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Dave Says: Charging Teenagers Rent?

Dave Says
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Dear Dave,

We have two teenage daughters, ages 17 and 16, who are both in high school and work in the family business. We’ve done our best to teach them how to handle their money properly, including how to spend, save, and give. Also, they’ve both been saving for college. My husband thinks it would be a good idea to start charging them rent to prepare them for life once they leave home. What do you think?

Frances

Dear Frances,

I think you’re way ahead of most parents. Teaching them to handle money properly when they’re young is a great thing. It sounds like they’re both bright, hardworking young ladies, too.

I appreciate your husband’s heart and the fact that he’s looking for teachable moments, but teenagers paying rent while they’re living at home is a little over the top. Now, if either of them were 26 or 27 it would be a different story. I’d have no problem charging them rent of about $10,000 a month! But seriously, at their ages it’s still your job as parents to provide housing for your children. That’s just the way it is.

These girls already know how to work and have grasped the basic concepts of managing money. I meet 50-year-olds on a regular basis who still can’t do that. With this kind of start, I think these young women will be fine and stand a great chance of becoming wealthy one day. So, while I understand your husband’s idea, let’s tell the drill sergeant to back off a notch on this one.

—Dave

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