Step 4: Teach Your Children to Work
For some kids, the idea of talking—interviewing—with a strange adult is more daunting than the idea of going to work. You can ease some of this strain by holding mock-interviews before they head out on their very first real one. Ask them the following questions:
- Why do you want to work at ____________?
- What qualifications or skills do you have that you think make you a good candidate for this job?
- How will you juggle having a job with your schoolwork?
- And finally, this was the question Woody Allen asked me when I interviewed to be his assistant—I completely botched it, but answering it well will serve your children well: What should I know about you that isn't on your résumé or in your cover letter?
Once your children land their first job, help them keep it. Encourage them to start keeping their schedule someplace they're not likely to lose it (like Yahoo.com). Explain to them how lateness or questionable absences are viewed in the workplace. And make sure when they leave to go back to school or pursue other interests that they do so on a good note, with written references in hand to pass on to future employers.
Open an IRA
Finally, a financial note. Once your children start earning money (it has to be reported income—which means they have to file a tax return even though they don't have to pay taxes until they earn $5,150 a year), they are able to contribute to an individual retirement account. Preferably, this should be a Roth IRA, which not only grows tax-free forever (you contribute post-tax dollars) but allows penalty-free withdrawals for education and buying your first house. If your children have spent much of their money or balk at the idea of socking it all away, you can make the contribution for them. It may be well worth it.
A $2,000 Roth IRA contribution for a 16 year-old that grows at 8 percent annually will be worth $86,855 when that 16-year-old is 65. Make that contribution every year and the 16-year-old will have $1,232,395 at retirement.
Now it's time for Step 5: Teaching your kids how to give back
Get all the steps to raising money-savvy kids