Think different: Teaching kids to be entrepreneurs

I remember when my parents gave me a raise in my allowance. I was seven and I went from $2 a week to $5 a week because I started doing my own laundry and washing my own dishes. I was so excited to be a model employee. I remember that day plotting out just how many extra GI Joes I could buy in a year and how impressive and extensive my collection would be. Then I remember going to the pharmacy down on the main avenue and buying $4 worth of candy instead of $2. My whole GI Joe plan started to disintegrate in a heap of peanut butter cup wrappers.

You know what I remember more vividly? I remember the day my parents stopped giving me an allowance. It was the same year I moved my lemonade stand from Wednesday afternoon to Saturday morning and from the corner of my side-street to right down on that same candy-filled main avenue and saw my revenues rise tenfold.


Lemonade stands are so tired! This young entrepreneur is selling jokes.

From there, I started going around the house finding things that needed to be done, whether it be the deck re-stained or the water damage on the basement ceiling redone and I'd negotiate with my parents fair pay for the task. It usually didn't matter that I had no idea how to replace a bathtub or efficiently organize a closet, there were books in libraries, helpers at local hardware stores, and now, google to offer a quick afternoon of learning. I now had an eye for opportunity and was learning skills that set jobs into motion.

Suddenly, I was investing my own time and energy into seeking out and performing tasks and from that, money took on a whole different meaning. It was now me, from start to finish, that made the money come in. Money somehow became heavier and it stopped being worth it to simply see it disappear toward frivolities.

In school, I had a very job-centered education. In high school, we were asked to buy into a path that would lead us to a good university, which in turn would get us a good job as a lawyer, or a doctor, or an accountant, or the ever vague business man. But for many people my age, that's an outdated paradigm. What I found out, like so many other graduates, is that today, the jobs just aren't there. So after the resumes were sent out and nothing came back — not even a no thank you, just nothing — I looked for opportunity and went about learning skills to set a job into motion, just as I did as a child. I became, in a sense, an entrepreneur.

J.D.'s note: Many of you probably saw the news yesterday that there's a wealth gap between older and younger Americans. (I'm still in Peru, and even I saw this report.) While older people are expected to have more money than younger people, the gap is widening, and for a variety of reasons. In many ways, Tim is right: The old paradigms, the way we used to do things, don't always work anymore.

The lessons I learned as a kid have helped me to make a living today, even in a tough job market.

Allowances for Adults?

There are many ways to handle allowances for kids. Maybe there are chores that the child has to do around the house each week in order get his allowance, or maybe they do nothing and the money is simply meant to teach the child how to budget with a weekly income. You can use allowance to encourage money savvy — but given with no lessons, no lessons will be learned.

My friends who have graduated from college and managed to find a job all seem to be living paycheck-to-paycheck. They tell me stories that are not unlike my own $4-on-candy experience as a kid. It's no longer candy, but shoes, or an extra glass of wine with dinner, or whatever the impulse is at the time that prevents the money from going to the bank. Not to say that any of those things are bad, but if some of the paycheck isn't going toward savings, the childhood allowance didn't teach them value that steady income.


Allowances serve a purpose, but there are other ways to teach kids about money

Encouraging Entrepreneurship

There are other ways to teach kids about money. Instead of paying an allowance, you can encourage them to build their own businesses. You can help them set up lemonade stands (or something similar). You can encourage them to shovel snow for the neighbors. Or to sell their old video games on Craigslist. But it doesn't need to stop there.

I remember posting signs around town and going door to door trying to get people to pay me to mow their lawn. I killed myself pushing my lawn mower down the street half a mile or more to get a client that just wanted a quick mow and realizing it wasn't worth it. I saw that it was a lot easier to get the people on my block to have me come back more often. After that, after every local mow, I'd say “See you in two weeks!” and sure enough I'd be at their doorstep two weeks later. Yes, one in ten people turned me down, but I was nine-years-old and who could say no? At a young age, I was already learning the recurring revenue model.

To me, it seems like we need to encourage creativity in our children, to get them to think different. Maybe it comes down to not reading your kids a bedtime story every night, but making them tell one a night or two a week. Ask them to tell a story about their favorite stuffed animals or even their GI Joes. Help them to come up with ideas for chores instead of just telling them what needs to be done. Teach kids to be self-starters and not simply do-as-told.

