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Want to teach your kids about money? Hire them.
With side hustles and small businesses easier to start than ever, many parents working toward financial independence have discovered a surprising perk to self-employment: a hands-on lesson in financial empowerment for their children.
“Entrepreneurship transformed my daughter from a shy kid to a kid CEO,” says Rozalynn Goodwin, whose daughter Gabby helped her invent and patent a line of hair barrettes. “My daughter had struggled with her confidence and dark skin, and now I see the anticipation, excitement, and wonder in her eyes when she talks about the business she helped create.”
For certain business owners, employing your children and paying them wages is permissible even at young ages. Children younger than 16 can be employed if “working in nonagricultural employment in a business solely owned by their parents, or by persons standing in place of their parents, according to an exemption clause in the Fair Labor Standards Act. With the right conversations and guidance, earning income can help kids build good money habits early—and make them eligible for tax-free investment growth in a custodial Roth IRA.
Here’s what the experience looks like for four families who employ their kids.
Weekly commentary from our senior editor on the state of small business, side hustles, passive income, and pursuing financial independence.
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A T-Shirt Side Hustle That Makes $50,000 a Month
Ari El Simpson and her husband James started “a statement T-shirt company” called Tees Of Life in May of 2020. Simpson has worked in IT at a bank for 15 years, and James is a barber. They spent $45 to buy a used T-shirt press on Facebook Marketplace, and $55 to purchase blank shirts from S&S Activewear.
The Simpsons create T-shirts with sassy self-love phrases, and their three children, ages 17, 13, and 7, work in the business. The family still does most of the T-shirt pressing themselves, but they’ve also hired …….