Adulting, cats, college, earn money, Financial literacy, financial responsiblity-teens and young adults, life skills, mother love, motivation, parenting, Parenting teens and young adults, parenting young adults, teaching financial responsibility

How This 19-Year-Old Found a Way to Conquer the World on Her Own Terms

Kelsey and her kitty

I grew up believing that 18 was a magical age.  I could not WAIT to turn 18 so I could be independent and do things my own way.  I was bred to be both independent and credit worthy.  I still have my original JCPenney credit card that I’ve had for well over 3 decades.  Filling out the application was probably how I celebrated my 18th!  I had a “soft launch” shortly after 18 when I moved in with a friend.  I paid a pittance for rent while I learned to navigate life totally independent of my parents.  Since I didn’t have a car at this point, my friend was gracious enough to shuttle my pathetic a$$ to the laundromat.  Getting to work required that I either negotiate with coworkers or walk.   After a few months of this, home started looking pretty appealing, so I went home long enough to buy a car. After I got my mobility machine, the independent streak really kicked in and I moved out again.  My early independence is what helped shape my views as a parent.

Thirty-one years later, I was the parent of a teenager who had been bred to be both independent and credit worthy.  We were both brand new graduates; college for me and high school for her.  She entered her first year of community college as she had been groomed to do.   Unfortunately, she hated it.  She hated everything including the town we lived in.  She felt trapped by expectation and didn’t want to waste the time or money to complete college when she had no particular aspirations.  I didn’t try to fight her.  My own experience had shown me that if you really want to accomplish a higher education, then you’ll make it happen when the time is right.  I simply told her that if she chose to end her education that it would be time to be an adult with grown-up responsibilities.

I must digress a bit and talk about what happened the year before.  Her senior year of high school was only one class, so she worked full time.  When I saw how she was spending her money, I brainstormed for a plan.  We sat down and calculated some numbers as though she were going to move out to give her an idea about what “life” costs.  We came up with a figure that she would need to pay her own way.  Then she was given the following two options:

  • Pay the agreed upon sum to me to contribute to household expenses
    • I never told her but I would have saved it and given it to her when she moved out
  • Put the money in her savings account each month with the stipulation that it could not be withdrawn and that I would look at the statement each month to hold her accountable

I persisted even though she thought I just wanted her money.  My true mission, in addition to inspiring her independence, was to minimize the cash that she had been handling so frivolously. I was glad that she chose what most would agree was the only intelligent choice.  My mission was accomplished when she was able to eventually leave home with several thousand dollars in the bank.  She also did a soft launch by moving in with a friend right after she turned 19, but came home a few months later.  What she did next floored even me!

Three months after her 19th birthday, she informed me that she had found a job on-line and was moving to Utah which was almost 1,400 miles from home.  She had gotten a phone interview at a popular ski resort and was hired, sight unseen.  I guess hospitality workers must be hard to find!  She bought an airplane ticket and made it happen.  I remember going with her when she closed her bank account.  The banker, a young man who appeared to be only slightly older than her, told her how lucky she was.  I reminded her that she wasn’t lucky; she had made the decision and she was making it happen.  I had a mixture of emotions which ranged from pride to fear.  When her dad decided to fly there with her, I cried.   With my independent streak, it had never even occurred to me to do so.  She was mortified, of course, but I was grateful that he had taken that extra step to help her ease into her transition given the sometimes sinister deceptions on the internet.

She met a lot of different people while working in Utah.  Many of them were college educated yet not ready to grow up.  She didn’t have the benefit of much college yet, but she was receiving a most valuable education!  The first place she lived was in the worker housing with two roommates that she had been placed with.  The room was not included in the employment offer; they had to pay out of each check.  For anyone who has done any time in a barracks or college dorm room, I think you get the idea.  You end up living with people you don’t know and you learn how to deal with all types.  I watched in awe as she took advantage of all the amenities Utah had to offer.   After a couple years, she moved with a friend to Texas.  Four years wiser and infinitely more street savvy, she returned to her roots bringing with her a sassy feline companion.  I was thrilled to have her back home with me for almost a year as she transitioned back to the area and continued to do amazing things.

