Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…
Dear GWBW — My mother reads your blog so I’m hoping she’s reading this. I’m 16 and just got my first job, and she’s already making me pay for gas and my cell phone now! Does that seem right to you? I’m ok paying for my car insurance so I drive more responsibly, but she makes me pay to get to work and come home. That seems seems backwards to me. Shouldn’t she want me to want to go to work and make money to begin with? — First Time Worker
Dear First Time Worker,
That you share your mother’s interests enough to know to come here and try to “sway” her is…ehem, your work skills showing. I do, however, appreciate your understanding about the cause-affect relationship of your paying for your car insurance. This shows you do understand how things work.
Now take those mad skillz to the next level, and have a meeting with your parents to figure out what items you should be paying for by discussing to understand each other’s priorities. They will include: cost-to-use, time and money, prioritizing values, and your safety. Maybe it is valuable to them to pay for all things school related. Maybe only you can afford that $350 bat to keep playing, etc… I’m going to keep this one very short because I believe just having this little pow wow will open your parents and your own eyes as to how the other actually sees the world…and mmoney and responsibilities.
Time spent together is time well spent,
Dear First Time Worker,
Congratulations on your first job!
So now that we’re done with niceties, let me give you the down and dirty truth of life as an adult. Life costs money. Gas, car insurance, car payment, tolls—all cost money. The roof over your head costs whether in mortgage, rent or upkeep. Clothes, toiletries and toilet paper all cost and we’ve not even discussed lights, heat, water and garbage.
Your mother has been covering these costs. Now that you have a job she is asking for your help. She’s not even asking for you to cover living expenses, just the gas you need to go where you want to go and the cell phone you need to set up those play dates. In other words, she’s having you cover the cost of your play and travel to and from work. Really, not a lot in the grand scheme of the many hundreds of dollars needed to survive.
Of course, one hopes that these costs do not take the entirety of your weekly check. Now is the time to start the lifelong habit of saving some of your income for a rainy day (or Cabo Spring Break).
You have the opportunity now to create new lifelong habits that will serve you in the years to come. Yes, life comes with bills to pay—and we also have to pay our fair share—but it also comes with compounding interest. Read (or listen to) David Bach’s Automatic Millionaire. Don’t bemoan paying for the life you live. That’s life. Be grateful for the opportunity to have money coming in that helps your mother and helps you live the life you enjoy. These days, not everyone is as lucky.
New responsibility will often chafe, but it will not choke if approached with level head and grateful heart. Realize that your mom’s burden is heavier than you have bothered to note, but now you have the opportunity to help, where it is appropriate.
Blessings on a bright future,
Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.
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