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Teaching Financial Responsibility

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I have written many times about financial lessons and my children…How the Kids are Involved and Helping Kids Manage Money are just a couple of them.  But now we are dealing with a new situation and I’d like your opinion.

Background

Last spring, History Buff saved up enough money and bought himself a smartphone and has paid the data fee associated with it ($30 per month.)   At the time of purchase, he also bought a good, name brand protective case.  He ended up taking the case off the phone because it made the phone too bulky in his pocket.

My Observations

Over the last months I have seen him on several occasions, make the statement of how the phone is “shatter resistant” or “shatter proof” and then drop it on softer surfaces to make his point.  Multiple times, I told him this wasn’t a good idea AND that it would be wiser to keep the case on it.

Incident

At homeschool co op a couple of weeks ago, evidently, History Buff was doing the same show I had seen several times.  And a girl seeing this either knocked the phone from his hand or he handed it to her and she dropped it as well.  He claims the former, but the girl’s mom claims she saw the incident and that it was the latter.  I tend to believe my son is telling the truth.

When it happened, he called me crying.  I had two gut reactions: anger that this happened and what I see clearly at his part in it (not having the case on and his ‘demoing’ the shatter proof) and sadness that I was not in a position to financially fix it for him.

Follow up

I waited a couple of weeks hoping the girl’s parents would reach out to take responsibility or at least partial responsibility.  But I/we hear nothing.  I called the mom and she essentially said History Buff was lying about his version of the story and thus her daughter was not at fault.

I didn’t have a clue what to do.  I was torn between defending my son whom I believe and calling another parent/adult a liar.  So I called the administrator of the co op and asked for her input.  She called a couple of witnesses without speaking to my son and they compared their versions with what History Buff told her and there was no variation.  She is going to follow up with the other parent.

So Who Should Pay

Should History Buff bear the cost of repair/replacement alone?  Should the other student bear it alone? Or should it be split? Or ???

I voiced my opinion to the administrator that I felt that History Buff’s actions which I have witnessed in the past set a bad precedent and having the case off was irresponsible.  So I believe him to be at least partially responsible.

As soon as I said that, the administrator said “no, this is not his fault.”  We are great friends and I respect her opinion and view on the matter.  So we agree to disagree.

Current Status

My sister had an old phone that she is letting History Buff borrow until he can save the money to get his fixed.  We are still awaiting feedback from the other family, but I do not think I will pursue it further.  I just don’t want any bad blood in our tight knit homeschool community.

But am I doing a disservice to History Buff by not pursuing his side further and just letting it drop?  I value his honesty and want to reward that and I don’t want him to think I don’t have his back in these types of situations.  So what are your thoughts?


The Next Step, Part II

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This is a follow up post to The Next Step. There was an over-whelming consensus that this should be my next debt tackled even though people didn’t agree on how.  So here is my plan…

Because I have eliminated all other consumer debt other than this car loan…I have two lines of credit open with no balance.  I called and asked if the introductory offer still stood that I used last December…any transferred balance 0% interest for 6 months.  Wonderful news…it does!

So I have transferred the balance of HIS car loan to my line of credit, effectively paying off the car and I should receive a clear title.  Yeah!

That gives me a balance of just at $3,000 at 0% for 6 months…$500 per month to pay it off with no new interest.  Seems like a good deal to me.  He will continue paying $246 per month to me until the balance is paid, but I will have cleared it off my credit by early 2016.

(We have also dealt with his moving the car out of state…after research done with the state’s DMV in question and insurance company.  All above board when that move actually happens which I have no ETA on that from him, but I’m prepared for when it does.)