We always want what’s best for our children, but sometimes what’s best for them— and us— isn’t always clear. How often have you heard someone say they want their kids to have things they didn’t have? It’s part of the American Dream. We’ll talk with Art Rainer about how that can lead parents into debt, on this Faith and Finance.
Art Rainer is the author of The Marriage Challenge: A Finance Guide for Married Couples and a regular Faith and Finance contributor.
- A lot of folks struggle with wanting to give their kids the best chance in life, and yet not break the bank doing it. Art has an article on FaithFi.com titled, “6 Things That Can Lead Loving Parents Into Debt.” Art discusses those six things with Rob West.
- 6 THINGS THAT CAN LEAD PARENTS INTO DEBT
- 1. Keeping up with the Joneses. Your neighbor or coworker dresses their children in high-end children’s clothing so you want to do the same. Or your neighbor sends their children to private school, so you decide to follow suit, even though you really can’t afford the cost.
- The Joneses are a frustrating crew to chase because they’re always shifting the standard. As soon as you feel that you’ve arrived, they move it slightly out of reach again. So we need to be careful. There will always be other parents who spend more on their children, but they may be using debt to finance it. You could be chasing a façade.
- 2. Too much time on social media. The images you see on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are simply the filtered versions of those you follow.
- The constant barrage of great vacations, child accolades, and perfect family moments can make you feel like a bad parent. You can easily create unrealistic expectations, and try to buy your way to feeling better about yourself.
- 3. Thinking your kids won’t succeed in life if they don’t have it all. Extracurricular activities have entered a whole new realm. Travel leagues, academic and athletic camps, and private tutoring and athletic training have become commonplace.
- Unfortunately, there is a cost to all these activities and experiences, eating up time and money. Are extracurriculars good? Absolutely. But are they worth going into debt? Absolutely not.
- 4. Caring more about your child’s future career than their future character. Often, the focus of our parenting is centered on getting our children into a good school or setting them up to have a good career. Those are important, but they’re not the most important. The most important part of parenting, shepherding our children’s hearts, is difficult and time-consuming. But it’s also less costly.
- 5. Wanting to give your kids what you didn’t have growing up. You can probably remember a time when, as a child, you didn’t get something you wanted. Maybe it was a new bike. Maybe, as a teenager, it was a certain car. You or your parents couldn’t afford it. And you remember how you felt.
- Now as a parent, you don’t want your child to experience those feelings. So when they ask, they get. Even if the purchase requires a credit card.
- 6. Not considering how lacking something actually helped you as a kid. You remember lacking something as a kid, but do you also remember what resulted from not being able to get that item? You may have resorted to more creative play. If you were a teenager, you may have gotten a job. Those moments in your childhood helped you in your growth as an individual. Don’t you want your children to have the same opportunity?
On this program, Rob also answers listener questions:
- Is it wise to convert investments into precious metals?
- How do you determine if a so-called “stimulus package” for older citizens is legitimate or a scam?
- What are the financial and tax ramifications of renting out a room of your house?
- Will you have to pay capital gains tax on money you take out of a Roth IRA?
Should you consider a service that offers to buy your life insurance policy?
Remember, you can call in to ask your questions most days at (800) 525-7000. Also, visit our website at FaithFi.com where you can join the FaithFi Community, and give as we expand our outreach.