“My siblings and I were expected to pay for some of our own bills and expenses. For example, paying for our entertainment, clothing, and cars. All of us bought cars at the age of 16. They were all cheap, but all financed with a bank. Hence, what was an ostensibly good parenting strategy to teach children about the importance of work and paying for things turned out to teach me something very different—the relation between work, money, and credit.
I haven’t really thought about it until writing this post, but my relationship with money and work was a bit skewed from that point on. My parents were trying to teach us about money, work, and responsibility. However, what I learned was how to live paycheck to paycheck using credit. I learned that once I had money and credit, I could buy the things that I previously wanted–the stuff. The question was, how much could I afford in payments per month? Maybe I learned that my parents covered all of my basic expenses; therefore, I could simply live and buy things I wanted with credit–without saving a dime.
I extended my debt through college.”