My 3 kids are different when it comes to making money, spending money and talking to money. Yes, I said talking to money.
Carb, my quiet, unassuming and recently wealthy middle son has landed the mother load of teenage summer jobs working for a landscaper: sweat, layers of dirt like I’ve never seen before but most importantly, he’s hit the wage lottery for a 16 year old with dreams of a car not made by Honda. His tastes are a bit more realistic than his brother’s fantasy world of Lamborghinis but no less expensive to fill the tank. I don’t even know what a GT is but it sounds expensive (hello car insurance rates through the roof). After his first week of work, I deposited some of his earnings into his bank account so it didn’t get lost or stolen by desperate siblings. I asked him if he’d like to hold onto some in case there was anything he wanted to buy. He looked at me and said the unfathomable – nahhh, there’s nothing I need. I could clothe a small town with my closet full of stuff; there is nothing I “need” either but that doesn’t stop me from barreling down the highway to Lord & Taylor if I find $40 in last summers pocketbook – Momma “needs” a new pair of shoes. It’s a sickness, I know. College and saving for retirement has caused me to slow down in my spending but last time I looked Carb wasn’t paying the mortgage or health insurance. I thought there was some X-box game or overpriced pair of sneakers that he was coveting but it seems nothing is deterring him from saving for a car. He wants all that sweat to stand for something more than another pair of Nikes. He’s a saver like his father and that’s how they roll. Unfortunately the person in charge of the money in my house, ME, doesn’t know how to roll that way.
BG, my college daughter is more like me – she loves clothes, vacations and lattes. Throw in a mani/pedi and that translates to living on gas fumes and finding spare change in the couch cushions. She also works in the summer but in a comfortable air-conditioned building (a school for children with disabilities so the work isn’t easy) but it also isn’t shoveling mulch for eight hours in blistering heat. Although she makes above minimum wage, it’s not as much as her brother and then there is that cut from Uncle Sam. I do see some improvement in her spending this summer. She has set some goals: a new camera, partying, I mean studying abroad for a semester and she is trying not to spend as much money.
My youngest takes an unusual approach. This morning I found him underneath the front seat of my car talking to a dime to coax it from its unreachable spot. Perhaps he was trying to get it to multiply with the gang of pennies stuck to some gum nearby. RD loves money. He begs for jobs to do around the house demanding a fair wage of about $100 an hour. He will not be following in his brother’s footsteps working his butt off all day preferring instead to be the Money Whisperer. When you look at some of the reality shows out there, it’s not such a bad idea. When you look at the economy and job prospects for college graduates, it’s not such a bad idea.
RD counts his money countless times during the day. Once I hear the sound of his Velcro wallet opening, the wailing begins, someone stole my money, he cries. Hmmm, that would be me. I live completely cashless. So there’s that $30 I “borrowed” for the pizza delivery guy, $10 here or there for the ice-cream place that doesn’t accept credit cards (come on, it’s 2013, if they didn’t make incredible caramel heath bar crunch I would so boycott their ass) and an emergency $20 for Middle Son before he became Donald Trump. I pay whatever RD says he is missing.
Maybe I should be the one talking to the dimes and pennies. I’ll let you know how my financial plan works out.