The Allowance Game

For the next 15 Thursdays, I’ll publish a tool, or a lesson, to help you with family finances.

Tweet your Qs at me.

Introducing The Game to the Class of 2032

Start the game this weekend.

Here’s a template you can use.

If you have Qs then tweet them at me and I’ll help.


We are going to play a ten-year game, the purpose is to build an EMOTIONAL attachment to the power of compounding.

You’re going to need the emotional attachment to counter the impulse to spend what you have.


The best way to play is to check your portfolio no more than once a quarter. My kids have gone close to a year without asking me to update.

Give the game YEARS to play out, eventually your students will be amazed.

Like a retirement account, not much happens at first.
By Middle School the weekly split is $13/$8 between Allowance/Earnings.
By HS Graduation the split is $18/27.
Game costs you $14K to fund over 13 years.

Investment: each Monday, each player gets $1 for each year they have been alive. I started my kids in Kindergarten so we kicked off with $5 or $6 per week.

Return on Investment: the “bank” pays 10% per annum on invested capital. My template has a little math embedded which converts the annual rate to a daily rate. This allows the player to see, and get excited about, weekly earnings.

Earned Money is Your Money: Most kids have a piggy bank, some kids have side-gigs where they earn spending money. If a player wants to invest that money then they can grow earnings faster.


There are two types of spending from the family account.

Investment spending – if the money came from “the bank” then spending approval needs to include Mom & Dad, or another savvy adult.

Earned income spending – Mom & Dad have no veto rights over money the players earn on their own. This allows real world learning to happen. Lending to friends, pain of crappy impulse purchases…

Steps are birthdays, assumed to be Jan 1st in the template.
It takes a decade for weekly earnings to exceed weekly allowance.
Just like a retirement account, once your earnings start to accelerate, they keep going.
Stay invested. Don’t interrupt compounding.

Teaching this to your kids, or grandkids, will change your relationship with money.

The inspiration for this game came from a 2015 post by MMM. What I’m Teaching My Son About Money. We started the day I read his advice. I’m grateful for his sharing.

Keep it simple, be patient, and remember the goal is an emotional attachment to compounding.

Here’s a Dropbox PDF and a link in Google Docs.