Six years from the time she first moved out, I look at the things she has done and what she continues to do.  She is preparing to buy her first home and get married to a wonderful and ambitious young man.  She’s working her way through college and dabbling in different careers.   She’s learned that you can’t run away from yourself; unfortunately, your problems go with you.  She left home a surly teenager and came back a grateful, positive, street-wise and confident young lady.

My beautiful daughter is in transition so I sit here today with her cat, who I am fostering, until she gets settled into her new home.  I have not been able to instill the same independence in the cat.  Though it is a common perception that cats are independent creatures, just listen to the squalls when you fail to put kibbles in their dish at the appointed time!  I have found myself obsessing over the cat just a bit too often these days so I’m trying to focus on my writing instead.   I will miss them both as they get settled into their next phase (to see what happened to the cat, read Eviction Papers Served-Launch Lady Style ) I think my firstborn now understands that I didn’t want her money.  What I wanted was her happiness and her respect, and I’m very grateful to have experienced both.

life skills, mother love, parenting, Parenting teens and young adults, parenting young adults

Resisting the Path of Least Resistance

river

Take a look at my linked video if you haven’t already seen it.  This morning, I rode my bike to my favorite thinking spot to sit on a rock and watch the sparkling river glide effortlessly downstream.  Miraculously, I am able to take almost any situation and conform it to one of my two favorite topics which are parenting and money. Today’s session was no different. Continue reading “Resisting the Path of Least Resistance”

Adulting, Financial literacy, life skills, parenting, Parenting teens and young adults, parenting young adults, teaching financial responsibility

Flight of Freedom from a Flagrantly Frugal Female

frugal

Has anyone ever been called “the F word”?  I have, and it stings!   The word I’m talking about is “frugal” and I hope that is what you were thinking of when I asked the question!  Frugal has a negative connotation because people tend to get it mixed up with “miserly”.

  • Frugal-thrifty, prudent, not wasteful
  • Miser-a person who is extremely stingy with money

It appears that the frugal person is smart with their resources, so I will proudly wear that label.  My personal philosophy is to be careful with what I have, but not at the expense of other people.  My attitude is that I can have anything I want, but I am VERY selective in what I want!  If a discount is offered, I will absolutely take advantage of it and I can’t comprehend the mindset of those who would not.  If a restaurant offers a discount to come 2 hours earlier than the masses…”why yes, thank you”, as long as my schedule permits.  Sometimes, I like living on the edge, as was the case in my most recent vacation.   I selected a different Hotwire Hot Rate hotel each day as we traveled down Florida’s west coast.  The best find ever was the $99 hotel right on Clearwater Beach.  I could not have stayed there for full price…it is not in my DNA. Also, I loved the thrill of the hunt!

I’ve had many years to hone my “craft” and I’d like to impart this mindset to my daughters as well.  I moved out on my own at the age of 18, and I was able to spend many years as a stay at home Mom.  One of the reasons that I am so adamant that an 18-year-old can survive in the wild without parents is because I have done it.  More recently, I have seen many examples of independent young people still living life on their own terms.

Here are a few common sense things you can teach your teens and young adults to ensure their survivability in the world:

  • Teach good money habits while they are living under your roof and working at their first job
    • Mandate a certain percentage of savings
      • Consider ways to incentive extra savings
        • Matching
        • Explaining the wonders of compound interest
        • Finding other young success stories to inspire them

 

  • Share the nitty gritty of your budget with them
    • Discuss the difference between wants and needs
    • Go over their budget with them to get an idea how much disposable income they would have if they moved out

 

  • Let them share in the management of household duties such as food management, which could evolve into a post all by itself
    • Cooking in versus eating out
    • Planning meals versus going to the store daily
    • Eating leftovers versus tossing them

 

  • Discuss with them how they can cash flow college
    • Summers are a great time to work hard to get ahead
    • Encourage them to put effort into claiming some of the free scholarship money that is available
    • Working during college is not child abuse and leads to better time management skills
    • The college “experience” may be overrated, especially if it leads to long term debt
      • Besides, today it is very common for their parents to go to college while working full-time and it is often fully paid or subsidized by their employer
        • I am proud to say, I took full advantage of this option

 

  • Roommates, roommates, roommates
    • Fewer things can make life more manageable than having someone to share expenses with
    • Finding one is far easier than it was “back in MY day”
      • Roommates.com hadn’t yet been invented
      • Social media wasn’t an option then either

 

Those are just a few of the things that go through the mind of a frugal individual.    If you are flagrantly frugal as I am, do not apologize.  Stay the course and revel in the freedoms that frugality has afforded you.   Your loving guidance will inspire in your kids the gift of freedom when you have taught them to soar on their own.

