :) For each book, all I do is drop in a new cover pic and change the title text.

                • I have had to go to buy a photo (under 10 dollars) one or two times. I try to make everything else close to the same, too. Makes it easier on me and distinguish me from anyone else. Plus I do enjoy the time I spend making covers. I may not make the best ones, but I have fun doing it.

                  I also do my own POD because I was a typesetter before I started my electronics journey. I spent almost a decade in that job so I know a lot about it. The programs are new, but the concepts are the same.

                  • I use dreamstime and go from the bottom. I usually buy art for less than $5. Guys, I’ve got a terrible connection in this con hotel, so I might not post tomorrow. It took me three hours and cost me breakfast to get today’s post up. I’m reading comments, but forgive me if there’s nothing on tomorrow. Keep the place going till Monday, would ya’ll.

                    Oh, and if you’re at the con, I might or might not be at my signings. I’ll try to be there when they start, but I’m scheduled for FOUR signings and I haven’t had ANYTHING come out for two years, So this seems insane. And since my reading is opposite the baen slide show, I don’t know how many people I’ll have. If you miss the others come to the A Few Good Men panel tomorrow, and I’ll do a reading then.

              • I can make my own covers on some things, but I really wanted a certain look for these which was pretty much impossible at my skill level, or with photos. And, frankly, the covers I got were AWESOME, and the artist worth the hire. I think that the covers are contributing to sales, too, no matter how much people claim that nobody looks at covers anymore.

  11. I never got an allowance, and agree that is one of the problems with society today. Growing up I had chores that were required (without pay) it was just assumed that if I was going to live and eat in the house, I was going to have responsibilities. My parents fed and clothed me, and bought school supplies but that was pretty much it. I paid for my own truck, and insurance, and gas. Anything else I wanted that they didn’t deem necessary I had to pay for myself (I wanted a new pair of lacers when in high school, my parents bought me shoes and boots, but didn’t consider a $200 nice pair of boots that weren’t work boots necessary, almost 20 years later I still have those boots).

    I learned the value of money and how to manage it well, as well as learning responsibilities for things that don’t pay, but need to be done.

    Cyn, that is a terrible thing for parents to do, Marxist really, my parents may not have given me money, but whatever I earned was mine to do with as I pleased. I had a friend whose mother ‘borrowed’ her credit card without her knowledge, and ran up several thousand dollars on it. Parents doing things like that to their children boggle my mind.

    • Bearcat – there are a few things that I agree with my parents, but there are so many that I am against. Plus they still feel they were good parents. When I talk about certain situations, they don’t even remember the incidents. They are in their 70s now, but still–

      I think I survived despite them. My brothers are extreme capitalists (one has his own car business and the other was a president of a bank and marketing). My sisters though … believe that the world owes them a living and are really extreme in the other way. It makes me wonder how much nature vs. nurture has when the child becomes an adult.

  12. Doesn’t matter if the kid knows how to “handle money” or not if all he ever hears from employers is cracks like “I’d hire you, but you’d have my job in six months….”

  13. My parents would occasionally give me money when I asked for it to buy things, and I got monetary gifts from my grandparents, but I never got an allowance as such. I was expected to do whatever I was asked to do (pick up the yard, etc) and my father would have laughed if I had asked for money for doing it.

    I got a paper route when I was ten and I had one until I was 16 and could buy a car and get a “real” job. (The first one was the aforementioned slaughterhouse job.) I bought my first car with paper route money, and pretty much everything else I wanted that wasn’t clothes or food and therefore provided by my parents (first computer, books, etc.)

    There were four paper routes in the town I lived in, and I had three of them. At once. You would think that working and keeping track of all that money (I had to collect in cash and send a check every month: at that time almost nobody paid the paper directly) would have taught me better money management skills, but it really didn’t. I’m not sure what went wrong.

    • Oh well Marc – :-) I learned one thing. Put about 10 percent in savings. I don’t trust the stock market and have never played the stock market so when it crashes I don’t lose much money. I wanted to do a little experimenting, but every time I do I remember that I could LOSE money. If the banks stopped paying interest, I might just stuff the money in my mattress like the oldies used to do.

      • 10 percent in savings is very good. The problem with putting it in a bank is that the interest rate is well below the inflation rate. In other words, you are losing money each day that it is in there. If you want to stuff it into a matress, look at precious metals. They are more or less inflation proof although they do flucuate a bit.

        • One other problem with bank interest rates — they do not reflect the actual net return on capital. This is because you get to pay taxes on that interest (what? You think you earned that interest all by yourself? You use government built roads to get to your bank, you rely on government police to protect that bank from robbery …) which means you have to multiply that interest rate by (1-t) [where t = your tax rate]. Thus, if you are paying a 15% tax rate your actual net rate of return on a 2% interest rate is only 1.7% … so, if inflation is occurring at a rate of 2% instead of breaking even … you are losing money.

          Invest in gold (silver, platinum, molybdenum) and you only pay capital gains, recognized when you sell it. But the base (what you paid to purchase it) is not adjusted for inflation, so while you may have gotten double your money back inflation over that time may have halved the value of the dollar, meaning you broke even in constant dollars but get to pay Capital Gains Tax on the half of your sale price that represents your “profit.” This is a major reason why Capital Gains are taxed at a lower rate, BTW, however much some politicians want you to think otherwise (view invested money as deferred consumption — you forego consuming money in the present in hopes of being able to consume it later, when your income is diminished.)

          Sorry – I strongly recommend Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy by Thomas Sowell.

          • The problem for me is that I have been on the 3 year move schedule my entire life so it is just easier even though it is not economically feasible. It is hard to carry base metals from country to country, and then from LV to Reno area. I never know when we will have to move again. It makes for an exciting, but unsettling life. It also gets more expensive than if one stayed in one place.

            So that is my excuse and I am sticking with it. ;-)

  14. I had an allowence when very young, I know this because I recall that I could buy one pack of candy a week. I learned that lifesavers had lots of pieces and you could make them last. A chocolate bar, however good, had to eaten pretty much all at once. At some point the state, much to my frustration, rasied taxes and I was suddenly a penny short…

    I don’t know why, but shortly after this disturbing political lesson my allowence ceased. (It was probably because Daddy started law school and things became pretty tight.) Still I learned that you had to choose carefully what you bought, that different things had different values and that tax hikes really sucked.