Hubby and I are both finance-types. Some people would attribute that to our backgrounds in banking, but I don’t really think that’s it. (The sad truth is that many folks in banking have some seriously messed up finances, themselves.) I think we both just really get numbers and appreciate that, as long as you’re doing your part, money does what you tell it to. That’s a lot more than you can say for many people.
We understand money and, probably even more importantly, we don’t fight about it. We’ve had open discussions about budgeting and spread-sheets since well before we were married. I may have mentioned before that our pre-marriage counselors asked us to TEACH the week on financial harmony because they’d never seen a couple get such a high score of compatibility on the survey. We’re geeky.
“Daddy, I need some money to get my nails done!”
I’m guessing that’s part of why we talk to our kids about money a lot. By nature, we are raising a tight-wad saver, a wild spender, and a moderate balance. And that’s fine. We meet them where they’re at and talk to them about making their money work for them, but, at this point, we let them make “mistakes” too.
When the six-year-old wanted to spend all her six dollars on the fancy-pants unicorn coloring book? We told her she could find a coloring book for a dollar if she just waited until we were done in the schmancy toy store. But she didn’t want to wait. And so we let her. We also let her be a bit sad when her siblings still had money to spend later on.
I think these lessons on how money works are important. I’ve been to college– I’ve seen how many kids have never had to manage a dime.
But here’s the lesson that’s throwing me a curve ball:
At what age should children be responsible for paying sales tax?
I’m really struggling with this one. On the one hand, my two older children are old enough to understand a very basic explanation about taxes. I wouldn’t necessarily feel “bad” expecting them to save up and pay for the tax on the things they buy– part of life, after all. I’ll go so far as to say that if we were still in Indiana, where tax was 5%, I’d definitely be having that conversation and setting up that expectation.
But we live in Connecticut. And our governor decided that a fabulous sales tax rate would be 6.35%. That’s some HARD math for a six-year-old.
What do you think? At what age do you expect your children to cover the sales tax on the things they choose to buy? Does it make a difference if the tax rate is bizarr-o like ours?