 

 

 

mother love, parenting, Parenting humor, Parenting teens and young adults, parenting young adults, Uncategorized

A Mother With a Soul

IMG_8553

I woke up very early this morning and decided to get up in order to work on a very definite project. Unfortunately, as is often my experience, accomplishing certain things on the computer is like walking on scorching coals through the deepest chambers of hell. It didn’t take long for me to abort my intended project and pick up a book. At least I am confident in my ability to turn a page without outside intervention. Today’s selection was “Chicken Soup for the Soul; Like Mother, Like Daughter”. I sometimes wonder whether the mission of the Launch Lady makes her appear to be devoid of a soul. If there is any correlation between a soul and leaking eyes then I do, indeed, have one.

What an amazing way to start the day. I read about six stories and was touched by each and every one. My emotions ran the gamut from “I remember how hard I tried to be like THAT mom” to “Someday, maybe even soon, MY little girls might become moms”. I became a mom nearly 25 years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the scariest thing in the world to assume the responsibility for this brand new little “creature” whose total dependence was almost entirely entrusted to me. My firstborn was everything I could have hoped for. She was beautiful, smart, loving and she accomplished all of the milestones with textbook precision.   After a couple years, I was feeling remotely successful and maybe a little cocky. I thought, “maybe I should do this again, but only once because I only have two hands”! My second bundle of joy was just as awesome as the first but I was much more relaxed in the way I handled her. I remember sitting her infant self on the table at a dinner with extended family. Each time someone spoke, I would pivot her body in their direction so she could listen to them speak. She was my obliging little puppet. She was very different from her sister in every possible way. While number one was sleeping from 8pm to 6am at age one, number two woke me up every night for ten years. While she was my infant puppet, I was her decade long jack-in-the-box; popping out of bed each time she cried for me at night or showed up at my bedside!

One of the most important things for me was to make sure that they grew up to be independent.   In doing so, I hope that they were given the proper balance of love and responsibility. I’m not really sure how I did but thankfully, there are two of them so they can laugh with each other about all of the different ways I tried to achieve compliance from them. Everyone knows that the darn “things” don’t come with manuals. Once you think you have found the perfect blueprint for successful parenting, the next child comes along and shatters that confidence.

Regardless of what I did, they have both proven, in very different ways, that I can count on them to be independent. Conversely, I know that I have given them the love that they need. There are many faces of love. Sometimes love is giving and sometimes love is teaching. Often, showing love involves using the word “No”. What I know for sure is that I am best at giving the kind that encourages them to spread their wings and fly.  Number two was married last month and number one will be married soon enough. Every time I see them achieving a “grown up” milestone, my heart swells with pride and overflows with love. Too often these days, like when reading poignant stories about mothers and daughters, my eyes begin to overflow as well. Every sentimental exchange is prefaced with “Mom, you’re not going to cry, are you?” No, my dear girls, I will try to keep my vision from clouding so I can savor every moment of watching you experience the very same things that you etched into my heart and soul as priceless memories!

Adulting, life skills, mother love, parenting, parenting young adults, wedding

3…2…1…LAUNCHED!!!

wedding (3)

It’s been almost a year since the engagement.  I had plenty of time to mentally prepare, but no amount of time can prepare you for the moment you first walk into the church and see family and friends joined together for this very special occasion.   It was only the rehearsal, but it was time for the tears to begin.

