Many people ask me this question: what is the right age to start earning money? Or, what is the right age to stop running after money? Often, people expect me to say that it’s the age of 13 or 18 or anything like that.
Therefore, my answer surprises everyone.
In fact, there is no right age to start earning money. Similarly, there is also no right age to stop earning money or retire and lead an inactive life.
Maybe you will think that I am taking things a bit too far when I say there’s no right age to start earning money or stop earning money.
The reason for my strange answer is very simple. As long as we live in this world and amidst people, we need money.
It is possible that sadhus and others who live in the Himalayas or forests don’t need money, but that too I am not sure.
So, let’s start discussing earnestly why we need money.
Reasons We Need Money
The main reason we need money is that we have needs and necessities. Nobody is going to give us our basic requirements for free. Our basic requirements or basic needs are food, clothing, and shelter. Here, I am talking about the very basic and bare needs and not the quality of food, clothing, or shelter.
To buy even the barest needs such as flour or rice, dal and salt, clothes and to rent or buy a place to stay, we need money. Of course, there’re several charities that provide food, clothing, and shelter for free. However, they also need to buy that or get donations to give feed, clothes, and shelter too. In exchange, they may expect you to do some of their work. So, it's not really free, as we think.
A person living on the footpath may be getting free food and wearing clothes thrown away by others. Yet, they need to pay the local goons to sleep there, and sometimes, some officials can charge a bribe to allow them to squat on the footpath. So, you see, nothing in life comes for free, if you ask me.
Age When We Need Money
As I explain, we need money to meet our barest and basic necessities, regardless of how cheap we buy them.
According to Business Insider magazine, the cheapest city to stay in in the world and in India is Kolkata. You can survive in this city for as low as Rs.100 per day only. This includes the cost of food, clothing, and shelter.
There’s a reason why Kolkata is so cheap. The state government controls prices directly or indirectly. That’s because of the large number of poor people living in Kolkata, main migrants from other states and illegal immigrants from neighboring countries.
In stark contrast, Mumbai is the most expensive city in India followed by Bangalore.
But regardless of whether you live in Kolkata or Mumbai or even the remotest village in India, we all need money even before we’re born.
Yes, that’s right. We need money from the time we’re formed as a fetus in our mother’s womb. Because our mother has to indirectly feed us by eating nutritious food. She would also have to take nutritional supplements, especially iron pills if she suffers from anemia during pregnancy. Or else, we would be born with deformities.
If this comes as shock, here’s something more. We need money even after we die. Nobody will conduct our funeral or last rites free of cost. Therefore, even if a charity conducts your last rites and funeral, they’re actually donating the money they spend to you.
Above that, we want to leave behind enough money for our family when we die. That’s the reason we buy stuff like life insurance or invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other assets like gold or land, or house.
Perhaps now you have a clear understanding of why we need money and at what age we need it.
So, how do we earn money even before we’re born? Is that possible?
Definition of Earn
To answer this question, let’s look at the exact definition of the word “earn.” According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, McMillan Dictionary, Britannica Dictionary, and others, there’s one simple definition of the word “earn.”
Therefore, I will put it in simple words. Earn means to get something because we deserve it. This something could be our work, service, or anything else we give in return for payment.
However, the payment need not necessarily be in the form of money. But since we’re talking purely about money, I won’t discuss other things.
Let’s look at the right age to start earning money.
Right Age to Start Earning Money
As I said earlier, there’s no right age to start earning money and no right age to stop earning money. Therefore, I will show how people of various ages can earn. In fact, there are no limits to how much money you can earn at any point in your life.
But before you start making money, you first need to understand financial education, which not only helps you start making more money but also helps you save or grow your money.
Early Financial Education
Early financial education means teaching kids about money when they are still young. It's like giving them a treasure map to navigate the world of finances. Parents and schools play a crucial role in helping children understand the value of money, how to save it, and how to spend it wisely.
Why is it Important?
- Money Responsibility: Learning about money helps children understand that money is earned through hard work. They start to appreciate the value of money and become responsible for handling it.
- Setting Goals: It teaches them the power of setting financial goals, whether it's saving for a favourite toy or planning for higher education in the future.
