Monday, August 16, 1999

Blue In the Face

By Jacki Stirn (

The time for SilverShoes (my 17-year-old daughter) to head off to her first semester of college is drawing near. There are only a few weeks to go and it's not moving nearly fast enough for her. This isn't the Fribble about how she discovered stocks at age three and is now supporting us. This is the Fribble about me discovering that, although I could talk until I was blue in the face, learning about money management would only sink in when she was ready to hear it.

She has had a checking account since she started working a couple of years ago. SilverShoes also has had a credit card from one of our accounts for a couple of years of supervised use. I could tell that something was changing this summer. I heard her say things like, "I don't want to go shopping because I can't afford to buy things and it's too tempting otherwise."

Huh? Were aliens possessing this child of mine? One night at dinner, she actually said, "Why would you care about interest rates on credit cards? You should pay them off every month anyway." Hmm, would pea soup shoot out of her mouth soon? I really knew something had registered when I heard her say, "If I have $(total savings) then I can spend $(total savings/10) a month." Eureka! I think she's got it!

So as I head home from Happy Valley after getting her settled, I'll remember that she can handle her money and her life. I'll have become the advisor on call. Perhaps I'll catch a glimpse of her at a football game on TV and perhaps she'll be blue in the face -- Penn State blue.

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