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A taxing situation

Like any other 16-year-old, Matthew is in school studying full-time. However, he’s also working “full-time” on what he calls a “part-time schedule.” That means working 12 to 13 hours a day on three to four days of the week.

The money he earns goes toward his own expenses: his car, fuel, insurance, phone bills and a lot of his food. However, his parents have also demanded 15% of his income every month. Both parents agreed to this arrangement but have different reasons for it.

Matthew’s mom sees this as a life lesson. “According to her, real life — there’s rent, there’s expenses and whatnot, and this is real life, so this is what we’re teaching you,” he said.

Co-host John Delony took issue with this. “I’m sick of parents saying, ‘I’m going to hit you now because the world is going to hit you later,’ as though that’s going to help you later,” he said.

As for Matthew’s dad, he believes he shouldn’t “be the only person to provide for the family when he has working children,” Matthew said.

“He made you!” said Delony, incredulous at the suggestion that a minor should have to pay rent. “You’re here because of him. You didn’t ask to be here. That’s his job!”

The legality of this move is unclear. Technically, anyone under the age of 18 is considered a minor in Alberta. Under the Children Act 1989, providing a home is also considered a “parental responsibility.”

Legality isn’t the only issue. Delony expressed concern about the impact of this arrangement on Matthew’s relationship with his parents.

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Financial abuse

Co-host George Kamel viewed Matthew’s situation as “financial abuse” and the result of “bad parenting,” assuming there are no other underlying circumstances to explain their behavior. The University of Syracuse describes parental financial abuse as “a complex issue where the parent uses money as a weapon to take advantage of a minor.”

“I hope this doesn't ruin your relationship long-term, man, because y'all gonna need each other down the road,” said Delony. “Here's why this breaks my heart ... the moment you turn 18, you're probably gone and they will have lost the relationship and influence with their son, and I hope that it's not too late for them.”

Money issues often spark discontent and impact relationships within families. One in four parents with children younger than 18 reported arguing with their kids about money in the last month, according to a 2022 survey conducted by LendingTree.


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About the Author

Vishesh Raisinghani

Vishesh Raisinghani

Freelance Writer

Vishesh Raisinghani is a freelance contributor at MoneyWise. He has been writing about financial markets and economics since 2014 - having covered family offices, private equity, real estate, cryptocurrencies, and tech stocks over that period. His work has appeared in Seeking Alpha, Motley Fool Canada, Motley Fool UK, Mergers & Acquisitions, National Post, Financial Post, and Yahoo Canada.

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