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Mississippi Money: Effective Uses of Child Labor

Your time is valuable. Whether you work full time or take care of your kids full time you know that your time is precious and you could really do with more of it. If you’re lucky, you can hire someone to take care of things around the house so that you have time to spend with your children. This can be expensive, and with rising labor costs this is not getting cheaper.

The modern problem of rising wages can be addressed with an age old solution – child labor! I’m not talking about sending your kids off to work in the local coalmine or canning factory, but getting them to pitch in around the house in a way that directly saves you time and money.

Meal prep was one of my favorite tasks growing up. I have always loved eating and learned to work to reach the most delicious goals. Children of almost any age can get out and measure ingredients. After careful instruction under adult supervision, older children can safely handle raw meat and chop vegetables for dinner. Your young sous chefs can handle the mise and save you a surprising amount of time.

If you live in a bigger, messier home, you either dread the regular clean up or avoid it altogether. Getting your children into tidy habits saves you time and will make you feel better about your home. Set up a regular schedule with your children tackling a deeper cleaning or maintenance project and you will have more quality time at no cost. With summer approaching, its time to spark an interest in gardening and landscaping.

As a bonus, to motivate your angsty teens over 14 years old, you can pay your children for work done. As long as they are under 18, you won’t need to do payroll tax (you will technically be a sole proprietor of the family business). If they are earning less than the standard deduction, and do not have any unearned income, they do not have to file taxes.

Children can also contribute to an IRA if they have earned income. A Roth IRA is an excellent choice, as they will likely not owe much, if any taxes. Contributions can be made that grow tax free and are withdrawn tax free to be spent in for education expenses, buying a home, or in retirement.

If you try to deduct your child’s wages on your taxes, make sure that you are paying them a reasonable wage and keeping careful records. As always, check with a CPA about your specific tax situation.

By Ryder Taff

About The Author

Ryder Taff

Ryder Taff CFA is an Investment Advisor at New Perspectives, an independent advisory in Ridgeland, MS. He blogs somewhat regularly at newper.blogspot.com and can be reached at rtaff@newper.com

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