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Financial Lessons From A Teen????

November 1, 2010 · 30 comments

in Parenting, Personal Finance

Ok, this is probably going to be a short post.  It is more a declaration of victory than an informative, literary masterpiece.

Anyway, last night my daughter was saying she was mad because she was going to miss her favorite tv show because of a certain event.  My husband and I started discussing a DVR,  and if it made sense to get one.  (His birthday is coming up!)

I started checking the internet to see how much DVRs cost, because I actually had no idea.  While I was on the internet, my 16 year old son came in and said “We totally don’t need a DVR since we only watch 4 shows a week”.


I was in shock.  I stopped our conversation right then and there and told him how proud I was of him for coming to that conclusion.  It was incredibly mature, considering a DVR would benefit him.  He said that if he misses a show he normally likes to see, he just watches it online or on-demand.  It was very basic logic, coming from an unexpected source!

It is funny how such a small thing can tell you a lot.  My kids hear me talking about money quite a bit.  I figured my discussions went in one ear and out the other because saving is not nearly as fun as spending, and kids don’t always think about the long term.  However, it appears some of my bits of wisdom may have actually been heard!  Or, maybe he just came to this conclusion all on his own, but I prefer to take credit where I can get!  🙂

As a side note, I had decided not to buy a DVR on my own once I saw the prices.  I thought maybe they were $49.00 or something, that is how clueless I was.  However, I did not tell my son that- I will let him continue to think he talked us out of it.

Have you ever had a moment where you realized your teachings may have sunken in?   Please share!

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

101 Centavos November 1, 2010 at 6:54 am

Kris, occasionally it seems that something does get through those thick skulls of our boys. Can’t remember to change shirts or use shampoo to wash their hair, and yet they pick up the odd valuable lesson and and there, perhaps by osmosis. Good for your son, he’s on the right path to responsibility.


Kris November 1, 2010 at 8:00 am

101 – It is so funny when you see a child having a ‘grown up’ though. Actually, I think his suggestion was more grown up than what you hear from many adults.

It takes a long time to see if anything you are doing as a parent is working or not. So it was night to get a small piece of affirmation from that conversation!


The Biz of Life November 1, 2010 at 8:58 am

I think every now and then I see a brief flash of good decision making from my kids…. of course, that is very short lived, but there is hope they will become productive adults. Why don’t you build your own dvr? or just use hulu or netflicks to watch your shows.


Kris November 1, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Hey Biz- I think we will just resort to watching a show we miss on-line or on demand. I prefer on demand, but not everything is available.


Nicole November 1, 2010 at 9:30 am

Mine didn’t eat all his Halloween candy last night. Does that count?


Kris November 1, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Nicole, the self-restraint your son showed is very impressive. So yes, it does count! My kids didn’t eat a ton of theirs either. Probably because we made Jello Jigglers, Ghosts in the Graveyard, and Caramel apples earlier in the day, so they probably already had enough by the time they collected their candy.


Roshawn @ Watson Inc November 1, 2010 at 9:30 am

Although I don’t have kids, my friends occasionally quote me, especially if they think I am being duplicitous. It certainly keeps me on my toes 🙂


Kris November 1, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Shawn – I will start quoting you. I will have to go find some really good ones…


sherie November 1, 2010 at 10:25 am

Awwww… the joy in little moments that make you feel like all the motherhood work is worth it!

BTW – don’t buy a DVR, just add one to your monthly cable service. They list them as costing $10 or $15 a month to add to your servicel, but depending on your service and other features, you can work out a deal where it is actually free or less than $5. Another option is to use an old desktop or laptop computer and convert it to a DVR… not as simple to use, but works and you have the added bonus of being able to burn the shows to DVD with very little effort (assuming it has a DVD-R). It cost about $25-$100 to add a digital tv tuner to the computer so that you can use it as a DVR, if the computer doesn’t have a tuner already. Just in case you decide to record the 4 shows a week you watch.


Kris November 1, 2010 at 5:07 pm

Hey Sherie- I may try and weasel a DVR out of Comcast the next time I talk with them to reduce my bill. I do that every 6 months or so, and it works really well. Thanks for the thought!


Money Reasons November 1, 2010 at 12:32 pm

How awesome is that!

Not only is it awesome that your son demonstrated financial wisdom, but also that you as an adult realized that your son was spot on for his assessment of the finances involved (not that I’m surprised in your case).

My kids are like that too. Shoot just recently, I asked my son if he wanted me to purchase a year membership to club penguin (an online kid’s site). He said no, he wanted to try it for a month, then make a decision. So he’s trying it first before leaping in for a more expensive option…

Great story, kudos to your son 🙂


Kris November 1, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Hey, I am quite impressed with your little guy- that is fantastic! My youngest son would say ‘sign me up for a decade’! I don’t think I will will be sharing many wise financial stories from him. ..


