As a young man I struggled with the management of my finances. This was due in part to my father’s control and silence over the money I made from my neighborhood lawn-mowing gig. He would leave me with a couple dollars, take the bulk of the money I made, deposit it into a credit union account and that was that. No explanation and no conversation. And he almost dared me to suggest otherwise.
Then when I went to college he made a huge deposit into a checking account he set up for me. Pretty admirable…until I spent it all over the course of maybe two months. Then I moved on to the seductive lure of credit cards. There were signups everywhere I could see offering hundreds of dollars of credit for free! And I just had to have one of those Frisbees or squeegee bottles with some bank’s ugly logo on it. If I could go back in time I would slap myself silly for being so silly.
Understanding that these things can be cyclical (the sins of the father) I had a grand plan that I executed flawlessly. I was going to get my teenage son, a junior in high school, financially savvy by setting him up with a bank account and teaching him how to use it. In the fall of last year we marched into my bank and got him set up with a teen bank account, which is linked to my own. I would be able to manage it via computer and smart phone app. We set up an alert that would notify each of us when he had less than $25 in the bank and he’d get daily text messages of his daily balance. It doesn’t get any simpler than that, right?