*And I am glad

*None of us had perfect parents

*The bottomless appetite

*Hearing about last night

*Not all the brains in one skull

*I just happen to see it fall

*A sexist society afterall

*Feeling voyeuristic

*It took root and blossomed

*Thanks, Dane (andy), for letting me "sketch you up...


1. I ask you to do one effing thing
2. Did you?
3. The socks betray him
4. There will be none of that
5. Leave notes in his shirt pocket
6. Trained in the gentle art
7. Put me in coach
8. Our species may, in fact, survive
9.Swarm Swarm
10.During the wooing
11.BUT not private enough
12.The bottomless appetite
13.The first time we forget
14.This is a nice litmus test
15.To get the ball rolling
16.She invited you back to her place for coffee
17.Mary Magdalene or Eva Braun
18.It will only smell and make you queasy


   Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A tool not an overlord

Yesterday I put forth a hofzinser's BLOGGER challenge. Here is my submission.
The challenge: You did not have perfect parents (none of us do/did). They set your sites 'off' on a few things. Blog out one of the sites you now, as an adult, realize your parents set wrong.
I was blessed with amazing parents. This is a tough one as so many of my sites are perfectly set. If I miss a target, it is my own bad aim, not the fault of the sites calibrated by my parents. I did have to recalibrate one of my sites, one that my parents, by example, set wrong.

I had to teach myself how to manage money.

Growing up my father owned a successful contracting company. We had a large house, cars, boats, vacation homes, satelite TV (when the dishes made your yard seem like a rebel outpost from Star Wars) and big screen TVs. We went on vacation every year to Disney World. My parents made annual jaunts to Vegas. Christmas was coming down stairs to see a tree with presents spilling out from under it.

They were good about not spoiling us. We never got presents outside of events like Christmas and birthdays. But, as swimmer pointed out in his post, they set a strong example. When my parents wanted something they whipped out the Visa and got it. The buying power of credit was instilled in my mind. How credit worked was not.

Granted, I was not stupid. I knew what you bought on plastic added to a balance which you paid off on a monthly basis. What I did not intrinsically understand was how interest worked and not only how long it took to pay off cards but how much you ended up paying for anything you bought on credit.

My sites were set and I was sent off to college. The flood of credit card applications started immediately. I filled them all out. I had the coolest dorm room. Stereo, nintendo, microwave, CDs and nice furniture. Wow, being an adult was so nice! I was able to surround myself with anything my heart desired. Like Mom and Dad, when I wanted something the plastic sugar-daddy got it for me.

When I graduated I had already had two cards closed on me. I left campus with a degree and over twelve thousand in credit card debt. As a bonus, I stopped getting credit card applications when my credit score fell like a single dude's standards at last call.

Finally I realized this could not continue. I started having visions of where I wanted to be in five, ten or even twenty years. The debt monkey would never let me get there. I got a job out of school and locked down the checking account. I closed all of my credit cards (vs. them closing them) and put together a plan. I paid and saved, paid and saved. After eight (EIGHT!) years I was credit card debt free.

I now have two cards. They hold small balances that are paid off within sixty days. My credit is recovering from the sins of the past and my finances are in damn good shape.

I will teach my children how money works. How to make your money a tool not an overlord. How to fight the consumer urges that drive us into debt. I will set their sites right. I can only hope that I can also raise them as well as I was.

It was hard to think of where my parents could have done better. I like me (really? Nobody could tell!) and I am who I am by the grace of their scary child-rearing talent.

there are 7 doodles

At 11:10 AM, Blogger A* said...

So I won't be taking this challenge...b/c YOU STOLE MY BAD SITE!!

*le sigh*

 
At 12:04 PM, Blogger Autumn said...

Well, it sounds like to me you managed your cards pretty well! I know people who are way older than you who STILL don't know how to manage their cards and they're constantly in dept! And then they pay it off. And then they're in dept AGAIN! :)

 
At 1:09 PM, Blogger Kira said...

I haven't taken the challenge yet because I'm trying to figure out what I'm willing to admit that my parents gave me for a bad site ;)

 
At 1:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hof, i disagree with you. mom and dad did teach us about money. remember, "$80 sneakers?! i'm not buying you $80 sneakers! but i will pay for 1/2 of them... you'll have to come up with the other 1/2 on your own." you remember, right? how about this one, "you're 15, now go and get a job!" sh**, i've had an income of some sort since i was 12 years old (spent at least 3-4 nights a week babysitting). when i was 16 mr. craftsman (bro) was all, "you should ask dad if you can get a car now that you have your license." i remember thinking sweet! wheels! but before i approached dad about it, my bro, mr. craftsman, pulled me aside and said, "but before you talk to dad, you need to be prepared. you need to know what kind of car you want, and what you can afford." so with this in mind i brought the topic to the table. dad's reply was not "what kind of car are you looking for?" rather, "how much can you afford each month?" i told him i had $500 in savings and i could afford a $200 car payment (16 years old mind you) each month. within the month i had my first car. dad handed me the keys, and also the payment booklet! i saved up $2800 the summer before my freshman year in college, and right before i was about to leave the nest dad said to me, "how much money do you have?" i told him. "ok, now write me a check for $2500" WHAAAAAAAATTTT????? "since you won't be working your 1st semester at school, i'll deposit $40 of this money each week into your checking account, kind of like an allowance." yeah, an allowance of my own money!

like hof, i too have mad CC debt. but ya know what? i'm the one that racked it up, so guess who's paying it off? ME! not mommy and daddy. the 'rents did teach you about credit cards and managing your money hof, and also let you learn a good lesson about the difference b/t wants and needs.

~sis :-)

 
At 2:10 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

Everything I've learned about money and finances I've pretty much learned from experience. Like when my first car got repossessed in the middle of the night and I woke up with no car to get to work and owing the bank $5000 for a car I no longer had.
But, thanks to time, I'm finally getting on my feet again and re-establishing my credit. And I'll be twenty-five next month so I guess I guess that's not too bad. It was good to hear your story - thanks for sharing.

 
At 2:21 PM, Blogger hofzinser said...

Sis...

In no way am I saying it is there fault OR that they didn't teach us about money. The post by swimmer that inspired my BLOGGER challenge talked about the actions of parents in their own lives that led to us making mistakes (still our mistakes). He talked about passive learning vs. the great active teaching you mention. Mom and Dad relied on credit more than they should have... and are still the best parents ever.

AND... just to be clear, despite you attempt to defend them, I am still the most loved child. So there....!

(she is right about them not giving us anything we asked for)

P.S.

I love and miss you!

 
At 6:32 AM, Blogger deanne said...

Hey Hof -- I can fully equate with this post! I racked up a huuuuge debt, which I'm now stuck paying off for the next five years!

You can find it under my 'billion dollar' section.

 

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