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RP Father's - How far will you go to teach financial independence?

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January 6, 2020

Finances with my 16yo son have been an issue. I take care of his essentials. He's responsible for anything extra. My desire is to teach him to be more independent. "Figure it out," is my mantra.

I have a concern this may have been counter-productive. He has pursued two avenues.

1) Doing house work for his girlfriend's dad. The amount varies but yesterday he landed $60. This I don't have an issue with. He figured it out.

2) He asked his mother for $200. I believe this is in addition to the $20 he already received from her to resolve his negative bank balance.

He does not have a job though his grades are good and he participates in after-school activities. He can get a job, but would be limited to around 5-10 hours a week.

I have an issue with #2 and I'm trying to work it out in my head. Reasons to not care:

1) It doesn't concern me. I told him to figure it out. He's doing just that. It is only my responsibility to hold my line and hope he'll someday come around.

Reasons to care:

1) His mother is teaching him exactly what I am trying not to; to be dependent on others.

2) His mother lives in squalor. He knows. Yet, this doesn't seem to bother him. IMO, this touches on something deeper but I acknowledge this is me getting inside of his head when I shouldn't.

3) His basic ignoring of core responsibilities.

My deep instinct is to confront him and say, "relying on friends and family to support you financially will only get you so far. You're 16. No driver's license (though he's coming around on this). It's time to start stepping up and being more responsible." I think at a minimum this is the wise choice. However, I also want to take it further, contact his mother, and ask her to stop (I know she won't). If I did take that route, I know I'd have to leave it at that; mention it once and let it be.

What is the advice of the RP Dad's out there?

Post Information
Title RP Father's - How far will you go to teach financial independence?
Author ImNotSlash
Upvotes 18
Comments 54
Date 06 January 2020 07:25 PM UTC (1 year ago)
Subreddit askMRP
Original Link
Similar Posts

[–]tap098853412 points13 points  (0 children) | Copy

I think there are limits to what you can teach while someone is being cared for. No one gets a fire lit under them until they realize what their limited skillset allows them to afford.

[–]SBIIIRed Fucking Commando11 points12 points  (2 children) | Copy

I'd wager that a large majority of guys who end up here had shitty fathers for role models. Fathers who didn't teach them, talk to them, show them what the world would expect of them and what they should expect from the world.

Leaving a boy to figure it out for himself? Don't be one of those fathers.

[–]RStonePT2 points3 points  (1 child) | Copy

I dunno. We all figured it out, so it's clearly not the hardest thing to learn

[–]SBIIIRed Fucking Commando1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

More traffic for Reddit then.

[–]creating_my_life22 points23 points  (11 children) | Copy

"figure it out" isn't the right thing. You need to SHOW him and TEACH him what to figure out. Talk to him. Involve him. Simple inflows/outflows.

YOU also need to decide what financial lessons to learn. I talk to my kids about the tradeoff between labor and income; equity and earnings, and more. I've told them I expect more from them than a minimum wage job where they trade an hour of their lives for $10. But maybe that's not the path you're setting out for them.

And MOST importantly: lead by example. How is YOUR financial situation?

Use the mother as an example. "Look at her house vs. mine. Factor that in as you think about finance."

And, he's 16. Part kid, part adult. Talk to him like a person.

[–]ImNotSlash[S] 4 points5 points  (6 children) | Copy

This mostly makes sense except,

Use the mother as an example

Out of the question. He is insanely defensive of her and anyone criticizing her in any way. We've almost came to blows over this a while back.

[–]umizumiz4 points5 points  (0 children) | Copy

You don't have to criticize her to use her as an example.

Source - my ex-wife

Also, you told him to figure it out and he hit up his mom. He's doing what you told him to do, now teach him why he he is wrong for going to his mother(i.e "she needs it more than you do") if you feel it was a bad choice on his part.

[–]creating_my_life4 points5 points  (4 children) | Copy

We've almost came to blows

ah, so you lack frame, too?

[–]ImNotSlash[S] 7 points8 points  (2 children) | Copy

Work in progress.

[–]Cam_Winston2116 points17 points  (1 child) | Copy

Out of the question.

As it should be. Shit talking a spouse in front of your kid is generally a bad idea.

[–]ImNotSlash[S] 3 points4 points  (0 children) | Copy


[–]VigilantSmartbomb0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

my dad lost his cool on me once. That's what that was? Good to know thanks

[–]red-sfpplusHard Core Red-1 points0 points  (3 children) | Copy

Yeah. When all else fails resort to being Passive/Aggressive.

[–]ImNotSlash[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

What's passive aggressive in the comment?

[–]umizumiz0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

Well fine then, maybe I will

[–]VigilantSmartbomb0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy


[–]dilberryhoundog4 points5 points  (1 child) | Copy

I realised not long ago that the biggest mistake I have ever made as a parent was to try sculpt an adult (of my liking) from my child. I also made the same mistake trying to sculpt a wife from a woman (teenager).

