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Millionaire Kids Ezine, Issue #024 - How To Nurture a Good Work Ethic In Your Kids
March 09, 2009

How Do You Nurture a Good Work Ethic In Your Kids?

Do your kids have a job? Do you encourage them to get a job?

When I was 10 years old, I babysat after school for my piano teacher while she gave lessons. I saved up enough money to fly to Tahiti and back!

At 16, I moved on to my first “real” job of bagging pecks of apples at Aamodt's apple orchard. Boy, I never knew there were so many different varieties of apples. But the apple season didn't last forever, so I became a waitress at Country Kitchen and Brines Bar & Restaurant. The best part about waitressing was the free...I mean half price meals!

My parents always encouraged me to work and make my own money...especially my “tight-wad” Dad. I still tease him that his wallet actually squeaks when he pulls it out.

Here's How My Own Four Kids Earn Their Own Money:

Rachel (18): Cleans & vacuums hallways in a condiminium building once a week and works at Subway

Tony (16): Works at McDonald's and mows lawns in the summer

Matthew (14): Has his own website Cool Colored Laptops and shovels the sidewalk for a condo association in the winter.

Maria (12) Babysits one night a week and has her own website Dog Training Just for Kids

Working in High School and College Pays Off Later in Life.

According to a study conducted by Roper ASW, people who worked through high school are significantly more likely to achieve their financial goals than those who don't work.

Plus, kids who work part-time do just as well academically as their peers in school. Research has shown high school and college kids can work up to 15 hours a week without negatively impacting their schoolwork.

So how do you groom a good work ethic in your kids?

Here Are 4 Steps to Get Started:

1) Don't give them everything they want

If you give your children enough money to buy every little thing their little hearts desire, you're enabling them not to value anything at all.

They have to want things—and then wait for them—in order to appreciate things.

And you'll soon come to understand that things they buy with their own money have much more meaning to them than anything (and everything) that they buy with your money.

2) Show them how to find a job

Trust me on this: Babysitting is not bad work these days. My youngest daughter Maria (12) makes $5 dollars an hour to babysit ONE child.

But eventually, your children will—and should—want to earn more.

Show them how to read the classified ads in the Gazette, their local newspaper's online advertising section and websites like and (which specialize in hourly work).

Sit with them as they make those scary first phone calls, put together a basic résumé, write cover letters (proofread carefully!) and schedule their first interviews.

3) Hold mock interviews at home

For some kids, the idea of talking—interviewing—with a strange adult is more freightening 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?

What can you tell me about yourself that isn't on your resume or in your cover letter?

And lastly...

4) Help them keep the job.

Once your children land their first job, help them keep it.

Make sure they have a car (or bike!) to get to work, or drive them yourself.

Encourage them to start keeping their schedule someplace they're not likely to lose it (like

Explain to them how being late, calling in sick, or asking for days off are looked down at in the workplace.

Also, explain the importance of being a team player and filling in for other employees when needed. This will also help them get the most hours because of their reliability.

And lastly...

On a Financial Note...

Open a ROTH IRA. Once your children start earning their first paycheck (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 college or buying their first house.

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.

Good luck instilling a strong work ethic in your future millionaire kids! Could your kids use an extra $50 dollars or more a week in only 5 hours of work? Then Check Out These 51 Ways to Make Money Fast...

A Fun Way for Little Kids To Make Some Cash

Do your kids like to make stuff? Maybe jewelry? Or dog collars? Or cool laptop covers?

Then they can sell all their hand-made stuff for free on this website...


Profitable Investment Idea:

Times are scary in the stock market. The DOW is the lowest it's been in 13 years.

So where should you invest your hard earned money?

I know it's tempting to stuff your cash underneath the mattress...but that won't help your money grow.

The secret to making money in 2009 is "buy what the government buys...only get there first."

And the government is buying mortgage backed bonds to help push mortgage rates down, encourage banks to lend, and get us out of the housing mess.

That's why I'm buying the Managers Fremont Bond Fund (MBDFX).

Historically, when stocks take a nose dive - bonds do well.

And bonds should do especially well with the government driving the price up.

Random Acts of Tithing

I just received an email from a real estate agent in town that the local churches are setting up temporary homeless shelters.

And they need blankets, pillows, mattresses, etc.

Even in our little town of less than 10,000 people, hard times are hitting families.

My kids are setting up collection points for blankets and such at their schools.

Maybe there's a need for blankets in your area?!

It's Good to Know...Financial Terms For Kids

1) Practice makes perfect

2) 10 of these equal a dollar

3) How your kids can make extra cash

Answers: Mock interview, dime, sell stuff on Etsy

Cheap Family Fun

We're heading to Marco Island, Florida in less than a week to visit Grandma...

And we're planning many inexpensive activities with the kids like...

Picnics on the beach...

watching the sunsets with our own drinks with umbrellas in them...

searching for sand dollars and other treasures...

buying freshly squeezed orange juice from a local grower...

And of course frolicking in the Gulf of Mexico!

Happy parenting!


Sonja Mishek

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