Buh-bye overindulged snotty brats.
Adiós cell phones for toddlers.
And see ya’ later overstocked playrooms.
Written by Jason Skipper
In case you haven’t been watching the news, there is a nasty little rumor circulating that our nation is choking on a financial crisis, meltdown, recession, tsunami (take your pick). You can blame the “evil” banks or your neighbors foreclosing on homes “they couldn’t afford in the first place,” but realistically there is only one reason: Greed. And we are all guilty. We are the generation of excess.
Don’t want to include yourself as a member of our little group? Go ahead and count the number of digital screens in your household. (Yes, cell phone screens count… Yes, Gameboys count … And the portable DVD player … and the iPods … the GPS … and the TVs!) Got a number yet? We’re not bad people, we just have (well, had ) more than our parents. And even if we don’t, many of us still spend like we do. How is that a bad thing when it comes to our kids? Well, thanks to Dr. Bredehoft of Concordia University, we may have an answer. In a recent study, spanning numerous countries, he found that overindulgence, including giving too much, over-nurturing, and too little structure, has negative effects on children, which last into adulthood. Oops.
Our ability to provide children with luxuries like designer denim (KaChing!), cell phones (KaChing!), and over-the-top birthday parties (KaChing! KaChing!) has kept their heads firmly located in the clouds. “We have gone a little overboard on spending for our kids,” explains Christina M. Pinto, Certified Financial Planner at Moreno, Peelen, Ruggie, Pinto and Clark. “Think back to your birthday parties. Mine consisted of a group of friends with a birthday cake, balloons, and a piñata! Not catered champagne-filled kid soirées. This type of extravagance has long-term negative effects on your family’s finances.”
What possible benefit could there be for a family that cuts back? Whether you drop the cell phone, a few extra-curricular activities or your high-speed Internet, you might actually be left with some extra time. Time to linger at dinner and enjoy an actual family conversation. Time to teach your kids to save money and shop wisely. Time to open that lemonade stand and watch your kid work his tail off for five hours just to earn $15. Time to take him to the store to see just what five hours of his time can buy (after you subtract the 10% for his piggy bank savings). That’s right, Diesel jeans cost money, and earning money requires a lot of hard work. You’ll know the light bulb went off when he asks, “You mean I don’t get an allowance for just being alive?” That’s called starting the process of raising a financially responsible adult.
All of this reminds me of a fantastic quote from my Grandpa, who said, “Son, the Universe will never tire of hitting you over the head … start ducking.” THANK GOD OUR KIDS ARE BEING RAISED IN A BAD ECONOMY! Hard times are forcing us into a financial “duck” that just might result in a happy medium between spoiled and spurned.