Monday, September 22, 2008

Money Management Lessons For The Young

My son's ex keeps coming to me asking for money. I don't know where she got the idea that I HAVE money but I admit she didn't know I just quit my latest job. No one in their right mind would be jobless as often as I am lately.
Anyway, she apparently has a lot of credit card debt (she's barely 22!) and keeps looking for ways to get it paid off and/or lower the monthly payments. Her share of day care is way more than she can handle and I really would like to help with that. Her latest is to get a title loan to consolidate all her debts; that makes me worried - if she loses her car because she can't make the monthly payments, how can she get to work to KEEP making money? My son is looking for a way to help her stay at home with the babies (she has a baby by some other guy too), he can't afford to pay for three in day care either and the other guy pays nothing. I considered keeping the kids but then I have no money either, the state won't pay a grandmother for helping with her own grandkids and they can't afford enough for me to pay my bills.
This site, consolidate debt is one that educates about debt consolidation, it gives info and warnings needed for someone like her, someone young and overwhelmed with too much responsibility on her shoulders.
I checked to be sure and it DOES mention that some forms of consolidation and/or credit counseling hurt your credit rating. At this point, I'm not sure she cares, can it get any worse? The site discusses consolidation to pay off the debt more quickly; it also gives options about lowering the monthly payments. There's really no good way out of this, there's no way she can afford the monthly payments and all the associated fees. Consolidating is probably the best bet but she'll have to be sure she can make the payment. Even late fees for one larger loan is better for her than several late fees for numerous smaller amounts. It may be one of those hard life lessons she needs to experience but do the littles have to suffer with her? It's helping my boys as they see her go through this, also my son (the dad) is determined to do what he can to fix the situation. (These are not shared debts).
I was planning to send her the link to this site but I think instead I'll meet with her and go through it with her so she can ask questions and truly understand. Even better, I think I'll go through the options and information with her AND my son. My son isn't in serious debt, has already learned a few things himself, but even if they're not together, any problem she has is his too since they share two precious angels.
This whole mess makes me realize again that I too have a part. Why don't I have enough money to help out my own family members when youth and inexperience gets them in a bind? Even though a total bailout isn't the right answer here, she needs to work through much of it herself BUT I have seen her focus go from total selfish annoyance that she can't get whatever she feels like having to being concerned that she can't provide what her babies need. She's growing up. I want to help.