While this post is not exclusively about credit card debt, it does play a role in what you are about to read.
On a couple of occasions, I have addressed the problem of instant gratification, of the "I want it and I want it NOW" mentality. The main problem is that we don't develop patience nor do we establish a work ethic in order to provide for the "want." This is an issue for adults and children. To make matters worse is that undisciplined (financially) parents cannot teach constructive money habits to their kids.
Recently, Dr. Phil had what I consider to be one of his best television programs called
"How To Talk To Your Kids About Money." The primary guests were parents named Lori and Chris and their 15 year old daughter, Kati. I'll start by saying that the parents admitted that they "have trouble saying no" to their daughter and she admitted that she "likes to manipulate the situation" in order to get what she wants. This is a recipe for DISASTER!! To put it in numbers, the parents spent $27,289 in just 2 years to satisfy their daughters' materialistic desires.
The financial mess is easy to recognize. But on a deeper (rational) level, the problem is that neither the parents (especially the mother) nor the daughter take full responsibility for this situation. Lori (mother) makes excuses for this wasteful spending, claiming that Kati "makes good grades," as though As and Bs should equate to thousands of dollars. If that were true, I would have been a millionaire by the time I got out of high school. Then, ironically, Lori says that Kati "spends too much money." DUH! From whom does she get the money?!?
Dr. Phil addressed the issue directly, as he often does, when he said, "The parents are not willing to step up" and that "Overindulgence is the most insidious form of child abuse." Simply put, the parents have trained their daughter to beleive that if she simply puts her hand out, she will eventually get what she wants. I pity her future spouse, significant other, etc. This habit is hard to break.
Ultimately, it was determined that the father brings home $6,000/month (net), but by the time that the bills are paid and Kati's "stuff" is bought, there is only $240 left.
There are so many things wrong with this situation. To make matters worse, this is not an isolated situation. There are MANY American families that are living in debt (largely credit card) because parents cannot say NO to their kids. And it's really NOT that hard....
kids frequently say no to their parents!! So maybe parents can learn from their kids!