Author Topic: "Well, sweetheart, I go to work so we can buy things."  (Read 7861 times)

homeymomma

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"Well, sweetheart, I go to work so we can buy things."
« on: May 01, 2014, 01:12:59 PM »
I was a nanny for a very nice, wealthy family for about two years. One day dad was home at lunch time randomly and his two year old was sad to see him leave again. She said, "Daddy, why do you have to go to work?" And he replied, "I go to work so we can buy things."

What do you all think of this? Obviously he said it to get her to let him go so he could leave. I'm pretty sure it wasn't a very thought out response, lol. But anyway. Is there truth in this? I suppose, yes we do work so we can buy things, like food and electricity and a place to sleep at night. But a two year old doesn't grasp that, to her, I would guess she heard, buy "THiNgS", you know, in the way two years olds think of things. Toys, books, whatever. It's hard to explain the idea of buying independence to a two year old (not that that's what he meant... This was an exceptionally consumeristic family).

I don't know. What would you say if your kid asked you that question?

matchewed

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Re: "Well, sweetheart, I go to work so we can buy things."
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2014, 01:18:25 PM »
If it was a two year old I'd say that money buys you things. If the child was older I'd start explaining what I mean by things. So yeah it's okay to say this to a two year old.

homeymomma

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Re: "Well, sweetheart, I go to work so we can buy things."
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2014, 01:39:47 PM »
I don't know. Just changing the phrasing to "so we can pay for things we need" seems less consumeristic to me. But you're right, two year olds need simple explanations. Im sure it didn't stick with her the way it stuck with me :)

acroy

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Re: "Well, sweetheart, I go to work so we can buy things."
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2014, 01:48:55 PM »
or "because I am not a bum" :)
Agree the full 'Stachian explanation should start pretty young. my 8yr old has a pretty good handle on it. They're smart.

bogart

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Re: "Well, sweetheart, I go to work so we can buy things."
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2014, 02:00:43 PM »
My kid (a first-grader) does ask me that question, and I prefer not to focus on the money angle.  Certainly I talk (some) about how the money I earn helps us pay for things we need and want, like a house, groceries, and travel.  But I also talk about how I enjoy my work (I know!  How very unMustachian!) and the things that my work accomplishes.  Various parts of what I do involve teaching and/or supporting research projects, so I talk about how these things can improve people's lives and how I feel (good) about knowing that I am contributing to them.

Which isn't to say that if I were trying to get out the door or otherwise wrap up a conversation, I wouldn't say that I work to earn money to buy things.

homeymomma

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Re: "Well, sweetheart, I go to work so we can buy things."
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2014, 02:06:55 PM »
My kid (a first-grader) does ask me that question, and I prefer not to focus on the money angle.  Certainly I talk (some) about how the money I earn helps us pay for things we need and want, like a house, groceries, and travel.  But I also talk about how I enjoy my work (I know!  How very unMustachian!) and the things that my work accomplishes.  Various parts of what I do involve teaching and/or supporting research projects, so I talk about how these things can improve people's lives and how I feel (good) about knowing that I am contributing to them.

Which isn't to say that if I were trying to get out the door or otherwise wrap up a conversation, I wouldn't say that I work to earn money to buy things.

I think that's more what I would have expected him to say, just based on the types of work he and his wife did. He worked with hospitals and she did international outreach. Definitely could have said something like to help other people. It would have been accurate.

homeymomma

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Re: "Well, sweetheart, I go to work so we can buy things."
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2014, 02:36:00 PM »
My 4-year-old asked me this question about a year ago.  Without thinking I said, "Well, daddy works so we can have a house, and food, and clothes, and be able to go places, and so we can have toys."  She said, "I don't want any more toys.  I want you to stay home with me."  That's when I got serious about this whole Mustachian thing.