And teach them to save. Put half their money into their toy envelope and half into their savings envelope. Even if it's a small amount, they won't feel much of a loss when they're six. Walk them down to the bank every few months and help them deposit their money into a free savings account. I have 30 year-old friends who just now are deciding to contribute to some sort of retirement account. It breaks my heart that they could've been 25 years ahead of the game.

Thinking Different

I'm still coming to terms with the fact that my career path is atypical. My income is directly related to how creative I am about finding clients and making them happy.

Each month, my income fluctuates drastically. (I'm having to learn how to budget for an irregular income.) I don't have anyone working under me yet, but that may happen in the not-too-distant future.

So much of what I was taught at school taught me how to be a good employee. But I'm not an employee. I work for myself. Because of that, I've had to rely on the business experiments I made as a child. I'm grateful for the entrepreneurial opportunities I had and made for myself, as well as the support I had in following them. It's made me realize that I should encourage children today to explore their entrepreneurial tendencies — and encourage others to support kids in the same way.

J.D.'s note: I, too, was a grade-school entrepreneur. Encouraged by my father, I had a variety of little businesses as a boy. None of these was a spectacular success — though they kept me in candy and comic books — but the lessons I learned then have helped me as an adult. Like Tim, I think it's vital to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit in children.
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LennStar
LennStar

For the mentioned adults who live paycheck-to-paycheck: I don’t think it makes sense to start big on budgeting. It demotivates. Instead, first thing you do is, you take 5% of your income to a savings account which you use as your emergency fund. Next month, make it 1% more. And so on. The difference from month to month is small and you will not really feel it, but you will learn – slowly, thats the secret – to live from less and being not less happy. (like the frog in the hot water, same principle) After only two and a… Read more »

Miser+Mom
Miser+Mom

It would be nice to know what Tim’s parents did to encourage him to become such an entrepreneur! I’ve had a variety of kids — one birth kid, several step kids, and several adopted kids. Teaching them about money is very, very different depending on what other parents are in their lives, let me tell you! With my adopted sons, I’ve had a lot of success with fake money (Mommy Dollars). They’ve come to me with real issues of impulse control, and having my own currency allows the saving/spending time cycle to speed up a bit. So they’ll save up… Read more »

STRONGside
STRONGside

In high school I was a member of a class called “Virtual Enterprise”. We actually created our own business, created products, voted on officers, and built a website and platform to sell our products. We ever went to NYC for a real trade show where we sold our fake products.

The products might have been fake, but I learned very early on what it took to make a successful business. We sold products we knew about and were passionate about. it worked well, and I still use some of those same skills to this day.

Cass
Cass

Wow that sounds like an amazing class! Glad that you had access to something like that. I’m seriously debating taking a small business course next year. I wish I could have taken something like that earlier than my last year of university!

Jane
Jane

I’m going to play the devil’s advocate here and ask: Can everyone be an entrepreneur? Someone has to work for these self-starters. I guess my point is that you and many on this site tend to value the entrepreneurial spirit over other skill sets, like the ability to follow rules and be a good employee. While my parents did not necessarily encourage me to be an entrepreneur, they did urge me to ask questions and challenge authority to some extent. I have a healthy self-esteem, and this often can get in the way of being a good employee. I don’t… Read more »

Jeffrey Trull
Jeffrey Trull

It seems the only people I hear say “Not everyone can be an entrepreneur. Somebody has to work for them!” are those that aren’t entrepreneurs themselves.

I still think we’re very far off from a world where there are too many aspiring entrepreneurs (and I’m talking about the ones that are serious and follow through on things). I think most kids grow up to realize that most adults have jobs anyway, so it’s not like teaching them little lessons about entrepreneurship is setting them up for a lifetime of disappointment, either.

Brenton
Brenton

There are real disadvantages to being self-employed. The first being that businesses do fail, especially start-ups. The next being that self-employed individuals often put in long days, weekend work, etc… At least until the business is running smoothly, but often much longer than that. The self-employed also pay higher tax rates, must provide their own benefits, etc…

In order for it to be worth being self-employed, you have to be far more successful than you would have otherwise. For a well-educated person making far above median wage, its impratical unless you are very committed to it.