I sat at the front of the cathedral near her dad.  When I asked how he felt, he said something about losing his little girl.  With a false sense of bravery, I reminded him that she was just borrowed, that she was not ours to keep.   I choked on my words as I told him that kids are given to us to help us grow up.  After all, we’ve been at this parenting thing for 25 years now.  We’ve earned battle scars, arguments, respect and maybe even a little wisdom along the way.  We’ve traded sleep for sitting in a steamy bathroom to calm a croupy child.  We’ve given middle of the night sponge baths to bring down high fevers.  We’ve cleaned up things that are unimaginable and unmentionable.  Things we probably hadn’t given much thought to before we decided to become parents.  We’ve been their biggest cheerleaders and also the worst people on the planet from our daughters’ perspectives.   Perhaps they were given to us to help us polish up the jewels we were meant to be.  For those who don’t have kids, don’t misunderstand.  There are plenty of opportunities for growth.  It’s just that when you have them, you have no CHOICE but to change, For better or for worse, a parent will never be the same as his or her former self.

The whole day was absolutely magical (well, except for maybe the 90+ degree temperature)!  I got a lot of compliments which I had to deflect to the deserving parties.  You see, while I did render some assistance, it was not with the planning.  I learned early on that the best thing I could do was to stay out of her way and let her do her thing.   After all, I had done my best to create an independent young adult.  This wedding was HER dream, not mine, and who was I to stand in her way! I will not be there to execute the rest of her dreams for her, so I was not going to jump in the middle of this one either.  I offered to read any contracts (After I enjoyed my $250 cake pop, I realized that they had not all been presented to me…).  I made myself available as a worker bee AND I was always there to say annoying things like “what is your rain contingency plan?” and “do both of you have valid passports?”  I tried to limit my intervention to the “big things”.   They handled every last detail from special thank you letters to the wedding party and parents to tissues at the end of the church pews.  If she ever decides to become an event planner, she has at least one successful event for her resume’!

It might seem pretty cold to some that I am happy to send my daughter into the world, but my job is done.  Her formal education has been completed and if she stayed with me, I would thwart her real education.    She has been loved and nurtured.  I was the first one to be entrusted with her care before she was born. I was privileged, along with her dad and sister, to be one of her first teachers.  I wish I could say that we did everything perfectly, but I can’t.  But if I could, then we would have denied her immeasurable opportunities for learning.  She still has lots to learn, but she has to find new educators.  Her newest teacher just gave his heart to her in marriage and it was a beautiful event to witness.

Now they move forward together on their own glorious adventure.  They leave behind parents who look nostalgically at the empty corner of the nest and wonder what happened to their babies.  But they didn’t really lose anything.  You see, her parents have gained a bonus son, and his, a bonus daughter.  As they set out to feather their own nest, we smile with satisfaction and look forward to watching them soar on their own.

Adulting, financial responsiblity-teens and young adults, life skills, parenting, Parenting teens and young adults, parenting young adults, Uncategorized

The Devil: An Unlikely Teacher

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I just finished reading the book “Outwitting The Devil” which was originally written in 1938 by Napoleon Hill. Because of the controversial material that was presented, the manuscript was withheld from publication until long after Napoleon’s death.  The book was finally released by the Napoleon Hill Foundation in 2011 and it was annotated by Sharon Lechter.   I found the book fascinating and filled with information that is just as thought provoking today as it was 80 years ago when it was written!   I will focus on passages that I found most relevant to our children. The Devil’s claim is that the religious systems as well as the educational systems work together to cause our children to drift and to discourage them from thinking for themselves.

The book is primarily a question and answer series in which Napoleon queries the Devil on a wide range of topics that are relevant to living a successful life.  It does not matter whether Napoleon is speaking to THE Devil, or whether he has cleverly arranged his collection of personal wisdom into an attention grabbing two-way dialogue; you will find much food for thought. Though some of the information is duplicated in Hill’s more famous book, “Think and Grow Rich”, it is important enough to endure the redundancy.

I do not write to undermine the efforts and expertise of excellent teachers in either the academic or religious arenas.  I am sure that most would acknowledge that they do not like the constraints that they must adhere to while influencing America’s youth.  As a parent looking to the past, I see how I could’ve helped my children focus more on some of the core truths of life.  I can’t change what I did or didn’t do,

Following are direct quotes from either Mr. Hill or his Devil. My commentary is found in the bullet points.

