Life Lessons: Debt

baby laying on floor holding twenty dollar bill

Teaching children about debt should happen as early as possible.

TechnoBoy borrowed twelve dollars from me to buy some baseball cards (a new passion here in the EP household) a few weeks ago. He’s not a boy with high ambitions when it comes to money. He rarely does any of the paid chore opportunities that have been offered. I was getting a little concerned about the lack of effort being made to repay the debt when I recalled the following verse that is used as a foundational principal in the Financial Peace program.

The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower {becomes} the lender’s slave.

Proverbs 22:7 (New American Standard Version)

Heh heh heh. The borrower becomes the lender’s slave. Sounds like something that will work to everyone’s advantage in this situation.

So. This morning I stopped TechnoBoy and explained that there are plenty of paid chores available to be done this weekend so he can work off his debt, and that he could expect to be working upon request. Ohhhhhh he was not happy with me. You know what he said to me?? After a comment about how he shouldn’t have to work on Labor Day (and where he got THAT idea I’ll never know) he said:

“My friends wouldn’t make me work to pay back the money if I borrowed from them.”

I managed not to fall on the floor laughing. I simply repeated the verse to him and then said “Well I’m not your friend.”

I believe he retorted with something about how I’m his enemy, to which I said “No, I’m your mother” and wandered off. No point in getting into an argument when I’ve just succeeded in annoying him so completely.

I’m going to enjoy the victory and the completed chores, and I betcha it’s a long time before he borrows again.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who care about their children’s financial success.

The editor-in-chief of Earnest Parenting, Amy is the mother of two sets of twin boys. Yes, they drive her crazy, but they also make her laugh occasionally. Amy enjoys writing, quilting, reading, and working on her burgeoning cyber empire.

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  • PandaBean August 31, 2007, 4:27 pm

    ROTFL!!! This is a great story! I have been one of those people who mooch off their friends and this is something I’m still working on. Progress not Perfection!

    God Bless!

    Reply
  • Michelle August 31, 2007, 4:45 pm

    Oh, that’s a great one!!! I love it! Tell him he can do some paid chores here, too, if he wants to pay off those cards quicker. (wink).

    Hugs, Michelle
    beartwinsmom.wordpress.com

    Reply
  • Mike April 16, 2008, 12:38 am

    Way to teach them young. We broke out the budget again recently so the could see that there isn’t an endless supply of money.

    Reply
  • Amy April 16, 2008, 11:41 am

    Hi Mike! Thanks for stopping by. In the months since I wrote this post TechnoBoy has not borrowed again, although he hangs his head sadly in the store while muttering to himself about not having money. Poor kid. Perhaps this summer he’ll get in the earnings swing of things.

    Reply
  • Kathlene July 16, 2008, 11:12 am

    Love your post! This is something I think many people really don’t get the chance to practice and understand before becoming adults. You really are never too young to learn/teach this lesson.

    Reply
  • Amy July 16, 2008, 1:25 pm

    Hi Kathlene. 🙂 Thank you.

    You’re so right about never being too young. My parents had us do a little money management, but there are mistakes that Hubby and I have made that I hope the boys can learn from without having to experience for themselves.

    For our next trick, we’re going to hold a garage sale and have the boys sell all the toys they never play with. The deal is that they can use the profits to buy something for all 4 of them (because Hubby and I bought the toys they’re selling – if it’s something they purchased on their own then they can have the profits). I’m hoping they get rid of a ton and earn enough to buy a Wii game or something small.

    It’s been interesting discussing with them how much they actually use items that were must-haves months ago. Another step in the direction of less clutter perhaps? Time will tell.

    Reply
  • Debt Management September 5, 2008, 11:30 am

    Great story. Kids need to learn about debt management as early as possible.

    Reply
  • Bogdan Radu September 12, 2008, 7:56 am

    Great. I will put my kids to learn about that 🙂

    Reply
  • Credit Counseling September 12, 2008, 3:34 pm

    Growing up, I had a spoiled friend whose parents paid for everything. I was so jealous – until now. She’s a college graduate who has no money know–how – she’s 20 grand in debt and has no idea how to take care of her self financially.

    Reply
  • San Antonio Attorney September 19, 2008, 2:46 am

    This is a very helpful post for a lot of parents. Kids should really be taught about how important money is. We can start by not letting them buy everything they want.

    Reply
  • Online Credit Counseling Services September 29, 2008, 5:01 pm

    Children can only be taught about money by learning to manage a budget at a young age. I give my children $20 a week to spend on whatever they choose. If they want to buy something that costs more than that, they can find a job or do household chores. Too many parents today are reluctant to set up boundaries for their children – but spoiling their kids will only cause them to become irresponsible adults.

    Reply
  • Prismas Basalticos October 14, 2008, 11:04 am

    teaching our children how to handle their money at a young age can actually give them the value of money to us.
    -M from Mexico

    Reply
  • Rosie McCleaner October 28, 2008, 6:13 am

    Teaching kids how to manage their money would be so beneficial to their lives, money is such a huge part of life and its never a subject brought up in education

    Reply
  • Lisa Watson December 17, 2008, 6:35 pm

    Great post Amy, and that verse rings so true to even today’s day and age in the sense of debt. Personally I’m a huge fan of not having any debt, unless under certain circumstances (house). Most people don’t understand that a root of alot of their problems ties back to their inexperience in correctly managing money and accruing debt. Teach them at a young age Amy, that’s perfect! I wish more parents instilled this type of information.

    Reply
  • Amy December 20, 2008, 5:42 pm

    Lisa, thanks for the compliment! And you’re right about debt being a root of the problem; it’s sad that so many families are learning this the hard way in this economy.

    Reply
  • Val Garner December 24, 2008, 2:11 pm

    What a great response! He sounds like such a lively kid, the comment of not having to work on Labor Day?! How did you keep a straight face, or did you? Classic! I’ll bet he keeps you hopping.

    Reply
  • Amy December 26, 2008, 7:34 pm

    Val I find that biting the insides of my cheeks helps with the straight face thing. I can usually do it if Hubby isn’t around. If he is and I make eye contact while a boy is being especially hilarious we usually both lose it at that point. I’ve been known to leave the room and laugh elsewhere if the situation warranted.

    Reply
  • peza lawyer May 3, 2009, 10:19 pm

    Brilliant idea of teaching a child on how to pay debts. We should give extra effort so that we can pay our debt. I remember my parents told me that if a have a debt on someone, do not let that someone to remind me the debt but be the first one to say that i am gonna pay the debt. that’s all..thanks!

    Reply
  • Susan B February 28, 2010, 9:33 am

    We have been using that Love and logic principal so long I actually heard the 9 year old ask my 6 year old son if he wanted to borrow some money from him this week hoping to have his chores done for him for a week (the terms of the last agreement between them) . The six year old replied – no thanks, your terms are too high!!

    I’m such a mean mom that loans are not only repaid, but with interest 😉

    Reply
    • Amy February 28, 2010, 6:30 pm

      Oooooo, I should start charging interest! Of course that would mean I’d have to allow loans, which I haven’t done for a while. We finally have gotten serious and structured about chores and allowance around here, so the boys have actually had some money to practice with these last few months.

      Good for you, being a mean mom. It’s very important!!

      Reply