Author Topic: Teenage Backlash -- help!  (Read 23796 times)

mlipps

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1085
Re: Teenage Backlash -- help!
« Reply #50 on: June 14, 2013, 03:54:10 PM »
FinancialStudent, have you thought about taking a semester or year off to make money and thereby pay less in loans, or pay some back early while you still have the luxury of living at home?

I only have 2 semesters left, so I'd rather just finish now on schedule. If I left I don't know if I'd find the motivation to go back.

It's not all doom and gloom though. Like I said, I live at home and have almost no expenses. My degree is in Information Systems and I landed a nice internship this summer that's keeping me on during the school year. A permanent position has been hinted at after graduating and I'd expect to make 40-50K. Living in the midwest and living at home with that salary would make my repayment very manageable.

But if I would have made better decisions, my debt load would have been cut in half. I just want to pay my stupid tax and get it over with!

If it's any consolation, my husband is 3 years out of college with an IS degree & making $92k. You'll pay them off in no time if you work hard.

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5753
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Teenage Backlash -- help!
« Reply #51 on: June 14, 2013, 04:10:02 PM »
FinancialStudent, have you thought about taking a semester or year off to make money and thereby pay less in loans, or pay some back early while you still have the luxury of living at home?

I only have 2 semesters left, so I'd rather just finish now on schedule. If I left I don't know if I'd find the motivation to go back.

It's not all doom and gloom though. Like I said, I live at home and have almost no expenses. My degree is in Information Systems and I landed a nice internship this summer that's keeping me on during the school year. A permanent position has been hinted at after graduating and I'd expect to make 40-50K. Living in the midwest and living at home with that salary would make my repayment very manageable.

But if I would have made better decisions, my debt load would have been cut in half. I just want to pay my stupid tax and get it over with!

If it's any consolation, my husband is 3 years out of college with an IS degree & making $92k. You'll pay them off in no time if you work hard.

That is going to vary hugely by location.   

IS/IT jobs 100 miles away from my current location pay close to double what they pay here.  I suspect NYC or Silicon valley would be 3x what it is here.

Purple

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 37
Re: Teenage Backlash -- help!
« Reply #52 on: June 14, 2013, 09:40:06 PM »
I have a 17 year old son and the sad truth is kids are incredibly short-sighted.  If your son is anything like mine then student loan debt is about as real as a unicorn.


This is a classic ... 'About as real as a unicorn' would make a great title for a policy paper on the problems with the student loan market.

meadow lark

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4831
Re: Teenage Backlash -- help!
« Reply #53 on: June 15, 2013, 12:20:09 AM »
It's hard, but it sounds like you are doing a good job.  I over-explain and cater to my son.  But at the end of the day, just as you are doing, I choose the car, the house, etc and he gets over it.  Compliance is required, enthusiasm is not.  One mixed blessing - at least you are not fighting a spouse!  My spouse is finally mostly on board with frugality that affects us, but she still has trouble with our son.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2013, 12:22:50 AM by Meadow Lark »

Nords

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3181
  • Age: 58
  • Location: Oahu
    • Military Retirement & Financial Independence blog
Re: Teenage Backlash -- help!
« Reply #54 on: June 15, 2013, 05:51:20 PM »
I've tried to explain to my almost 16 year old son how awful it feels to be in so much debt; how essential it is that I fix it NOW.  I've shown him the numbers.  I've told him that of all the promises I've made, the most important one is that I pay for college (it's about half paid for already; I'd cover the other half).
He doesn't get it and he's really angry that I sold the car he liked and expected to drive for an "emasculating" Prius.  He's pissed that I'm about to switch up his cell phone service.   I've read the articles on converting a spouse to Mustachian ways, but that dynamic doesn't work here because a spouse has an equal stake in the couple's economic future and as an adult, spouse has SOME experience with the Real World.
How do I try and get my teen on board?  How do I manage the backlash (no, I am not giving up)?  Advice please!
You're getting out of debt-- and it's all about him.  Yeah, that's about right for teenagers

I'm impressed.  Most parents struggle for years to find a way to launch their kids from the nest.  You've found a way to make him so angry that he'll move himself out and live on his own just to show you how to do it right!

