During their years in school, students are not taught much about things like budgeting, credit card use, banking, or checking accounts. Now I know there are life skill classes, business classes, economics classes, etc., but nothing that teaches you that day to day living, common sense type of stuff. And to be honest with you, I am not sure the schools should teach things like that. But then, again maybe they should; because as I have said before adults today do not have much common sense or "mom-sense". Many don't want to be parents; they want to be "friends" with their children. Let's be honest, how many adults do you know that even balance a checkbook anymore. Most just check their balance on-line.
Trying to be a responsible "parent", I opened savings accounts for each of the kids when they were born, and saved money each week for college for each of them. When they were little, a children's company had the idea for a "pretend" checkbook for kids. I would pretend to be the bank, and we would log allowance and chore money into their checkbooks. They would write me a check if they wanted to use some of their cash. When my kids turned 16 I went to the bank with them and opened a joint checking account. I figured it gave me two years before they went to college to teach them how to manage their banking and finances. It did not go as smoothly as I hoped. Allow me to give you the kid by kid rundown.
"Mommy" understood the concept immediately. She knew there was a savings account and that her spending money was in checking. She got a debit card to purchase gas for her car and other items. She is a little "OCD" like her mother, and managed her cash like a champ. She still does to this day! So, number "1" got it, this is easy! What a genius I am with this great plan.
Then came "Calvin" and he blew the whole process right out of the water!. We struggled with the concept that you could use your debit card for debit or credit. It didn't really matter to your account which way you used it, the money was still taken out. He was convinced that if he said he wanted to use his debit card as a credit card that no money in his account was touched. After three or four overdrafts in his checking account and many puzzled looks on my face, plus a trip to the bank, he finally got it. I believe that the last time he balanced his checkbook was 2006.
"Mini Me" understood the process as well as "Mommy". Maybe it's a girl thing. She loved the independence of managing her own finances and really did well. Then she got married. Doing all of that in a partnership with someone who doesn't get it is a whole new story! Her account has been overdrawn more times since she has been married than it ever was when she was single. Oh well, it will be good practice for her to train "The Admiral" and give her experience when she works with her own children.
"The Blonde" blew my "girl thing" theory right out of the water. She believed that you could spend money you didn't have as long as your intentions were good. I will never forget the day that she was upset for getting charged for an overdraft. She readily admitted to spending more than she knew was in her account. "But I only went over by $1.00 and I was planning on making a deposit tomorrow!" She has gotten better over the years, but not without several overdraft experiences. She is my star pupil when it comes to balancing her checkbook, after taking my remedial course.
"Pook" is a bit of a miser. He is extremely aware of where his money comes from (us!) and is really good at budgeting his expenses at college. He got his first overdraft the other day but it was because the bank held a check that he deposited for 24 hours. I was pleased at his distress, and it has given him the opportunity to learn how to go into the bank and deal with professionals. He still doesn't balance his checkbook, but he checks his balance daily.
My last shot at getting the job done is "The Surprise". After several "emergency" trips to the bank to cover his account we had a meeting, which means he listened and I yelled and threatened. He and his brother were given instructions, AGAIN, on the accounting package that they have and told to log everything so that deductions are simple at tax time when I need to know their school expenses. Deposits into the account will be made on Thursday and only if they call by Wednesday. So far so good.
You may want to know how I am so in tune to all of their accounts. Remember, these are joint accounts. And, oh yes, they were linked to my savings account so that when they screwed up it came out of my account. They did it enough times as a group that the government cancelled my savings account for too many transfers. My reaction to that is a whole other story! Please teach your children about finances! If you don't know how to do it, learn too!!!!!
Wife, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Nurse, Grandmother, Friend...that's me in a nutshell!