You can't simply hand a child a budget and expect them to handle it like an adult, especially when Mom and Dad have been doing and paying for everything all their life. Tina (12) has been receiving a Jugendlohn (a salary for adolescents) for a year while Samir (12) has been getting pocket money. We let the kids have their say.
How much money do you get from your parents at home and what do you have to buy with it?
Samir, 12, pocket money: “I get 40 francs every month. I spend most of it on computer games in the first week but my parents pay for my mobile phone bill. Otherwise, the money wouldn’t be enough.”
Tina, 12, Jugendlohn: “I get 200 francs per month with my Jugendlohn and I don’t only have to pay for my phone bill, but also my lunch at school and public transport. In the end, there usually isn’t much left for clothes, make-up or going swimming. But if I really want a particular shirt or something, sometimes I manage to save up for it. That’s not always possible.”
So, more money means more problems?
Tina: “Hmm, yes and no. Rather than arguing with my mom about every single shirt or bottle of shampoo, now I can decide for myself. I think that’s really cool. I can already handle my money really well.”
Samir: “I think it’s probably easier for me to get new clothes than for Tina. The thing is, I bug my parents for so long until they finally give in and buy me them.”
So what do you think is better now, pocket money or the Jugendlohn?
Samir: “I’m really happy with my pocket money. I don’t think I’d get through the month if I had Tina’s Jugendlohn. But, sure, it’d be easy not to have to ask my parents for everything.”
Tina: “When I compare myself to my friends, I get the feeling that I think a bit more about how I am spending my money. Sometimes, I can still afford something when they’re already broke. Before, I couldn’t handle money very well. So I’m totally all for the Jugendlohn.”
Jugendlohn: what is it?
The principle of the Jugendlohn is simple. From the age of 12, children receive a monthly allowance, with which they must cover a portion of their living costs themselves. As a parent, you mustn’t and shouldn’t dig any deeper in your pocket than before, rather you’re transferring the competence and responsibility for a portion of the family budget to your child.
UBS’s educational principles
This article was written in collaboration with educator Marianne Heller, who has years of experience in teaching financial education and debt prevention programs for children and young people.