YES

kkbmustang

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Re: "Well, sweetheart, I go to work so we can buy things."
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2014, 05:25:05 PM »
Kids are smart and when you are open about personal finance they pick up on stuff you didn't necessarily specify. Just this week my 11YO son point blank asked me if I earned more money than my husband. Neither my husband nor I have ever said that out loud in front of our children although, with the exception of the one year I stayed home when my kids were toddlers, it has always been true.

I think kids are pretty perceptive. More than we sometimes realize.

dragoncar

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Re: "Well, sweetheart, I go to work so we can buy things."
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2014, 05:35:37 PM »
"Daddy works because he loves his job more than you.  See ya later, kiddo!"

Emilyngh

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Re: "Well, sweetheart, I go to work so we can buy things."
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2014, 05:42:24 PM »
Interesting question b/c this exact thing comes up regularly with my almost 3 yr old.

My spouse is a SAHP, and right now I am not often going in to work, so when I do she seems bothered about not having the norm of us both home.   I've tried to come up with a good explanation and the best I've come up with is that I work to pay for things (house, food, etc).   If anyone has anything better to say, I'm all ears.

Emilyngh

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Re: "Well, sweetheart, I go to work so we can buy things."
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2014, 05:45:56 PM »
My kid (a first-grader) does ask me that question, and I prefer not to focus on the money angle.  Certainly I talk (some) about how the money I earn helps us pay for things we need and want, like a house, groceries, and travel.  But I also talk about how I enjoy my work (I know!  How very unMustachian!) and the things that my work accomplishes.  Various parts of what I do involve teaching and/or supporting research projects, so I talk about how these things can improve people's lives and how I feel (good) about knowing that I am contributing to them.


I've thought included some of this, but then in thinking about it, I've stopped.   I do enjoy my job, but if I were FI tomorrow, I don't know if I'd continue, so I'm not sure that saying I do it to help/for fun is genuine.   Also, I question whether I want to promote (more than she'll here elsewhere) the idea that paid work is so central to one's identity and purpose.    I'm not confident about it either way though (b/c my job does help others and I like sacrificed money in order to have one that helps more than others, so it does matter to me at least somewhat).

Rural

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Re: "Well, sweetheart, I go to work so we can buy things."
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2014, 05:48:46 PM »
I still remember clearly my mother explaining to me about that same age that my father went to work to make money. For a year or so, I imagined that his job involved crafting paper and printing bills (it didn't)!

RootofGood

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Re: "Well, sweetheart, I go to work so we can buy things."
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2014, 05:50:35 PM »
The dad's response makes perfect sense.  Work is instrumentally valuable to provide financial resources that are used to provide life's necessities, and at times, little luxuries. 

Even little kids understand you have to give the nice lady at the store money if you want to take milk and bread (or candy!) home with you.

MayDay

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Re: "Well, sweetheart, I go to work so we can buy things."
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2014, 06:45:23 PM »
We tell the kids that we work (mostly H, I work extremely part time, but when I do work they have a babysitter, so they care more about that then the daily routine of H work it) to make money, so that we can have a nice house to live in, a car, food, clothes, money to take a vacation, etc.  We also tack on that we were lucky to have family help us get a good education, to get to go to college, and to have good jobs, so that we have enough money for all these things.  That we should be greatful, as not all families are so lucky. 

My six year old basically thinks we are rich, since we have all these amazing things like a house and food to eat, and not everyone does.  Explaining nuanced things to six year olds is hard.  I want to discuss these thighs with him, but then he will blurt things out in public like "daddy has a really good job so we have lots of fancy and nice things".  Which sounds..... Bad.  Even though the fancy nice thing he is referring to is probably some random arbitrary object like a frying pan, not a private jet.  So I tell him we try to only talk about money things in our family, not in public- but that kind of sounds like money is secretive, so I don't know if that is good. 

brewer12345

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Re: "Well, sweetheart, I go to work so we can buy things."
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2014, 06:49:44 PM »
Heh, the questions I got in the last few months from our kids have revolved around what my job is now that I am not heading off to the cube every day.  That mostly seems to have subsided, thankfully.

