Wednesday 06 July 2022

Parents spend too much on teens says family finance body Nibud

Euro coins

Most parents give teenagers pocket money.

Parents are spending too much on their teenagers, says independent family financial advice body Nibud.

Instead of giving their 12-18 year olds more financial responsibility, the National Institute for Family Finance Information says over half of Dutch parents pay all clothing, shoes and smartphone costs – and, its research reveals, 98% of adolescents have a smartphone.

‘Parents are too financially protective,’ said Nibud spokesperson Gabriëlla Bettonville. ‘Parents think very consciously about pocket money and cash for clothes, but then they still pay for everything for their child – so what is this money for?’

Since 1984, the body has investigated income and spending in high school students, and argues a trend for parents paying all should stop, so teenagers learn how to manage money. In the past, 54% of parents paid the costs of mobile telephones but now 61% do this, and their spending on teens’ presents has risen from 17% in 2013 to 29%.


Nibud argues teenagers should have more ‘financial steering power’ rather than simply being passengers. Its latest research on schoolchildren, in partnership with ING Nederland and the Nationaal Fonds Kinderhulp, says that on average they have 112 euros a month to spend and almost half work part time.

Their cash has dropped from 118 euros a month three years ago (the last study), when they earned more with jobs, and spending power ranges from an average of 22 euros a month at age 12 to 206 euros for the typical 18-year-old.

Almost nine in ten get pocket money, which mostly goes on sweets, snacks, presents and going out. The research claims all Dutch teenagers have a smartphone but only a fifth pay typical costs of 15 euros a month themselves. ‘We weren’t surprised that almost all teenagers now have a smartphone but that so few paid the costs,’ Bettonville told ‘We also see the boundaries moving so now a significant group of 10-year-olds has smartphones, when before this started at 12.’.


The survey also revealed that one in five children in education has a financially difficult situation at home, and these young people are often short of cash, manage money worse and are less positive about the future (although they still have phones).

Nibud director Gerjoke Wilmink said: ‘It’s important that schoolchildren learn how to manage money even at a young age. Parents who give them pocket money and clothing allowances should tell them what they have to pay for from this money, and what is for free spending. Then children get the chance to learn about dealing with financial responsibilities.’

The research is based on an online survey of 3,479 schoolchildren representative of the population in terms of sex, age, school type and location, between March and May this year.

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