MONEYTALK with Al Suffrin

Help me teach my kids to learn from my mistakes

By Al Suffrin

February 28, 2007 at 1:39 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Dear Mr. Suffrin: I am a single mother of two teenage boys and about a year ago I found myself swimming in a pool of credit card debt.

I have started credit counseling and finally have my finances in order, but it looks as though I will be making payments on my debt for the rest of my life.

I am afraid that I have already set a bad example for my children and I don't want them to ever have to endure the hell that I've gone through.

What can I do to teach my sons to be financially responsible? - Stumped in Ama

Dear Stumped: I suggest the following based on your financial situation:

1. Start now. Your children are not too young to start teaching them basic financial principles. If they don't have a job, give them daily or weekly chores to do and give them an allowance. This teaches them that money is notfree, it is earned.

2. Don't buy everything for them. Have them pay for their own clothes, entertainment, etc. with their chore money.

3. Teach your teens the value of hard work. What you work for, you usually appreciate more. Have them work hard to buy themselves a car or other high-priced items.

4. Train your teens to think before they spend. Teach them to ask themselves at least three questions before making any purchase: do I have the money on hand to pay for this, do I need this, can I buy this somewhere else for less.

Students' questions about finances answered - only in the St. Charles Herald-Guide. Financial expert and school board member-elect Al Suffrin.

Send YOUR questions to: or write: MONEYTALK, P.O. Box 1199, Boutte, LA

View other articles written By Al Suffrin

featured merchant

St. Charles Parish Library-East Regional
St. Charles Parish Library-East Regional The St. Charles Parish Library has six locations across the parish, including a bookmobile and planetarium. We have free Wi-Fi, computers, internet access, books, magazines and more for your use. Visit us today to get a library card!

Local experts share gardening tips for both new and established gardens
Local experts share gardening tips for both new and established gardens
For gardeners who are just getting into gardening as well as those finding themselves having to replant after last year’s brutal winter, there are plenty of new plants to consider this year. However, local experts say the basics of setting up a garden that will last for years comes down to good planning.