Teaching grown children about budgeting

Teaching grown children how to budget is a challenge.

By Bruce Hartley
Life Issues Columnist

This summer has been interesting for me as a single dad. I am not a financial planner, but I have learned a few things over my 50-something years about budgeting.

My 20-something son is planning his wedding and it has been eye-opening as I’ve observed him, and his fiancé plan the wedding and figure out their new household budget.

I hope you enjoy these tips for helping your grown children navigate wedding/household budgets. Just when we think our parenting days are over; our grown kids sometimes remind us they still need our advice.

The first idea I gave included writing all bills and income on paper. I have taught him this since he was in high school, but this is finally a good idea. The process helped him open see how much money he is spending on specific items.

Later, he told me “Dad, my mind is blown by how much I spend on fast food and eating out.” This was music to my ears since I’ve told him he has blown too much money on fast food since he was in high school.

After he reviewed his monthly household bills and income on paper; he did the same for his wedding expenses. I noticed a few items that are normally covered by the bride’s family. He told me they had not asked his fiancé’s family.

Immediately, I put on my Communication Professor hat. I suggested he write down a list of the things and set up a phone meeting with his future father in law in another state. Dependence on social media and texting appears to be a wall between parents and kids of all ages. I reminded him that when he needs help; he must set up time to talk over the phone or meet in person. This is the best way to have serious discussions such as money.

I moved to the next suggestion: the “envelope method.” I asked him to figure out how much money he needs for weekly expenses. When he gets paid; he will go to the bank and withdraw the cash he needs for the following two weeks. Cash will be put in separate envelopes and labeled week one and week two. He will also move a portion of money into his savings for unexpected expenses.

He will do this twice a month when he gets paid. He will only use the money from the envelops for weekly expenses. He will store his debit card in a safe place and will not use it since he is now using cash from here forward. This will allow him to track his weekly spending better.

The last idea is a personal bank loan. He said he would need me to cosign a personal loan. I researched this and learned a few things. Families can cosign for loans but should always be aware of the implications. Cosigners are responsible for a loan if the other person defaults. This will impact both loan signers negatively on their credit ratings.

Copyright The Gayly. 8/7/2018 @ 1:55 p.m.