In both cases I sacrificed an “In the now” relationship for this endeavour of future gains. It’s essentially trying to control something you have no control over (somebody else’s future behaviour/actions).

Now I am trying to have the best “right now” relationship I can. Fun, challenge, connection, love, comfort, protection, interaction. These are the things I offer. I think it will be enough for my children to willingly learn all they need to know, before setting off on their own path.

[–]VigilantSmartbomb0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Damn fr? I've been coming to this realization and now it's just bam.

> "right now"
So you tainted your relationship you feel like because you tried to force them to be someone they werent?

I really appreciate this insight.

Do you believe that's enough for your wife and the relationship you want to have with her?

I think you might like the tedtalk on alpha males

[–]Cam_Winston212 points3 points  (3 children) | Copy

I take care of his essentials. He's responsible for anything extra.

I don't know the situation, but what is a 16 year old spending money on if the essentials are covered? I see "girlfriend" so that may answer the question by itself, but doing stuff like getting paid by dad to clean out the garage or do the lawn care (a) teaches capitalism and (b) pays for a date. Other stuff like video games or the like can be accomplished in like fashion, by earning the funds necessary to pay.

He asked his mother for $200.

I didn't see "asked his mother for a $200 loan" so I think I see the problem. Being a teenager and being given money (outside of birthdays/graduations/holidays) is a recipe for having a budding Bernie supporter who thinks stuff should be free.

"No" is one of my favorite words.

[–]ImNotSlash[S] 0 points1 point  (2 children) | Copy

The gf's father scenario doesn't bother me. It's not often. It does bother me a little he immediately took her to some jewelry store and bought her a ring. But I did the same shit too so who am I to complain. He earned it.

It's the mother....I don't care that she can't afford it. Not my problem. She's always wanted to be his friend though. Coddle him. That's what bugs me. But it's also outside of my control. At a minimum I can ask her to stop. But I doubt she will. And either way, I can't let myself be affected by it.

Its not a loan. I do loans. She does gifts.

Think I may have answered myself here...

[–]Cam_Winston210 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

There you go.

Let mommy be the friend who gives him things, you can't do much about that. You be the dad he learns life's lessons from.

Among them could be doing chores to pay off a loan. :)

[–]rocknrollchuck0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

I think the focus should be on getting him to look toward the future. Can you sit down with him and talk? What are his plans over the next couple of years until he graduates high school? What are his plans after high school? College? Career prospects?

Help him understand the cost of life. Rent, food, gas, car payment, car insurance, electric, cellphone, internet, etc. monthly vs. income broken down monthly, weekly, and hourly. He needs to get a realistic view of what life will be like once he's an adult out on his own, and see what things will actually cost and how much money he will need to earn at the minimum to have the kind of life he wants. Go over the numbers with him and break it down on paper if he's willing to listen.

Stop worrying about his mother and what she's giving him. That can only last so long. Let him discover that the hard way, when she eventually stops giving him stuff, without negative input from you about her. And don't say anything to her about it at all. Prepare your son for the world.

[–]HeckleandChide2 points3 points  (1 child) | Copy

More is caught than taught.

Start small and work in little nuggets of advice when you are doing something else, like driving or fishing or something like that. Plant seeds. Recognize that as seeds, you won’t see the results for months or years.

Once he shows even a bit of interest, up the involving. Have him set next to you when you do your weekly budget planning. Ask his opinion and what he thinks you should do. Engage him.

How would you get your 16yo kid interested in weightlifting? Telling him to do it? Or inviting him to do it with you? This is no different.

More is caught than taught.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

This. Show him how to do it. Sending him to work is just gonna show him how much he’s gonna hate working. I know a lot of really hard working people that are shit with money.

[–]ChokingDownRPRed Beret5 points6 points  (5 children) | Copy

How ironic that "figure it out" is your mantra for your son, yet you've posted multiple times here asking for help on this issue.


[–]ImNotSlash[S] 0 points1 point  (4 children) | Copy

That hasn't escaped me. I'm ok with that for now.

[–]red-sfpplusHard Core Red2 points3 points  (2 children) | Copy

Lazy fuck

[–]ImNotSlash[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

Well you don't have DTC around, thought you could use some entertainment

[–]itiswr1ttenRed Beret0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Bitch please. This isn't a substitute for human connection, it's a hospital where the most disagreeable people make the rules

[–]markpf730 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

“I learned it by watching you dad...I learned it by watching you.”

Damn some of those 80s public service commercials were funny. Applies here. Why hasn’t he learned it by watching you?

