No one is safe from inflation these days — including the tooth fairy.
The Los Angeles Times is reporting that due to various economic factors, the trusty tooth collector now leaves, on average, $3 under the pillow for every specimen she collects, making the process of growing in permanent teeth a more expensive proposition for either the fairy or the parents stepping in on her behalf.
However, according to data from Visa, $3 presents only the average. In the households where the fairy is feeling particularly generous, kids can collect up to $20 a tooth.
For those that refuse to be driven by the inflationary fears, the Times has a dire warning: kids who find out that their peers' teeth collect a bigger haul than their own can suffer hurt feelings and possible – though temporary – loss of self-esteem. The discrepancy could also give rise to questions about how real the tooth fairy is, which is only a hop, skip and a jump away to doubting the existence of Santa Claus.
For fairy stand-ins who don't want to have a miscue, Visa is now offering tooth fairy helper apps for both the iPhone and an iPad in addition to the calculator helpfully available on its website that will crunch the numbers and give an appropriate price per tooth based on parents' location, income level, gender and education.
Recent data analyzed by the American Institute of CPAs suggests that parents have grown more generous over the years in other areas. According to information collected via a national phone survey, the researchers determined that the average rate for childhood allowance is now $780 a year, or $65 a month or $16.60 a week. A press release accompanying the report points out that this is sufficient to purchase an iPad and three new Kindles every year with money left over to save.
Yet savings seems to be the last thing on the minds of kids when it comes to deciding what to do with their allowance. Only 1% of parents reported that their kids save any of their money at all.
"These findings make clear that it can pay to be a kid," said Jordan Amin, CPA, chair of the AICPA's National CPA Financial Literacy Commission. "Parents need to make sure they're also passing along financial sense with those dollars and cents. Earning, budgeting and saving are all important lessons that can be tied to allowances – lessons that can help put children on solid financial footing."