My local MDC tribe started up a thread to discuss financial issues: budgeting, tracking spending, paying down debt, life insurance, etc.. I’m actively participating because I finally feel like DH and I have gotten a handle on our finances. It’s so rewarding to look back on the difficult years we’ve faced as a couple, not so long ago, and see how far we’ve come.
I find myself dispensing alot of advice or BTDT’s on our thread. It feels good to be able to pass down the wisdom I have gained (largely from making all the classic financial mistakes myself!). Hopefully I don’t come across as a know-it-all.
But it makes me think, why did I have to go through it all (and in some cases, more than once) to finally figure out how to properly manage money? My mother was frugal, worked hard, and good with managing her money – she’s sitting pretty in retirement: bought her condo with cash, and travels regularly, all after years of working at a middle income job. But I heeded none of her good advice when I was younger, and looking back I just don’t know why. I don’t think i really, truly, understood what she was saying. Maybe the truth is that we have to experience these things to really “get” them. And so I’m thinking of what I can do to help my kids learn how to manage money, the perils of debt, how to save, etc. A few simple things like avoiding debt and saving from the beginning can have them sitting pretty when they come into their own, but how to teach them that?
I have misgivings about the concept of an allowance. I question the value of a contrived income when the children’s needs are taken care of – all they’ll spend it on is stuff I wouldn’t buy them and I don’t know how the concept of credit would work its way in there, though the notion of saving might. I am ethically opposed to paying kids to do chores, or otherwise participate in the realities of family life. My kids are still too young to talk finances in a meaningful way, but in the meantime I’ll be considering the matter and looking for good ideas…