[–]2ndalRed Beret1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy

The fact that you're coming here to us with this information for advice suggests you likely don't have the rapport with your son that you would like to have or is necessary to solve challenges productively. Work on that. You should have the same level of frankness and open communication with him as you do us. Take what you're telling us and tell him instead. He's a big boy now and can/will ignore you, especially if he ultimately doesn't respect you.

[–]ImNotSlash[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

There is some history I'm trying to push through, yes.

[–]WolfofAllStreetz1 point2 points  (2 children) | Copy

I never understood why kids who turn 16 weren’t running out to get their license. I couldn’t get mine fast enough.

That, and the amount of girls driving their guys around. wtf

[–]red-sfpplusHard Core Red3 points4 points  (1 child) | Copy

All I wanted to do at 16 was fuck and drive my car.

AOL was also the only Internet and there was no PornHub.

Multiplayer Games didnt exist unless you both sat in front of the same TV.

These are just a few of the reasons boys these day suck and girls know it.

[–]WolfofAllStreetz0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

We are similar ages. I can relate to all that.

[–]ImNotSlash[S] 1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy

I'm not going to do anything. It's not my place. In regards to teaching him, I've tried. He doesn't care. When he cares he can come find me I'll be there. Not going to force the issue.

Appreciate all the responses.

[–]wkndatbernardus1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

Might want to show him how compound interest works by gameifying investments. There are a number of free sites that let you model and track different investment strategies. You two could compete against each other to see who wins. Or, just open up an IRA for him and match a percentage of what he invests from his various odd jobs. Once he sees the growth (especially in this market), he'll be hooked and want to start making more $ to invest it.

[–]saltyfiredude1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

I am a younger guy (21) so maybe I can relate more to your son's position. My father is smart with his money, in contrast my mother is terrible and upon reflection, he consistently raised me to become like him with finances.

I remember several years ago when my father told me a story about his first financial lesson when he still lived at home at 18. My grandfather sat him down and instructed him to show him his end of year pay summary. My father was then told to compare his total year earnings to his bank balance, and then was quizzed as to why there was a significant amount of money unaccounted for. When my father told me this story he then encouraged me to do the same. This is when I realised over my first summer of part time work, I had worked hard to earn $1000, but spent $500 on junk food and useless crap by the end.

He showed me that people are so easy to spend, and the spending is a ruthless cycle that keeps you reliant on trading your time for money at a job. Over the years this lesson has instilled in me that people who understand money are free, and those that don't will always be a slave to it. Despite currently being almost finished a finance degree, that was one of the best money lessons I've ever had.

Your son needs to experience and learn himself, but with guidance and help along the way. My father could probably have tried to lecture me, but before I had my own experience I would never have understood. I now see how destructive my mothers spending habits are, but if he had tried to tell me I would have defended her like your son.

Good luck.

[–]becoming_alpha1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

Your 16 year old has a negative bank balance (around $200 I'm guessing). How did that happen? After he gets back in the black, you should show some leadership and make sure overdraft protection is turned off on his account. His debit card should get declined if he doesn't have money in the bank. Yes, it's embarrassing, but it's also a great teacher. As part of teaching kids to be responsible with money, I don't think they should have access to credit without a job (an ability to repay that debt).

"Figure it out" isn't a bad mantra per se, but that's leaving him on his own without direction (leadership) from you. A better mantra would be "let's figure it out." When he tells you he's overdrafted by $200, you sit down with him with a pencil and paper and coach him through putting together a plan for making the money he needs to get out of debt.

"Ok, you've got $60 from house work and you'll get another $40 next week, that's good. That leaves $100. If you get on the honor roll when grades come out next month, I'll give you $50, so that leaves $50. You're going to sell a couple old xbox games to Billy for $20, now you're down to $30, what are you going to do to earn that? Sure, you can ask your mom for a handout, but you could also ask old man Higgins if you can shovel snow for him. That should be an easy $40 this month."

The next step is helping him plan a budget for himself. He's going to want to spend $100 a month on fun and dates, how is he going to earn at least that much? Help him identify his goals and help him figure out how to reach them.

[–]red-sfpplusHard Core Red5 points6 points  (7 children) | Copy

I plan to always spoil my kids and spend every last dollar I have on them if they need me to.

I fucking hate parents that do not provide for their kids at High School level 100% and fully.

That kids job is to get good grades, and not drink/do drugs in excess, unless of course they are with me.

They have the whole fucking lives to be adults.

Being an adult FUCKING SUCKS.

My RP advice is to stop being a dick to your kid.

[–]bourbonhipster3 points4 points  (1 child) | Copy

Kids whose job is solely dedicated towards achieving high mark grades is neither fun nor a good measure for future success.

Spoiling your kid by spending on them indiscriminately does not guarantee them a successful future either. If anything it can become a crutch.