When Amy Dacyczyn cranked down on her kids (as another poster mentioned), she had the same reaction.  She had to ease up in a few areas (like not feeding them oatmeal for breakfast every day of the week).  However she expected some teen rebellion and saw it as their first fluttering of their wings of independence, not a threat to her authority or her lifestyle.  When they moved out, she expected that they'd run wild for a year or two on their own.  However they already had the lifestyle skills & experience, and they'd eventually come back to frugality.  Which they eventually did.  None of it was considered to be her problem to help with, let alone solve.

In your son's case, I guess you have to let him answer his "What if?" about the military.  (I'm USNA '82 and our daughter is starting her senior year in NROTC.)  VMI will certainly be a bucket of cold water compared to his current lifestyle, but it may offer the structure & discipline that he needs to get his focus and his grades.  It will certainly motivate him for an education and occupational skills.  If he doesn't have the time for a job now then (now that you've righteously scared the crap out of him) you could consider putting him a limited salary in exchange for extra work around the house.  Our daughter made a pretty good pile of cash at $10/hour washing cars and doing yardwork. 

Our daughter went through the Mustang phase.  Once she totaled up the costs of ownership she went with a much older/cheaper vehicle.  It's also a hauler for her growing collection of triathlon & backpacking gear, which is a challenge for a Mustang. 

You could point out that you're thinking about him by getting yourself out of debt now instead of expecting him to support you in his old age.  But I don't think he's going to be able to visualize that approach...

happy

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4974
  • Location: NSW Australia
Re: Teenage Backlash -- help!
« Reply #55 on: June 15, 2013, 11:19:39 PM »
Hi I'm a single mum with 2 teenagers age 15 and 18.  Teenage backlash or at least some sense that its unfair to totally turn the tables on them midstream is why I have chosen slow reform. If I were on my own I'd be more radical. My situation means that I can make gradual change which is less stressful, but still, a boundary is a boundary that needs defending wherever you put it.

 One trick I've learned is to try to make them responsible for expenditure. I've had arguments with my son about mobile phone costs for donkey's years.  Earlier this year I decided to give him a monthly allowance which gets paid into his bank account, that he set up for himself, by direct debit. This makes him feel like a grown up.  Its $70 a month, which has to pay his mobile phone bill and any other "junk" which I would refuse to pay for.  Previously he "couldn't live" without  spending $30  or more a month on the phone. Without me saying anything now he's down to $20.  I couldn't have achieved that by butting heads.  A few times desperate pouting sulking longing for an object of desire has vanished pronto when I suggested that they spend "their own money" on something...they know how to try it on.

I am also having car grief..since I won't buy or part buy a second car for him "like all his friends parents". I just say get a job and save up. I also have misgivings about work vs study, since he is in final year of high  school which is substantially demanding in Australia.  However he only gets the odd intermittent paid work, so he really is not in danger of his study suffering.

Personally I suggest firm boundaries but understanding. Patient repeated explanation. Also get a grip on how much you feel bad that you are not indulging him...often I find its my indulgent parent self that feels worse in refusal than the pouty teen. For example if I'm not careful I can start to feel guilty I am not buying a second car...then I have to tell myself to get a grip!!!!

TrulyStashin

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1030
  • Location: Mid-Sized Southern City
Re: Teenage Backlash -- help!
« Reply #56 on: July 19, 2013, 09:20:38 PM »
Update.

I have held the line and continued "constant optimization" and he is adjusting.  I've cancelled gym membership and told him that if he really wants to use the YMCA, he can get a job there -- they give a membership to employees.   He complained at first but then quieted down.  I also cancelled DirectTV and had not yet bought an antenna.  As a result, we didn't have TV for the MLB All Star game, which chapped his backside but he didn't complain to me, he texted his dad (my ex-husband).  I only know son was miffed because I got a text from ex about it ("what?  No TV?"). 

The coupe de grace came a couple of weeks ago.  We were having round 42 over whether he was allowed to spend his own money to upgrade his phone and I just flat out told him he wasn't allowed to do it because his phone was just fine and it was a waste.  Put my foot down, even though it was his money.  Told him he was being a consumer sukka and it was stupid.  He pitched a fit about how it was "only $50."

