Thursday, July 16, 2015

No Money Tree, Kids

Once upon a time, money was not spoken about. It was considered crass, impolite, indiscreet. But then again, many topics were considered verboten, which have all since been busted wide in this secret-free and loud era. 

As for myself, in my childhood, money was really not spoken about. I was thrifty by nature; Babi would send me a check on my birthday, which was immediately deposited into the bank account Ta created at my birth, where it earned interest at a rate that no longer exists. If I wanted anything, I would bring my petition to the high potentate (Ma), where my request would be accepted or denied. Life was pleasantly simple. 

Today, with so many once-untouchable matters being openly discussed, that would make the kinfauna's approach to cash quite different from my kiddie view. Shopping with my 13-year-old niece, I bought her a pair of shoes for her birthday. She fretted that they cost too much (they didn't), not realizing that she doesn't give a second thought to other, more costly expenses. 

When times are good, then the after-effects of money is not a conversation. When times are bad, such as a Recession, then there comes a need to address the sensitive subject of spoiled children.

Ron Lieber wrote The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money. He also has article with some of the book's information, "Why You Should Tell Your Children How Much You Make." There is an interview with the author here.
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That idea made my breath catch. Tell younglings about their parents' salaries? Unheard of! Absurd! As I continued reading, I managed to grudgingly put aside my biases, finding myself swayed by Lieber's anecdotal arguments. 

While I do think that there are people out there who are stupid about money no matter how much education they receive in that area, most of us are simply tossed into the world of bills and budget without any prep work. Our schools should certainly have required courses in the realities of money before these teenagers make any life-altering decisions.

In my observations, I see that many make the fatal error of thinking that being a "loving parent" means showering offspring with expensive toys, snacks, and clothing. Yet as those children age, they will have been carefully taught that only things have value, as opposed to actual values. 
 
What rugrats actually crave is quality time with their parents. Give a kid an iPad, and he'll be initially thrilled, but not when his father retreats into his own tablet and shuts him out.

I grew up with toys (I adored Barbies) and I was in no way deprived. Yet each were purchased with tactical care, not mindlessly. There were many "no"s before we got to the "yes"s, and still Babi thought Ma was wasting money. If I make the stupendous mistake of shopping with the youngest of kinfauna, I get many admiring smiles from bystanders as I repeat, "No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no." But the kiddies aren't resentful. They pout for a few minutes, and most of the time they forget what took their fancy. They do a bigger dance at the idea of me going hoarse reading them books. Like The Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmies.

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7 comments:

The Professor said...

I don't know if telling kids salaries is the solution, but it is really important to educate children on the value of money. I am constantly shocked at some of my employees who are grown adults with families who still have absolutely no concept of money.

Off topic question, what would be your thought if a guy didn't want to fly to date you, but instead offered to pay for your ticket? Is that acceptable?

Anonymous said...

I'm not Princess Lea, but I personally would never do it. Can't really explain it, but there's something about it that bothers me. I guess I prefer to pay my own way.
(Also in my experience, guys who won't travel--unless they have a work related reason why they can't--usually have an overinflated ego or don't really want to be dating & were pushed into it by an eager shadchan. At least, that is what I have found.)

Anonymous said...

And just to qualify the above, I have traveled for dates. I always paid my own way, though.

The Professor said...

My thing is I cant start traveling the country to date. Thank G-d I work for a living, and to start gallivanting around just doesnt work for me. Therefore, I'm willing to pay for dating set 1 & 2. If I was serious enought to hit dating set 3, id take a break from work and travel.

Anonymous said...

You do realize that the girl is just as likely to be "working for a living" and can't go "gallivanting around" either? Nothing to do with being able to afford a ticket somewhere. It's actually kind of a condescending attitude.

The Professor said...

I respect PL too much to continue carrying on a non post related conversation here much longer. Wel have to move it to my blog if itl continue much more...

My final thoughts on the matter: a girl who dates me expects me to be the breadwinner, and expects to be able to lead a certain lifestyle that would be enabled by my job. I don't expect the same from here. Thats the difference between her work and mine.

Re it being condescending to pay, it has nothing to do with being able to afford it. It has to do with if I'm going to break from the "norm" and have her fly to me twice without me flying to her, i think its only courteous that I offer to pay for one of the flights.

Princess Lea said...

OK, my take: While it is expected that dinner is on the guy's tab, paying for her to fly out is a more complicated matter.

For instance, an acquaintance of mine from Brooklyn met a guy from the city in the city; he handed her a rather large bill to pay for her cab home. That story caused a furor. The same thing happened to me, and I was horrified. I dunno, I felt as though I was being paid off or something.

I understand very well about breadwinning and such, but this isn't yet about marriage, but dating. Also, when it comes to a someone flying out it's not just about money. Taking such a trip involves a lot of effort, rescheduling, and packing (the luggage will be about three times that of a male's) so paying for the flight is absolving one of but a small aspect of the process.

My suggestion? Skype. Skype is wonderful. If the guy can't fly out because of work, understandable. But the alternative shouldn't be the girl flying out; it should be Skype.

If the relationship has progressed to a point of "understanding," perhaps, then, it would be appropriate to pay for her flight.