Is It Possible To Be A Millionaire By Thirty?



In addition to teaching your kids independence, we all have plenty of opportunities to point them towards financial success.  They have the ability to achieve far more than their parents ever did; especially if said parents are teaching them to be open to all of the possibilities life has to offer.  Take a look at the linked article from Time.com to hear from some people who achieved financial wealth in their twenties.


You Can Lead a Kid to College, But You Can’t Make Him Work


We all try to be the best parents that we can be.  We strive to send our kids to the right schools.  We monitor their homework, shuttle them to sports practices and every activity imaginable.  They finally make it all the way through the prescribed amount of education and you think, “Sweet, my job here is getting so much easier. Now that he’s all done with his education, Junior can get a full time job and I can pass the responsibility of any remaining payments over to him!  After a few months of free or reduced rent, he should even have enough saved to fly solo.”  You can finally claim that extra room that you’ve always wanted for your craft room.  Or maybe as a den of sweet refuge from a spouse that snores like a freight train!  But Junior has another agenda.  He’s not ready to begin adulting in earnest.  He might dabble in work, but not enough to achieve the lofty and age appropriate expectations that you have for him.  But you can’t MAKE him hold a job if his heart isn’t in it.   You can’t control whether he is sufficiently motivated to work, but there are a lot of ways to incentivize him to do so.  If he is not working, then his time belongs to him, right?   Not really, as long as his body resides at your address!   Here are some ideas that might inspire him to more fervently step up that elusive search for a full time job:

  • Insist that he get up early, get ready for work, and out of the house Monday-Friday with regularity during the day to simulate a typical job. Too much leisure time spent waiting for an employer to find him can make him lose precious motivation.  Some productive pursuits include:
    • Spending time at the library learning or applying for jobs and thinking of employment strategies
    • Volunteering at a place that might include valuable contacts
      • New skills could also help fluff up the resume
    • Seeking out and attending job fairs
    • Visiting local employment agencies
  • After he spends the week treating his job search like a full time job, be sure that you include him in your evening chores. After all, you probably worked all day also but somebody still has to do laundry, cook and clean up!
  • Cut off any cash that is flowing from your wallet into his hands for items such as:
    • Gas
    • Car insurance
    • Cell phone
    • Personal maintenance items
    • Outside food and beverages

If the first two points don’t provide the necessary motivation, the last one should.  Most of us would fight like a tiger to keep everything on that list.  I realize that a cell phone is considered a necessity to receive employment offers in a home that doesn’t include a landline.  However, a smartphone, the communication device of choice, is still a luxury item.

There are jobs out there.  They might not be his dream job and he probably won’t start in management.  But he has to start somewhere.  After he spends a few weeks at the library with a peanut butter sandwich, water and a flip phone, that might light a fire inside him that you’ve never seen before!


Easiest Way To Get Kids To Pay For Their Own Cell Phone


Am I the only one who thinks that the cost of using a cell phone is obscene?  Aside from my mortgage, it was my second highest monthly expense.  And what do I get for that?  Well, it keeps me occupied when I am in a public place, relieving me of the responsibility of making eye contact or small talk with other humans. It allows me to transmit my thoughts effortlessly from my brain to the tips of my fingers sometimes more quickly than I have had the opportunity to think them through.  It affords me the luxury of finding the answer to an obscure question about anything at any time and any place.  Could I live without it?  Absolutely.  Do I want to? Not really.  It would have come in handy that one time nearly three decades ago when my car broke down on the highway on a dark winter night.  That was quite inconvenient, but obviously, I survived!

I finally said “yes” to the smartphone when my oldest was a senior in high school with the condition that she had to pay for it.  Apparently, denying your teenager a smartphone is a form of child abuse that hadn’t yet been invented when I was a teenager.  A few years later, daughter number 2 got her smartphone.  At some point, to offset some of the other financial responsibilities they had chosen, I assumed the payments for both.  Eventually, things evolved and I decided it was once again time to put the expense back on the ones who were receiving the benefit. I tried different ways of extracting the payments and I found one that I would like to share for those of you who are interested in splitting the expenses for your cell phone bill.

I found out that my cell phone carrier, which is Verizon, would allow multiple payments per month.  Each person in my family can log into the account and pay their own portion of the bill.  The payments are due on the same day each month.  I am the administration so I let everyone know how much they owe.  I strongly recommend that they use their smartphones as a reminder to make sure it gets paid on time. Everyone understands that any late fees will be paid by whomever didn’t pay their bill on time. Of course, repeat offenders may find themselves shopping for their very own cell phone plan!   The only downside for me is that I had to cancel my auto pay.