The next morning, I rolled his butt out of bed at 7 AM and made him go to work with me all day.  I park about 1.5 miles from my office and usually bike in the last bit (saves $142/ mo in parking & tolls).  With him along, I decided we'd walk.  So, we hiked in, taking stairs up onto a pedestrian bridge over the river.  As we passed the area where the bridge and the land came together I said, out loud, "I'll have to remember this area if I'm ever homeless.  It looks dry and safe."   He just looked at me with deer eyes.

We spent the day in my office and took the bus to his orthodontist appointment that afternoon.  On the way back, he said "bus fare is $1.50?"  I replied "Yep."   He said "Let's walk."   So we did.   We also walked back to the car that afternoon and enjoyed hearing the sound of the river under us and seeing the ospreys flying overhead.  We agreed that you don't get to see that when you're in a car.

I've moved his cell service to Ting and given him an allowance of $30/ mo.  I showed him all the tips/ tricks for keeping his bill low and told him that if he uses less than $30/ mo, the balance is his to keep but if he uses more, he has to cover it.  It draws directly from his account so he will also have to learn to plan and reconcile his account each month.

For his birthday, I opened a Roth IRA in his name and deposited $100 in it.  I'll also move over $300 that has been in his long-term savings account.  It's a brokerage account and I'm teaching him how to pick solid companies to invest in.  For Christmas, he'll get more money in his Roth.  He found a company that looks really good and he showed me his research.  I was so convinced that I bought 15 shares of his pick (I had some dividend cash sitting in my Roth, uninvested, waiting for a good opportunity).

Yesterday, I crunched the numbers in my spreadsheet and found that I have completely flipped my financial situation.  In the first quarter of this year, we spent 53% of my take-home pay on living expenses and allocated about 45% to debt service and 2% to savings.  April was particularly bad -- 70% of take-home spent.  By September (once ETF-dust and other one-off fees have settled) we'll be spending just 39% of my take home on living costs with a whopping 58% to debt service and 2% to savings (weak emergency fund).

I called him over and showed him the difference and he seemed to get it.  I showed him how I'm on track to have a significant chunk of debt paid off one year from now.  I then said "I don't think our life is significantly different now, as compared to April when we spent 70% of my take home."

He didn't disagree.   

Erica/NWEdible

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 881
    • Northwest Edible Life - life on garden time
Re: Teenage Backlash -- help!
« Reply #57 on: July 19, 2013, 10:22:18 PM »
I just want to say your update gave my goosebumps (of admiration and joy).

You are clearly a really great mom. What you are giving your son in this change of lifestyle and increased security is way, way more valuable than a pimped call phone plan.

Great work staying the course. Mad props, to you and your kid.

davisgang90

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1243
  • Location: Roanoke, VA
    • Photography by Rich Davis
Re: Teenage Backlash -- help!
« Reply #58 on: July 20, 2013, 12:47:45 PM »
My 19 year old was complaining about how little he is paid (allowance) for his chores.  Since I am funding community college and he lives here rent free, I did the math to show him how much his 1/5th share costs in our family.  Once he saw the amount he was being "paid" to live here and go to school his attitude improved....slightly.

onehappypanda

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 238
  • Location: Columbus, Ohio
Re: Teenage Backlash -- help!
« Reply #59 on: July 20, 2013, 03:33:06 PM »
I'm not a parent, so I don't have a ton of relevant advice to give, but I do work with young college students and I just want to say that you're doing an awesome thing for your son. I hope it sticks with him. I see way too many kids who don't know a thing about debt, bills, etc. when they get to college simply because their parents never talked about money. And then I see these same students signing up for huge loans or putting their lifestyles on credit cards, and I wish someone would sit down and show them what things like "debt" and "credit" can mean long-term. Because contrary to popular belief, they really can learn that stuff.

Your son sounds like a good kid who just has to learn new rules. I think it's great that while you're cutting back and not apologizing for it, you're showing him why it's important and why it will benefit the whole family. Keep it up!

