True money stories from smart people: Make money from your kids or grandkids

Published by Jasmine Birtles on 20 September 2016.
Last updated on 20 September 2016

If you’re a parent, you probably won’t be surprised that, according to research by Sainsbury’s Bank, most expect to be supporting their children financially until they’re 29.

It’s a scary thought, but never underestimate your children’s ability to make money. It’s amazing what some of them can do with a bit of encouragement. After all, why shouldn’t you turn your cost centres into profit centres?

Some kids seem to have natural moneymaking ability. As a child, my brother, always the smooth operator, used to attract cash from our old lady neighbours any time he went on holiday, started school, won something or just looked cute. Sickening.

I had to actually work for my money. By the time I got to university, I was undertaking tests for the psychology department (£10 a time), selling old stuff to secondhand shops (not nearly enough) and making and selling ballgowns (£50 a time). I even had a men’s hair cutting business (£2 a time). I had no experience in hairdressing, just a big pair of scissors and a bad attitude. In fact, if you’d like a short back and sides, I still have the scissors...


In my profession, I regularly get requests from children for ideas on how they can make money. But the goal is not always to spend the proceeds on sweets or, increasingly, spray tan. Sometimes, rather sweetly, they want to raise money for charity.

Some show a great business sense too. One erudite comment on my website,, from ‘Blake’ points out that although our idea of buying drinks and sweets and reselling them for a profit at school was good, “my catchment area precludes this as a viable business opportunity”. Quite. Presumably, the school has a strong healthy eating ethos.

Parents also join in. John Burns says (perhaps not entirely seriously): “You say you should encourage your kids to get jobs. I encouraged my son to get a paper round. It was so successful that after three weeks he was head- hunted by another family and we haven’t seen him since.”

But paper rounds, washing the neighbours’ cars and even dog-walking (£15 per dog per hour would you believe?) are still not quite enough for the most ambitious parents.

Let’s be candid here: the holy grail, the quiet, desperate hope of most parents, is that somehow the ankle-biters will, sooner or later (ideally sooner), magic up a serious moneymaker that will keep mum and dad in the manner to which they would like to become accustomed.

It doesn’t help that, with surprising regularity now, the press will report on yet another pre-pubescent kidpreneur who makes us all feel like failures with their brilliant new start-up.

Like 14-year-old entrepreneur, Taylor Rosenthal, who is CEO (yes, CEO) of RechMed, a company that produces (or will produce) vending machines to sell basic first aid kits for dealing with cuts, blisters and sun burns at sports venues. In May he announced that he has already managed to raise $100,000 seed money to develop the idea, and the company hasn’t even produced the machines yet.


But that’s not the really amazing part of ‘little’ Taylor’s story. He has just rejected a $30 million (£22 million) buyout offer for his company.

Seriously. At the tender age of 14, before the company has even become fully operational, someone has offered him $30 million to go away and play with his Nintendo... and he has said, “No thanks, that’s not enough”. Goodness knows what he’s like at bedtime.

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