Personal Responsibility

Before you read this post, please understand that I’m not being political, I’m not looking down on anyone who lives their life differently from how I feel my life should be lived — I’m just stating my own personal feelings and how I feel my life should be lived.

I believe pretty much everything Dave Ramsey has to say and I think if more people lived by his principles, we wouldn’t be in this housing mess and credit issues, for citizens as well as our nation, wouldn’t be a hot topic.  Of course, I’m no economist but when Vince and I were in KY, we watched people get a little equity in their homes, either take out a home equity loan and buy a new car or take a cruise or sell the house and buy a bigger home with a bigger mortgage.  Again, nothing wrong with taking a cruise, buying a new car or getting a bigger home but for us, our goal was to get our home paid off and never again have a home mortgage.

Any time Vince and I have looked to buy anything big, which we don’t do often, we think about what will happen if he loses his job or if he goes a few months without a paycheck.

Driving a fancy car, having expensive clothes, having a big, showing house . . maybe it just comes with age but none of that would ever be more important to me than having financial stability.

I’m a firm believer in having an “Emergency Fund”.  I’ve tried to teach Chad my feelings about money.  As a parent, I feel like a total failure in the finance department.  Where do kids get the ideas that they don’t want to work (he is working now but there was a good while that he was between jobs and wasn’t interested in getting a job!); they want the best clothes, gadgets, cars and they don’t have a clue what they will do tomorrow or how they will pay for whatever they do?

Since Chad received his first paycheck several years ago working at Kroger, I have begged him to set up an emergency fund.  He drives a 1997 vehicle and it will eventually need repairs.  Yep, he’d do it . . next paycheck.  Of course, it never happened.

Now, the transmission is going out in his car.  It will be $2,000 to $2,500 to fix it.  The car is probably worth $3,00 to $3,500 but he has no money to buy another car; and, if he did have enough to buy a car, it would be a very used car and who’s to say it wouldn’t need $2,000 to $2,500 in repairs soon.  At least we know the history of Chad’s current vehicle.

I could pay for the transmission but I will not because my feeling is that would not teach him any financial responsibility.  Mom offered to send him $$ and I asked her not to do it.  Chad needs to learn to save money for a rainy day.  I don’t expect him to save every dime he makes but if he had saved just a little each month over the past 3 years, he would be in a much better position.

He isn’t going to go hungry because he lives at home and goes to college and works but he isn’t going to have any extra $$ for a while.  I can only hope that he learns from this and that some day, he will see that our financial values are a much better way to live than living paycheck to paycheck, all the while buying fancy shirts, flashy cuff links and eating out at every opportunity instead of eating at home.

Parenting surely is big job!  It’s so hard to know when to help, when to stand back and watch them flounder.

Comments

  1. 1

    says

    Judy, I totally agree with you on that. My husband was raise that way and he always looking for ways to save money. He even work extra overtime so he can put the money in saving. Unfortunatly I was not raise that way because my parents hardly save money and they live basically paycheck to paycheck. Since I’ve been with hubby, I have learn to save money and have money when something breaks. There were times that we needed those money.

  2. 2

    says

    “Parenting surely is big job! It’s so hard to know when to help, when to stand back and watch them flounder.”

    *sigh* Tell me about it.

    We made our kids tithe and save back when their allowances were 10 cents a week. Now the big ones are up to $10 a week and I fight with them to see that they need to tithe first, save second, spend last. I give each of my teens $7.50 a week as a clothing budget. Daughter spends hers on clothes, all right, plus at least $25 a week more that she earns at her job, and then whines to me that she needs more for school clothes. Son spent all his on an iPod and now is wearing the same pair of shorts to school every single day! And I won’t bail either of ’em out. As you say, they won’t starve.

  3. 3

    says

    You are so, so right. I think the hardest thing we face today as parents is *not* giving the kids everything their hearts desire. It is so easy to give in, but making them work for it certainly helps them appreciate it more. Better Chad learn these lessons at 20 and living at home than at 40 with a family and facing losing a home. Parenting ain’t for sissies if done well, and doesn’t stop at age 18 either. You go Judy!

