Monday, October 19, 2015

No Allowance for You!

Today's generation seems to not be doing so well. We can blame it on the bad economy or Bush maybe, (isn't everything his fault?!), but the sad fact remains that more and more "kids" - otherwise known as people in their 20's and 30's - are coming home to live with Mom and Dad and live on their dime.

Rasing kids who are self sufficient and wont become "Rebound Adult Children"

Why is this and what can we do now to ensure we aren't raising kids who are going to rebound and live in your basement 'til you die?

Call me crazy, but I think this is important! As much as I love my children, I don't want them crippled by my own inability to let them mature.

So, what's the trick? Here's a starter - don't give them an allowance.

What are you teaching your child when you give them money just for existing? You are teaching them that they can get free money, with no work! Why then, would they ever want to earn it for themselves? It's far easier and more convenient for Mom and Dad to pay them in perpetuity for everything from a car at 16 to a monthly phone bill to the down payment on their first home.... that they will then default on. And, because you were such a great parent you co-signed for it, leaving a financial mess for you to clean up.

I would assert that "great parenting" isn't giving your children an allowance and paying for everything. It's teaching your children that they can and should earn their own money - whether it's by doing chores around your home, mowing lawns in the summer, shoveling walkways in the winter, or by getting a paper route.

Warren Buffet's first job was a paper route at age 13. Michael Dell got his first job at age 12, wiping down tables. Charles Schwab picked and sold Walnuts, then started growing chickens and selling eggs at age 12.

These men are all millionaires. They got there by learning to work hard for what they wanted.
My goal for my children is not necessarily to have them become millionaires. If they can learn to work hard for themselves, then they'll become independent adults. They'll be able to support themselves and have the self-confidence that maturity brings.

My son started his paper route a little over a year ago at age 9. Every Wednesday after school, he readies his papers, piling them in his red wagon and walks to over 100 houses, delivering a paper to each one. It takes him about an hour and a half, and he has to remember to put papers in newspaper boxes, or in storm doors. He has to remember which houses have animals he should leave alone, and what to do if a house appears vacant. For this work, he receives anywhere from $6 - $9 per week.

This requires commitment on my part, because I go with him. To get to his route, he has to cross two busy streets. Here's the thing, though:  Even though I am with him, I don't do it for him.

He knows that if he wants to get paid, he has to do the work.

When he gets home, we separate his money. 25% goes to the bank, the rest goes into his pocket to do what he wants with it. If he wants to blow it all on candy, so be it. If he wants to save up and buy a new Lego set, that's his choice.

When he gets to spend this money that he has earned, you can see the pride radiating off of him. He is constantly changing his mind about what he is saving up for next, and is excited about doing so.

He isn't begging for toys or money, instead taking pride in himself and his own ability to provide those things for himself.

Now, before anyone gets their shorts in a twist - yes, of course I provide my children with clothes and food, and everything else they need for life. They don't have to earn those things, but my children see me working hard to provide them. They get toys and books for birthdays and Christmases and sometimes "just because."

An added benefit for everyone is that when Junior earns his own items, he takes very special care of them. I don't find them lying about the house, or left in pockets and thrown in the laundry.

Teaching your kids to work hard for what they want now will carry over to when they are adults. Teaching them to set aside some of their earnings from each paycheck will teach them to create a safety net for themselves, so that when hard times come, they have something to fall back on.

Of course, life still happens. I'm not telling you to abandon your kids as soon as they hit 18. 

Sometimes adult children need a hand up after being knocked down. In which case, give them the hand up, but don't clean up their mess for them. Don't commit to consistently paying for them to live outside of their means. If they need to come and live in your basement for a while, that's fine, as long as there is a plan and movement in the right direction.

What do you think about giving kids allowance?

Monday, October 5, 2015

The TB Blood Test

*I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for the TB Blood Test. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation. 

I'm not one of those people who minds having blood drawn or getting shots. As long as I don't have to watch the needle go into my arm, I'm pretty much good. I wasn't always this way, though.

It all started when I joined the Navy and in the first few days, was injected with a whole cocktail of immunizations and blood tests that I couldn't name them then or now! Two shots I'll never forget. One, the penicillin shot, where you have to bend over and pull down your pants. They inject that sucker right into your cheek and it hurts.

The other shot was the Tuberculosis (or TB) test. This one was memorable because it's injected into your arm, leaving a raised bump. You then have two to three days to make another visit to your doctor so that they can check it and determine if you are infected or not. It's hugely inconvenient, but then, so is having tuberculosis and passing it on to other around you.

Most people don't realize just how contagious Tuberculosis is - especially the people from my generation who've not had to deal with it on a massive scale, thanks to life-saving vaccinations.

Every 21 seconds, someone, somewhere dies of Tuberculosis. This is serious stuff, people!

And so, I have faithfully gone for my check-ups and tests, as painstaking and time-consuming as it is. After all, this is the same test that my parents and their parents took. In fact, it's 110 years old. Tried and true, right?

Except that no, it's not always that accurate. False positives are not uncommon and many people (myself included) report feeling itchiness at the injection site. Diagnosis is open to interpretation, leading to even more false positives. Add to that the inconvenience of the whole ordeal, and it makes you think that someone should make a change.

Luckily, we aren't the only ones who thought so.

A new blood test has been developed, allowing for much more accurate results, less false positives, and only one visit to the doctor! They only need 3 mL for testing (less than the amount that fits in one of those little test tubes). Sounds like a winner to me!

It's easier than ever to make sure that I'm not infecting my children with a disease that could be deadly. Peace of mind allows for more time during the year to just be with my kids.

To find more information on the Tuberculosis blood test, check out the website.

Get tested, protect  your family.