Finance: A Family Lesson Not to be Missed

I’m sure you all have seen this commercial.

I have gotten very good at tuning out commercials or I just switch to another channel whenever they come on. I have fallen in love with TiVo just because I can watch pretty much anything now commercial free! But I digress.

Today, this commercial is the topic of discussion at the Simple Dollar blog on his post, COMMERCIALS, KIDS AND MATERIALISM.

I usually read the Simple Dollar via email subscription so I don’t get to see all the comments. Being a parent though and this being a subject close to my heart, I knew that this post would generate some comments. So I headed to the site and I was not wrong. There was a long list of comments basically agreeing with what Trent had to say, which basically comes down to his last point being:

… if my child had a routine habit of calling the things we did “dorkiness,” referring to us as the “Geek family,” or directly calling his parents names, that child wouldn’t be headed out for a fun afternoon with his friends.

Absolutely! The situation may have been amusing for a TV ad but in real life, with real parents, that boy would be back home scrubbing that lame ol’ van instead of going out with his friends!

Trent’s first point is especially true when it comes to family financials: “if you’re a parent, your kids shouldn’t have any influence over your buying decisions

I was just having this discussion with my co-worker yesterday because she saw that my daughter was driving when I got dropped off. Yes, my second daughter is practicing her driving so she can get her license. No, she won’t be getting her own car much less a brand new one like some of her friends are. Although there is a tiny part of me that feels bad we can’t afford to buy her a car new or used, that guilty feeling doesn’t last too long. She just got a job and if she chooses, she can save her earnings and maybe buy a used car. We’ll help her with the insurance, which is going to be hefty, we’ll help with the maintenance and of course we’ll be there for incidentals. However, she knows that she is in no way entitled to get a car just because she’s old enough to drive and have a license. Some of her friends feel that way; but we’ve talked about this and I am very open with her and her sisters about our financial situation.

Now if maybe I was a millionnaire and a new car would equate to me buying a new outfit, then of course I would get her a new car. What parent wouldn’t want to be able to do that for their kids?

But I happen to think that there is something to be said about having to work for the things you have. When you work for something, it is more valuable to you. You take better care of it and you are more aware of how other people may feel about their personal property.

Having your first car is definitely one of the highlights of a young person’s life, but learning about how to manage your money early on is a bigger lesson that must not be overlooked.

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