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What’s the Best Age to Start an Allowance?

The appropriate age to start giving an allowance to a child can vary depending on your family’s values, your child’s maturity level, and your specific financial circumstances. However, many parents begin giving allowances around the age of 5 to 7. At this age, children are typically old enough to start grasping basic financial concepts and are eager to learn.

Here are some considerations for determining the best age to start giving an allowance:

  • Developmental Readiness: Children around the age of 5 to 7 often have the cognitive ability to understand basic money concepts, such as counting, saving, and spending.
  • Responsibility: Consider whether your child can handle basic responsibilities, such as chores and personal tasks. Some parents tie allowances to chores as a way to teach the connection between work and money.
  • Financial Education: The age at which you start an allowance can be an opportunity to begin educating your child about financial matters, including saving, budgeting, and making choices.
  • Family Values: Your family’s values and beliefs about money can influence the age at which you introduce an allowance. Some families choose to wait until their children are older, while others start earlier.
  • Needs and Goals: Assess your family’s financial situation and goals. If your child has specific financial needs, such as saving for a special purchase, it might be a good time to start an allowance.
  • Communication: Ensure that you can communicate clearly with your child about money and the purpose of the allowance. Discuss your expectations and the rules surrounding the allowance.

For more tips, see How To Give Your Child an Allowance and our general Allowance advice.

Remember that an allowance is not just about giving money; it’s an opportunity to teach financial responsibility and life skills. Regardless of the age you choose to start, it’s important to have open and ongoing discussions about money with your child, so they can learn to manage their finances effectively.

As your child grows and matures, you can adjust the allowance amount and the financial lessons you provide to match their changing needs and responsibilities.

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Brian MacFarland has reached more than 10 million people on his personal finance journey to financial independence.  He’s been featured in the Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report, and Lifehacker.

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