This arrangement benefits everyone because:

  • They learn the value of things
  • They learn that a smartphone is not an entitlement
  • They learn to pay bills on time
  • I am removed from the role of “villainous bill collector”
  • My cell phone bill is no longer my second largest monthly expense

Anytime I shift the responsibilities so my girls can deal directly with the bill collector, that is what I do.  I would not be doing them any favors to allow them to pay intermittently.   Parents do not always make the best collector of funds because sometimes we’re just too busy to keep track.  Fortunately, our cell phone company has an entire staff of people devoted to tracking whose bill is paid and whose is delinquent.

Now that I’ve gotten my cell phone bill down to a more manageable level, I can put the difference in my retirement account.  Or just maybe, I can use it to get to a beach….so I can hunker down in my beach chair and scroll mindlessly though my phone.




Why Are Our Dependents Remaining, Well, Dependent Longer?

According to the above article by CNBC, 25% of millennials who work full time are still being subsidized by their parents.  The most common subsidies are for cell phones and car insurance. The recurring message in this, as well as other similar articles, is that millennials are disadvantaged compared to their baby boomer parents.    Take note that baby boomers span 18 years from beginning to end.  They did not all enjoy the same experiences or levels of prosperity; conversely, not all millennials have a need for parental rescuing.   The economy is always evolving.  Earlier generations had a plethora of manufacturing jobs.  Technology jobs are more common today.   Because much of the technology did not even exist when the baby boomers were in school, that gives the millennials an employment advantage in that sector.  Rather than the economy, there may be a few other reasons that millennials “need” more subsidies than their parents did at the same age. Some cannot distinguish wants from needs.

  • Boomers didn’t have Starbucks. A $3 cup of coffee, 5 times a week costs about $65 per month.  That would most likely cover the cost of a shared cell phone plan or car insurance.
  • Boomers didn’t have cell phones. They likely lived in a house with several other family members who all had to take turns using ONE landline!
  • Boomers didn’t have laptops, IPads, or internet. They had a lot of extra time on their hands!
  • Boomers didn’t have cable TV or DVR’s. They actually had to be home at a certain time in order to watch their favorite shows.
  • Boomers probably didn’t have their own rooms. They often shared it with one or more siblings. Sometimes, the only way they could get their own room was to get their own apartment!
  • Boomers are more likely to know what it is like to share ONE bathroom with several other people on a daily basis. Who remembers dancing around outside the bathroom door waiting for your turn?
  • Boomers didn’t all have their own cars. Driving the family’s Country Squire station wagon might have been an exquisite treat!
  • Boomers didn’t all go to college. Those who did were not necessarily bankrolled by their parents. Some (gulp) actually worked summers and holidays to earn tuition!
  • Boomers didn’t view experiences as necessities. Vacations and excursions are part of what makes life enjoyable. However, the parents of said boomers would not have subsidized frivolity before responsibility.
  • Boomers may have made comparatively more money, but they were more likely to have additional mouths to feed at an earlier age.

I’m sure you can see by the picture I’ve painted of Boomer Life, it was easier for them to WANT to grow up and move out!   If there is a perceived need for you to render support to your young adult, consider that in addition to the earning situation, there has also been a shift in spending priorities.  Now, you may be thinking, “I’d love to cut back on my contributions, but I would feel so guilty!”   Well I’ll leave you with a thought that may help you with that.  Have you fully funded your retirement account or invested in a long term care policy?  If so, you can alleviate your guilt by knowing that when you are older, you will not need to ask your kids to take care of you!


Money Isn’t Everything but Mine’s Gone; Would You Mind Giving Me Some of Yours?


I had heard the news story before I watched Dave Ramsey’s video, but it was interesting to listen to his take on it as well as read some of the comments that followed. I realized that this topic is of great relevance to the Launch Lady’s mission.

To paraphrase the story, a 24-year-old and 26-year-old couple were already tired of working so they quit and set out to live their dream. They were discouraged that most of their days had been spent working, and most of the proceeds were used just to fund the necessities of life. Who among us has not felt this way? They sold everything they owned to buy an old sailboat with the intention to live on it and sail around the world. Having a dream is something that most people lack, and for that I commend them. They took an action towards their goal, which is admirable as well.  However…

Sometimes plans and goals require a Plan B. Plan B usually requires a cash reserve in case Plan A blows up. If these young adults were in my family, I’d be devastated for their misfortune. I know I am not alone in that I can’t stand to see my kids face disappointment. It would be an excruciating and unpopular conversation to tell them that while I’m so sorry for their temporary setback, that they would need to work for a while to save up again for their dream. I don’t want to be harshly critical, because the University of Hard Knocks has a tendency to provide a valuable education. Unfortunately, the tuition is very expensive and this story is no exception to that rule. But thanks to the kindness of folks responding to a GoFundMe account, the tuition was waived for these folks.

