Thursday, 07 May 2015 16:28

Paying for Grades and Professional Training

Written by  Dave Ramsey
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Q. What’s your opinion on rewarding kids with money for getting good grades in school?

A. Honestly, I don’t have a strong opinion about it one way or the other. We didn’t pay our kids for good grades, but I can’t really think of a strong argument not to pay them for success in school. You could say you shouldn’t pay them because it’s something they’re expected to do anyway, and that’s somewhat valid. But you could also make the same point where chores around the house are concerned.

 

We paid our kids to do some chores, but really the point is not about the economic value. It’s the fact that you want your kids to associate work with money. I still meet people my age and older who haven’t made that connection. Work creates money, and that’s an important thing to teach your kids. Once they’ve created some money by working, then you want to use those moments to teach them to save, spend and give wisely.

 

You can do this around the subject of grades if you want. There’s probably a valid case to be made that getting an “A” takes a lot more work than getting a “C.” You’re certainly not obligated to pay them for work or grades, but if you don’t do some of this – and teach them the proper ways to handle the money they earn — you’ll miss out on a lot a fantastic teachable moments.

 

 

Q. We have two girls in competitive gymnastics, and it’s costing $12,000 to $15,000 a year at a professional gym to do all this. My wife and I both work, and we make about $115,000 a year, but virtually all of her income goes toward paying the gymnastics bill. We’re also trying to get out of debt and get better control of our money at the same time. Should we focus more on our finances right now?

 

A. If I were in your shoes, I’d be asking myself why the kids are in gymnastics. Unless you guys are trying to send them to the Olympics — and they’re actually good enough to reach that level — teaching them things like discipline and to master their bodies through physical training can be done at a local amateur level. And at a much lower cost.

 

My son played ice hockey in local leagues for years when he was growing up. We did it as a family thing, and he had lots of fun and we all made great new friends. He even played some in high school, too, but he wasn’t NHL material. It didn’t change his life that he didn’t play on a traveling team or with pro trainers, so we had to ask ourselves, “What will it matter when he’s 30 years old?”

 

You make good money, so that’s not really the big issue. If you guys made $50,000 or less, I’d be yelling at you. But with your income, the gymnastics thing probably isn’t going to slow you down too much when it comes to getting your financial house in order. In other words, it’s a parental thing. Ask yourself why you’re investing so heavily in this, and what the goal is when they’re adults. I think that will help you make the smart decision.

 

 

Last modified on Thursday, 07 May 2015 16:29
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