A Family Business: The Best Education For Your Kids


Simon Misiewicz

20th May 2016

Advice on property investment from Optimise Accountants

By Simon Misiewicz

Are you snowed under with work?

Are you worried that the education system teaches your kids nothing about work/business or money?

The problem — kids leaving education without grounding

For the pure academics out there, what you are about to read may sound a little controversial. So let me first start by pointing out my qualifications:

  • ACCA
  • MBA
  • Prince2
  • MSP
  • Black belt Six Sigma

I am not trying to show off by any means here, but I need to point out that I do think education is very important. However, here I go, this is not a solid grounding for people to make it in business. There are a lot of essential business skills that are missing from theory-backed education such as:

  • People skills
  • Understanding tasks and how to manage time under pressure from customers/clients
  • Understanding money and how to make more of it with less resources
  • Understanding targets and the activities to achieve them
  • How technology can be used to systemise your business activities

The list is, quite frankly, a lot longer but there is no time to go through everything as my message here is the important point. I believe that the very best education is theory and work-based experience, which your children can get from you and your business. Not only that, but I believe this will:

  • Free up your time to do other important things
  • Provide your children with a sense of ownership in the family business
  • Provide them with an alternative way to earn money once they have finished their education
  • Teach them the value of money by having to earn it to get what they want

By the way, I realise that my mission statement and opinions therein may not be aligned to yours. I am not saying my views are correct, nor to be implemented in full, but please do take the time to consider employing them in your business.

Can you relate to the above?

If you have answered yes to these questions then this article will be an interesting read.

A real life client example — employing children for support

For the purpose of this article we are going to name my client John to protect his identity. John works in full-time employment and invests in property. He finds that his work commitments have taken over and he is spending an additional 2-3 hours researching properties and performing administrative duties, which has diluted the joys of investment.

Hi son Josh, aged 16, is in school. He hates education and wishes to leave as soon as possible but is unsure what to do. Employment is not good where he lives, so he would have to travel into the city, which is a one-hour journey. The journey costs would eat into his earnings quite significantly.

Both are frustrated and they speak with one another about the situation. John needs support and Josh is very good with technology, research and generally getting things done. They agree to a two-week trial. Josh assumes the responsibility of researching properties and managing the letting agents to ensure that money is collected on time and repairs are done within a timely manner. John is able to spend more time on his work and is able to spend one more hour per night with his wife Lucy.

All goes well, both are happier and the properties being sought generate better returns on investments as they challenge one another about the properties they buy, and the existing properties are looked after better.

Josh is particularly excited as he knows the money he has earned is money he can spend. He values money more now than ever before and is saving towards his own property at the tender age of now 17 1/2. The support he gives John is a great help but the better thing out of this is that he now realises how important the basics of maths and English are at school, so his grades have improved.

Considerations about employing children

The payments you make to your children will be tax-deductible against your business/property income.

Here are some age-related HMRC guidelines for you to take into account and considerations on how to pay them.

  • Children must be in full-time education until the age of 16.
  • You can start paying them through your PAYE from the age of 16.
  • Young workers aged 16 to 17 are entitled to at least £3.87 per hour. I suggest you pay a basic wage plus a performance-related bonus to incentivise hard work.
  • If you pay any employee over £112 a week you must be registered as an employer and operate PAYE.

Children are not allowed to work:

  • without an employment permit issued by the education department of the local council, if this is required by local by-laws
  • in places like a factory or industrial site
  • during school hours
  • before 7am or after 7pm
  • for more than 1 hour before school (unless local by-laws allow it)
  • for more than 4 hours without taking a break of at least 1 hour
  • in most jobs in pubs and betting shops and those prohibited in local by-laws
  • in any work that may be harmful to their health, well-being or education
  • without having a 2-week break from any work during the school holidays in each calendar year

Term time rules

During term time children can only work a maximum of 12 hours a week. This includes:

  • a maximum of 2 hours on school days and Sundays
  • 8 hours for 15 to 16-year-olds

School holiday rules

During school holidays 13 to 14-year-olds are only allowed to work a maximum of 25 hours a week. This includes:

  • a maximum of 5 hours on weekdays and Saturdays
  • a maximum of 2 hours on Sundays
  • During school holidays 15 to 16-year-olds can only work a maximum of 35 hours a week. This includes:
    • a maximum of 8 hours on weekdays and Saturdays
    • a maximum of 2 hours on Sundays

Next steps — family business planning

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