SOURCE: My Job Chart

My Job Chart

December 04, 2013 09:10 ET

Myjobchart.com - Let Your Kids Earn a Cell Phone

Free Online Educational Tool Shows Parents How Kids Can Manage Money for Cell Phones

SCOTTSDALE, AZ--(Marketwired - December 04, 2013) -  The following is the opinion of Gregg Murset, CEO/Founder of Myjobchart.com: I'm a dad that has two, almost three kids that have a cell phone. The third child is currently begging and will likely be the recipient of a new iPhone when the holidays roll around. Yes, I'm going to do the same as most parents -- give in.

As the guy that pays the bill though, this definitely makes me re-think the "need" of all these cell phones and their accompanying charges. This situation also makes me wonder if I am doing a disservice to my kids by not making them contribute in some way to this never ending billing cycle.

According to Consumer Reports the average mobile phone user spends about $600 a year. If you do the math, you're going to be shocked at how much you are going to be shelling out over the years so that your kids can send hundreds of usually meaningless texts each month to their friends! Even worse, maybe it's the ever-popular snap-chat that disappears after a few seconds so that you as the parent don't even know what your kids are texting back and forth with their friends.

So what is the best way to handle the cell phone dilemma and what is a parent to do?

Here are a few of my thoughts:

Change the Mindset… A Smart Phone is a Privilege: I remember riding the bus to school when I was in elementary school and the sign that read, "riding is a privilege and not a right." Our bus driver definitely believed this statement because he constantly threatened to throw us off the bus if we didn't sit down and shape up! I think the same thing applies to kids and cell phones. Having a cell phone when you're a kid is a privilege. Now, I know that there are a lot of parents right now saying, "Yeah, but I want them to have a phone in case of an emergency" and I agree with this. It totally annoys me when I call my son's cell phone and have the voice mail lady start asking me to leave a message. I don't want to leave a message, I want to talk to my son! I quickly get into that panic mode and start thinking something bad has happened -- but the reality is that he doesn't need the latest smart phone to keep my nerves under control. So, sit down and explain that a smart phone is a privilege and if they don't want that stripped down, emergency-only flip phone they should probably start thinking that way.

Kids Need to Kick in: That's right, kids need to pay some or all of the bill each month. We all know, that you seem to appreciate things more when you have some skin in the game and kids with cell phones are no different. This is a perfect opportunity for you to sit down and teach them about how much things cost, especially things that they seem to think they are entitled to for some reason. This is also a great time to discuss the things that they can do around the house to earn the money to help pay that bill. Since a lot of the kids running around with the latest and greatest cell phones are too young to get a "real job," give them some responsibilities around the house that allows them to earn some money. If they don't earn enough to cover the bill that month... no biggie, the phone goes bye-bye until they get caught up. Try this experiment, I think you'll be surprised how quickly they start re-thinking how much they contribute around the house.

The Fee Discussion: Once your child is contributing to the cost of the phone each month and is appreciating things a little more, it's time to step up the conversation and talk fees. Federal fees, usage fees, taxes... all those "little charges" at the bottom of the bill that add up to a pretty big number each month. You have a choice here: have them start paying part of the fees or use this as a way to teach them how benevolent you really are. Personally, I think I might choose the latter here. "I love you, so I'll pick up the tab on the fees." Never hurts to score a few points with a teenager when you can.

So, that's the real deal when it comes to cell phones and kids. As you make a few adjustments in how you deal with this dilemma I think you will find a more responsive and appreciative child, and who doesn't want some of that?

Gregg Murset is a certified financial planner and Chief Executive Officer of My Job Chart (myjobchart.com). With more than 550,000 members, 19 million jobs completed by kids and an economic impact over $2 million, My Job Chart is a free tool to help reverse the culture of entitlement and credit addiction that plagues American families today.

For the past 18 years, Murset has led a very successful personal insurance and financial services practice. A graduate of Arizona State University with a degree in finance, Murset has also earned multiple professional designations in his industry including CFP® - Certified Financial Planner, ChFC - Chartered Financial Consultant, CLU - Chartered Life Underwriter and REBC - Registered Employee Benefits Consultant.

About My Job Chart
My Job Chart, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, is a free, easy to use, online and mobile job chart and reward system designed to teach, organize and motivate kids to earn, save, share and spend responsibly. From washing the car to making a bed, and from doing the dishes to picking up clothes, kids can now earn an allowance and learn how to make financial decisions. My Job Chart, which has Operation SmileForever Young Foundation and Heifer International as some of its charity partners, can also be used through its Apple and Android mobile apps, allowing parents and kids the opportunity to save, share and spend from anywhere. For more information on My Job Chart, visit www.myjobchart.com.

The following files are available for download:

Contact Information

  • Mike Prusinski
    VP of Marketing Communications
    My Job Chart
    888-907-7121 (O)
    mike@myjobchart.com