Christina M. Currie: Money matters
We have undertaken the overwhelming process of remodeling two houses – one for resale and a new one to call home.
You’d think my girls, Katie, 8, and Nikki, 7, would be excited about their new bedrooms with the secret doors to their own private clubhouses, the vastness of the backyard, heck, even the three dozen cats that roam on and across the property, but their biggest concern seems to be financial.
I’m not sure where it came from.
They’re concerned about how much it will cost to renovate.
They’re concerned about the price associated with moving in.
And, oddly enough, they’re concerned about the concept of a monthly mortgage.
Never mind that they have lived in a house with a mortgage all their lives.
It just doesn’t make sense to them that a family that makes $100,000 a year can’t just pay out of pocket for a $100,000 house.
“Then we don’t have to pay the bank,” Katie explained patiently.
I understand how she could think that.
Who wouldn’t love to pay cash for a home and live debt-free? But, I don’t think she understands that people aren’t paid in advance, and that, unless they’ve spent the past year and a half living under a bridge eating canned pork and beans, they don’t really have that kind of money in the checking account.
What I loved about her concern was the opportunity to explain about things such as groceries and electricity and cable.
“Why don’t they just give us electricity?” she asked.
I explained that it costs money to produce and transport electricity.
Then the light bulb went off (pun sort of intended).
“Oh, so when we pay them, they have a job and can take care of their families!”
Frankly, I was really proud that my daughter came to that conclusion.
But, she still was concerned about that mortgage thing.
“We should just have a yard sale and give the bank those dollars so we don’t have to pay them so much.”
I love the way children’s minds work. Problem. Solution. It’s just that easy.
I told her I thought that was a great idea. I didn’t tell her that her solution was much more responsible than her mom’s, who currently is eyeing a new bedroom set.
From the mouths of babes comes a perspective that we don’t always want to hear. Although not always fully informed, it is fairly unclouded.
And though her idea clearly is the most adult, I still hold the purse strings.
And I’d really like a headboard.
Please don’t tell her.
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