His family’s house is starting to close up, so it’s time for a serious clean-up, says a father. Together with the children (10 and 12), he and his wife started sorting out old toys: boxes of Duplo and Lego, boxes of Barbies, Pokemon cards, and so on. Items that are still worth quite a bit and can therefore be bought second-hand. “Now we have gotten into a discussion with the children, because: who are the proceeds for?”
There are expensive gifts that the parents bought themselves for birthdays and Sinterklaas. “I tried to make it clear that my wife and I can also buy new gifts with the proceeds, so that they will benefit from it anyway.” But his son and daughter think the money is theirs. “We now ask ourselves with every thing: how do we get it, who is entitled to it and who sells it?” The latter also causes headaches: “I can already see that we will have to pay for this again,” sighs father. Is there a way to handle this better or more conveniently?
That kite won’t fly
Savings expert Marieke Henselmans, author of Consume less with children, is certain. “The money is for the children. Once given is given, unless the parents have money problems.” That doesn’t mean she doesn’t understand father. “His emotion is understandable. You also see this in divorces: I gave you that as a gift and now I want it back.” That idea doesn’t fly, says the savings expert.
“Father also has to ask himself: do I want space in the house or do I want to tidy up to make money?” Children are more likely to clean up if they know that they can keep the proceeds, Henselmans knows. “If you really want to make space, I would take advantage of it. Otherwise you implicitly give the message: we are going to clean up and I will take things away from you. Then it becomes a lot less attractive for a child to get rid of things.”
In any case, be careful when getting rid of your children’s belongings, she warns. “Give children a certain storage space with the restriction: everything must fit. Then let them decide for themselves what goes and what doesn’t.” Even if you don’t understand the choices your child makes, because that will happen, assures Henselmans.
Fun things together
You can indeed choose to give the proceeds to the children, says pocket money expert Annelou van Noort. “Then agree that they will share the proceeds fairly, even if the Barbies yield more than the Duplo.” But she sees two other options, which in her opinion are equally defensible: the money goes to the family piggy bank or to the parents.
With such a family piggy bank you can do fun things together. “Make a wish list as a family. Do you want to go to an amusement park, a trampoline in the garden, a new board game?” You can even turn this cleaning up and selling into an annual family tradition, says Van Noort, who is involved in the financial education of children between the ages of four and 24.
But she also considers the third option, towards which father is leaning, to be legitimate. “Explain carefully to your children what you are going to use it for. Raising children costs money: we want to save for your studies, hobbies, driver’s license.”
Very valuable lessons
The advantage of the first two variants is that you can turn them into a great lesson in financial education, says Van Noort. “Especially in these times of digital payments. If the proceeds are partly for the children, you can involve them in the entire process: what is something worth, how do you take a good photo, how do you negotiate, how do you check whether a buyer is reliable and whether you are not being ripped off? Very valuable lessons.” You can do this with children from the age of six, if properly supervised, she says.
Van Noort advises that this father first discuss these considerations with his partner. What do they consider important in the financial education of their children? What do their children need? And herself? If they decide that the money will go to the children, she has another important tip. “Give your children a spending pot, a savings pot and a charity pot. As parents you decide how much goes into which pot and the children decide what happens to it. Let them choose a charity themselves. In this way they also learn that sharing money makes you feel good.”