“…Parents owe their children everything they can give them in the way of knowledge.  Beyond that, parents often spoil their offspring by a false sense of duty which prompts them to indulge their children instead of forcing them to seek and gain knowledge at first hand.”**

  • Today, I am reflecting on the “launching” of my second and final daughter. My feelings vacillate between guilt and exhilaration. Her imminent relocation causes me a mixture of sadness, excitement and victory.  The prevailing emotions are the excitement that her future will bring and the victory that this phase of my parenting has been completed successfully.  While I do feel a bit of guilt for my part in thrusting her into the great unknown, I know that she will learn far more outside of my care than she would ever learn from her safe place at home.  I pledge to always share the knowledge of my experience with her even while she is learning to navigate life without me.

“…Unearned gifts of every nature may become a curse instead of a blessing*

  • This point makes me think of this week’s news story about the 30-year-old man who is being evicted from his parents’ home. I’m sure that his parents never imagined that the “unearned gift” of physically sheltering their grown son would turn into a contentious and public legal battle.

 “Why aren’t children taught definiteness of purpose in the public schools?”*

  • According to the Devil, school is a place to memorize facts and earn credits. I appreciate the opportunities for the education I was given.  However, many of the facts that I memorized and subsequently forgot have not helped me in my daily pursuit of living.  (Note to math haters: I do still use algebra).  It has taken me many years past my formal education to hone in on my definite purpose.  Definiteness of purpose can be found though reading and participating in a variety of activities.  We can help our children find theirs by looking for their natural gifts and guiding them towards pursuits that harmonize with those gifts.

Ideas are the beginning of all human achievement.  Teach all students how to recognize practical ideas that may be of benefit in helping them acquire whatever they demand of life”.  **

  • Never stop yourself or your child from imagining. Every conceivable invention that is used to make our lives easier began as an idea in the mind of someone.  Google Maps, FaceTime, cell phones, personal computers, and televisions are used by most of us each day.  What if the parents of the inventors of these items had squelched their ideas?  Try to nurture fresh new ideas with “how can you” rather than “you cannot”.

“Teach the student the basic motives by which all people are influenced and show how to use these motives in acquiring the necessities and the luxuries of life.”**

  • Everyone needs to learn how to sell. Even though every person is not a professionally trained salesperson, we all have something to sell each day.  As an employment candidate, we need to use a resume’ to sell ourselves as the best candidate for a job. As a person looking to choose a mate, what do we have to offer that another potential suitor might not?  As a parent, we may try to sell the idea that choosing broccoli over chips is good for the body.  If your child doesn’t know what to study in school, encourage him to study salesmanship.

 “Teach children the difference between temporary defeat and failure, and show them how to search for the seed of an equivalent advantage which comes with every defeat.”**

  • I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. It is not always easy to tell what the reason may be, but I always try to learn the lesson.  Every mistake I have made has planted inside me an inexorable seed of wisdom.  The value of this wisdom is far greater than if I had simply done everything I was told just because I was told to do so.
  • I would also want my children to understand that failure comes in more than one form.  The failure to try is far worse than trying something new and not succeeding.  Risk aversion can cheat us out of living our best life by not allowing us to take the next step forward.

“Teach children to reach decisions promptly and to change them, if at all, slowly and with reluctance, and never without a definite reason.”**

  • This one is still difficult for me personally. I am a proponent of the “Love and Logic” philosophy of parenting. https://www.loveandlogic.com    The premise is that a child should be given lots of opportunities to make decisions from the time they are young and then allow the consequences to be the teacher when the stakes are minimal.  This habit of making every day small decisions will provide confidence to make the big decisions when also armed with pertinent information, thought and sometimes collaborative discussion.

 “Teach children the true nature of the Golden Rule, and above all show them that through the operation of this principle, everything they do to and for another they do also to and for themselves.”**

  • This quote reminds me of a complementary quote from the late Zig Ziglar. “You can have everything you want in life if you just help enough other people get what they want.” The other thing that comes up for me is that when I went back to college as an adult about 10 years ago, I took multiple classes on religion and philosophy.  I can’t tell you all of the theories and distinctions between each philosopher.  My take away was that regardless of the philosophical or religious message, it all boiled down to the Golden Rule to treat others the way we wish to be treated.

