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Author: xraymd Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 308454  
Subject: Re: Me vs. My Parents $40K Debt (Long) Date: 9/6/2004 10:17 AM
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Greetings, Kyle, the replies so far are excellent. I will just add a few comments of my own:

1) Congratulations on your burgeoning knowledge! It is going to serve you very well. However, it may or may not serve YOUR PARENTS. Exposure to new ways of handling money may take some time to sink in and while you are helping to open their eyes, they may not be willing nor able to adopt all the wonderful strategies you are finding FOR them. This is a similar situation to having become an ex-smoker, and now a rabid anti-smoker (completely valid). However, for anyone you are around who STILL SMOKES, your own fervor is not going to register as well as you may like. What if your parents don't adopt your advice? Will you still love them and accept them without being condescending toward them? You are learning fast that they are not perfect, nor do they possess the same level of skill that you now do regarding money management. It may be that your next lesson needs to be one of patience, forgiveness and acceptance that they may or may not ever accept your advice. If they do, how wonderful for all. If they don't...

2) I cannot emphasize enough that the only time to drop a pile of money onto existing debts and have it be a salve and not an accelerant is when new, better and permanent money management behaviors have confidently been practiced. Until your parents decide to make such LBYM changes on their own, they run the risk of doubling their debt this way.

3) No matter how much I thought I knew about money management, I was able to impart only a trace at a time (and my parents really do have good skills in reality). Specifically, I recall conversations with my mother about 20 years ago when I was in my 20s - she was not mathematically inclined like I was, and I recognized that "glazed-over" appearance. But the one thing she eventually took away from our discussions was that she was open to (and did) learn how to balance a checkbook. And that was the SINGLE SKILL she attained from all the hours of talk (lecture, probably!) I had with her about money management. Still, in her view, that was the most important thing TO HER to have learned, and what it did for her was to move her into another dimension of thinking about how to manage her own money. This single skill that she mastered was literally for her like learning to read and it opened her up to the world of budgeting - in her own way.

So I have already learned that there may be intrinsic limits on your parents' receptivity to your teaching, and that it is possible they will put the information you convey to work for them in ways you may not have anticipated (nor fully approve of!). Knowledge shared is a gift that, when freely given, provides all sorts of new vistas. Remember to offer what you are learning with humility and you will all be on the right track towards better (at least more informed) financial behavior.

In response to the last paragraph in your original post, you are ALREADY a success story! Your parents certainly have done right by you to have gotten you so open to, and capable of, self-education. You are poised to do right by them, on whatever terms they can accept what you offer, perfectly or imperfectly. Please come back here to share how it is going.

xraymd
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