CarDude

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Re: "Well, sweetheart, I go to work so we can buy things."
« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2014, 06:51:06 PM »
My 4-year-old asked me this question about a year ago.  Without thinking I said, "Well, daddy works so we can have a house, and food, and clothes, and be able to go places, and so we can have toys."  She said, "I don't want any more toys.  I want you to stay home with me."  That's when I got serious about this whole Mustachian thing.

That's how it's done.

bogart

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Re: "Well, sweetheart, I go to work so we can buy things."
« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2014, 07:29:59 PM »
My 4-year-old asked me this question about a year ago.  Without thinking I said, "Well, daddy works so we can have a house, and food, and clothes, and be able to go places, and so we can have toys."  She said, "I don't want any more toys.  I want you to stay home with me."  That's when I got serious about this whole Mustachian thing.

More power to you.  But as for Dragoncar's ...

Quote
"Daddy works because he loves his job more than you.  See ya later, kiddo!"

... eh.  Our son's had a SAHP (D) since he was 3, and thanks to extended family and flexible work schedules, we made only limited use (16 hours/week) of paid childcare before that.  Really, if I'd done anything different about his childhood to date, I wish I'd made more use of that (paid childcare).  We're lucky to be near, and be able to afford, lots of well-structured and interesting options and what he has used, has provided him with good, easy access to other kids and overall is something I think he'd have benefitted from having more of.  We're not the sorts of people who enjoy seeking out "moms groups," and our son is an only (not by our choice), so that's a factor. 

This year we've had him in a very part-time afterschool program (3 hours/week), and at his rather insistent request, we've signed him up next year for full-time (3.5 hours per school day) afterschool.  We probably won't use all of that every day, but he wants to be where his friends are, not hanging out with his parents -- and honestly, I think that's perfectly healthy and appropriate.  With one parent home already and the other (me) with flexible work and good PTO, overall, we get lots of time together.  And we can afford the afterschool stuff, so I'm happy to spring for it.

YMMV, but I don't think that every kid (much less every kid at every stage) wants or needs more time with their parents, or vice-versa, nor do I think that (the desire to have time apart) is an inherently bad thing.

Beckyemerson

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Re: "Well, sweetheart, I go to work so we can buy things."
« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2014, 07:58:49 PM »
 "I go to work so I can save money and retire."

RootofGood

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Re: "Well, sweetheart, I go to work so we can buy things."
« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2014, 08:55:35 PM »
"I go to work so I can save money and retire."

That's where we eventually went with it.

"I go to work to make money so we can buy food and pay for our house.  I don't spend everything I make.  I save some so I won't have to work forever."

Now that I'm ER'd: "We are living on the money I saved while working.  Daddy doesn't need a job."  I'm not sure they quite get this part yet since Mommy is still working for ~1 more year. They just think Mommy's money buys the food and gas for the car and pays for the house.  Little do they know Mommy's paychecks are just piling up in our money market account...

brewer12345

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Re: "Well, sweetheart, I go to work so we can buy things."
« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2014, 10:13:52 PM »
Now that I'm ER'd: "We are living on the money I saved while working.  Daddy doesn't need a job."  I'm not sure they quite get this part yet since Mommy is still working for ~1 more year. They just think Mommy's money buys the food and gas for the car and pays for the house.  Little do they know Mommy's paychecks are just piling up in our money market account...

So how do I overcome my cowardice and tell the kids that?  I guess I worry that A) I will find myself back in a job unexpectedly and B) they will run around telling everyone that we are rich, RICH, RICH!!!

Luck12

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Re: "Well, sweetheart, I go to work so we can buy things."
« Reply #20 on: May 01, 2014, 10:22:57 PM »
"Somebody has to fill out the TPS reports so Mr. Lumburgh can buy a few more Porsches". 

