Tag Archives: Context Matters

Daddy, Are We Properly Leveraged In Our 457(k) Fund?

What should you tell your little dudes and dudettes about how much money you make?

It’s a question some people don’t have to worry about. After all, if you’re living hand to mouth, from paycheck to paycheck, then the question of finances and affordability is something that will be discussed at length and among most of the family.

However, if you are lucky enough to be able to make a good living, are in a situation in which you can afford to purchase most if not all of the items your child wants or needs, then you’ve certainly got a couple of decisions to make as your child grows older and a bit more inquisitive.

Money talks. It also shouts and screams and, on occasions, yodels.

Still, no matter how much noise money makes, we like to keep how much we have a bit of a secret. For that reason, a lot of parents will withhold their annual salary or their total net worth from the young dudes in the house. After all, you wouldn’t want the little dudette to go around bragging to all her friends that you make a ton of money, especially if their parents don’t make that much, so they would feel bad. Or the reverse.

If you’re the type to hold back how much money you have from your young dude for whatever reason, then you’ll need to consider a few things when the inevitable question comes up.

Firstly, you need to determine just how ready the little dudette is to hear the answer.

It’s probably pointless to give a straight answer on income to a child who hasn’t gotten beyond three figures in math class. The same thing is true with a 10- or 12-year-old math whiz if you haven’t yet explained to them all of the costs involved in your daily life. Context matters, a lot.

If your little darlings learn you make $32,000 a year, they’re liable to think they’re rich and begin upping their Christmas expectations accordingly. Mostly because they haven’t factored in the appallingly high cost of, for instance, raising several little yard apes.

Speaking of context, when the question does come up, you might want to steer the conversation back around to trying to find out why your little dude wants to know about money. Are they worried about being kicked out of their house because they overheard an argument about money? Are the trying to figure out how much they’ll have to make when they get a job so they can still live like they’re used to doing with you? Are they in an appendage-measuring contest with the kid down the street and trying to see who’s richer?

Reasons, like context, matter. Frivolous reasons merit frivolous answers that will, while not actually proffer a lie, then fluff the little dudette off with no actual numbers, but a vague sense of the correct answer.

Other curious children may be trying to figure out what they would need to earn to have a life as an adult like the one they have as a teenager. In that case, you could talk about salaries for jobs like the ones they’re interested in, deflecting the conversation away from the jobs you have.

Or, if you have a child on your hands who is truly ready, you could just answer the question without a lot of heavy breathing.

My wife, known to me as She Who Must Be Bringing Home The Bacon Right And Not Letting Me Forget I’m A Man, and I decided that we would go the comparison route. We didn’t name actual numbers, but we did say we’re well off. That is, we’re not rich, but we make enough money combined that the kids don’t need to worry about money for reasonable expenses.

We’re not going to be going out and buying a top-of-the-line sports car for each little dude as they reach 16, but they won’t be walking everywhere either.

How you do it is up to you. However, like most things in parenting, preparation makes it much easier.

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The Dreaded Date Of Doom Is Upon Us!

by Richard

It’s a date we’ve always feared, even while we always knew it would arrive.

Welcome to June 13, 2012. Welcome to the 13th birthday of Hyper Lad. Welcome to having three teenaged dudes in the same family, at the same time, under the same roof.

Welcome to hell.

All right, that’s probably a bit of an exaggeration. Hard to believe, I know. I mean, if I’m not known for anything, it’s not staying away from exaggeration. Or being direct. Or something.

Anyway.

Even though this will be Hyper Lad’s entry into teenage dude-dom, it’s not like we’ve not had experience with it. With his two older brothers, Zippy the Monkey Boy and Sarcasmo, being around, Hyper Lad has thought he was five years older than he really was since he was 10 or so. So he’s been acting like a teenager for a while.

Of course, now he’ll be acting like a teenager, but with the added benefit of having that witch’s brew of toxic hormones and emotions running riot inside his tiny, underdeveloped brain. Just like every other teenager.

We’re not that worried, though.

Hyper Lad really is a good kid. Not only is he smart and definitely takes after his mother’s side of the family when it comes to looks, but he’s also the most sociable of the young Jones dudes.

While Zippy the Monkey Boy and Sarcasmo struggled through middle school, Hyper Lad is skating through with a smile on his face and many phone numbers belonging to girls on his phone’s contact list. He’s enjoying the heck out of middle school and that, dudes, requires an amazing amount of grace and social skill.

He’s also darn funny.

Beyond the goofing around and being silly that is the hallmark of every young teen and tween, he says the most amazingly astute and hilarious things. I won’t push those on you because, unlike most parents, I know with funny kid sayings, you really did have to be there. Context matters. And in the context of our house, that young dude is hilarious.

Hyper Lad, in addition to all those good points, is just a good kid. When he reads about something bad happening in the newspaper (he reads the newspaper! Wow! [Okay, mostly for the comics, but it still counts.]), he actually thinks about it and offers a sympathetic comment and evinces a desire to help.

I’m a lucky dad in this one important way, Hyper Lad is just plain nice to be around. That’s pretty good news, considering he’ll still be around for the next five years.

Of course, all that could change with the flick of a hormone receptor, turning Hyper Lad into Screaming Rage Man. Still, on this sort of day, I think we’ll come down on the optimistic side and expect the best.

Happy birthday, Hyper Lad!

Here’s hoping we let you make it to the next one.

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