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Nothing Like Some Real World Experience To Make You Think About Money

June 9, 2013

birds and nestMy 24 year-old son, Jeff, is one of the lucky ones.  He has been happily employed since graduation with a company he loves, gaining valuable experience in a field related to his University studies.  Two months ago, after living at home for the past two years, he moved into his own downtown apartment. Celebration time- we were all ready for this huge step!

I have often mentioned to my kids how expensive it is just to pay for the basics of life.  Before the big move, I asked Jeff if he was sure he could afford it.  “Yes”, he said, rather exasperated that I would ask him such a basic question.  He has always been good with money, much more of a saver than a spender.  I know he has big goals- not that he’s ever shared them with me directly.  Instead, his ideas come out during conversations.  Like his desire to own multiple properties one day, travel and be richer than his parents.

So now that he’s on his own, life should be great, right?  I think the “real world realities” have just hit him!

Yesterday, while enjoying dinner together, I could sense something was bothering Jeff.  “Last month, I spent more than I made” he reluctantly admitted.  This seemed to surprise him but certainly did not surprise me! We talked some more and did a quick “back of the napkin” analysis to show just how much of his take home pay was going to rent.  After subtracting his next two largest expenses, namely car and food, I could see the light bulb turn on in his brain. The discussion continued.  I asked him if he had a budget.  “No” he said.  “Have you set up automatic savings on payday or enrolled in your employer’s savings plan?” I questioned.  Again, “no” and “no” he answered.  We have talked about these things many times before so this was not new information.  Like so many people, he had not taken action.  The realization sunk in that he was not going to get where he wants to be without following through on some of these suggestions.  And I didn’t need to say another word- how priceless is that?!

It was our first money discussion since he moved out but I know it won’t be our last! Stay tuned for more.

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