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.
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