- Smart Choices: Kids learn to make smart choices when spending their allowance or gift money. They begin to differentiate between needs and wants.
How to Teach Early Financial Education:
- Pocket Money: Give your child a small allowance regularly. This allows them to manage their money and decide how to spend or save it.
- Savings Jar: Introduce a savings jar or piggy bank. Encourage your child to put a portion of their allowance into savings regularly.
- Discuss Spending: Talk to your child about family expenses and budgeting. Make them aware of how money is used for different needs like groceries, bills, and outings.
- Money Games: There are many fun games and activities that teach money concepts, such as board games like Monopoly or online apps designed for financial education.
Therefore, before you start making money, you should know how money works, how to save it, and how to grow it. Only then can you achieve success in earning a lot of money.
1. Zero to 12 Years
Indian labor laws strictly forbid children in this age group to work. However, there’s one major clause that allows kids to earn money. And that clause is non-hazardous work. If you’re the parent of one such a child who’s newly born or a pre-teen, here’re some ways you could help them to earn money.
The first way to earn money is from modeling and acting. That’s because companies of all sorts require infants and pre-teen kids, especially schoolkids for their various ads and promos.
The most famous Indian child model is perhaps Ankita Zaveri, who became the face of the soft-drink mix, Rasna in the 1980s. Born in 1982, the girl was an actor having worked in some South Indian movies till she was enlisted as a model for Rasna. Later known as the ‘Rasna Baby’ or ‘Rasna Girl’, she earned a lot of money as her fame grew.
Another example is the Amul Baby or Amul Girl. Though initially a cartoon created by Sylvester Da Cunha and his team, in 2021, Amul and their ad agency hired four-year-old Esther Hnamte from Mizoram to represent the brand. This girl is also a singer.
These two examples of some of the largest brands in India aptly show that even kids between the age of zero and 10 can easily work and earn money. However, in such cases, you as a parent would have to look for opportunities for your child and get them to act or sing in ads and movies, or other shows.
According to various sources, a child actor or child model in India gets between Rs.4,000 and Rs.10,000 per shoot, depending on the company and the contract terms and conditions.
If this isn’t possible for you, help your child to earn money by opening a kid's savings account for them at your bank. Generally, all major banks in India offer a children’s account. This means, you as the parent would have to deposit some money in their account. The bank pays a good interest of between four and six percent, depending on the nature of the account.
Nowadays, parents that have girls below the age of 18 years can also open a special account. Known as the ‘Sukanya Samriddhi Account’, the facility serves as a recurring deposit, fixed deposit, or even a savings bank account. You can open it at any post office or a good bank. The government pays an extra interest on such accounts, which is about seven percent, depending on the bank.
2. Teenagers Up To 14 Years
The Indian labor laws also don’t allow children below the age of 14 to work in hazardous jobs such as mines or even at restaurant kitchens or any place where their physical health or mental wellness can be threatened.
However, there’s no ban on these teenagers making money from online work. Such work includes doing paid online surveys from home. In fact, there’re several international companies such as Swagbucks and Toluna.com that also operate in India.
That’s because India is a large consumer market. On some of these websites, pre-teen kids and teenagers can also register and become members of an online survey community.
These websites also offer various other ways to make money such as playing games online or watching ads and writing small reviews. You can help your daughter or son to register on these websites and start earning money.
Of course, there’re also other avenues such as becoming a model or actor at this age. Singers can also make a lot of money. As a matter of fact, your teenage child can work as a musician for some band and earn money too.
Here, I will also mention two very important ways for a teenager to make money from home- online.
One of these ways is to open a blog. If your teenage daughter or son is passionate about something or excels at studies, they can easily write superb articles about their experiences and other information and create blogs.
Generally, blogs that are popular make a lot of money. There’s no limit to how much money a teenager can earn from a blog.
The second way that a teenager can make money is by YouTubing. This means creating a free YouTube channel and uploading videos that people would love. These videos could be about any topic but the teenager needs to focus on one particular main theme.
Both, YouTube channels and blogs allow people of all ages to earn money through various means such as Google AdSense, affiliate marketing, accepting local ads, and accepting sponsored posts, to name a few.