Betty Kincaid
Betty Kincaid

Brenton,

I hate to be the one to break it to you but…the cost of your employment taxes and benefits have already been factored into your salary.

John
John

You can still be an entrepreneur and work for someone else. That’s what I do. I contract out my services to companies as a specialist employee. This way they don’t have to maintain someone with my specialized skill set when they don’t need it. I get to work for lots of different places on different programs so things never get boring.
It’s all in how you apply it.

Jynet
Jynet

If you go to work every day and never question what you are doing or why then you aren’t a model employee and you aren’t contributing to the company as much as you could. ‘Good’ employees may gride out a day’s worth of work every day, but ‘GREAT’ employees question what they are doing and if there is a better way to do it. That is the same ‘spirit’ or ‘skill set’ that entrepreneurs use. In the end we are ALL working for ourselves because if we aren’t getting what we need from our employer (security, money, fulfillment, what ever)… Read more »

imelda
imelda

I’m inclined to agree with you – but to return the “devil’s advocate” play, I’ll say this: Maybe everyone can’t be an entrpreneur. But everyone can’t be rich, either, and I’d rather be one of those. TMND DOES say that a huge number of millionaires are business owners / entrepreneurs. But I do agree with you, at heart. What was wrong with ’30 years and a gold watch’, or whatever the paradigm used to be? Shouldn’t a regular job be enough to support you in a comfortable life? Why should we all have to kill ourselves trying to bring in… Read more »

Alex
Alex

I started my first business at age 10 with a small business loan of $5 from my mom. I bought potato chips for 25 cents each and sold them at school for 50 cents. I came home the first day with my $5 loan repayment and I had the capital for the next business day. I started introducing other products like blow pops and air heads but chips is what brought the biggest profit margin. That experience is invaluable. My wife doesn’t understand how\why I take a product and mark it up and sell it at a profit. She actually… Read more »

Melissa M
Melissa M

LOL! There were several similar sugar & chip dealers who made a lot of money off me! Blow pops and Jolly Ranchers were my drug off choice.

slug+|+sunkcostsareirrelevant.com
slug+|+sunkcostsareirrelevant.com

Really enjoyed this article. My son is 5, and it’s so hard trying to balance teaching him to save against his impulse buying habits.

Janette
Janette

I agree that entrepreneur is often born- and raised by one. We were encouraged to find ways to get money. We collected bottles, held backyard plays, sold magazines, babysat and generally hauled in enough to replace the time we didn’t get to spend with our dad who worked 60 hr weeks at his small business. We also lived in a neighborhood in which the average house had five children. Most families owned businesses (including doctors). Four of my sibs are small business people. One is successful during the recession. The others are struggling, but making ends meet. Don’t think that… Read more »

Brenton
Brenton

My father was an entrepneur, and the experience of growing up with a father who was always working has made me convinced beyond a doubt that I wont ever be like that.

Anyone who has ever had vacations interrupted because something went wrong in your father’s business would tell you being self-employed isnt always sunshine and freedom.

And forget about no longer taking orders, because you will need customers and they will be far more bitchy and bastardly than any boss.

Maggie
Maggie

As a business owner I wish I could hit the like button a thousand times. We are fortunate to have wonderful customers, however, at times it’s still like having a whole boatload of bosses. And, because of the nature of our business, we have not had a single vacation not interrupted.

Brad Moore
Brad Moore

I read something else a while back about one way to TEACH OUR KIDS about money. A lady gave her kids a certain amount of money for buying school clothes and THE KIDS had to compare prices, look for bargains, and manage the money. I thought it was a very simple yet fantastic idea!!

getagrip
getagrip

The assumption is that all children will respond to this “encouragement” in a positive manner. Sometimes things click for certain kids, other times it doesn’t. Most kids have enough trouble finding a “passion” to pursue, now they have to build a business around it? How long does the lemonade stand last? How long does the lawn mowing keep interest? They don’t, unless the child is focussed on the “MONEY” those things bring. If the child doesn’t have that interest, if they’d rather be reading books on astronomy, or drawing pictures at home, or they are terrified to speak to people,… Read more »

Leah
Leah

I just wrote a paper about various ways to organize a unit curriculum plan in school (I’m a teacher getting more education). This is what we’d call “project-based learning.” You are still learning content and skills, just like you would in class, but you’re doing so in a greater context. I really liked your mention of not knowing how to do something but figuring it out so that you could continue earning. That alone is a great life-long skill.