Rebecca Stapler

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 907
    • Stapler Confessions
Re: Teenage Backlash -- help!
« Reply #60 on: July 22, 2013, 11:01:43 AM »
Yesterday, I crunched the numbers in my spreadsheet and found that I have completely flipped my financial situation.  In the first quarter of this year, we spent 53% of my take-home pay on living expenses and allocated about 45% to debt service and 2% to savings.  April was particularly bad -- 70% of take-home spent.  By September (once ETF-dust and other one-off fees have settled) we'll be spending just 39% of my take home on living costs with a whopping 58% to debt service and 2% to savings (weak emergency fund).

I called him over and showed him the difference and he seemed to get it.  I showed him how I'm on track to have a significant chunk of debt paid off one year from now.  I then said "I don't think our life is significantly different now, as compared to April when we spent 70% of my take home."

He didn't disagree.

Your update really did give me chills! As a parent to a toddler, I can only hope to be able to teach my son valuable life lessons like you gave your son. Kids can really surprise us with what they learn from our behaviors and what we tell them. I think the behaviors speak louder than words, and your son has witnessed a valuable transformation in your lifestyle. Bravo!

jpo

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 518
  • Age: 32
  • Location: North Carolina
Re: Teenage Backlash -- help!
« Reply #61 on: July 22, 2013, 11:13:20 AM »
For his birthday, I opened a Roth IRA in his name and deposited $100 in it.  I'll also move over $300 that has been in his long-term savings account.  It's a brokerage account and I'm teaching him how to pick solid companies to invest in.  For Christmas, he'll get more money in his Roth.
FYI he must have earned income to contribute to a Roth.

Villanelle

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2632
Re: Teenage Backlash -- help!
« Reply #62 on: July 22, 2013, 11:49:53 AM »
You might also mention that debt management is important for a military career.  While it is often over-stated (significantly so), there is some truth to the fact that  serious financial problems can jeopardize a security clearance, which in turn can jeopardize the career.  If your debt is out of control and you are slowly drowning, you are in a position where if the Chinese throw you a life line in exchange for some info, you might be tempted to grab it.  So if things are bad enough, a security clearance could be pulled or not issued.   If he is set on the military thing, maybe that approach will make him a little more eager to embrace frugality, or at least allow him to see a reason why it should be somewhat important to him.

Also, make sure he looks into ROTC scholarships.

TrulyStashin

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1030
  • Location: Mid-Sized Southern City
Re: Teenage Backlash -- help!
« Reply #63 on: July 22, 2013, 12:43:06 PM »
Thanks everyone.  I appreciate the reinforcement.  It has not been easy.

Great point about the impact of high debt on a military career.  When I last talked with him about why he should save money, one point I made was that, as a Navy SEAL, it's possible that he'll sustain a serious injury and that VA healthcare and benefits often don't cover the full economic impact of that and may not kick in soon enough to help.  He heard that point.

RE: the Roth.  He's job hunting -- hoping to get something for 10 hours a week or so.  If that doesn't pan out then he will be self-employed -- earning pay from me (and others) for cutting grass, cleaning gutters, raking leaves and the like.  The employment hurdle is a low one and easily navigated around.

rockstache

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5794
  • Age: 2015
  • Location: Northeast
Re: Teenage Backlash -- help!
« Reply #64 on: July 22, 2013, 01:09:23 PM »
My 19 year old was complaining about how little he is paid (allowance) for his chores.  Since I am funding community college and he lives here rent free, I did the math to show him how much his 1/5th share costs in our family.  Once he saw the amount he was being "paid" to live here and go to school his attitude improved....slightly.

Wow...I have never heard of an allowance for a 19 year old to help out around the house.

mgreczyn

  • Guest
Re: Teenage Backlash -- help!
« Reply #65 on: July 22, 2013, 01:51:50 PM »
Former Air Force officer here.  Maybe you should use a little psyops on our young Skywalker.  He wants to be a military officer, now might be a good time to bring up the idea of leading by example.  The intersection of fast, powerful cars and military culture is hard to deny, and although it may sound trite, one of an officer's duties is to lead enlisted personnel, and if he's ever in an official position of leadership (i.e. company/squadron CO) then financial issues and DUIs among the troops he leads will be a major concern. You would be (or maybe you wouldn't be) shocked by the things a freshly minted E-1 thinks he/she can afford... like a brand new Mustang.  2013 E1 pay is $1,516.20.  A MONTH.  "What's that Private, you don't have a down payment?  Let me introduce you to Bob, our financing department."  Nothing sucks more (edit - OK, a FEW things suck more.  But this really sucks) than realizing that some ill-prepared troop has a 100% financed lifestyle they can't afford.  Call me old fashioned, but I always thought it was a bad example and poor form for officers to be slinging money around like nobody's business, especially in something as visible as what car they roll through the gates in every morning. As an aside, note that an O-1's starting pay at $2,876.40 a month is not brand-new Mustang territory, either.  More like used, high-mileage Honda civic territory if you ask me. 

