Dave Says: Should I start charging my kids rent?

Dear Dave,

Our son is 17, and he is in school. He has a good part-time job, and my wife and I started teaching him basic money management at a young age. He understands the importance of saving, giving, and spending, plus he is setting aside money for technical school after he graduates from high school. Do you think it would be an appropriate real-world exercise if we started charging him a very small amount in rent each month to prepare him for life when he leaves home?

Barry

Dear Barry,

I appreciate the fact that you’re looking for teachable moments, but I really think charging a teenager rent while he’s living at home is going too far. Now, if he was 28 or 29, that’d be a different story. But as parents, it’s still your responsibility to provide a home for your 17-year-old child.

It sounds like you’ve done a fantastic job already of helping your son grow into a responsible young man. He knows how to work, and he has grasped the basic concepts of managing money. I meet people three times his age on a regular basis who still haven’t done that. With this kind of start, I’ve got a feeling your kid will be fine.

I also think, with this kind of start, he has a great chance of becoming wealthy some day!

—Dave

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