Age-related white-lie telling: would you?

Money Observer’s Prudent Parent explains when he would (hypothetically) be prepared to tell a white lie to bag an age-related discount. 

Tell the truth” is one of the first verbal rules parents attempt to instil in their children; but when it comes to securing an age-related discount, hypocrisy tends to set in. According to a survey by MoneySavingHeroes, an online voucher code business, 62% of UK parents have lied about their children’s ages, with 40% of those admitting to fibbing frequently in order to get their children into places for free or claim discounts for young children.

The most popular age-related white lies are told to bag travel, theme park, restaurant and cinema discounts – saving £47 on average.

My initial reaction when this survey stumbled into my email inbox was that people are missing a trick, as there is no mention of soft-play centres. These places, in which children drugged up on sugar run around like headless chickens, make (for a northerner like myself) a £5 pint in London seem almost reasonable.

Some of these centres, alongside the child fee, also levy a charge on adults for putting their own lives at risk frantically chasing their child through tunnels, ball pits, rope bridges and slides. This is a scenario in which parents are clearly being taken advantage of, and where I would (hypothetically, of course) consider gaming the system.

This attitude could extend to theme parks in cases where both adults are required to pay the entrance fee in full, something I find hard to stomach when one parent (or indeed both) has to assume the role of spectator rather than thrill-seeker. Another scenario, honour though it is, is when an adult fee is levied alongside a child’s charge to visit Father Christmas.

My moral compass would not extend to asking my son to lie about his age, or to short-changing charities or small businesses – think city farms, family-run cake shops with soft play and the like. But when big businesses pinch the pockets of hard-working families, it sticks in the craw a little.

Does this extend to investment? One debate is that fund houses and platforms should charge less for a Junior Isa wrapper than they charge an adult investor; if implemented, it would strengthen the attraction of long-term investing for children versus leaving savings in the bank.

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