  4. 4

    says

    Judy,
    When you have figured out the secret, send it to me. I have 3 daughters, 2 have saved, but the youngest just doesn’t. She is very stubborn for a 26 y/o. She also lives at home, but she does make her car, ins, cell payments. Having the 3 girls and their differences have been interesting watching, #1 had small wedding, bought a house, 6 years later sold it got a different house than finished her masters, than came a baby. #2 in he military, still living on her orginal amount of pay, has put everything into the bank for retirement in 10 years, she only buys what she needs, like a pickup truck lol. #3 Well………

  5. 5

    Pat says

    I totally understand what you are saying-I hate debt. At the same time I am watching our oldest son (23)saying it isn’t a big deal that he is in debt, is going to school, has maxed out credit cards, his truck should be replaced etc. I agree that it is hard to watch them flounder, but I did not make the mess. The bank of mom and dad is closed.

  6. 6

    says

    Yup….teaching living within your means is tough!!!! My DD and I were having this conversation a few weeks ago…She thought since she was buying all her clothes and her spending money and making her own car payment that we weren’t contributing anything to her support. But then I showed her the gas bills for that car, the insurance bills for the car and health, doctor, dentist and the tuition for college and the roof over her head and the hot water bill and the groceries….It made me realize how much more I’ll have in a few years when she is paying all her own way.

    I also have a nest egg stashed away, I sleep better at night knowing I wouldn’t be out in the street of things changed. We also have no credit card debt…..if there is something we want to save until we can pay cash!!!

    I read a report two Christmas’s ago, that if people didn’t use credit cards, only cash for there holiday gift purchases, that it could send this country into a economic diaster that would be tough to recover from. It seems to me that is a sorry state for our country to be in.

    Karen L

  7. 7

    says

    Judy, I see the same situation with my step-daughter. . . .but I also have the problem in that her father (my DH) also has a problem with holding onto money, and, of course, he wants to bail out the kid every time she comes crying.

    I had just heard from a friend of mine that Suze Orman (sp?) had a woman on her financial show that was more than $100,000 in debt due to helping out her kids with cars, school, insurance for the cars, gifts, etc., etc. Suze’s response was that her only chance of salvaging her life was to declare bankruptcy (which is the last thing that she wanted to recommend). . . .so here, this woman’s life is now ruined & her kids still don’t have a clue.

    You stick to your guns. . . .it might cause you some inconvenience if Chad needs a ride somewhere. . . . but that will teach him a much needed lesson about “rainy days”.

    Good going!!

  8. 8

    says

    As a former high school counselor and principal I can say with complete confidence that you are doing the right thing. I’ve seen them in their teen years given everything and how their immaturity responds to that. It’s very sad. As adults they can’t transition to making adult decisions and they make really unwise decisions. Hold fast Judy. blessings, marlene

  9. 9

    says

    One of the very best lessons we can teach our kids, is financial responsibility. There are so many people out there in dire financial straits because a) they can’t tell the difference between “need” and “want” and b) because they feel they have to keep up with the Joneses with their big houses and fancy cars and yearly trips to far off places.

    Definitely hold fast, because while this is a hard lesson for him to learn, it’s a lesson he NEEDS to learn. It’s a lesson we ALL needed to learn!

  10. 10

    Becca says

    I am having this exact argument with my oldest right now! I can NOT get it through her head that money doesnt just appear because you have checks left in your check book! We are holding out on her and not repairing her car too. Not easy I agree.

  11. 11

    says

    Take heart Judy, your Chad will learn to be more financially responsible with you and your husband setting such a good example. I was the same way as he is now as a young adult. Even though I was paying my own way, I still spent everything I earned without a thought to the future. After working (lots of extra hours!) my way through some bumps, I saw the wisdom of planning and saving for the future. I’ve turned things around and strive to be debt free too.

  12. 12

    Scraphappy says

    Oh, I so totally agree with you, and relate to this! I think over the years I’ve probably helped a little too much, and finally told the kids – – and lately the grandkids – – that the “bank” was closed. Has it just been this last generation that has such a problem with saving? We have a house paid for, and savings enough to feel secure, and they have – – ? Parenthood is SO hard! Problem is, we are not the only influence on them and the habits they develop. It’s also so scary that our economy depends so much on credit card debt for survival.

  13. 13

    says

    I’ve been talking about this lately with friends. My parents tried to hard to teach my siblings and I financial prudence, but I think only 2 of us have gotten the message so far. My sister’s family and mine both are debt free except for houses, and, oh, does it feel nice. I can’t imagine how it will be when my girls grow up. I hope I can teach them too… and there’s a Dave Ramsey book well-thumbed on my shelf right now.

