I’ve found myself recently talking to my 15 year old son more and more about money and how to spend it, save it, etc. When I was coming up, my parents never discussed money with me. As an only child, I was severely spoiled and I went into my adulthood not really understanding money and the cost of things. I just bought what I wanted, even when I couldn’t afford it, and it took me years to learn my lesson. Fast forward to the present day. I’m thirty-four and still dealing with my past mistakes where finances are concerned. I’ve finally paid off all but one of my credit cards and I no longer buy on credit unless I can pay it off in full at the end of the month. Most of my financial knowledge now has come from trial and error and watching Suze Orman and various other financial contributors online and on TV.
With my son, I saw that same familiar pattern out of the cloth I was cut from. Spend now, think about the repercussions later. Just recently, I gave him a set amount to spend on winter items. I gave him half of the money one day and the other half the other day to make sure he wasn’t spending too recklessly and when I went through the items he had purchased, I saw that he didn’t get the bang for his buck. His response. “It’s cool. I will get some more money and finish getting the things I need.”
Excuse me. I gave you a great deal of money over the span of two days and all you purchased was three pair of jeans, one pair of shoes, and two hoodies? Oh no, young man. You’ve got to do better.
So last night, I sat him down. I showed him my bank account online. I showed him the deposits. And the withdrawals. How much the electric bill is. The cable bill. The gas bill. The insurance. The taxes that are being taken out of my paycheck every two weeks. Receipts for groceries, gas, and other essentials. We had a long talk.
“Your father contributes to your expenses but I am your mother and what he is giving me doesn’t even put a dent in what I put out in terms of finances,” I said. I didn’t want to air all of the dirty laundry because he didn’t need to hear it, but he needed to know the buck stops here. Money does not grow on trees. You have to be wise with your money. Save. Times are hard. Be grateful for what you have and appreciate it.
I know it’s going to take more than just this hour long talk my son and I had to understand, but I want to open that dialogue now before it’s too late. I don’t want him in debt struggling in his twenties like I did.
Cubicle Chicks and Cubicle Dudes, sound off! Do you talk to your children about money, or if you don’t have kids, when do you think you should start doing so? This is a topic I am sure we can all appreciate so please comment and let me know what you think!