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The Famous Cell Phone Dilemma

Updated: Aug 4, 2019

Shout out to my parents and the great job that they did. I turned out pretty awesome, had an amazing childhood and not to brag but I think I’m a pretty well-adjusted adult. But I gotta say, there are a lot of issues today that they didn’t have to contend with. The biggest one being the internet and social media. It is amazing and scary how it has changed our society today. It also has changed the way we parent significantly.

One of these is the cell phone dilemma: at what age do we finally allow them access to their own phone, and how many bells and whistles do we include with it?

My personal opinion is that unless they are out and about on their own, the phone part isn’t necessary. Something like an iPod touch can give them most of the utility without the monthly bill.

But when our oldest started going out more, we struggled with how to proceed with a cell phone. We want to be able to get a hold of him and he us but we didn’t want to give him complete and full access to all that a cell phone has to offer. He of course wanted everything – the latest iPhone with full data. He is our oldest and we know what we do with him will set a precedent for his younger brothers. Additionally, paying for a brand-new cell phone with an unlimited plan is not in our financial budget – nor would we want it to be our responsibility.

I did, however, realize that a cell phone is a great opportunity and motivation to teach my son some money lessons. Sure, its easy to ask for everything when you have no financial cards in the situation but its amazing when you give your child that opportunity, how much more they take the responsibility more serious. We offered him earning the money to purchase their own phone. Whether this is contributing a percentage or full value of the phone would help determine what kind of phone he got. If it is something that they earned, they are least likely to lose it or not take care of it. This idea can also be applied to their data plan. You can offer to pay for the base plan, enough to call them when you need to get a hold of them, but they need to earn for the rest of the plan. This can be either getting a job or doing extra work around the house. Chat with them over where the phone fits into their priorities. When they have a little skin in the game, you may be surprised at how seriously they take this responsibility. It gives them the ability to really debate with themselves on how they would like to spend their money.

The Famous Cell Phone Dilemma, Ideas for parents about allowances and teaching kids about money and financial literacy, #4PocketAllowance

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