I grew up in a household where you simply did not talk about money. Sure, grouse about how you need more, speak generally about a raise, talk about the virtues of saving and the evils of credit. But that’s all. Never any details or instruction. And certainly there was a value in getting what you wanted, but never any practical talk about how to do that, or whether there was a difference between needs and wants. So, in the absence of a discussion, I began my adult life on demonstrated behaviors only. I got a job in college, sure, but I also got and maxed out my first credit card in semester one. That was normal. We were spenders who pretended to be savers. Frankly, we were liars.

On some level, I’ve lived my life that way henceforth. Sure, I have a retirement plan a good job and savings a little. But I am also crazy pants in debt. So, as I will perennially, I started trying to pay some attention to Suze Orman and get my finances straight. Her new show on OWN is Money Class and on of our first assignments was to reveal our debt. And since I come from a background of finance hiding, I figure maybe the only clear way out is to be out, loud, and…well, not exactly proud, but honest!

So, here it is:

Student Loans – $98,364.00
Credit Cards – $25,806.00
Car Loan – $1,567.00

Total Debt – $125,737.00

There. Owned.

So, you might be asking, how do you intend to pay that off? Truthfully, I have no idea! But, we have EAP at work and I’m going to use it to talk to a financial advisor. I did the math, and my math is poor so hopefully it’s less, but I’m hemorrhaging money to the tune of about $700 more per month than I bring in. Now, sure, I can not go out to eat and cancel my cable and lots of thing, but not $700 worth of things! So, I’ll get a helper and do whatever they say to and trust that they can do better by me than I have, that much is clear!

So, parents, talk to your kids about money, but more importantly, teach them about responsibility by being responsible. That’s it right there. And, do them a favor and don’t tell them they can have whatever they want. Teach them about what they need. As a librarian with a medical degree worth of debt, I can assure you that teaching them not to live beyond their means is the better thing to do for their future.

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