Ask Dave: Make him earn it
May 7, 2011 at 12:07 a.m.
Dear Dave: I recently received a beneficiary IRA when my mother passed away. I also received a small part of her estate. I'd like to share some of this with my 24-year-old son. He's a good boy, but he's pretty impulsive and not good with money. Do you have any suggestions? - Kimberly
Dear Kimberly: I'm sorry to hear about your loss. It's tough enough losing your mom without having to worry about a grown son with money issues.
I'm sure he's a good kid, but I don't like the idea of just giving him money when you already know he's impulsive. Over the years, I've learned that handing money to someone who's financially irresponsible is not a good plan. Lots of people think they'd be fine if they just had more money, and that's generally not the case. You have to ask yourself if you'd really be helping this young man by giving him a bunch of money. More than likely, the answer is no.
You've got several options. But, at his age, it might be a good idea to attach a few strings to him getting any of the money. Set up some guidelines designed to improve his behaviors in a few areas, and you could give him the money if he meets the requirements. Don't make him jump through a bunch of hoops for no reason. I'm talking about things that will train and educate him to live a more productive and responsible life in the future - both financially and as a mature, responsible adult in general.
I think this is fair to you both, and it's also a way you can help him help himself. And hey, if he refuses to cooperate or cops an attitude, you can always just keep the money until he finally grows up a little.
Dear Dave: What should I do with any money I have left from various categories in my monthly budget? - Chris
Dear Chris: Some things you'll carry over from month to month. A good example might be clothing. A lot of people, especially men, don't buy new clothes every month. We're usually not as style-conscious as the ladies, so we generally don't get around to buying new clothes until something is just completely worn out.
If you're consistently over-budgeting in a category like food, you need to simply cut back on the amount you're designating for groceries.
When it comes to miscellaneous items, and if it's just a few dollars here and there, you've got a few options. You might carry it over, like with the food money, or you could combine the amounts into an overflow fund. You could even put it toward paying off debt, if you have any, or stash it in your blow money category and have a little bit more to spend on fun stuff.
Good question, Chris.
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