The Tooth Fairy’s purse strings are tighter

Times are really tough, so it may not come as a surprise that here and abroad, even the Tooth Fairy is feeling the pinch! Here’s an easy read you may like to share with your clients.

These days, savvy kids may want to hold onto a lost tooth until market conditions improve. This is the message from US dental insurance company Delta Dental Plans Association, which has found in its annual survey that the Tooth Fairy’s purse strings are tighter.

According to the just-released Original Tooth Fairy Poll, sponsored by Delta Dental, the American Tooth Fairy’s average cash gift for a lost tooth declined from the dollar equivalent of R60 to about R50. Locally, the Tooth Fairy is also feeling slightly less generous.

Nine-year-old Nathi Zulu was disappointed when he found just R10 under his pillow. ‘The Tooth Fairy usually gave him R25 per tooth,’ explains his mother, Constance Zulu. ‘Unfortunately, the Tooth Fairy has a lot of bills, including school fees.’

Lee Hancox, Head of Channel and Segment Marketing at Sanlam Personal Finance, confirms that the South African Tooth Fairy is feeling the pressure when it comes to disposable income. ‘Day-to-day costs have risen, so it’s costing the Tooth Fairy more to put petrol in the fairy-mobile, pay the bond on her fairy house, and feed the fairy family, also taking into account that the Tooth Fairy may have debt to service every month.

‘All this and increasing monthly expenses mean she has less to spend on paying children for their teeth.’

Lee advises the Tooth Fairy to try to cut expenses. ‘Differentiate between want and need. Does the Tooth Fairy really need a new set of wings now, or can it wait a month or two? If she can cut out unnecessary spending, she may have some extra cash towards the payout.’

But at the same time, the Tooth Fairy would do well to keep track of her spending. ‘Sometimes this isn’t easy, so fairies should get a little fairy scroll and journal all their monthly expenses. ‘It may be surprising to see how much money is spent on non-essential expenses like pixie pears, fairy lights and keeping up with the elves next door,’ Lee says.

The Tooth Fairy must also have a savings plan to invest money, with a specific goal in mind. ‘She should be putting money away towards her retirement, so she can one day hang up her wings with peace of mind. An emergency fund is crucial as well and she needs to put away spare cash when she has it. This fund will build up over time and can be used for unforeseen expenses, like having to pay for a tooth unexpectedly.’