A WEALTH OF KNOWLEDGE ARCHIVES

Poor Spending Habits

July 10th, 2009, byMichelle Singletary

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Q: What can I say to my 21-year-old who is living above her means by constantly spending her money on material things? She owes for a student loan, IRS and a credit card. She cries when she has no more money. I’ve discontinued bailing her out. Please offer something I can tell her.

Tondelayo Gamble, Hyattsville, MD

A: You’ve actually done the best you can do by cutting the apron string and line to your bank account.

But do this also. Get your kid my book, Spend Well, Live Rich: How to Get What You Want with the Money You Have. This is a basic personal finance book with a lot of common money sense I learned from my grandmother, Big Mama. It will probably reinforce the lessons you’ve tried to teach your daughter. But, sometimes it takes another person to get through to your child.

And in the book, leave a note to your daughter that you want the best for her. Tell her that if she continues to spend poorly, she will live poorly.

Then, just stand back. Be supportive and loving if she continues to live above her means, but still stand back. Continue your ban on bailing her out.

It will be hard if she continues to falter, but you have to let her. Just remember that when she was a little girl, you had to let her teeter, tootle and even topple, so that she could learn to walk. So too now will you have to let her go down, and perhaps hard, before she wises up and stops being a child when it comes to her money. Sometimes, you have to let your kid fall before he or she will learn to walk financially straight.

Last modified: April 26, 2011 at 10:59 am