I have added another “four-letter-word-I-don’t-want-to-hear-from-your-mouths” to our list.
The kids are already quite familiar with it.
And I think it scares them a bit.
And I’m totally fine with that.
I’ve already shared my little secret how I love money. One of my favourite shows is “Til Debt Do Us Part”. A couple of years ago the kids used to watch it all the time with me. They really did enjoy it and even though a lot was over their heads, it allowed us the opportunity to talk about money. I just wasn’t sure how much was sinking in (they were only 4,6,8,8 and 11)! Sounds a bit much I know, but honestly, they liked (and still like) it!
It was around the same time we bought our boat. We were very excited about it and got all the kids piled in for a little tour on the giant lake for the first time. They were so excited and we headed out! It was Labour Day Weekend and a gorgeous day. The planes were out practicing for the annual airshow, so all the boys were mesmerized.
All of a sudden, the boat came to an abrupt stop and we heard a horrible noise. Rob immediately began checking for the potential problems. Much to his dismay, we had made a terrible, amateur mistake with our new jet boat, and not tied down the bow line in the front. With all the kids moving around, the line had slipped into the water, under the boat and sucked into the jet engine.
We had ruined the engine on our first official trip out.
Now, times like these are when you see personalities come out. Gabe started panicking that we were going to die. Zach and Zandra were both concerned that we did not have sunscreen on, but were both off in their own worlds a few minutes later. Sam, fell asleep. Rob was going on and on about how dumb we were and how this was going to “cost us so much money” to fix etc.etc. He couldn’t get over the fact that we would have to spend “thousands” because of our own stupididty.
Josh took it all in, and with his six year old face mixed with innocence and concern said “Mom, are we in debt? Can we not afford this boat”? We laughed. I guess he had watched enough shows with me that now my six year old was worrying about debt! Time to switch him to some age appropriate shows!
Now that they are all a touch older, I do think it is appropriate for them to get a bit of an understanding of what debt is and how it can wreak havoc and cause tons of stress on your whole life.
It’s such a huge topic though, so I will divide into different posts.
A quick little overview of my thoughts:
First of all, I don’t think all debt is bad…there are some things that are “worth” the debt: house (mortgage), education (student loans) and for me, a car falls under the “ok” debt category (if you need – which we do – and they are vey pricey).
HOWEVER, they all have to be items “within your means”. A mortgage that makes you “house poor”, or a super duper expensive car that you really can’t afford, is not good. The goal should always be to pay everything off as soon as you can and get rid of even this “ok debt”.
I actually also think “credit” can be your friend. We put everything on our credit card, pay off every cent every month, and use our travel points every year. It works for us. We have a home line of credit that we have used to do some home renos (adding to the value of our home), or to help with “cashflow” (yup – this is the slippery slope one…We don’t have set incomes though so sometimes it is necessary…. We always know if and when the money is coming in though – so it’s a question of timing. Famous last words I know, but it actually works for us:)
Bottom line: the beauty of credit is the convenience factor. The downfall is thinking it is like another income. If you don’t have the money, you shouldn’t really be buying it.
That’s it for now…next debt post will be specific advice for you kiddies before you ever take a on single cent of debt….