GuitarStv

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Re: "Well, sweetheart, I go to work so we can buy things."
« Reply #21 on: May 02, 2014, 06:12:17 AM »
"I go to work so I can save money and retire."

Followed by:


"What does retirement mean?"

"So you go to work so you can stop going to work?"

iwasjustwondering

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Re: "Well, sweetheart, I go to work so we can buy things."
« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2014, 06:57:02 AM »
It's actually pretty nice that the dad was able to come home for lunch.  Seems like a nice guy.  The explanation is perfectly appropriate for a two-year-old.

RootofGood

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Re: "Well, sweetheart, I go to work so we can buy things."
« Reply #23 on: May 02, 2014, 11:25:11 AM »
So how do I overcome my cowardice and tell the kids that?  I guess I worry that A) I will find myself back in a job unexpectedly and B) they will run around telling everyone that we are rich, RICH, RICH!!!

Take life as it comes.  You don't work now, and may work later.  Nobody said hitting FI and retiring early means you can't ever go back to work if you want to or need to.  It would be a good lesson in being flexible for kids and understanding that over time you change what you do to fit your wants and needs. 

As for Q#2 - yeah, your kids might do that.  My kids certainly blab, but they are notoriously bad at the important details.  They'll say "we're rich!  Daddy has, like, thousands of dollars." 

The oldest is nine, and as far as I can tell there's no substantial difference between a thousand dollars and a thousand thousand to her.  We just keep the usage of "millionaire" to a minimum since that word might get some attention when blabbered to random strangers.  Not that anyone would ever believe her if she claimed that.  You can clearly see we don't drive luxury cars and there's no yacht in the lake behind our house, and I have neither nice sneakers or thick gold chains.  Therefore to many of their peers, we are far from rich. 

soccerluvof4

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Re: "Well, sweetheart, I go to work so we can buy things."
« Reply #24 on: May 02, 2014, 11:30:45 AM »
I work to afford at minimum the necessities as a family we need, and for the things I will need when I no longer chose to work.

brewer12345

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Re: "Well, sweetheart, I go to work so we can buy things."
« Reply #25 on: May 02, 2014, 12:29:40 PM »
So how do I overcome my cowardice and tell the kids that?  I guess I worry that A) I will find myself back in a job unexpectedly and B) they will run around telling everyone that we are rich, RICH, RICH!!!

Take life as it comes.  You don't work now, and may work later.  Nobody said hitting FI and retiring early means you can't ever go back to work if you want to or need to.  It would be a good lesson in being flexible for kids and understanding that over time you change what you do to fit your wants and needs. 

As for Q#2 - yeah, your kids might do that.  My kids certainly blab, but they are notoriously bad at the important details.  They'll say "we're rich!  Daddy has, like, thousands of dollars." 

The oldest is nine, and as far as I can tell there's no substantial difference between a thousand dollars and a thousand thousand to her.  We just keep the usage of "millionaire" to a minimum since that word might get some attention when blabbered to random strangers.  Not that anyone would ever believe her if she claimed that.  You can clearly see we don't drive luxury cars and there's no yacht in the lake behind our house, and I have neither nice sneakers or thick gold chains.  Therefore to many of their peers, we are far from rich.

Oddly enough, a buddy called me this morning to say there might be a consulting opportunity for me at his employer for 3 to 6 months doing what I already help him with from time to time because it amuses me to do so.  So I might not be saying much to the kids.

My almost 10 YO is pretty interested in money.  She knows she as a grand in her checking account and we will be doing some investing education this summer.  I think that if she saw my spreadsheet she would figure a lot out fast.  Fortunately she is still young enough that she could not understand why she could not invite boys to a slumber party and chose something else for her birthday.

SkinnyGreenMan

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Re: "Well, sweetheart, I go to work so we can buy things."
« Reply #26 on: May 02, 2014, 12:52:24 PM »