If leadership lessons don't work, maybe you could bring up the fact that officers need security clearances to do their jobs. Financial problems are a major security risk and will definitely prevent a clearance from being issued. Bad decisions around car ownership and cell phone plans are therefore a risk to his career.  Oh yeah, and that cell phone will also spend most of it's time turned off in sensitive areas of the base. 
« Last Edit: July 22, 2013, 01:54:22 PM by mgreczyn »

lifepopsicle

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Raleigh, NC
Re: Teenage Backlash -- help!
« Reply #66 on: July 22, 2013, 03:13:33 PM »
My parents did something pretty cool when I was 16 and 17 that taught me a lot and could maybe help you and your son as well. When I was 16 (ten years ago) my parents paid for my food, cell phone, car insurance, and gas. Outside of that, I paid for everything on my own - clothes, going out with friends, whatever else it is teens buy.

One day, they sat me down and told me that they would match every dime that I put in my savings account (one that I couldn't touch until college.) So whenever I made money (from babysitting, or mowing lawns, or at my summer job as a lifeguard) I would automatically try to save as much as possible so that I could get the match. This tactic set me up to become a saver for life. And as a bonus, I had enough money when I entered college to pay for my own books and I didn't have to call home for money constantly as many of my friends did.

I would tell your son that if he wants a fancy car or cell phone plan, he can buy it for himself. But if he wants to save for his future, you'll help him get there. This tactic helps him feel that he is in control and that saving the money is his choice. I know that when I was a teen, feeling a sense of ownership over my life was extremely important. Try to help him feel empowered and he might be more inclined to be on your side. Good luck!

CrochetStache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 61
Re: Teenage Backlash -- help!
« Reply #67 on: July 22, 2013, 04:21:01 PM »
Military Officers are REQUIRED to have good finances. If they do not, they are considered a security risk and will not be promoted! Same with their Credit Reports.

As an officer he will also be in a position to advise younger officers and enlisted personnel in his command on their finances when there is a problem. This is a great learning experience for him, he will know how painful it can be to make the difficult changes towards a positive financial future.

I know you mentioned he doesn't have a lot of time for work/volunteering but if he does have a chance, I would recommend volunteering with the Air Force Aid or Army Aid or Navy & Marine Corps Relief Society. These non-military organizations provide interest free loans and budget counseling for Servicemembers and their families. It would be an excellent way to see how various poor financial decisions negatively effect the service member, their family and even their careers. Most bases have an office.

He will also learn about the complicated pay system which will be extremely beneficial when there is a problem with his pay. Because all too often they don't get it right.

TrulyStashin

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1030
  • Location: Mid-Sized Southern City
Re: Teenage Backlash -- help!
« Reply #68 on: July 22, 2013, 06:47:59 PM »
Great ideas!  Thanks everyone.

I just looked up the Navy & Marine Relief Society and it looks to be a wonderful opportunity.  He has to do service hours every year anyway so I will steer him this way.

Once I get my debt under control, I'll think about matching his savings but for now that has to take a back seat.

If there are anymore ideas out there, I'll all ears.


Villanelle

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2632
Re: Teenage Backlash -- help!
« Reply #69 on: July 23, 2013, 09:09:39 AM »
Great ideas!  Thanks everyone.

I just looked up the Navy & Marine Relief Society and it looks to be a wonderful opportunity.  He has to do service hours every year anyway so I will steer him this way.

Once I get my debt under control, I'll think about matching his savings but for now that has to take a back seat.

If there are anymore ideas out there, I'll all ears.



It will also look great on his application for a commission.  Spots are extremely competitive these days and unless the job market shifts dramatically, they will be for some time to come, so anything he can do to make himself stand out is a very good thing.