You can see my tutorials on how to launch a successful blog or a famous YouTube channel from me, complete with information, tips, and tweaks.
3. Teenagers from 16 years to 19 years
Generally, this is the right age to start earning money in your life. If you read these two books by Dr. Stephen R. Covey called ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People’ and ‘The 8th Habit,’ you will find that what I am saying is true. Dr. Stephen Covey was one of the greatest American motivational speakers and life coaches.
The first book speaks about the dependence on interdependence stages of our life. This means that period when we depend on our parents and later when we and our parents depend on each other for various things. The interdependence between a child and their parents starts from the age of 16 years.
And the second book, ‘The 8th Habit’ speaks of moving from interdependence on parents to interdependence on society and independence by earning own money.
Therefore, all persons in India generally achieve financial independence between the age of 16 years and 19 years. Some achieve it earlier because they start working at school or college while others achieve it later because they work only after completing their degree or college studies.
There are several opportunities to earn money at this age if you’re not shy. You can do home deliveries of items for Amazon or other companies such as Swiggy or Zomato. Or you can create a YouTube channel and blog.
At this age, you can also start tutoring junior children or take a summer vacation or Diwali vacation job to earn money. Legally speaking, you cannot take certain jobs till you reach the age of 16 years, a few till you reach the age of 18 years. However, after the age of 18, you can work at any place, since labor law restrictions on child labor don’t apply anymore at that age.
4. Ages 19 years to 60 Years
As an Indian, you would surely know that this is the age when most people- women, and men- start earning money. This happens because you would usually complete your educational cycle and start the earning cycle of your life. Also, between these ages, you would get married. This means you will require more money for the household, regardless of whether you’re a woman or a man.
Therefore, you need to make the best of this age. This is the golden or platinum or diamond age of your life to start earning money if you have not done in earlier stages of life.
Unfortunately, in India, most people prefer to stick to just one job. Usually, a job with the Central or state government is what most people want. If not, they want to work at banks and public sector enterprises. I mention these places for working because most of us look for stability in our work.
However, I can assure you that earning a salary from a government or bank job at this age is not a guarantee of your secure future. That’s because the time value of money depreciates the value of your savings and investments by a whopping four-and-half percent every year. The Rs.100 that you have today will be worth only Rs.95.50 worth in shopping, on the same day and time next year.
Therefore, I would suggest that you don’t waste this golden age to start earning money. You too can open a YouTube channel or blog or do something else such as Multilevel Marketing (MLM) or any other small business from home, without leaving your job.
The age between 19 years and 60 years is also ideal to earn more money through freelancing. You can easily become a freelancer and earn lakhs of rupees every year. In fact, India has the second largest number of freelancers in the world, after the USA.
5. Ages 60 and Above
But what happens when we’re 60 years old and we have to retire? Of course, nowadays there’s no such thing as a retirement age. People continue working well past this age too. But if you’re a government employee or working for some big corporation, they might actually ask you to vacate your position when you reach the age of 62 years or at best, 65 years, after giving you service extensions.
Does this also mean that you stop earning money at this age? Remember, nowadays very few people in India get pensions. And often, these pensions might not be sufficient to cover your monthly living expenses.
Therefore, the right age to start earning money on your own is also after 60 years. Working after your retirement has many benefits. Firstly, you wouldn’t get bored at home with those eight hours when you were actually working. In fact, retirement is said to cause you to become old faster due to a lack of activity. Therefore, you can beat your physical age by working even after 60 years of physical age.
Secondly, working after 60 years of age can help you to avoid age-related issues such as senility and dementia, and in some cases, Alzheimer’s Disease. An active brain helps prevent several age-related diseases that affect brains and nerves among senior citizens.
Who would hire a 60-year-old woman or man? This is a laughable question. Of course, you can use all your skills to freelance or open a blog or YouTube channel. Depending on your skills and education, there’re lots of companies and banks, among others that employ retirees as consultants or part-time workers.
Before concluding my Article, I will remind you once again of what I said before. There is no right age to start earning money and there’s no right age to stop earning money. Age is just a mental factor. You don’t need to think about your age when earning money. Age is never a physical factor so don’t allow it to control your activities. As long as you maintain good health and have skills to offer, every age is the right age to earn money.