Family and Tough Financial Love

by Dual Income No Kids on January 20, 2007 · 0 comments

Sometimes we like to blog about general principles, but this posting is a bit of family anecdote.

The story is that my adopted brother Douglass has turned 18 and gone off to college like young men should. In order to cover his expenses while he is in school, my mom Gretchen gave him a substantial sum of cash. However, my little brother, being 18 and still pretty young in the ways of finance, has been using up his spending money like a drunken sailor. He’s mostly been spending it on travel to visit his girlfriend, but a lot of it has been blown on take out Chinese food, magazines and junky stuff like that.

After a series of several discussions, my mom Gretchen has finally decided to cut Douglass off. She’s not going to cut finding for his studies, I mean my parents are still funding Douglass’ tuition and housing, but now he will have to get a job if he wants spending money.

For what its worth, I am really happy about this. My little brother has a tremendous amount of athletic ability, interpersonal charm as well as intellectual capacity. However, for some reason he hasn’t yet felt the need to participate in the labor market. I think if he isn’t getting money from my mom, he’ll be forced to act on his own initiative and get a job. So, by being cut off from my mom’s money, Douglass should ultimately develop better employment hunting skills. This should translate into a long run benefit in the form of better jobs and higher salaries.

While this is just one example from my family, it does speak to a larger principle. Provided it is done appropriately, giving kids tough financial love can actually help them in the long run. Generally speaking, if individuals are forced to develop skills which allow them to innovate and adapt, then they will be better positioned for long term success.

Best,

James

p.s. I got cut off after finishing by B.A by my father as well. The experience of being on my own and learning to manage money was one of the catalysts for my interest in personal finance today.

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