Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Til Debt Do Us Part

There's a show I watch some days called Til Debt Do Us Part. It's one of my indulgences in the middle of the day.

Money is the number one cause of failed marriages. Rare is the couple that agrees on how the pot should be divided and the bills paid. Most families are in debt, and with debt come family arguments, tears, tantrums and marriages on the verge of divorce. To save families from the doldrums of debt, each episode of Til Debt Do Us Part follows financial wizard Gail Vaz-Oxlade as she helps families go from red to black by getting to the root of their destructive spending habits. Related Reading on Short of cash and it's still a week till payday? Read the article, Survive on Little to No Money.

What this show helps me to do is to keep my family's financial situation in the forefront of my mind. My habit has been to exert control over my money by spending it. In a backwards sort of way I felt that it was the only way to show Money who was boss.

Thankfully I have a wonderful financial consultant to help me these days and the only debt we carry is my truck loan.

One habit I'd like to change is one I carried over from my own family's inability to save properly: telling my kids we can't buy something because we have no money.

While it's important to teach your kids to budget, it's equally important to keep the adult finances a topic of adult discussion only. Sure, you could break down the finances for your children, show them how much goes to rent and how much goes to food etc... but let's not scare the children!

I think that parents have a tendency to add extra information after the word "no" because they want their children to understand that they aren't just being mean, there are reasons for "no".

"No, we don't have enough money" actually causes kids to worry. If they don't have enough money... what does that mean? They already know that we use money to 'get things' like food and fuel and housing. There's a fine line between giving enough info and too much info.

Sometimes, though, no is enough.

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