As an adult, you set your own priorities, make your own goals, formulate your own lifestyles, and success or failure is entirely a matter of your own effort and discipline. There's no greater privilege than this, living in a free society, one with such wealth of opportunity. How exactly does being an adult "fucking suck" unless you are failing miserably?

[–]red-sfpplusHard Core Red0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

I am failing miserably.

[–]HornsOfApathyMod / Red Beret2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

I will spoil the fuck out of them with opportunities and requirements to be successful (good clothes, phone, internet, good food, experiences, culture), but not "things". Each his own to determine where the line is on that.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy

He almost came to blows with his 16 year old son, logic isn’t gonna work here.

[–]ImNotSlash[S] 8 points9 points  (0 children) | Copy

That was two years ago. It's better. Taking a while. But better.

Fuck that. It happened. Live and learn.

[–]z2a1-91 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

My RP advice is to stop being a dick to your kid.

agreed 100%

[–]Imaginary_Historian0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

That will not teach them life skills. It will only teach them how to live the vacuum that you created for them. If you ever wondered why millennials have so much trouble making it in the real world, this is one reason why.

Sure you can coddle some kids and do everything for them until they finish college and some figure things out on their own. I get it, you want to give them every chance possible to succeed, especially if you feel you weren't given the same chances by your parents. But, I think this approach backfires more often than not.

I used to bitch that my parents didn't do shit for me. I was on my own since 14 basically. I had to figure it out. I used to say I wish they had actually parented me, and that maybe I would have turned out better if they had.

But today I realize after watching all of these entitled fuckers out there that maybe I would have turned out like them, and that is far worse.

And this "being and adult fucking sucks" thing, I have no idea what you are talking about. Being an adult rules compared to being a teen, that sucked. I would take my life any day if being a happy teen with all your needs met means being a miserable adult.

[–]mrpalt1Chief of the Towel Police0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

"Figure it out" sounds like a good motto for someone who is 18 and in most circumstances a legal adult/majority.

A 16 year old needs guidance and will most always take the handout. When you spend time with your kid offer to pay him for some help you need around the house, or your job. Make it a fairly attractive offer so he is excited about the offer. Hell negotiate with him and teach him that tactic as well.

Financial independence is actually really fun, the hard part is shifting your mindset to not be like every other blind consumer out there. Show him abundance of money making opportunities, ebay, sports tickets, concert tickets all things I flipped early on as a teenager/early 20's to make some extra cash.

[–]fannyfire0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

NMMNG talks about rituals, initiations and ride alongs for young men. Take the opportunities to teach your son how to be a man. I’m not a father yet but that is the one thing I am looking forward to. Your son might wind up being a lazy faggot but at least you will know that you did your job.

[–]Big_Daddy_PDX0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

You’re struggling with basics here. In life there will be times he is not around you and he will make his own decisions. Your only responsibility is to educate him with the financial principles you want and then show him how they regularly play out in life.

I started doing this with my kids (to varying degrees) before my divorce and have continued now that they are 16/13. Their Mom is a mess and terrible with money. So I talk with them regularly about money; how it works, how you earn/spend, and even talking about opportunity cost and decisions you’d make to compromise and spend less. If your kid is hearing you talk about money and your thoughts on how it’s used, those lessons will be extremely powerful.

[–]SorcererKingMod / Red Beret0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Have you actually taught him anything about how money works? How interest is calculated? How credit cards work? How checking accounts work? Have you showed him the size of your bills? Rent, car, phone, whatever? If you want him to be good with money help him understand its value and how personal finance works.

[–]VigilantSmartbomb0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Can I be the first to say dude wtf? He's 16. My generation (the one right above his) currently has the most amount of stress from any previous generation of human kind that we know of. It's worse than the depression in the Victorian ages by metrics of metrics. We're the first generation that's going to have to take care of our parents AND our kids while at the same time being the first generation to have made less than the previous one as well.

I can tell you straight up if you're in your sons life. He's learning from example, period.

I didn't have my drivers license till I was 18. It wasn't economical for me, and I paid for my school through scholarships and grants. I'm saying he'll find his way but damn dude let him finish out his years being a kid. All he wants to do is talk to you and get to know you despite whatever the fuck else he says. He just wants to learn how you do things.

He's honestly probably doing the best he can and may already realize eventually the money trains going to stop. He's also probably acting a lot dumber than he is (and may even have a plan for your retirement already). My entire generation acts dumb or schemes to an extent (because of the information gap), and it's really unlikely his generation wouldn't with even more information. I was learning things at 15 that 30 year olds were at my time of the internet. Now 9 year olds are learning what 15 year olds were in my time, on their own. If he can play his mom out of $200, or if their relationship is just like that.. that's.. SMART. You don't think he doesn't know what he's doing? He just got $200. & of course your wife's not going to stop. He has his entire life to learn these lessons and your his parents.

You can't learn the lessons for them, all you can do is set them on the path.

You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea.

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