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How much of an allowance?

President Barack Obama has taken some flak online for giving his daughters only $1 a week in allowance. 

Janet Bodnar, editor of Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine, weighs in with some tips on how much kids should get. (By the way, she agrees in her blog that the Dad in Chief, should cough up more).



HOW MUCH TO PAY



Bodnar says Sasha and Malia should receive weekly allowances equal to half their age -- that's $3.50 for Sasha and $5 for Malia.



EXTRA RESPONSIBILITIES

For this additional cash in their pocket, the kids would be expected to take on extra responsibilities with the money. For example, Sasha and Malia, your parents might ask you to pay for your own tickets or popcorn when you go to the movies with your new friends from school. Or you could buy treats and toys for the new puppy your parents promised you. Or bring your own money for souvenirs when you go on trips with Mom and Dad.



HELPING OUT AT HOME



Sasha and Malia are expected to make their beds, but Mom is satisfied if they "just throw a sheet over them.'' Getting paid for doing such chores isn't a good idea. Kids should pitch in because their parents need help around the house -- even when it's the White House.



SIMPLE REMINDERS



One problem for Sasha and Malia is that Dad sometimes forgets to give them their allowance. No surprise. All parents are forgetful at one time or another. What you need is a simple system for reminding him. Maybe he can program it into his BlackBerry. Or maybe you can set aside a certain time and place -- say, every Sunday night in the Lincoln bedroom. Another family has worked out a simple system by making a booklet of construction-paper coupons that the kids could tear off and exchange for their

allowance each week.



NON-FINANCIAL BENEFITS



With an allowance, kids learn how to be patient and save money for something they really want. They use their own money -- not someone else's -- to buy their things. In short, they take on more personal responsibility.

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