Holly
Holly

Brad, once I turned 14 my parents gave me a clothing budget for back to school. I loved getting to plan and choose my own clothes. It is interesting to hear about Tim’s experience learning to be an entrepreneur. It added a bit to the old “make your kid save 50%” advice. The issue I’m having is with motivating my kids. They get $1 a week for packing their own school lunches, and can earn more by doing one of several tasks like sweep the floors in the 3 common rooms or walk the dog around the block. After a… Read more »

Brad Moore
Brad Moore

Holly…first, I don’t have it all figured out but here’s something we have done. I tell the kids that we will pay them for cleaning their rooms. But if they don’t do it by a certain time, then I will do it and then I get paid. Bad thing about that deal is I charge $5 per room clean. It has worked better than anything we have done. And it’s not difficult to collect the money – as long as I REALLY DO CLEAN THE MESSY ROOM. I got that from a book that kinda changed my parenting style. Doing… Read more »

Karen
Karen

I love this idea. Brad, do you mind sharing the book you got it from?

Brad Moore
Brad Moore

Yes..it’s called, “Loving Our Kids on Purpose” by Danny Silk. He’s gets a lot of his stuff from Love & Logic (should be able to google that).

Elizabeth alpert
Elizabeth alpert

I agree that kids need to learn that a certain amount of work on the part of all family members is necessary for the functioning of the home. I also worry about the idea of giving an allowance as a form of payment for chores done. There are certain tasks in life for which we dont receive a financial incentive and they are still vital to our lifestyle. It seems like ordinary chores should be a given and those tasks outside of the absolutely necessary should be rewarded. The “gain” gotten from these chore chores is the satisfaction of a… Read more »

imelda
imelda

When I turned 14, my parents stopped giving me money and I had to get a job. THAT taught me budgeting skills that have stuck, believe me.

TN Lizzie
TN Lizzie

The Bible has a verse for your kids! 2 Thessalonians 3:10 says, “if a man will not work he shall not eat.” Note the “will not” – this is a choice. Their bare minimum days could lead to bare minimum supplies for packing their lunch. Their days of initiative with a good attitude could lead to their favorites in the refrigerator and pantry! Ten years ago, one missed meal of Canadian bacon with pineapple pizza and ice cold root beer (replaced with crackers and water) made an impression on my oldest that is still felt today by her youngest sister.… Read more »

Greg Miliates
Greg Miliates

Saving, budgeting, and money management are great lessons, but a lot of people neglect to teach entrepreneurial skills to kids, and I think that omission is a glaring error. We want kids to be productive citizens, and building successful for-profit and non-profit ventures is a prime example of productivity. Entrepreneurship is about taking action to solve problems and provide value to others. Those are basic skills that most kids have and develop, but the idea of starting your own business is daunting and foreign to many people–which is odd, because starting and running a business doesn’t have to be complicated.… Read more »

victor
victor

I think that the key to teaching your child about creating their own income is to pay them based on their work not an allowance. My kids when they need money ask what work do you have for us to do. My reply is usually they can work at the auctions or work on our rentals. They know that if they want money they have to go and find some work to do that is not their normal chores. I tell them that the only one who cares if they have money is them, so figure it out and find… Read more »

Terry
Terry

Excellent article. I had a paper route when I was in middle school. I still shiver when I think about getting up at 4:00 in the morning to deliver newspapers in the winter. I worked my way through the university by starting a couple of businesses that catered to my fellow students. I tuned up cars on weekends, and I had a singing telegram business. Now, I make money buying fixer upper houses and turning them into rentals,and by writing and self-publishing books. I hope to pass the entreprenurial torch onto my two sons. They are in middle school and… Read more »

Matt
Matt

We have encouraged out kids (15, 13, 10) to be entrepreneurs all along as we ourselves are entrepreneurs. In starting several of my companies, I created spots for my kids to learn graphic and web design (my 15 year old son heads our design dept today and supervises 6 adults in the process). My daughters sell free range eggs from our chickens and now my 13 year old has started her own jewelry line that she has begun selling locally. Our goal is to equip our kids with skills, so they never have to work for someone else if they… Read more »

Sarah L
Sarah L

Totally agree!!! Entrepreneurship teaches kids SO MUCH about success later in life. Love this post. Thanks, Tim.

