Do you have any advice for teaching responsibility and generosity to adult children and grandkids when it comes to money? — Justin
Children of all ages have to be taught about the concepts of humility, gratitude and contentment. In my mind, humility is where gratitude comes from, and gratitude leads to contentment.
You’ve got to spend time talking to kids about these things. Otherwise, you run the risk of them counting on the income. If someone starts saying, “Well, since Mom and Dad are paying for our day care, we can use that money we would have spent to buy a car.” That means they’ve started counting on your generosity to live, and that’s a form of entitlement mentality.
None of our kids receive any kind of financial help from us unless they’re already carrying their weight in their own lives. This teaches responsibility and self-reliance. Now it would be different if one of them developed a serious medical issue or something like that. But the whole idea that Mommy and Daddy have lots of money, and I can just get some from them? That doesn’t fly in our family. — Dave
My daughter makes $3,000 to $5,000 a month modeling. I don’t want her to become spoiled by this, and I need advice on what to do with the money. Should it be put aside for a car, and do you think she should have to pay for something like that herself? — Lisa
So how do we keep a high-income, high-profile job from ruining this little girl? When it comes to the money, you guys should sit down and discuss some goals for the future. I think it’s important that any car purchase be reasonable, because the best thing a kid this age could do with that kind of money is save up for college. Even if she goes to school on a full scholarship, she should be driving something low-key. Just because she gets a free ride in college doesn’t mean she gets to cruise the streets in a Lamborghini. Set the rest of it aside for when life really begins—after college.
As her mom, it’s very important that you teach her these lessons now. It’s essential, too, that you don’t surrender the position of parent, teacher and leader. Chances are when this young lady is 34, no one will give a flip that she modeled for a while as a teenager. The most important things here are the lessons taught and learned, not the money. — Dave
I have student loan debt and can’t afford the payments now. Should I send them what I can, even if it’s not the minimum payment? — Tina
If you’re already living on a beans-and-rice, scorched-earth budget and $5 is all you can squeeze out, then give them $5 and let them know with a clear conscience it’s all you can afford. All you can do is all you can do.
If you’re scrimping and saving and paying all the money that you have first toward running your household and secondly toward your creditors, you’ll start finding ways to stretch your dollars even further. Not only will that help you clean up your student loan mess, but it will enable you to have a little bit better life in the process! — Dave