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A Letter from 13-Year Old Abby


Dear Mrs. Mary Hunt: My name is Abby. I am 13-years old. So, my mom got your book, Raising Financially Confident Kids, and she is on Chapter 9 and she is wanting to do that—give your kids $100 and make them buy their clothes, shoes, etc., each month.

Well, I didn’t really like the idea. I actually thought it was stupid. But I didn’t say anything. So later on my mom went to bed so I picked up the book and read it. Then I knew that it wasn’t stupid. It was about teaching your kids how to handle money.

A woman sitting at a table using a laptop

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I don’t know how this will work. But I can at least try. My mom thinks you read her mind. HaHaHa! I don’t know if you have ever had a kid my age write to you but you have inspired me and my family. Thank-Ya

Dear Abby: Yours is the first letter I have ever received a letter from a 13-year old. I’m happy your mom is reading my book about how to raise financially confident kids.

Let me ask you a question: I’ll bet you’re a great swimmer, so how did you learn to do that?

Did your mom sit you in a chair and tell you all about water and how when you swim you have to hold your breath and kick your feet? Did she say that when you grow up you can go into a pool, but until then you just cannot be trusted in water?

I think I can hear you laughing because that is quite silly. But that’s the way a lot of parents teach their kids about money.

They just talk about it and describe what it will be like someday when they grow up and leave home. They hope their kids will figure out how to be good with money when they become adults.

And that doesn’t always work out so well.

The plan you and your mom are reading about in my book is a way to teach kids how to manage money while they are young and their parents are still right there to guide them.

Your mom will teach you how it all works. The most important thing you need to know is that she is going to give you something that is very precious—something that all kids want from their parents: Trust. She is going to trust you with money and allow you to make decisions with it.

There are rules you have to follow. And you will be getting a Responsibility List. On that list will be things your parents are not going to pay for anymore. If you want things on that list, then you will have to pay for them.

If you make foolish choices in the way you spend your money, you will have to live with the consequences. That’s the way real life works, Abby. Learning this when you are 13 is going to help you to become a responsible young lady.

The more your mom sees that she can trust you to make good decisions about saving and giving to others and exercising self-discipline with the way that you spend money, the more money she will trust you to manage.

I can tell from your letter that you are a smart girl. Managing money and learning how to create a budget are going to help you to become independent and successful in your life.

Your mom wants to trust you and this is going to give you the chance to prove to her that you are trustworthy

I can’t wait to hear how this is going for you, Abby. You can write to me anytime. I would love that!

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11 replies
  1. Kathy says:

    I don’t spend $100/mo on clothing for my husband and I. We both work and don’t wear uniforms. My sons are almost 33 and 36 so it’s been years since I’ve had to worry about allowances, clothing, etc.
    I think a better alternative is to set a clothing budget and anything over that the child has to supplement be it from a job or allowance.

    • Guest says:

      Well … Abby hadn’t read the book when she wrote “$100,” so please do not take that as a synopsis because it is not. She is 13 … perhaps given to hyperbole? Have you read it, Kathy?

    • Raine says:

      I budget about $100 a month for clothing for my husband and myself. That has to include seasonal purchases, shoes, and accessories as well. Most of the time I come in right at budget. One other thing this category covers for us is tailoring and alterations. I could probably do some of that myself, but I HATE sewing.

  2. Guest says:

    The idea is good but 100.00 is a lot of money especially for people who have more than one child and are living on a very small income. I had four on my own after my husband died. I think children should be taught to work for their money and save up for what they want or even need. I know one girl who does papers every morning and she also volunteers her time for charities. Such an unspoiled girl. I think kids should earn their money and then buy their clothes with that. With all the spoiled kids I see I notice the ones that earn their own money are the happiest. This keeps them out of trouble too. That is just my opinion but I think I am right.

      • Grace Spence says:

        I didn’t realize it was her interpretation. I thought it was your suggestion about the 100.00. I can honestly say that I don’t even spend that much a year on clothing for myself. I didn’t spend that much on them either. We always got by without spending a lot of money. But it is a wonderful idea about kids budgeting. It saves a lot of heart ache later since it is so easy to get into debt. To me it is fun to budget and save for things. If parents give their kids everything it kind of takes away the fun of saving up for things. This should be a course in school. It would be very valuable.

  3. Beck says:

    I think it is a great idea to teach kids about money and investements too. I learned to tithe from my parents but not much else. It is also too bad schools do not make it a requirement to have at least one semester of basic finance. Just think if all parents would start teaching kids about money along with the schools a lot of people would be spared financial hardships in the first place. By teaching students to live below their means they would avoid racking up credit card bills or get upside down in cars/mortgages.

    • DianaB says:

      Financial classes could not be more right on point. I have an argument with my grandson every time he receives any kind of money as a gift or otherwise to give 10%, save 10% and then plan on what to do with the rest. He is typical–spend it all on himself the minute he gets it in his hands. He takes no financial direction at all (he is 11, but that is no excuse) and I see him and all like him getting into the material, money-hungry rut right off the bat. He and others like him will lead a very poor life, in more ways than one. If a parent or grandparent tries to direct responsible finance advice, it falls on deaf ears. As far as $100 (or whatever amount is concerned), I can see where that might work buying school clothes at the beginning of the school year, but certainly not for a month.

      • Deborah Smith says:

        I also agree $100 a month is a bit much,depending on the age of the child and the financial situation of the family. If this means the child needs to save for home coming,prom, make up etc,anything other than what is normal house hold things….as well as if they go out with friends..now for young kids…no way…I don’t spend that now on a family of 4 including toiletries.lol

  4. cms says:

    This applies to every thing in life-I went away to college and watched a college freshman boy dump half a gallon of bleach on his load of jeans- as I gasps, he gave me a attitude and said when do you think those clothes are gonna be done ! I said about 3 minutes ago-he had never done laundry- I decided then , my children(future) would never do anything stupid like destroying all their jeans, When I did have children ,I gave them a new chore for each birthday-my husband and I thought about it for weeks-what directions would be good for now-we raised two very responsible children-through quirky decisions(my daughter was to cook one meal a week when she turned 16-we ate spaghetti for that entire year on Wednesday -thank God she married someone whom likes to cook) but parents need to let kids-fix their beds-sort laundry-put away groceries-from the time they are little-then they understand that this is a group thing-With age more chores and responsibilities-it works. The same with money-if you never make a choice until you leave the house-a lot of choices are not good ones! Parents need to realize -the hard part is letting go!

    • lgj says:

      I taught 2nd grade for many, many years. I could tell within the first few days who had chores at home and who didn’t. I would often suggest to parents that they begin giving chores to their students to help them mature. (even had one mom say, “That’s why he keeps asking to help me do things around the house!”) Had to remind them that the first few times wouldn’t be perfect and to show the child how to do the chore. I could tell within a few weeks who took this advice and who didn’t.


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