Shawn H
Shawn H

This is a great article, Tim. If kids can be influenced early, it will surely inspire later. And in this tight labor market, adults might think about it, too.

Sara
Sara
Krantcents
Krantcents

When my children received allowances, I required them to save half of it. This taught them a very important habit. My children are successful adults and learning to save, delay purchases and stay out of debt was an important lesson.

Nina
Nina

Here’s my child-entrepreneurial endeavor: when I was in middle school I would listen to popular songs on the radio, write down the lyrics and sell them to my classmates lol! I think I sold them for 25¢ each song. And they were mostly rap songs so it was hard trying to decipher those lyrics! 🙂 However now I am an employee and work in a company. I guess I graduated sort of assuming that you get a job. I’ve done freelancing on the side, but not enough to quit my job. Plus the freelancing jobs tend to be stressful since… Read more »

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski

I’m sorry, but I can’t take child-rearing advice (especially about finance) seriously when it’s coming from a yoga teacher with no kids. He hasn’t demonstrated that he can make entrepreneurship work for himself yet, let alone for his hypothetical future children. When his children make their first million dollars, then it will be interesting to know how he raised them. In the meantime, it’s all speculative. My dad started his own company. He worked (and still works) for himself and encouraged me to do the same. I never have, though, choosing to work for established companies (or sometimes new companies,… Read more »

lmh
lmh

Actually, Tyler, I think you’re contradicting yourself with this and your comments don’t really make sense in light of what Tim is actually saying. Tim might not have any kids yet, but the fact that he’s a yoga teacher has nothing to do with his ability to make and save money, and it’s necessary to put your individual prejudices on career paths aside. If you read his previous articles, it’s the same entrepreneurial spirit that you’re doubting in him that allowed him to not only move to Europe but pay off his undergrad debt simultaneously. Now he’s living comfortably on… Read more »

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski

but the fact that he’s a yoga teacher has nothing to do with his ability to make and save money This is patently not true. His choice of professions has everything to do with his ability to make and save money. entrepreneurial spirit that you’re doubting… I am not doubting his entrepreneurial *spirit*, I am doubting his entrepreneurial *accomplishments*. His sole-proprietorship yoga teaching business is a start, which is good for him, and I’m glad he’s doing OK with it. And it’s not like I know that much about how it’s going, but it sounds like it’s too early to… Read more »

lmh
lmh

I hear what you’re saying, but again, it’s not actually relevant to the conversation. Tim would be saving and earning in some other way that wasn’t yoga if he hadn’t chosen that path. The point is not the yoga, it’s the fact that he wasn’t willing to follow the typical career plan. He’s also 25 years old and much further in the game than most. Definitely take him with a grain of salt if you’d rather talk to your boss, but then again, you’re on this website for a reason, and his perspective is probably one that your boss would… Read more »

Zach Heller
Zach Heller

I think this is a great introduction to a movement that needs to happen in this country. Kids today need more of a financial education than they are getting, and if we wait for the schools to do it, we’ll be waiting far too long. I’ve been thinking about a parent’s role in the financial education of their kids, and the danger inherent in relying on the knowledge of each parent to pass along to the child. Could a third party solution, one outside of the education and financial systems, designed to help parents pass on important financial savvy to… Read more »

KM
KM

Yeah, what Tyler said. I actually do have kids, young teenagers. I give them an allowance. It is not for basics like food and clothing and school supplies–I provide all that for them because I am the parent. It isn’t paid them in return for chores–they are expected to do their chores because they are a family member, not because they’re paid for it. Their allowance is theirs to spend as they wish for toys, school dances, spending at school on vending machines, even video games (which I refuse to buy them). Requiring them to save part of it would… Read more »

