According to The Street writer Brian O’Connell, H&R Block claims that 62% of teenagers follow the financial model of their parents. I wonder what my twelve year old son knows about money. Have I taught him enough to be financially successful? And if he is learning from me, how can he ever expect to have more financial success than what he sees in front of him?
Shortly after my 32nd birthday, I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree in Finance. Although my family is made up of intelligent and well informed people, I am the first person in my immediate family to graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree (my mother and brother both have Associate Degrees they do absolutely nothing with).
I have always pushed my son to attend college-dropping hints at a very early age that the only way to receive a good paying job and avoid working nights and weekend shifts is with a college education. I mention different schools by name every chance I get-Ben Roethlisberger graduated from Miami University, the Ohio State University has a world famous marching band, USC is in California and who wouldn’t want to go to school near sunny San Diego? I dramatize the negatives of my job, asking my son why I have to work until eight in the evening or miss his soccer games on Saturday morning because I have to be at work. With the sigh of a bored teenager he recites, “Because you didn’t go to college.”
Recently, I got to teach my son a hands-on lesson about hard work and the importance of an education. Our local Pizza Hut sponsored a fund raiser to help my son earn money for his trip to Europe this summer. In order to earn the money for the fundraiser we had to work. My mom was the hostess and greeted and sat all guests. My son and I filled drink orders, wiped down tables, cleared away dirty dishes and brought out all food orders. My husband worked behind the scenes as the dishwasher, soaking himself through with sweat and errant water. By the end of the three hours we were exhausted. Our feet and backs ached. We were thirsty and dying for a break.
I pointed out our helper, a 50 year old man finishing up his sixth straight day of work. I asked my son how he would like to do this work for six to eight hours a day, six days a week with only one day off to rest. My son shook his head no.
“Know how to make sure you never have to?” I asked. This time my son shook his head yes.
“Go to college,” he answered, with all the energy he had left in his worn out body.
Maybe college isn’t the only answer or even the right answer, considering how much money students (and parents) accumulate in loans. But it is the only thing I know how to teach my son right now. I just hope it is enough.
Brian O’Connell, “What young Americans worry about financially,” Yahoo Finance.
More from this contributor:
What March Madness Has Taught Me About Family
Direct to Consumer: Electric Car Maker Tesla Fights the Automotive Industry
This Ohio Democrat Likes Paul Ryan’s Financial Background