Dear Dave, is it okay to give very young children an allowance? -- Christie

Teaching kids there’s an emotional connection between work and money is one of the best things you can do as a parent. Once your kids are old enough to do a few simple chores around the house, they’re old enough to earn a little money doing them.

In my mind, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with putting kids who are three or four on a basic commission system. If they do the jobs you assign them, they get paid. If they don’t do the jobs, they don’t get paid. We put a little dry-erase board on the refrigerator, and listed the jobs they had to do during the week with a dollar amount next to each one.

Keep in mind, kids shouldn’t get paid for every little thing they do around the house. Some jobs are just a necessary component of being part of a family. And there are some things kids should do simply because mom or dad asked them to. Some jobs should have a higher purpose in mind, too, because as a parent, you should want to find as many teachable moments for your kids as possible.

Once they’ve earned their money, sit down with them and divide it into three separate envelopes—saving, spending, and giving. That way, they get to learn about the uses for money while they’re learning how to work!

Dear Dave, what are your thoughts about online banks? Are they as safe as traditional, neighborhood banks? -- Jeanna

Sure, if they’re guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The FDIC is one of two agencies that provide deposit insurance to customers in America’s depository institutions. The other is the National Credit Union Administration, or NCUA, which insures and regulates credit unions.

If you’re seriously considering using an online bank, there are a few things I’d advise checking out before making the move. Look into the bank’s track record, and see how long it has been open. Also, if the bank you’re considering doesn’t have a name-brand you recognize, find out the amount of its deposits.

Online banks don’t worry me today like they did 10 years ago. And almost everyone does some form of online banking these days, anyway. If the bank in question has a good reputation, and sufficient deposits to have some strength in its FDIC guarantee, I wouldn’t worry about it.

Dave Ramsey is a personal money-management expert, a best-selling author and host of the nationally syndicated radio program, “The Dave Ramsey Show,” which is heard locally on KROC-AM. For more financial advice, visit daveramsey.com.

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