If this story is true, it should be a wake-up call for every parent who hasn’t taken the responsibility to teach his or her child about money.
The story unfolded recently on “The Bert Show” radio program. Background: Call-in student, Kim, says her grandparents set up a $90,000 college fund for her, enough to cover her education. She called into the show to say that she’s entering her senior year and is short $20,000 for her last two semesters because she blew the money on a European trip, clothes and other stuff. She’s scared to tell her parents.
“The Europe thing, I thought it was part of my education,” said the 22-year-old, whose last name was not revealed.
You have to listen to the interview — all five parts. Here’s the link.
The hosts tell her to ’fess up to her parents. She calls back to the show with an update: Parents said there is nothing they can do to help her.
She’s defensive and whines: “I didn’t blow it; I just spent it in other places.” She says her dad was a “jerk” about her revelation.
Then comes the statement that took the story viral. Kim says of her parents’ unwillingness to bail her out: “Maybe they should have taught me how to budget a little bit more carefully. They never sat me down and had, like, a real serious talk about it.”
She asked her parents to loan her the $20,000 and said she was willing to pay them back over three years — with no interest. But her parents said they didn’t have the money.
Kim’s response: “I know they have the money. My dad has worked like a million years, and they have a retirement account.”
I’m going to stop here before my head explodes. But you might be surprised by what I’m going to say next.
Kim isn’t completely wrong. Although she’s childish, ungrateful, spoiled and clueless about being irresponsible, it’s possible her parents didn’t teach her well enough, or at all.
Did they teach her money management before she got to college? Did they help her set up a budget — ever?
Did they sit down with her before she went off to school to go over how the $90,000 her grandparents saved should be spent during her years in college? (Keep in mind that Kim did use most of the money to cover her college expenses. She ran out of funds to pay for her senior year.) Did her parents question any of her spending or where she got the money to take a European trip?
It’s not their fault she was a spendthrift, but ask yourself if you’ve done all you can to teach your child how to be a good money manager.
Financial smarts have to be taught. It’s not a limb you are born with like a leg. Certainly this young woman needs to own up to her irresponsibility and pay for her mistake. I would not take out a loan for her. I would not co-sign for a loan. She may have to take off a year to save up to finish school. But she’s not all wrong that perhaps she didn’t get the skills she needed to make better financial choices.
Color of Money Question of the Week
Do you think the parents are to blame for this millennial’s poor money management? Send your comments to email@example.com. Please include your name, city and state.
No More Employee Evaluations for You!
I hate this time of year. And, I bet you do, too.
No, I’m not talking about summer but employee evaluation time. In fact, I always wondered why any supervisor would wait until the end of the year to assess how people did the rest of the year. Wouldn’t it be more helpful to know about issues you have when they come up instead of getting a grade after you can’t do anything about it?
Well, some companies are dumping the evaluation ritual that often elicits under-their-breath groans from employees.
Accenture, which employs hundreds of thousands of workers in cities around the globe, is getting rid of the annual performance review, reports Lillian Cunningham, On Leadership editor at The Washington Post.
“The firm will disband rankings and the once-a-year evaluation process starting in fiscal year 2016, which for Accenture begins this September,” Cunningham writes this week. “It will implement a more fluid system, in which employees receive timely feedback from their managers on an ongoing basis following assignments.”
Some other big companies are also changing how they score their employees.
Cunningham writes, “Though many major companies still haven’t taken the leap, most are aware that their current systems are flawed.”
One study found that 95 percent of managers don’t like the way performance reviews are conducted, and nearly 90 percent of HR leaders say the process doesn’t even yield accurate information, Cunningham reported.
Live Chat Canceled
My online discussion is canceled this week. I’ll return next Thursday to take your financial questions. We had a good discussion last week. To read the transcript, click here.
The Shopping Day Nobody Asked For
Amazon designated July 15 as a “one-day global shopping event,” or Prime Day, which is named after its $99-a-year subscription program. And only Prime members could take advantage of the sales.
A lot of consumers consider the summer version of Black Friday a bust.
For last week’s question I asked: What do you think of all the specialized shopping days, and do they entice you to spend? Love your comments.
Elika Stromn of Beltsville, Md., simply answered: “Nothing, and No.”
Karen Carmichael of Culver City, Calif., wrote: “I’ve been schooled by you, Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman, and read many books on personal finance. In addition, I have taken the 21 Day Financial Fast. Believe me when I say that nothing, other than need, entices me to shop!”
“As a long-time Prime member of Amazon I received no advance notice that a sale was going to take place,” wrote Alice DeVille of Riverview, Fla. “I went online and found no items featured that would interest me, surprising since my purchase history usually pops up in an attempt to entice me to buy more of the same or to see that Amazon carries products I would buy. I clicked on a few items and thought I was at a clearance sale of items that were hard to sell. I agree with those who say that Prime Day was a bust. On rare occasions I will participate in these sales if an item really stands out but normally prefer to look into and compare prices for items of interest before committing to a purchase.”
Denise Baikie of Chicago said: “I think Black Friday/Cyber Monday/Prime Day/St. Swithen’s Super Spectacular Blowout Sale Wednesday/Whatever Day is a double-edged sword. For me, if I’m looking to buy something specific or doing some holiday shopping, I will do it on one of those days and enjoy the extra savings. I know myself, and I have the discipline not to go nuts buying stuff just because it’s on sale. I think for many others, these days are an excuse to buy things that they don’t need with money they don’t have. Worse, these days encourage everyone to shop for stuff they would never have thought of purchasing in the first place, with money they should have budgeted for necessities. Bottom line: good for people who would be shopping anyway; bad for shopaholics.”
Finally, Dan Riedford of Atlanta made an overall observation of how shopping has cut into family time. “I have a large and widely scattered family, and for many years Thanksgiving was one of the rare times outside of weddings and funerals when we were able to reconnect in person,” Riedford wrote. “Black Friday shopping expeditions cut into the already too-brief time we had together. But, for the most part, I (and virtually all of the other male members of my extended family) simply ignored the intrusion. The intrusion has been harder to ignore as Black Friday has started earlier and earlier each year. Now many brick-and-mortar retailers are open all day on Thanksgiving, and on-line sales start Wednesday at midnight. Amazon’s attempt to create a summer companion event strikes me as a step too far. The last thing we need in this country is more encouragement to make large, impulsive (and often unwise) purchases.”
Readers may write to Michelle Singletary at The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C., 20071, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Personal responses may not be possible, and comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer’s name, unless otherwise requested. To read previous Color of Money columns, go to wasingtonpost.com/business.