  14. 14

    says

    I just have to ask why you apologize. You are allowed to think the way you think. I’m a parent of a 4 year old and am seeing the difficulty of explaining money doesn’t grown on trees. I had to pay for my entire 4 1/2 years of college and weather the financial issues during that time. I think that very hard lesson has helped me get to where I am today. So keep voicing your opinions. I’m glad to know other people look at things the same way I do.

  15. 15

    says

    Getting our kids to be financially responsible is kinda like getting little kids potty trained… put the big kid undies on them and let the pee run down their legs and into their socks… they will learn.

    Young adults these days think everything is just a charge slip away… I think they have lost focus of money… real money… and saving money because with plastic they don’t have to save… they just have to figure out how to pay it off after the fact.

    Now that Chad has ‘peed in his sock’ so to speak… he’ll need to make sure that doesn’t happen again… but he’ll do it only if it feels really icky to him to be out of a car and/or out of money and/or paying Mom & Dad back each week for the repair bill.

    Kids! Good thing we love them!

  16. 16

    says

    I’ve been the grateful recipient of my parents generosity on more than one occasion, but the lessons that come with it are hard-earned, and frankly, ones I wouldn’t care to repeat! My cousin, on the other hand, has had his folks bail him out numerous times, while never saving for the proverbial rainy day. Now that the flood is here, my aunt and uncle don’t have enough money left to keep him afloat, and he could lose everything. It seems like my parents and his want the same things for us — to be happy and healthy — yet the decisions they made about how to help us grow up and achieve those goals led to very different results.

  17. 17

    neen says

    Judy, you have done all you can do, as a parent. Chad has to step up to the plate and take responsibility for his life. I know it isn’t easy to sit back and watch them flounder around, looking for an answer, now, when all they have to do is LISTEN and they already had the answer before they even had the question. This is the normal path for parental advice, I might add. When Chad is 22-23 and done college, he is going to be amazed at how smart you have gotten in 4 years!!!! Honestly!!!

    My dh and I have the similar financial values as you have and one of our kids (the she) got it, early on. The other (the he) is just now, at 44, taking off his rose colored glasses. Now, as a parent, THAT has been an amazing journey to watch….

    Your values are rubbing off on Chad, I’m sure, but he won’t know it til later…

    Keep on keepin’ on, Judy. You are doing right.

  18. 19

    says

    Bravo, Judy, bravo. Too many parents are bailing their kids out these days. It’s a hard lesson to learn but better now than later.

  19. 20

    Penny says

    Stick to your guns, Judy. This is exactly the time in his life that he needs to learn these lessons. Kids that don’t learn them NOW, don’t learn them. Plus, he doesn’t have a wife and child that could end up on the street. You are on the right track. Good job!

  20. 21

    says

    Moderation in all things is important. I have a friend who overdid the scrimping to the point her adult daughters are complete spendthrifts. Now she scrimps to help them pay off their credit cards! Sometimes the example merely inspires rebellion. My single daughter eats at home (hers, not mine) BEFORE going out with her friends, so that all she orders is a drink or appetizer. Her struggling married sis orders 3 courses and many Coke refills. So sometimes the same lesson is applied differently. It doesn’t help when they are bombarded with “I want it all…and I want it NOW” commercials, or those that stress entitlement to luxuries as though they’ve been earned, when we all know no young person has been around long enough to have earned them. It’s tough, but mine are older than Chad. I bet one day you will be surprised to hear him spouting your philosphy to others! That’s assuming you live long enough. Hang tough.

  21. 24

    Annie says

    I’m 100% with you. We always talked about having an emergency fund with our son. Luckily, he listened. I can honestly say he is a saver. It’s hard for kids these days to do that with all the outside pressure to “keep up with the Joneses”. You are doing the right thing. Good Job MOM!

  22. 25

    says

    He’ll get it. It just takes some kids longer than others. LOL. You’re a fabulous Mom, and very soon he’ll be thanking you for your words of wisdom on that score!

  23. 27

    says

    OMG we are going through the exact same thing. James bought a used car because it was a “hot” car and since he’s in the business he would be able to fix everthing. Famous last words. We lent him the couple of thousand it will take for a new transmission and various other issues for his “Hot looking” car. Unlike other times-he is now paying us back every penny and isn’t very happy about not having his dispoable money and $8 lattes at Starbucks.
    I think, at 24, he’s finally learning how horrible real life can be when you owe debts. I soooo feel your pain.