“Teach children the danger of believing anything merely because their parents, religious instructor, or someone else said it is so.”**

  • My personal motto is “trust but verify”. I, like many people, always believed what my parents and those in authority taught me was absolute truth.  What I have since realized is that what I was taught was their truth as they believed at the time.

“Teach children that their only real limitations are those which they set up or permit others to establish in their own minds.”**

  • I can relate to this one. I have gone through life with self-imposed limits up until this point.  These limits are firmly entrenched over a lifetime.  Sometimes I look at others and wonder how they got to be where they are and have what they have.  Did they have more advantages and more connections than me?   That is quite possibly the truth. But it is not the complete truth.  What I may have lacked in personal advantage I have made up for in stubborn persistence.  Every day, I work to free myself from my prison of perception.  My daughter, recently armed with her business degree, will be moving very soon to a town that doesn’t have an abundant variety of jobs. I encourage her to refuse to be limited by the help wanted ads to find her livelihood. I implore her to speak her truth and immerse herself in her passion. Though the non-profit she is interested in is not local, I do not want her to assume that she cannot find a way to contribute to the cause that is so important to her.

“Teach children that all schoolhouses and all textbooks are elementary implements which may be helpful in the development of their minds, but that the only school of real value is the great University of Life wherein one has the privilege of learning from experience,”**

  • I went back to college in my forties to complete my formal education. What I realized as an adult student was that no matter how much I learned, it was merely the tip of the iceberg.  When I finally finished my formal education, I just knew I was done learning. Following a few years of stagnation, I discovered the folly of my thinking.  My more mature and wiser self realizes that learning is truly a lifelong pursuit. My classroom learning days may be over, but I choose to learn until the end of my time.   Thinking is a gift which, when done consistently, can propel one towards their definite major purpose. Provide situations to imbed this worthy gift into your children.

The points I have chosen were few compared to what I found in the book.  I didn’t intend to regurgitate as much as I did directly from the book, but it was so hard to choose since there were so many relevant points!  While our current educational system may not have the flexibility to incorporate the suggested changes, parents have the power to introduce them into daily life. Consider private schooling or home schooling.  Ultimately, we all have the primary control to shape the minds of our own children.

*Direct quote from Napoleon Hill

**Direct quote from Napoleon Hill’s Devil

 

life skills, parenting, Parenting humor, Parenting teens and young adults, parenting young adults

My College Educated Daughter Didn’t Know How to Mail a Letter

IMG_7726 (1)The recent conversation went something like this:

Her: “Mom, should I use THOSE stamps?”

Me: “No, your letter will not get very far with a 2 cent stamp!”

Her: “Then why do you have them?”

And that’s when I ran out of things to say.  We all get used to things being a certain way and hardly notice when they change.  You probably remember the time before the Forever Stamp came along when stamps had a specific value.  For a while, they were rapidly going up a cent or two at a time.  I purchased an assortment of one and two cent stamps so I could finish up my entire 100 roll of obsolete postage.

Her question led to a scintillating conversation about the history of stamps (which was pretty much summed up in the preceding paragraph).  It made me start to think.  Parents and Millennials are living in two different worlds and we have to somehow build a bridge between them.   Some of the things I grew up doing, such as mailing a letter, are not as common any more.  Regardless, the little necessities are still very important.  I know of another young adult who hesitated to mail some very important papers because she had never been to the post office and did not know how to mail a certified letter.

Anyone who has known me since the day of their birth knows that I like words.  I have a habit of occasionally using one that I assume they do not know so I can then subtly define it in the next sentence.  When asked for a definition to someone else’s obscure word, I would suggest the dictionary.  Despite my best efforts, no one but me would pick up a dictionary and hunt for a word.  In all honesty, I no longer enjoy it since the printing has shrunk.  Since I have been schooled in the wonders of the internet, I now look up all of my words the quick and easy way.

I tried hard to teach my girls to read a map.  They couldn’t have been any less interested.  I was concerned, on one account, that after first getting her driver’s license that she would never return home…not because she was a runner but because she was directionally impaired.  When she started to return home with regularity, I became acquainted with Google Maps.  If their phone goes dead on a trip and they don’t have a charger, they’ll wish they had participated in Map Reading 101!