Money Reasons November 1, 2010 at 6:23 pm

You never know! I was shocked to find that my son got straight As for this school term! He’s in 5th grade and now they are using letter grades instead of numbers. He did awesome in his classes for this first, official letter-grade report card!

If someone told me that this year he’d be a staight A student right out of the gate, I would have laughed! While he’s smart enough, in the past he just didn’t seem to care much about the grades…


Crystal @ BFS November 1, 2010 at 2:46 pm

That’s fantastic! I don’t have kids, but sometimes my husband says something that sounds like a money quote from me and I get all proud… 🙂 Hope your first day is going well!


Kris November 1, 2010 at 5:09 pm

BFS – Just make sure he doesn’t take credit for your financial wisdom! 🙂 I do love when things like that happen though.


Aloysa November 1, 2010 at 3:30 pm

This is great! We don’t have kids, but hey – I just got a good lesson from yours. 🙂


Kris November 1, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Aloysa – you just never know where you are going to get wisdom from! I definitely did not expect it from my oldest son as he tends to spend a bit…


Squirrelers November 1, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Great work by your son…and by you and Mr. Everyday Tips, to teach him such things. Sometimes the results show up in unexpected situations.

I recently had an example from my 7-year old, and I’m so proud of her. She got a gift of $100 from my grandmother – her great-grandmother. Now, my grandma doesn’t have much, but she’s 97 and for whatever reason decided to send this large sum of money. Very, very kind of her, and it made me happy to see love from a great-grandma to a little girl.

Anyway, we went to the bank to cash the check (then put funds elsewhere), so I could show her her gift. It’s there when I told her who it was from and why she got it. Immediately, she said that she felt really bad about it. She thought that since great-grandma was so old, she needed the money. She said that we should be helping her and not taking. It took me a while to convince her that it would make her great-grandma happy if we took the gift, but I appreciated her thoughts. Eventually, she relented.

My happiness there was that she thought of others first, while also feeling self-reliant, even as a kid:) I was proud.


Kris November 1, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Squirrel – I am proud of your daughter too, what a wonderful little soul! Don’t you just love the little insights that kids can share that just make your day? I think you need to make a post about that story!


Suba @ Wealth Informatics November 1, 2010 at 8:41 pm

I don’t have kids, but I can totally see how proud you must be. I get all proud if my “husband” says something like that 😉 so I would be very impressed and proud if my kids make great decisions like these! Congrats to YOU for making it work!


Kris November 1, 2010 at 9:32 pm

Thank you so much Suba. We will see how ‘on course’ he stays. I just love these little moments in motherhood though, and it is so fun to be able to share it somewhere.


Darwin's Money November 1, 2010 at 9:49 pm

Our kids are 6,4,1 so we don’t get the most insightful money advice from them yet…but what I am shocked by is how susceptible they are to advertising! My son was going on and on about a curling iron my wife should try and how great it works. I was like “what??”. Must have been an ad on one of his cartoons. He wanted some sugary cereal we won’t let him have too due to the commercials. we try to limit the TV, but let’s be real, sometimes you need a break – so they watch a bit and they sure to pick up on the ads.


Kris November 1, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Darwin- I used to feel guilty letting the little ones watch tv. Then I realized I am only human and sometimes I may actually need to dry my hair or make lunch!

I remember being a kid myself and wanting all the neat things being advertised on tv. Of course, they never panned out to be as wonderful in real life as they were on tv, but I just kept trying! (Sea Monkeys anyone?)


First Gen American November 2, 2010 at 5:09 am

You must be so proud. Rock on Jr.

Yesterday we were at Barnes and Noble and at the check out the women were giving out candy. My 5 year old said no thanks and they offered him a book mark instead (which he happily took). They commented on how good a parent I was cuz my kid said no to candy. I should have just agreed but I think it’s just because he OD’d on candy the day before.


Cole Stan November 4, 2010 at 3:00 am

Looks like kids are more informed with our technologies nowadays. Lucky for you that he saw you searching for DVR or else you will just waste your money for buying it. I wonder what will be your son’s birthday present now?


Khaleef @ KNS Financial November 10, 2010 at 4:50 pm

This is great! I guess he is actually hearing those lessons! Now, if he can just train all of the “adults” out there, we’d be fine!


Kris November 10, 2010 at 8:54 pm

Khaleef – I have found that teens actually do listen, you just find out about it at the most obscure times. (Like in my example.)


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