This post was originally published on my financial coaching blog, GPS Financial Coaching. I am posting it here as part of my series on money management for first responders. Not to worry if you aren’t one, what follows applies to you as well! Enjoy…
Statistically speaking, I have the most dangerous job in law enforcement. I conduct more traffic stops (the #1 most dangerous thing cops do) in a week than most beat cops do in six months. Every time I walk up to a car, I am wondering if the person(s) inside have a gun and are intent on killing me.
No one has ever pointed a gun at me on a traffic stop; however, I have pointed mine at occupants of vehicles a number of times. I have found guns in cars.
Obviously, my job is fraught with danger.
But it isn’t the most dangerous job I have. Do you know what is?
Parenting is the most dangerous and difficult job in the world.
Like, there’s no contest.
Don’t believe me?
It may not be dangerous in the life/death kind of way, but I assure you parenting has life long implications upon those in your charge. It isn’t so much that parenting in and of itself is dangerous; rather, the outcome of the job you do could be dangerous. If you aren’t doing your job as a parent or you are doing it poorly, the product of your work runs the danger of landing back in your lap.
Here’s an example: Again, in my capacity as a cop, I have been dispatched to what is commonly referred to as an “uncontrollable juvenile.” Now, in my opinion, there’s no such thing as an uncontrollable juvenile. There is certainly, however, a Weak-Willed Parent.
Parents (yes, multiple) have called the police because Little Johnny won’t go to school.
You read that right. Their solution to their own child refusing to obey is to call the police.
What does all this have to do with money and financial coaching, you ask?
Simple. The houses I go to where Little Johnny refused to go his 4th grade class? Fast forward 20 years. Johnny, now a legal adult, will be living in his folk’s basement or consistently asking to borrow money or generally being a leech on society.
Friends, your children model your behavior. They emulate you. Don’t like the way they’re acting? Look in the mirror. They reflect the very behavior you exemplify. It is your job as parents to lead them. Guide them. Correct their course when they drift off of it.
If you live on a plan and if you are consistent, dependable and responsible with your finances, you are modeling the kind of behavior they need to see and will follow. Just as your children will receive their self-esteem based on your treatment of them, so will they inherit your confidence and capabilities in the area of personal finance.
Want to see just how bad it can get? Check out Dave Ramsey’s rant about the 18-year-old suing her parents for support.
Fear not! It is never too late to start! If you are interested in learning about how to start a budget, contact me!