I flip out when I watch someone use a calculator to count Monopoly money!  The calculator was an awesome invention, but I sometimes use my actual brain so that I don’t lose my ability to think. I want to make sure that if I ever had to work a cash register again that I would be able to correctly count back the change, no matter what the register told me it should be.

Before you think I’m being cruel in relaying this story, I have been given permission…only because the subject individual looked at me with pity when I admitted that I do not know how to set up a new email address.  We need each other.   Our Millennials are instrumental in helping some of us with all things technology.  They need us to help them experience countless small things that have to be done to navigate life. I had planned to do some decluttering tonight.  I think I’ll start with the two cent stamps!

Financial literacy, financial responsiblity-teens and young adults, parenting, Parenting teens and young adults, teaching financial responsibility

Borrowing From the Bank of Mom

https://www.loveandlogic.com/blog/kids-and-money-face-to-face-with-reality

The linked article by Dr. Charles Fay of Love and Logic rings true for me.  Their philosophy had a profound influence on my parenting style, partly because it made sense and partly because it amplified who I already was.  When my daughter was 17, she got her first car.  I decided to pay up front and then have her reimburse me for her portion.  Since I was always looking for an opportunity to teach a relevant financial lesson, I created a promissory note.

Principal Rate Time PxRxT Total due
Amount due if loan was from actual bank $750 14% 0.6667 $70 $820
Late fee $25 if payment is not made by the 15th of the month  
 Payment due Date Amount Due to Bank of  Mom Balance due
10/1/2010  $          100.00  $             650.00  
11/1/2010  $          100.00  $             550.00  
12/1/2010  $          100.00  $             450.00  
1/1/2011  $          100.00  $             350.00  
2/1/2011  $          100.00  $             250.00  
3/1/2011  $          100.00  $             150.00  
4/1/2011  $          100.00  $                50.00  
5/1/2011  $            50.00  $                       –  
 $          750.00

 

She didn’t like my idea very much.  In fact, her response was “You are not the bank, you are my MOM”.  Yes, that was true.  But I was not just ANY mom.  I was the kind that wanted to make sure that she had been provided with a real life education.  By setting up a plan that created a penalty for late payments, she chose to pay off her car early rather than risk having to pay any late fees to the money grubbing Bank of Mom!  My bank didn’t charge interest, but showing the interest rate that would have been charged by a different bank helped make The Bank of Mom more desirable than its competitors.  No late fees were paid to The Bank of Mom and for that I was grateful.  I wasn’t looking to augment my income; I was intending to create a self-reliant young adult.

The promissory note contained the components that would be evaluated in a regular bank loan.  It wasn’t always convenient to track the payments so meticulously, but I kept it up since I knew it would be good for the wonderful young lady I was trying to mold.  I took my job very seriously!  Following is the schedule used to record the payments along with additional terms of the loan.   The ending message was issued with the loan release to the borrower.  Unlike the real bank, the Bank of Mom dispenses a few words of praise and encouragement along with the title.

 

Payment History
                   Due Date 9/1/2010 10/1/2010 11/1/2010 12/1/2010 1/1/2011 2/1/2011 January
 Date Paid 1-Nov 1-Nov 20-Nov
 How paid? Cash Cash Cash Check Check Cash
 Car loan  $             100.00  $           100.00  $     100.00  $           100.00  $            100.00  $        250.00
 Insurance  $            54.00  $                54.00  $             54.00  $       54.00  $             54.00  $               54.00
 TV  $               7.00  $                  7.00  $               7.00  $         7.00  $                7.00  $                 7.00
 Cell phone  $            30.00  $                30.00  $             30.00  $       30.00  $             30.00  $               69.00
 License Plates  $            97.00  $          50.00
 Kelsey Paid  $          188.00  $             191.00  $           191.00  $     191.00  $           191.00  $            230.00  $        300.00
Borrower will pay on time each month or pay a $25 late fee.  Just like a bank loan, she is responsible to repay the loan even if something happens to make the car undriveable or if it isn’t her fault.  The payment is due on the 1st of every month.  There will be no reminders.  There is a grace period of 2 weeks before the payment will be considered past due.
 