Many adults with family responsibilities have dreams as well. These same adults may even have loathsome jobs that they work just to pay the bills. Maybe they plan to pursue some of their own lifelong dreams when they have successfully emancipated their own children. Maybe a GoFundMe campaign would get them to their dreams a little more quickly. Or maybe, they could instill in their progeny, a work ethic such that they consistently work regardless of the circumstance. It is not my place to tell them that they need to work in the same environment that has benefited me (as well as them). Their work is their business as long as they ensure that they can meet their expenses if their way doesn’t work out as anticipated. I have found that work is often not convenient. Some days, I might not even like it all. But in the end, any responsibility for career satisfaction is mine and mine alone. That’s the story I want my own daughters to understand. In all but the most catastrophic of circumstances, GoFundMe campaigns should begin in front of a mirror.

#causeandeffect #parenting #daveramsey #moneyisnteverything #universityofhardknocks #gofundme







Bridging the Span Between Teens and Independent Young Adults


The attached link by author Beth Kobliner is packed with sound advice if you are trying to raise young adults who can live independently of you.

I know of one family who turned their daughter’s bedroom into a guest room when she went away to college.   Was this a cruel action or was it simply a way to maximize the allocation of space?  To a family who has frequent guests, it seems inefficient to hoard an entire unused room while snoring guests toss and turn on the hide-a-bed couch in the middle of the living room!

I know another family who told their young adults that they can come home for six months after they graduate from college.  That allows time to take a breather, find a job, and figure out a place to live.  Finding a roommate, much like finding a date, is far easier these days with the availability of specialized internet sites.

It helps to have an open dialog about what will be expected at the end of the educational phase so that no one is surprised by your expectations at their 18th birthday party or at their college graduation ceremony.   There is nothing wrong with the conversation that goes something like this, “When you have completed your education, it’s time to contribute as an adult.  You’ll always be my kid, but I want to make sure that you know how to take care of yourself.  If you choose to complete your formal education right after high school, then you are telling me that you are ready to begin your informal education.”  If that conversation is had on a regular basis, there is no reason anyone should be surprised when we carry out the next phase of education.     There are a number of ways we as parents can facilitate the informal education, but I’ll save that for another day!

There is no right or perfect way to do this.  The important part is that there is an exit plan for the young adult living at home and that there are incremental steps in responsibility to make the plan successful.


Financial Literacy Reality Check Tool

Happy New Year!

Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy is sharing a Reality Check tool to help show the relationship between expected lifestyle and salary needed to sustain that lifestyle.

This is a good opportunity to start a discussion with your teen or young adult about what type of lifestyle they can expect based on their current career aspirations.    Follow the link for more information:  Jumpstart’s Reality Check

The Launch Lady


Who Is The Launch Lady and What Is Her Message?

space-1951858_1280Having been successfully emancipated at the age of 18, I have lots of real life survival experience.  In addition, I have already “launched” one young adult, and the second will graduate from college in the spring.   Both have always known that when their formal education has been completed, they are expected to enter their informal, but more relevant, “real life” education after a reasonable and pre-defined period.

Some of you may be thinking how cold I must be to push my offspring out of the nest so abrasively.  It is really not as bad as it sounds.  I’ve been affectionately referred to as “drill sergeant”.  As a 6-year veteran of the US Armed Forces, I HAVE survived boot camp.  I can tell you first hand that I don’t really fit that model.  The drill sergeant gives 2 options: comply with orders or don’t comply and receive direct and immediate consequences.  The Launch Lady does not issue orders quite as militantly.  If requests are not met, I will try very hard to make sure that the consequences are logical and relevant.   While I am not a dictator, I do hold my offspring to a high level of accountability.

I wish I could claim to be a perfect parent, but that would not be true.    I wish I could tell you that I had perfect daughters, and if you asked them, they would probably agree.  However, I’m in charge of the content here, so I would have to deny it!  They are at, what might possibly be, the perfect age.  They’re old enough to manage their own affairs but still come to me for advice.  I’m at the stage of parenting where I’ve gone from someone who knows nothing to one who has apparently learned very quickly and can provide intelligence to those who are actually requesting to hear it!

I am NOT trying to tell everyone else that they should have the same opinion as me and that their young adult should move out at the tender age of 18 if they choose not to further their education.  I AM trying to bring the message that it is POSSIBLE.  I spend much energy trying to anticipate consequences of different situations and what can be done to avoid negative outcomes altogether. I use every opportunity to immerse myself in financial literacy so I can teach valuable skills that will help others to avoid some of the mistakes that I have made.   It would give me great satisfaction to gather a community of like-minded individuals to share success stories and ideas about how to help our offspring successfully transition into adulthood while allowing ourselves permission to move into the next phase of our lives.

#parentingmillennials #lifeskills