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This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

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Giving kids money

originally posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 2/18/2011 This post has not been recently reviewed or revised by the author and may be out of date. If you notice an error or are in doubt, please send a new question by email or ask for an update. Email

Q: My 17 year old son has had a difficult few years due to divorce. Now that the divorce is settled, I can afford to give him the money to buy him a car that he wants but I wonder if this is the right thing to do. We talked about him earning the money to pay for car insurance but he has had difficulty finding a job so I would have to pay for insurance also. I feel guilty about depriving him of material things in the past but do not want to spoil him in the future.

A: The parents' role in an adolescent's life is to assist, but not to provide solutions. Business and executive coach Bob Isaacson advises a financial planner with a similar question "What is important is how adults use money to influence the behavior, values, and self-esteem of their children as well as how children internalize the meaning of money". Your money might be better spent helping your son get some specialized experience that would lead to a job or even to help him start his own part-time business. Address the issue that appeals to your values and the rest will work out in time.


More resources:

article: "Do I give My Kids Money?"