       
 Kelsey-borrower Borrower signed under protest
Mom-lender Gleefully signed by Mom
Kelsey paid off her car 3 months early.  Congratulations for being a conscientious borrower!
Be proud and always remember how good it feels to earn what you really want.

———————————————————————————————————————————-

I couldn’t be more proud of this young lady today.  She chooses to forge her own path in life and does not like to be told what to do.  Her life is not devoid of struggles, but she accepts responsibility for her actions.   Don’t be afraid to swim upstream and do what many parents are afraid to do.  If you do it with love, they will be better prepared to face the realities of life.  And don’t worry, they’ll still love you!

financial responsiblity-teens and young adults, parenting, Parenting teens and young adults, parenting young adults, teaching financial responsibility

Fixed Price Clothing Allowance Sharpens Budgeting Skills

https://www.loveandlogic.com/blog/kids-and-money-practical-tips-for-financial-responsibility

I wish I had consistently done ALL of the things that are listed in the attached article written by Dr. Charles Fay of Love and Logic.  I did give my girls the opportunity to have a clothing budget for at least a year.   They were given a fixed amount each month and were told that they needed  to project what they might need from month to month.   They had to evaluate whether they would need a  new winter coat as well as be prepared for any other seasonal clothing needs such as shorts or a bathing suit.

Some benefits were the realization that they were able to stretch their budget if they chose some lightly used clothing.  They also figured out that they didn’t always need a new winter coat from one year to the next.  It turned out to be pretty useful exercise in budgeting.

Another useful tactic, in lieu of a fixed price budget, is setting a limit on what the parent will contribute to an item.  I always did what I could to remove the power struggle.  For example, if I offered to pay  $50 for a reasonable  pair of shoes, the girls could get whatever shoes they wanted if they paid the difference.  It’s amazing how resourceful and practical kids can be when they really WANT something AND they shoulder some responsibility for their choices!  I did have some restrictions though.  I HATE the thought of buying brand new jeans that look like they got into a fight with a starving moth (and the moth won).   I know it is fashionable to wear jeans that were “destroyed” prior to purchase.  I also know that these jeans are sold at a premium price.  I KNOW I sound old,  but I DO NOT LIKE THEM!!!  I didn’t forbid the purchase or wearing of those jeans; I simply stipulated that MY money wouldn’t be used to buy them!

It’s hard to read articles with good ideas and then  focus on all of the things I’ve done wrong.  But just for today, I’m going to fixate on the few things I got right!

parenting, teaching financial responsibility

Is a Five Year Old Too Young to Pay Rent? That Depends…

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/01/18/georgia-mom-praised-for-having-5-year-old-daughter-pay-rent.html

Click on the link above to read about Essence Evans, a Georgia Mom who expected her five year old daughter to pay rent.  I only WISH I would have had the patience to start educating my children as early as this Mom did!    I read some of the comments and found that some thought it was a ridiculous exercise.   Some people feel that children shouldn’t have to worry about money.  Here is why I disagree:

Specifically regarding the issue of “paying rent”, the child was not expected to get a job in a sweatshop to earn her keep.  Her mother simply handed her the money to simulate a paycheck, then collected most of it back to resemble the real world.  It should not have been traumatic at all.  The fact that her Mom let her control nearly 29% of her “income” was more than generous!

Maybe your family doesn’t need to think about money, but plenty of other families do…Every. Single. Day.  Have you ever had to:

  • Put back groceries due to a cash shortage?
  • Change your plans because your car broke down and you had no repair fund?
  • Send your kids to school without the required supplies because you had no money to purchase them?

If your child has never had to worry about any of the above situations, then they are fortunate, indeed.  However, it is never too early to begin to teach that almost every decision has an economic impact. Unless you don’t mind the idea of having your offspring dependent on you well into adulthood, you might want to consider teaching with the idea that unless they learn prudent financial lessons when the stakes are low, they might be embarrassed or inconvenienced by some of the experiences listed above after they are no longer under your loving care.