  24. 28

    says

    I think it is truly easier for some kids/people to save than others – but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have to be done. I’m trying to teach my kids the difference between wants and needs now (ages 9 and 12) so that they can screw up with small amounts of money now, not big, life-altering amounts later. The 9 yo gets it instinctively, the 12 yo -not so much. But we keep talking and he is slowly learning – been working on this already for several years.

  25. 29

    Betty J in OKC says

    I was raised by a frugal Mom and spendthrift Dad. I did go thru the CC-H#!! in 2004 and now have 5 of 7 CCs paid off, thus learning by experience. My paycheck yesterday was bigger than I’d anticipated and I’m going to squirrel away 1/3 of it. Your right in saying that rainy days always happen.

  26. 30

    Sheila says

    I’m confused… so how is he paying for it? No savings; not mom; not grandma …?

    Anyhow, know that you are going the right thing. I had to teach my son a similar hard lesson 10+ years ago when he chose to move into a frat house (we lived less than 10 miles from the univ) and expected me to foot the bill. I moved out of state and he was left to his own devices. He chose not to work; he ran up debt; he sold all his valuables. When he begged for money for Christmas, he got useful things like nail clippers.

    I love the peeing-down-the-leg metaphor.

    For all the years he was growing up, I was divorced, no child support, and worked a job that paid once a month; if I couldn’t pay cash, it wasn’t being bought. He is now married with 1.75 little ones, owns a house, two cars, his own business, and refuses to use credit cards (despite his wife’s desires).

    So, stand firm. Chad’s lucky this didn’t happen after he’d chosen to move, huh? (Although I’m not sure it was the wisest thing you’ve ever done to remind him of all you weren’t paying for if he did move.)

  27. 31

    says

    My parents did something right, all 4 of us kids are completely debt free. If we can’t pay cash, we don’t buy it. However, I apparently didn’t have my parents talent at passing that skill on to my kids, “fun” always seems to come first and priorities last.

  28. 32

    Marla says

    I feel your pain. I have two children. One son is 24 and on his own after paying for almost all of his own college and is very finanically smart. My 21 1/2 year old daughter is the exact opposite. If I can ever get her thru college and on her own, I will have the biggest party to celebrate and you are all invited!

  29. 33

    says

    I just want to say “Keep at it!” Chad will eventually learn (hopefully). While I don’t have any kids to try and teach how to save, my husband and I continually talk about people we know who don’t know how to save. We’re young at 28, but we were both taught early by our parents that money didn’t grow on trees and that in order to get the things you wanted in life, you had to work for them.

    I know a lot of parents now give their kids allowances for doing chores around the house and then the kids can use that money for buying whatever they wanted. When I was growing up, we were just expected to do the chores. We didn’t get paid for it! Nor did we get paid for getting A’s, but we were expected to do it and our parents were disappointed when we didn’t get the A’s. However, when it came time to buy things (either necessities or toys) my parents would always explain to us the choice of spending the money.

    Personally I also don’t agree with parents who completely pay for their children’s higher education. While some kids end up OK because they feel badly about spending Mom & Dad’s money, I know lots of people who did care about how well they did in college because they weren’t spending their money. I graduated with close to $80k in debt from school, but I am glad to say that with smart spending and saving, I am completely debt free 5 years later (with the exception of the house my husband and I own). I tried my hardest in college because I was spending my own money and I knew I’d have to get a decent job at the end in order to live the lifestyle I wanted and to repay that debt.

    It does seem like there are a lot of kids out there now who think that everything in life is free. There’s a philosophy for dog training called NILF (“Nothing In Life is Free”). We should be doing more of that for kids in society so that they know they have to work to get the things they want.

    Good luck with Chad!

  30. 34

    says

    Judy, Thanks for the story about saving for a rainy day. My boys have started working and one bought a new, fancy I-phone with his first check and the second check was dedicated to the monthly charges. This is so not how I would advise him to spend his money, but… it was not my decision, it was his. Time will tell if he thinks it was a good/bad decision. As an aside, I made and am donating a quilt to QOV based on an entry on your blog. Also as an aside, I think of your name as Judy Longoria, perhaps sister to Eva Longoria. I’m not a “Desparate Housewives” fan but anyway. I’m not sure you will find that funny or not. I hope you will err on the chuckly side.