Advice & Features Articles

The System


Building Confidence through Time & Money Management

by Mike DesRoches

My daughter Ashlyn recently turned 21. Thankfully, she’s flourishing and brimming with confidence in some areas that a couple years ago were significant concerns. After a first year of so-so performance in the college classroom (socializing was more of a priority), it was clear we had set her up to skate along. I felt it was time for an adjustment.

I had already prepared to cover 1/3 of her schooling. It occurred to me that she would learn nothing from me just plopping down the money, so I decided to employ a system, where my daughter would have to earn it instead.

“The System” involved money for grades and made Ashlyn responsible for all money management—paying her school fees, housing, books, food and entertainment and managing her student loans. The way I see it, I was planning to contribute $8,000-10,000 per year anyway, and through this real-life exercise, the opportunity for significant learning was born.

Here is how “The System” was set up:

1.)  Money earned toward her student loans based on grades

2.)  Spending money as a subsidy of her job based on grade performance and hours worked

For example, let’s presume she takes four classes and gets all Bs.  That’d be $1000 for that quarter that goes directly toward her student loans, and four Bs equals $4/ hour worked that I’d transfer to her.  Let’s say she sends me a copy of her paystub, showing she worked 20 hours, I’d transfer $80 to her account.

That first quarter, when she skated her way to two Bs and one C, “The System” kicked off to a weak total of $600 added to the student loan fund and a $1 subsidy for each hour she worked.  It wasn’t really until the next quarter, when she completed four courses (one A and three Bs) that the light went on for her.  She received $1250 for student loans, and every hour she worked, I’d add a $5 subsidy.  Her previous quarter’s paycheck subsidy of $80 turned to $200!

“The System” has been a rousing success—she now regularly carries a full course load while working and has gotten serious about money and managing her own funds, while also becoming a bit of a master at time management.  With that, empowerment and independence has arrived.

Certainly, this “System” could be adapted with the dollar amounts adjusted to your budget.  Heck, it doesn’t even have to apply to a college student!  Give it a shot!  If you’ve already put aside some money for your child, you have nothing to lose.

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