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Let's Go Halfsies

Week of March 5, 2019

Maisie looks up from her MacBook and yells across the room, “Dad, I need a pair of AirPods.”

“You don’t need AirPods, you already have the pair of earphones that came with the iPhone,” says Dad.

“Oh Dad,” Maisie pauses; Dad thinks the issue is closed and he’s dodged a bullet.

“Hey, how about we go halfsies and I pay you back?” says Maisie.

Conversations like this happen all the time and span from a candy bar at Vons, to the AirPods on the Apple website, to the jeans at Zara, all the way to a car when Maisie turns 16 1/2. If you agree to the deal, how are you going to handle it? What are the terms? Are you going to be consistent and collect?

We're listening to users.

We spend a lot of time talking with people about their financial upbringing. During a recent conversation with a 25 year-old, we asked if he had ever made a halfsie deal with his parents. He told us, “I made these deals all the time. Dad never made me pay him back. Mom always collected. Guess who I asked the most?”

Did you know?

Only 12% of girls feel confident making a personal finance decision.

Invest In Girls

How to get repayment right

At the end of the day, a halfsie deal is a loan. You have agreed to loan Maisie $80+ to buy the AirPods (AirPods cost $159). Time to start thinking like a credit officer. If Maisie makes a deal to pay you back, but does not then what are you teaching her? Be consistent and make sure you both follow through.

Can your kid pay you back?

Can Maisie afford her side of the bargain? Does she have the $80 to contribute from her birthday money? Are you going to take $10 out of her weekly allowance for the next two months? Is there a way for Maisie to pay off what she owes by babysitting her brother over the next few weekends? It’s important to structure the agreement so Maisie can successfully repay your loan. Her success today will help her to develop good financial behavior for the future.

Are you just playing chicken?

Kids are not the only ones to offer up the halfsie deal -- many times it comes from the parent. It can be a way to test to if she really wants the AirPods and get her committed to the purchase. But, do not make the offer thinking she will back down once she has to pay for half. If you do not want her to have the AirPods or know she cannot pay you back -- it’s a bad deal for both sides.

Consider non-financial repayment options

Does your kid like to sign up for classes or lessons, but quickly loses interest and does not follow through? (Aside, do not talk to me about the “I’ll walk the puppy” deal). If you go halfsies on the guitar lessons, perhaps every time Maise practices Stairway to Heaven you take $5 off her bill.

What we found interesting

Become a money savage

Rapper 21 Savage has had a pretty tough 2019. But, that does not appear to damping his enthusiasm for helping out the youth of Atlanta. In partnership with Juma, 21 Savage created the Bank Account Campaign to help people learn how to manage money. He is staking 150 underprivileged kids with $100 each in a savings account. More stories to come in future newsletters on government and nonprofit efforts to jump start savings habits.

You go girl

Friends of ours are building a new type of investment company called Ellevest with the tag-line, Redefining Investing for Women. But, the factoid above suggests that we need to start earlier by empowering girls with the knowledge and confidence to control their financial destinies. This week a number of financial powerhouses came together to announce “Girls Take Wall Street” with the the goal of inspiring girls (and their families) to consider careers in financial services. This campaign reminds us of a non-profit founded by other friends of Till called Invest in Girls.

When the world gives you lemons…

We were big fans of Country Time Lemonade’s Legal-Ade campaign that provided legal support to young beverage entrepreneurs that were targeted by overzealous local officials. With spring just around the corner, lemonade stands will return to the streets. We just learned of the organization running Lemonade Day in May. The Lemonade Day group turns the Lemonade stand into a teachable moment to by providing planning and analysis resources. Here at Till, we like teachable moments.

Follow through is key

Odds are you will go halfsies with your kids, Till can help make sure you both follow through on the deal.