Thursday, March 11, 2010

Our Daughter Negotiates a Raise

One of my part-time jobs is teaching first and second graders science in an after school program. Since a benefit is that the children of teacher's can take class for free, our five year old daughter has been attending most sessions. In addition, she has been helping me set up before and clean up after the class. I decided this might be a good opportunity to learn about earning money and offered to pay a quarter per class for her work. She surprised me by immediately asking for "a paper money," which means one dollar, for each class. I countered with "a paper money" for every two classes, since I teach that many classes each week. Our daughter happily agreed.

While the stakes were low in this negotiation, there are some compensation lessons I hope she remembers :-)
  • Asking for a raise will get consideration. The worst that can happen is the answer is "no." Also, if you don't ask, it is unlikely you will get it. Even if you only get your requests 25% of the time, it still better than the 0% from never asking at all.

  • Choose a desired target number, not just an achievable number. Our daughter wanted a dollar bill, so she asked for it, not really understanding it was a 300% raise. As a result, I agreed to a 100% raise. In the today's economy, most adults would have asked for a 1-2% raise, because that level is considered acceptable.

  • Demonstrate worthiness prior to asking. Our daughter had already been helping me set up and clean up for several classes prior to my offering to pay. I knew she could and would do good work.
  • In this case, the request worked out well for everybody. Our daughter got her "paper money," she's learning about earning wages, and I get a help before and after each class. Although I'm sure not all her salary negotiations will be so easy, she is already experiencing some principles for future compensation discussions.

    I'll need to keep these principles in mind as I near the one year anniversary for my part time jobs :-)

    For more on Crossing Generations, check back every Thursday for a new segment.

    This is not financial, negotiating or parenting advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2010 Achievement Catalyst, LLC


    Family Balance Sheet said...

    That's a cute story. Our oldest just turned 4 and we haven't started to give her money or an allowance yet. Do you give your dd an allowance? What age did you start?

    Finance for Kids said...

    There are other resources that parents can consider before giving their children raises or allowances. In fact, some parents prefer to call them compensations. A good resource for teaching the children about money is the Finance for Kidz series at

    Thanks for sharing.