Finances For a First Grader

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Malcolm Stories

Our son’s path towards learning about money began with him becoming a thief. Like the sewer rat who poaches items left in the gutter and hoards them in his little lair, Malcolm has been salting away dollar bills and change that he finds lying around the house. At first, I found this upsetting, admonishing him for taking money that he didn’t earn and using it as his own. When Amy gently reminded me that I hadn’t earned a paycheck in over seven years, I changed my tune, congratulating him for his ambition and steps toward securing his own financial freedom. Lucky for us, Amy leaves A LOT of money around the house, so there is plenty to go around.

I look at him and see lots of gaps. He sees dollar signs.

I would say that this little hobby has now made him a full-fledged capitalist. He has come to the conclusion that having more money is better than having less, and has figured out some schemes to raise additional capital for Malcolm Enterprises. In spite of our early, “There is no tooth fairy” policy, Malcolm somehow convinced us that we should be putting money under his pillow when he loses a tooth anyways. I am not sure that we want to teach him to sell his body parts on the open market, but we have caved nonetheless. He has also talked us into giving him an allowance ($1 a week.) Every Sunday, he gleefully announces, “Daddy, you owe me a dollar!” and when I give it to him, he scurries away and puts the dollar with the rest of his cash reserves. (To be honest, I do the same with Amy’s paycheck.)

So now he has this huge pile of cash and change. Like many a capitalist before him, his empire is the result of a mixture of ingenuity, larceny and sacrifice. Every once in a while he dumps his money jar on the ground to assure himself that he is the richest child at his school. (We gave him some play money for Christmas and, not really understanding the difference between real and fake currency, he went ahead and told his friends that we had given him $843 for Christmas. Whoops!)

His pile of singles began to remind me a little too much of a degenerate at a strip club, so we gathered them up the other day and headed to the bank to open his first ever bank account. When the dust settled, he had a shiny new account with $35 in it. Based on the .05% interest rate he is getting (!), he will have enough money in the account to buy a Wii or a bicycle in a mere 500 years. I haven’t exactly told him this yet.

Of course, I am not going to let this opportunity pass without using it as a means to forestall doing things that I don’t really want to do. He recently asked if he could get a pet gerbil. Researching the pros and cons of critter parenting, we found out it costs around $325 to keep a gerbil every year. He was rather amazed at the cost. The gerbil movement has been tabled, and I consider myself somewhat of a genius.

Now that he has money, I also want to make sure that he understands the concept of wasting it. He has a nasty habit of taking a yogurt to school in his backpack and then forgetting about it. Days later, we will find it in there and it has begun to smell like a sick gerbil. After finding the third or fourth dead yogurt, we struck a deal: I was going to fine him a dollar every time he wasted a yogurt.

I am sure these lessons are but the tip of the economic iceberg. In the coming years, we will have to address issues like, “Can he spend his money on anything he wants (like a toy cross bow) even if we don’t really want him to buy it?” and “What do we do when he tries to sell his platelets to the blood bank?” For now, we have an allowance and a bank account, and even that seems a little scary.

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4 responses to “Finances For a First Grader”

  1. Juddy says:

    Dylan’s newest money-making idea hit her when we were removing the mice from our seed drill. “We should sell the mice to cats!” she told us. It’s just crazy enough to work.

  2. Carly says:

    Why does this have to be the ONLY realible source? Oh well, gj!

  3. http://www./ says:

    hmmm… szczerze mówiÄ…c to te niestabilne KDE w mandrivie mi siÄ™ jeszcze nie wywaliÅ‚o. Amarok owszem ale nie kde. Co do Å›cisÅ‚oÅ›ci to po 10h dziennie dziaÅ‚a.

  4. http://www./ says:

    I like this post so much I've made one myself too))I can't drive too, I'm even scared to start learning. I'm perfectly happy with the subway (well, I actually hate it, but I'm still scared of driving))). Love your dress (the one with the red belt))

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