8 answers

How Do I Teach My 19 Year Old Son to Be More Responsible with Money?

Hi Mammas~

My son is 19, graduated with distinguished honors, was accepted into the UTA Engineering program....and then decided he "needed some time"....has basically flaked off this past year, and is now planning to go to college (a 2-year college in central texas) with his girlfriend when she graduates. All of this aside...what money he does earn as a server at the Cheescake Factory, he blows almost immediately. Of course, when "mom" gives him some good, solid advice - he just smiles, says "ok, mom", and goes on with no improvement. Is anyone familiar with a book or program or anything that can encourage young adults to spend and save wisely?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks to all...you advice is wonderful. I've spoke w/ him & his dad (my-ex) and he's agreed to actually "look" at how much he spends on unnecessary "junk" and started a plan for savings. Hopefully, with prayer & guidance, he can stick to it. Thanks again!!

More Answers

Don't give him any money.

Then make an appt with someone like my friend that does free budget counseling and there's a book that goes with her program.

Anne Salick ###-###-#### Primerica

She has her own college aged son and loves working with kids. She makes a living by selling insurance, mutual funds etc, but she really doesn't push those things and wants to help others like her own son.

1 mom found this helpful

I completely agree with the previous post. Also, my husband and I read Dave Ramsey's book The Total Money Makeover and watch his show on FOX Business Network. We currently live the way he outlines in his book and couldn't be happier!! Dave is such a likeable person and really cares about other peoples' financial health and happiness in life. Good luck to you!

1 mom found this helpful

I read a few of your advice responses so far and I have to say that they are all right! DO NOT GIVE HIM MONEY! I watched my parents waste their retirement on my bother and what did he learn... to stick his hand out for help with an attitude of entitlement and what did my parents learn... they were enabling my brother to act that way. Both were at fault and both are now paying the price. Both of my parents are in the early 50s and have NO MONEY for retirement and are way deep in debt b/c of lending to my brother with the promise that he would pay them back and of course it never happens. My brother is 33 and lives with 3 roommates and still cannot manage to make rent. Do both of you a favor make him pay his own bills and rent if you pat for college. But if he wants to be an adult and wants you to treat him as such then he needs to act like one. I agree with the comment on the deadline. Set gaols and deadlines together and stick to it. I hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful

I am curious what you are currently paying for him right now. Is he living at home, do you pay his gas, extras, etc?

If you are paying his schooling, I would suggest doing what my dad did for my brother when he wasn't doing too hot in school. My brother had to find a way to pay for his classes, and dad would reimburse him at the end of the semester for each class he passed. If he didn't pass, then it was my brother's loss.

I was blessed throughout my college years to have parents who could afford to pay my college and car payments/gas while I went to school full time. I would never fault a parent for wanting to do the same because I knew how much it helped me. I also knew that the majority of parents could not do this. I also NEVER took it for granted, which unfortunately it sounds like your son might be doing. He hasn't realized just how fortunate he is to be able to blow his money and still get everything else he wants. It might take tough love for a while to teach him not to take what little he makes for granted. Some will never learn, so it's up to you to determine at what point you will stop helping financially. Determine that point and stick to it.

I may be in your shoes when my kiddos get older, so it's hard for someone with young kids like myself to give advice because I won't know that feeling until I am exactly in your shoes. It's easy to say cut off the money, but I know when it's your own kid it's not so easy to do. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Sounds like you are where I was with my nephew-son as I call him. My sister brought him into the world but I raised him and rescued him from her later in his life.

I was a big enabler always coming to the rescue. I would push finding a job going to school but as long as he had the convenience of a roof over his head, lights, food, running water and cable tv there was no motivation on his part. It took about 3 years from 18 to 20 before he finally got straight and he had some bruises in the course of those years due to some bad decisions he made.

But I finally removed myself from the equation. I am not providing transportation, when the food runs out of the house the food is gone unless he has a portion to contribute to groceries, I gave him 30 or 60 days to have a job and then another 60 days to get his own place after he started working. That was that.

I know in your case it is a little different but he is not going to understand until he is out on his own and as mother-in reality- you may eliminate some of his extras but you are still going to provide those necessities no matter what he does. It sounds like he was a high achiever in high school and may have had a lot pressure on him and right now what he is experiencing in freedom/relief and he realizes it and he enjoys it. It does sound like he has a plan it may not be the plan or course of action that you want him to take but he has a plan. From personal experience when dealing w/boys they do the exact opposite of what momma says "just because" but they always come back to momma. I would suggest taking the approach of asking him what are his plans for his life, education, work, and survival. Just remove what you think he should do from conversation all together. Then have some real talk with him. Ask him how would he survive if you were killed in a freak accident today? I know most people don't like to talk about this but reality is it happens and should be discussed. You will have to change your approach to reach him especially since he has a girlfriend he is chasing. Do not appear to be controlling him or "telling" him what to do.

For a budget you can do this yourself with pen and paper. The two of you together sit down and write down everything you pay for him and give him directly. Then write down how much he brings home from his paycheck and what he spends it on. Using the 2 list assign him some responsibility even if it's only $5 or $10 then you can take that money he gives you and put into a savings account for him, so when he does leave for college and calls home for help guess what, he has some money saved up (it may not be alot but it is something) and plus it will be like gold to him because he doesn't even know he has it. I would also have him put away an additional set amount for his personal savings it can be $10.00 a check. The key to learning to save is to start small and get used to the process and then gradually increase. When he gets a raise take that extra money from his raise and put that directly into savings. If you don't think he will be responsible enough to do it own his own have him give you the money or set his checks up for direct deposit and have the money automatically transferred to savings or log on and transfer it for him. Also you can monitor his activity until he understands some kids need a little extra guidance than others. I had to do this for my niece when she moved with me and started working. That girl spent a 100.00 in 3 days buying junk. After I showed it to her in black and white and started monitoring her account she became more conscious of what she was spending.

Last but not least PRAY about it and ask God for guidance for yourself and your son!

God Bless

1 mom found this helpful

Try reading "Debt Proof Your Kids" by Mary Hunt, and also give him a copy of "The Complete Cheapskate" by Mary Hunt. It teaches very sound financial advice on how to live beneath your means with dignity. I have recommended her books to many people and they always say the same thing...."Wish I'd read these books years ago!". Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

In my opinion, if he is not going to school, he needs to be paying rent, at least several hundred dollars a month. Just think....If he was living on his own I doubt he could get by with paying less than $400-500 a month just for rent. If he isn't already, he needs to be paying for his own gas, car payment, insurance, etc as well. If you were planning on paying his college expenses, I would give him a deadline for that as well. Start college by X date, go at least half/full time, and maintain an X GPA & I will keep paying for your tuition/expenses. If not, you will pay for your own. I would think that being responsible for paying for your own necessities would 'force' someone to become more responsible with money pretty quickly!

1 mom found this helpful

Yep... does he have a cell phone or a gas card? If so, he should be paying for bills... and helping out paying for groceries, maybe rent. Help him learn to bugdet. It's not going to work coming from you, I agree with the Dave Ramsey book.

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