“What financial advice can you give me?”
The situation has afforded the opportunity to talk about money matters. For DD1, who managed to graduate without a cent in student debt, work has always been a means to pay for rent, food, tuition, and books. Things are different now. The pay will be significantly higher. Expenses, with no school fees, will be significantly lower. “What financial advice can you give me?” she asked. (Yes, she actually asked.) My advice was to stay out of debt and to save as much as possible. When she asked how much she should save, she made it a point to tell me that she doesn’t want to be a miser. (As if I would advise that!) She’s at a point where parental input is welcome – but only in the context of her autonomy. So I respectfully offered the advice of Dave Ramsey, our debt-reduction guru: “Save 15% of your gross income.” We figured out what that would be, and DD1 seems confident that she can do it – though she’s not committed. “I don’t need to buy a car. I’m not at the point where I’m thinking of buying a house,” she said. It is hard to save without a specific goal, but I promised her that no matter what direction her life takes, she’ll be very grateful for her savings.
It is generally accepted that parents want their children to “do better” than they have. I think this truth is often understood in terms of career advancement and material acquisition. For my part, I don’t cherish dreams of DD1 buying a bigger home in a more prestigious part of town than ours. But I do feel enormous satisfaction in seeing her start out on the right financial foot. She stands a very good chance of side-stepping the whole quagmire of debt that has been an underlying stress for her parents all our adult lives. At her age, DH and I were just starting to multiply our respective debts. She, on the other hand, is about to start multiplying her savings. And multiplication is what happens either way. Good money management won’t be the answer to all of life’s problems or yearnings, but if she continues along this trajectory, she’ll set herself up to meet the challenges that will come her way unencumbered by the burden debt is. She’ll set herself up to have the freedom of choice when opportunities present themselves. That’s huge.
This is a great vacation week. Social and family visits; rest; fun; beautiful mountain and ocean views; fabulous food. But what can compare to motherly pride in a daughter who is “doing better” than her mom?
Comments are welcome!
I would love to hear what you have to say. Feel free to share your thoughts, offer advice, disagree, or ask questions. (Disrespectful comments will be deleted.)