A while back I started giving each of my grandchildren a monthly allowance. The oldest grandchild gets more and the youngest gets considerably less. I did this with the arrogant attitude I don’t need my children’s permission to give my grandchildren money. However, there were conditions.
The conditions for my grandchildren to receive an allowance from me is that they must: 1) save some money, 2) give some money away, 3) be able to tell where every dime went, and 4) send me a report on number 3 as a condition for getting the following month’s allowance. Now that report doesn’t have to be too specific. For instance, "spent $4 on personal stuff" is okay. It’s not that I want to know what they spend the money on; it’s that I want them to know where they spent their money. The younger children’s parents help them with the report. And there have been months when certain grandchildren got an email instead of the money. The email read: “Sorry you didn’t get an allowance this month, but I didn’t get a report. You must have been real busy. I love you.”
Number Two granddaughter is the best at sending the reports. She takes it seriously. She sends me a spreadsheet. And if you add up the figures it totals the exact amount given her. Considering the fact she’s thirteen, it’s amazing.
I got her report for June today. Again it was a detailed spreadsheet. She noted on the report that she took some money out of her savings for a purchase and that “when I get my July check I will replace it.” Loved that. I don’t require she not take money out of her savings. Again, the only goal is that the grandchildren develop the habit of knowing where every dime goes.
I reread her report. I texted her, telling her to call me. She did. First, I complimented her on her detailed reports. “Twenty years from now, when I’m dead and gone, and you’re managing your finances so well you’ll remember me making you do this. You’ll appreciate it then.”
“What do you mean, ‘dead and gone’,” she said. “You won’t be dead and gone.”
“Well, if I’m not I’ll be living in your basement.”
“Nope,” she said. “I love you, but that won’t happen. But I’ll come visit you in my sister’s basement.”
“Okay,” I said. “I guess that’s plain enough. But I needed to ask you about your check for July. You said ‘when I get my July check,’ but my records show that you should have already gotten your check. I called your cousins and all of them have gotten their checks, including the ones in Connecticut.”
“Well, I didn’t get mine?”
“Did your sister get her check?”
“My older sister did, but I don’t know about my younger sister.”
“Your older sister got her check?”
“Yes. I know because I was with her when she deposited it on her iPhone.”
“Sweetheart, the checks all come in the same envelope. Ask someone if your younger sister got her check.”
“Hold on,” she said. She shouted, “Hey, Dad, did my baby sister get her allowance check from my grandfather?” There was a pause. Then she said to me, “He said he deposited it yesterday.”
“Think on this a minute,” I said. “All the checks come in one envelope.”
There was a pause. Then I heard, “Hey, Dad, was my allowance check in that envelope?” Again a long pause. “Hold on; he’s looking for the envelope.”
I held on. I held on some more. I held on even more.
Finally, she spoke. “He found my check. I’ll deposit it in just a minute. You have no idea how much stress I go through being the middle child.”