Jeffrey Trull
Jeffrey Trull

I really like the “ever vague business man” part, and I can totally relate to this from high school. I went to a business-focused college without really knowing where I would end up for a job. After one semester, I transferred out and got an engineering degree instead. I totally get what you’re saying in the post, and I agree with just about all of it. I think whether you become an entrepreneur or not, there’s value in learning the related skills and concepts of money. Some people go through their whole life never understanding that, and it’s hurting them… Read more »

mihai
mihai

Teaching your kids to be entrepreneurs is a good idea. Making them actually sell services is probably illegal in most of the civilized world. So children should learn how to use money and provide value to others but REAL value. At some point after 16 years of life they might start doing their own businesses. But let’s not forget that even in the business world youth is not well regarded. I would not send my child to go ask for services unless he was aware of the real value of his work and would actually think of the needs of… Read more »

Des
Des

While being an enrepreneur is one way to be successful in life, it is only one path to happiness. I personally find my life richer having the time to spend with my daughter than working many hours on a business that may or may not succeed. I also derive pleasure at working on projects at my firm that I would be unlikely to work on at a smaller newly established firm. I also prefer knowing when I will get paid. To each her own.

Laura
Laura

I dunno – I like Tim’s article, but as a parent (who is not even remotely interested in being an entrepreneur), I can’t relate well to it. I’ve tried to tie my son’s allowance to chores, and for the most part it’s a Big Fail – either he is totally content to live without discretionary spending money if it gets him out of chores (even though we don’t fund his wants), or he ties everything to money – “I’ll only help around the house if I get paid for it.” So he gets a modest allowance with the clear message… Read more »

Jane
Jane

Very well said, Laura. Ultimately I want my two sons to be happy, whatever it is they decide to do. I know that sounds trite, but that is really how I feel as a mother. I try very hard to not ascribe value or class judgements to the types of work that my children encounter on a day to day basis. Whatever they want to do, as long as it’s legal, that’s okay by me. And if they just want to work for a paycheck, that’s okay too. My husband does that, and from what I can tell he’s pretty… Read more »

Terry
Terry

Jane and Laura, First of all, I agree, every kid is different and we need to learn their rhythms and interests and support them in every way possible, while also teaching them, whether as an entrepreneur or a loyal employee. First of all, transparency: I had three children, the author Tim being the youngest. I am the scrooge that encouraged self-reliance in all three of my kids, each one reacting differently in accordance with their own personality. I was please to see Tim intuitively absorbed and reflected on some of the lessons I had hoped to teach my children. (They… Read more »

Laura
Laura

Thanks, Terry, for your insight. For the record, I didn’t have any issue with Tim’s post because he’s not a parent, only that as a parent I didn’t relate to it – and that was because of my particular situation. The background you provide is useful, and probably applies to a majority of people. In my case, not so much. My son is a great kid but definitely quirky and has mild Asperger’s. We took exactly the same approach you did about his allowance covering the “extras” (fancier clothes, swankier toys). In a few cases, we’ve run into the “that’s… Read more »

The Other Brian
The Other Brian

Everyone needs to behave; Tim’s mom is here! 🙂

UltimateSmartMoney
UltimateSmartMoney

You made some great points here. But I’m thinking that the main job for kids is to study and do well in school. I afraid that if I encourage my kids into business too much, then education could take a toll. As students, they should be focused in education and do well in school. If they are out mowing or standing to sell lemonade, then they are losing precious time on their study. I would rather have my kids focus in their study so that they can potentially become someone great. Having a business mind is great but for kids,… Read more »

Janice Salomon
Janice Salomon

oh my. we’re talking about teaching kids to be think, to do, to learn about the effort v. work ratio. it’s not rocket science or a parenting dilemma. years ago, when i was a kid, you had a lemonade stand, you sold cookies for the brownies, you mowed lawns, shoveled show, walked someone’s dog, i ran errands for neighbors who didn’t want to go to the deli and pick up miscellaneous things. i worked for the “tips’ of being allowed to buy some candy with the change. my mother didn’t spend hours analyzing whether i’d be a good or bad… Read more »

Kolton
Kolton

Formal education is obviously important for every single person. But, I agree here that it is wise to encourage kids; if not inform them about different contrivances to generate income.

