Save as They Say, Not as They Do
You knew this was bound to happen. When it comes to saving money, some of today’s parents are telling their children to do as they say but not as they did.
A recent newspaper article represents this hypocrisy. A 49-year old father is instructing his 12-year old daughter in the wisdom of saving her money. While these words were coming from Dad’s mouth, old Dad is burdened by $25k in credit card debt, first and second mortgages, plus a $12k personal loan for a “travel trailer.” Mr. Willpower he was not.
It makes one wonder whether Dad admitted to his daughter that he was a financial moron. Or did he pretend that he had walked the talk?
The article also highlights the dilemma of many wannabee savers: They have nothing to save. They are living paycheck-to-paycheck.
For parents in this category, are they telling their children that cutbacks in spending are needed? Or are they afraid of creating doubt in the kids’ minds as to Mom and Dad’s financial competence?
My suggestion is that the sooner you come clean with your children about your own money missteps, the better for the children. Otherwise, the mistakes of the parents are likely to imprint on the the children and start them off in the wrong direction. Incurring student loan debt is often a first sign that the kids have come to accept high-risk debt as a fact of life. “Good debt”, they say. B.S. I say.
Let’s hope the next generation of parents makes an effective transition to “do as I do” when it comes to personal finance.