Dennis Seid 5/27/09
Student stands up to family
Q. I’m 22, and trying to follow your plan to take care of my money. I’m working my way through school. The other day I paid cash for nice little used car. The rest of my family made fun of me, saying I should have bought a new car. They also think I take out student loans for school. They all have car payments, credit card debt, and things like that. How do you deal with criticism like this, especially from your own family?
A. Criticism is a tough thing to handle at any age, especially when it’s coming from your own family. I’m sure your family loves you, but I think you have to recognize the fact that when it comes to handling money, you family members are a dysfunctional bunch. This doesn’t make them bad people, and you should still respect and love them, but hooray for you for breaking the mold and showing them there’s a better way.
“Those convinced against their will are of the same opinion still.” That’s one of my favorite sayings, and it is so true.
You, on the other hand, know what you want to accomplish, and you already know what you’re doing is smart. So I’d suggest taking the bobble-head approach. Just sit there and nod your head when they start telling you how you should handle your finances. You don’t even have to really listen. Then, when they run out of air, go on with your life, follow your excellent plan, and work toward your goals. Remember, this isn’t about you, so don’t take it personally. It’s about them, and how little they really know.
I can already tell you’re going to be a success. You’ve got a tremendous amount of backbone to go against the current in your family. Just don’t be disrespectful, and don’t try to talk members into following you. In their minds, you’re just 22, and you don’t know a thing.
Later, if they decide they want to follow you, it will be because they see the stuff you’re doing works. It may not happen for a few years, and it may not happen at all, but if you stay on this path, they’re going to come to you for money one of these days. You can be polite, just say no, and tell them that you’re not going to support their dysfunction. You’ll gain their respect over time. And once they reach that point, they just might be willing to listen to you.
Q. My husband is 30, and already has gone through open heart surgery twice. He has $250,000 in term life insurance, which is all we can afford, but his company started offering survivor insurance. It would provide money for me and the kids over a period of years until I die or if I get re-married. He makes $60,000 a year, and the insurance only costs about $15 a month. Considering his medical history, what do you think of this idea?
A. You guys are awfully young to go through all that and be fighting those kinds of medical bills, let alone having to deal with the disease itself. God bless you both. I’m really proud of you, though, for thinking ahead and planning for the future in the midst of such difficulties.
Usually, I’m not a big fan of specialty insurance products, but your case it might be a good idea. It may be the only affordable insurance you can get. You might want to take a look at mortgage life insurance, too. It’s a rip-off most of the time, but it’s usually a guaranteed issue, meaning they’ll give it to you regardless of your health situation. Plus, it will pay off your mortgage in the event of his death. Hopefully, you won’t have to cash in anything like that for a long, long time.
For more financial advice, plus offers to our readers, visit www.davesays.org.