I remember putting up lemonade stands in my neighborhood, but it was never serious enough for me to learn how to create money. My childhood was so focused on sports, that it taught me to be a team player obviously, but also taught me to learn from my failures as well. Which is one entrepreneurial trait that is essential to success!

Larry
Larry

Great article, and important for parents to realize that entrepreneurship is not just about starting a company. Kids will benefit from that attitude in any career.

On a related topic, there is a good book on entrepreneurs for parents to pass on to their kids called Lawn Boy. I wrote a review on it here:
http://www.headhunterdad.com/2011/09/book-recommendation-lawn-boy.html

El Nerdo
El Nerdo

With advanced apologies: I think some people people are misreading Tim’s article. He is nowhere advocating the lifestyle of Mark Cuban for your children. All he is saying is that entrepreneurship is part of any kind of financial literacy these days. Whether you work for someone else trying to make money in business or whether you supplement your income by running a small laundromat, you need basic entrepreneurial literacy in order to function properly in society. Unlike the days of yore, you no longer sign to a company for life, unless you work for Amazon or perhaps (just perhaps) some… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo

ps- I forgot to say: an entrepreneurial education will teach you the importance of *great customer service* and you can apply that principle no matter who you work for: a few large clients, a mass of small clients, the citizens of your own town, your boss or bosses, an audience, another department in your company, or anybody who decides if you should continue to receive their money. It all boils down to your service (your labor) being worth the compensation you receive–a compensation which should include an honest profit for your enjoyment.

AC
AC

Tim, Great article. As a soon-to-be law school graduate, I completely understand how outdated the old model of employment really is. For instance, many people don’t realize that only a small fraction of students will find jobs that most lay people tend to associate with the life of a “lawyer.” I really think you hit on the entrepreneurial skill set that needs to be taught to children, students, and adults alike. Our education system is a large part of the problem — it mainly encourages and reinforces the worker bee mentality. Rarely are students taught creativity and critical thinking skills.

Bareheadedwoman
Bareheadedwoman

Talk about devil’s advocate and the old paradigms not working anymore, you may need to counsel checking your local and state ordinances about what kids can sell, when, and too whom …the government doesn’t like competition nor free exchange without taking a cut, even on underage citizens: http://www.lemonadefreedom.com/ http://savannahnow.com/news/2011-02-26/savannah-rule-bans-cookie-sales-girl-scouts-home Free commerce restrictions are often “selectively enforced” so you may get fined for doing something the neighbor’s kid did last week: “Jennifer Hughes, the director of permitting for the county, SAYS IT’S TECHNICALLY ILLEGAL TO RUN EVEN THE SMALLEST LEMONADE STAND IN THE COUNTY, but inspectors usually don’t go looking for… Read more »

Marie at FamilyMoneyValues
Marie at FamilyMoneyValues

Lots of folks try going into business, some succeed some don’t. My folks encouraged me to self-employ when I was a kid, but I didn’t do too well – selling Christmas cards door to door just didn’t take off! I’d like to try to do a better job helping my young grandkids learn to be self-employable than I did with my kids. I’m trying to start early and help them learn about money and finances and give them practice doing different kinds of jobs and businesses to earn money. I’m taking some inspiration from a book I read called “Young… Read more »

Felice
Felice

I think allowances are important to teaching children how to handle money, but definitely some instruction with it would be helpful. As far as adults who still spend like they’re children, the learning curve is much higher. For some reason as adults, giving up the extras tends to be more difficult, I suppose this is because as kids we had no choice but to listen and now we can do whatever we want. My advice would be a slow transition towards better money management so you can have little successes that will lead to one big one!

Julie Gaudet
Julie Gaudet

You can never start too early to teach your kids about the value of money. Love the picture of the little boy with the jars, that is exactly how I started!

zoranian
zoranian

We live in a neighborhood filled with starter homes. There are several rental homes and the families that do own their homes are often living paycheck to paycheck and have several children living in a 1,000 sq ft house. I’m sure these families don’t have a huge allowance for their kids, or buy them the newest gadgets. We have had several kids come to our door wanting to mow our lawn or rake our leaves. If the kids want to learn the value of hard work, more power to them. We live in this neighborhood by choice, not necessity, but… Read more »

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