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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): Place Oxygen Mask Over Your Face Before Helping Children

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Place Oxygen Mask Over Your Face Before Helping Children

Remember your last flight? You know, when the flight attendant briefs you on putting the oxygen mask over your face before helping your children. Why is that? Because if you pass out for lack of oxygen, fiddling with trying to help your kids...neither of you will be helped. The same goes for kids and money. This post is especially for you folks with teens in the house. Before handing out your next chunk of change to your kid, remember this.

  • Being overgenerous with your kids will actually backfire on your child. Your child will think money does not need to be earned and that it grows on trees. They will forever have a screwed up vision of money and managing their life.
  • When you give your teen or adult child money, will it speed up or prolong their dependency? If you are constantly bailing them out and giving them a hand out, how will they learn to be independent? If you have a situation where you can give them money to get them to the next level, then by all means, do it. I just want you to go through this thought process before handing it out...every time, thinking you are helping them, when you may in fact not be.
  • There is a better chance of your kid somehow finding money for college (work/study programs, scholarships, grants) than you later finding money to fund your retirement. Your retirement should come first, then save for college. You don't want to be a burden to your kids when you are older than dirt do you? Save now so this won't happen to your family.
  • Foster responsibility and independence early on. Teach your kids that the decisions and habits they have now can and will have consequences. Didn't do your homework, well, then no tv today? Didn't clean the cat litter box? Sorry, you won't be able to go over to Johnny's house today. Start this early and when they are young, and you won't have a problem later on when teenage hormones start affecting their brainwaves!
  • Encourage your kids to save early on. Our kids do not get toys and junk unless it is Christmas or their birthday. And you know what, they don't ask for anything, except around those times of year..and they have had a bright and fulfilling childhood. When they do get a surprise gift at any other time, they truly are surprised and appreciate it more. If they really, really want something, I encourage them to cut out a photo, write down the price, and start saving. If it's something high priced, I might even offer to match what they can save up.
How do you deal with your kids when they have a case of the gimmies? How do you go about with money and your children?

Added 5/7/2008:

Another thought, how about matching your child's savings? I know someone who opened up an IRA for their teenager. Every dollar that child puts into that account from her waitressing job, the parents are matching it...what an incentive! You can also do this with your child's piggy bank. Every time she decided to put the money in there rather than spend it, you can match it. I like that.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Linda said...

I wish my neighbor read your blog!

Her teen daughter (age 17) is BEYOND indulged. She has her own car (bought by daddy after the divorce, of course). This child has, all winter long, started her car a full HALF-HOUR before she leaves the house. I know what gas costs...and I also know that her mom is struggling.

And this young and loverly girl doesn't work...she CHEERS, therefore she has no TIME for work. What little money she actually earns comes from ME when I hire her to babysit (side note: it is FANTASTIC to have a babysitter that lives 10 steps from your house...as long as she is available!).

It truly bothers me that her mom doesn't tell her not to start her car that early. And it's no longer frigid out, so starting it early NOW is useless.

But is it my place to tell the neighbors (in a friendly way) that there's a lot of $$$ being blown out the exhaust by doing that? Not to mention the wear and tear on the engine (former auto mechanic, here).

sigh....

But I will DEFINITELY keep these guidelines in mind when my kiddos become teens. Hopefully, their behavior NOW will carry through to the teen years. ANY money they get from birthdays/holidays (or find via change from our pockets left on counters) is immediately stashed into their banks. They LOVE it. And we do too!

April 17, 2008 at 4:22 PM  
Blogger ****Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife**** said...

Be sure to stop by the Carnival of Personal Finance #149 to read other great finance articles at

http://www.thehappyrock.com/2008/04/21/149th-carnival-of-personal-finance-chasing-dreams-edition/

April 23, 2008 at 1:15 PM  
Blogger The Family CEO said...

I love the title and premise of this post! I think it's especially important not to save for college at the expense of retirement savings. You explained that so well!

April 28, 2008 at 4:16 AM  

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