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Should I ....

May 15th, 2008 at 07:23 pm

Should I collect money owed to me by my 17 year old? My son has owes me alot of money. Well alot to my way of thinking. About $3,000 It breaks down this way:

900 car insurance
550 cell phone overages
130 medical
600 tires
240 car repairs
600-900 damage to the truck

Everything but the damage to the truck and medical are expenses he had agreed to pay previously.

I want him to pay the medical because it was due to his negligence and disobedience. He wears contacts and even after repeated reminders and requests to takes them out at night, he doesn't and he wears them longer during the day than he should. So when we went to eye doctor because he thought he needed stronger lens, the doctor told him his prescription is fine its the way he is wearing his contacts. I feel he will learn the lesson better if he has to pay for this mistake.

The reason he is to pay for the truck is his attitude toward the damage he did. You don't damage someones vehicle and expect no consequences. If I thought he felt bad about the damage or he had offered to pay for it, I would have given him a pass on the repairs. So once again, many folks only learn from the pain of paying for their mistakes.

He only attends high school 1/2 day and the agreement was that if he didn't participate in any high school activities he would get a job for the other 1/2 of the day. If he was active at school I would pay his car insurance and entertainment expenses. He has only worked as a day labor worker for neighbors on a very part time basis. He has only made half hearted attempts to find a job saying "its my senior year why should I work?" My response is that this is what was agreed to at the beginning of the year. I don't believe teens should just lay around the house and to much time on their hands invites trouble.

The money is available in an investment account, so I'm seriously considering taking it out to pay these debts. My mother said I should definitely do it as it is the only way people learn.

I live in a wealthy area, although I am not wealthy. Alot(most) of the parents around me would just write it off. I feel pressure in both directions. I really feel he should pay. I know that even to this day I learn best when I pay. Should I pay for his mistakes and choices? Or should he?

15 Responses to “Should I ....”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    Is the money in the investment account yours or his? Is it a retirement account?

    I think he should have to pay, but since he is 17 you might sit down and discuss a plan for repayment. One debt at a time, or a fixed monthly payment. How do you think he'll take the news? Will he really pay and what is the consequence if he doesn't?

  2. thriftorama Says:

    Yes, he needs to pay, even if it's over time. He needs to learn financial responsibility.

  3. littlemama Says:

    Even though that is a lot of money for a seventeen year old, I feel he should pay it. It's only going to get worse if it isn't stopped now.

  4. Amber Says:

    I agree, he should pay you back...it's all about being responsible, good luck

  5. Petunia Says:

    Agree with the others. . . though I'm a long way from handling the teen years. Tough love is hard, harder on the person who has to apply it. Some type of non-payment consequence is a must. Good luck.

  6. klbb90 Says:

    The investment account is his. Over the years his father and I contributed to it. It was intended for college but he intends to join the US Marine Corps and skip college.

  7. creditcardfree Says:

    Since the account is his...I would give him the choice, pay over time or take the money out of the investment account. There may be tax consequences depending on how much growth...and these would go on his tax return.

    I agree with the tough love, but I also think that it is important to try to guide him as an adult who needs to make decisions and handle his money as an adult.

  8. mooshocker Says:

    What type of lesson do we teach our children if we give them a pass on their financial responsibilities. Do we then tell them when in trouble, call Mom/Dad?

    Learning the value of money is important. I say make him pay, plus interest. You would have to.

  9. miclason Says:

    he needs to pay. otherwise, he'll always think that if he just does nothing, debt will go away! (and we all know how that works in "the real world"!!)

  10. sagegirl Says:

    Creditcardfree has the right idea--sit him down and give him the list of debts and the options--make $X in monthly payments or take it out of his investment accounts. Let him know that if he misses payments, you will expect payment in full out of the investment account. You might add that he would do well to start saving some money to pay for some expenses on a monthly basis that you have been covering for him, ex: a car repair fund (for future needs) or a monthly car insurance payment to you. Good luck. And don't fret--you are teaching him to be an adult!!

  11. Koppur Says:

    Yup, make him pay. I relied on Mom and Dad to bail me out financially one too many times, and now I am finally financially independent from them....but it took until I was 30!!!! (And yes, I am paying them back every penny I owe them now!) Smile

  12. managinglife Says:

    I love the approach of him having the option of paying out of his investment account or paying over time. When is he enlisting into the USMC? Educate him on the fact that having a good financial history is the key to his success in the military. He will not be eligible for the choice job occupations in the USMC, apply for military benefits (college assistance, housing, etc.) or attain secret clearance without maintaining a good credit history. The military is known to kick out individuals who are unable to meet their financial obligations. This is considered good order and discipline. Talk to his recruiter and he will emphasize this fact. Good luck!

  13. creditcardfree Says:

    I like that managinglife brought up the importance of good credit history in the military. This is so very important.
    Let us know what you do and how it goes!

  14. klbb90 Says:

    Thanks Managinglife! It makes sense about the issues with the military and I will bring them up to him. I have sat down with him and he has agreed to pay me back but it never happens. I remind and he avoids, thats why I am considering the investment account. The tax consequences won't be to bad because the money is long term capital gains. The IRS and debtor court would attach accounts if you promise to pay and you don't. He needs to learn. He will still have a substantial amount in the investment account.

  15. KellyB Says:

    If he doesn't pay, have it set up as an auto withdrawal from his account - WITH A PENALTY FEE. That way he can pay $100 (or whatever amount) on time, or watch $110 leave his account.

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