In one of the letters that financial adviser, Dave Ramsey, who writes a column on deseret news about finance and financial literacy received from readers; he explains why teens need to learn the connection between work and money, and why they need to learn this lesson from their parents.
See the letter.
My son will be off to college soon, but he’s never had a job. His uncle has offered him a really nice, low-mileage used car for $3,000 (about ₦ 960,000). My husband doesn’t want us to give him money for the car, but I think this deal is just too good to pass up. What do you think?
And his reply.
Unless there’s some sort of disability that prevents your son from working, I have got to agree with your husband on this. Your son needs a car, but he also needs to get off the couch and work for it!
If you get this car for him, you are just teaching him that mommy and uncle will take care of everything. That’s not a good lesson for any child to learn, and it’s an especially bad thing for a teenager.
When you and your husband started out in life, I am guessing you didn’t start out rich. Am I right? It’s not really the car deal that’s the problem here; it’s the lesson that will be learned. At his age, it’s silly for him not to want to work for a car, and you and your husband need to be up in his face about that. Then, if he chooses not to work for a car, he can walk. He shouldn’t be rewarded for showing no desire to go earn things and make stuff happen.
When my son was around that age and wanted a car, he was working his tail off around my office packing boxes and painting stairwells. That’s how you learn about the benefits of hard work. If you don’t teach your son how to work now, he will be living with you when he’s 30 years old and doing exactly what he’s doing now, which is nothing.
This automobile deal is a bad deal because it doesn’t teach your son to work for it.
This may appear harsh and somewhat extreme, but if you go back to parts of the letter that were highlighted in red; you would realise he was trying to help them see that what’s more important is the lesson that work precedes money. He was saying that even if parents will help, the child must first show initiative by putting in an effort.
And while parents want to give their children the best – which isn’t bad – they should also teach them how to make things happen by themselves, for the simple reason that parents are a child’s first role models. Also, they will not be there to act as provider and protector forever. Agree?