Kids and Parents in Financial Stress

“The best way you can predict your future is to create it” – Stephen Covey

Mike Shedlock (“Mish”) has a great blog over at http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/ for those interested in economics. Today he wrote a post titled “Teenagers Scared over Plight of their Parents.”  The gist being that financial stress leads to family stress, and more and more kids are growing concerned over the financial situation of their parents.

It’s an interesting post. The concept has some far reaching extensions if we follow the thought process out to its conclusion.

Kids see that the parents are facing financial stress and are concerned for their parents, feeling sympathy for their trouble. The next step is for kids to recognize that financial struggles of the parents are financial struggles of the children. If your parents get evicted or foreclosed out of their house, you’re getting thrown out too.

As a simple point, this sobering concept is probably a good thing. Kids need to recognize that riches and glory and everything you ever want doesn’t just happen. Learning this at age 14 is a lot better than learning it at age 28 – you still have time to get it right. (I’ve known able-bodied 30-year-olds who still don’t know how to work or take care of themselves – it ain’t pretty.)

Let us not forget the stress of the parents though. Obviously, parents take on a “provider” role for their kids. I’m sure this is the largest part of parental stress in difficult times – the great weight of caring for the kids.

Eventually, that care for the children has to turn into more than just working hard, saving money, and making wise financial choices. We have more than just personal financial choices in front of us. Government policies of deficit spending, government-run pensions (e.g., social security), government benefit packages (e.g., medicare) are turning our kids into debt slaves.

Let us consider that the next time we head to the polls. It is not morally justifiable to sell your kids into indentured servitude. Hailing the moral qualities of policies that will be paid for by scuttling the future of our children is perverse.

But, we still have time to get it right. Sure, there are economically difficult times ahead, and probably not much to be done about it. But, we haven’t crossed the tipping point into total subjugation. The kids can still be free. America’s best days may yet be ahead of us – but we will have to make tough choices to get there.

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