Lori and Marek Fuchs have never fought in their 16 years of marriage — except over money. In this column, Mr. and Mrs. Fuchs, a real-life married couple with three kids (ages 12, 8 and 5), articulate their very different approaches to personal finance.
This round: He asks, “What do we want our children to have learned from this economic downturn?” She says, “Why do you use so many metaphors? It’s really annoying.”
Mr. Fuchs: During some of the worst of the financial mess, we argued over how much you should clue kids in to what is going on with the tapped out family budget. But assuming that things might be improving, what do you (as a mom of three, child psychologist and woman who often disagrees with me incessantly) think kids should take away from this whole economic mess? What should they have learned?
Mrs. Fuchs: That’s easy — resilience and the ability to stay a bit austere even after the economic smoke has cleared.
Mr. Fuchs: I know you don’t need affirmation from me, but that’s just what financial planners like William Driscoll of Driscoll Financial in Plymouth, Mass., say. Let’s take resilience first. The economy is cyclical. Obviously, this economic downturn was a burn, but hopefully kids can see that you can get through even a burn. This too shall pass, as they say, and it’ll pass without mom and dad completely losing their heads or sending little Johnnie and Jane to work in the coal mines. To stay with our biblical lingo for a moment: good times beget bad and bad good. If you have a lifetime ahead of you in this global economy, which is so prone to turbulence, it’s once of the most important lessons you can learn.
Mrs. Fuchs: OK, I’m going to overlook your many metaphors and assume that what you’re trying to say is that we can use this economic downturn to teach our kids concepts like hope and stick-to-itiveness. If they continue to work hard and look at situations in a flexible way, they will come through it and learn something in the process.
Mr. Fuchs: Yeah, well — that too. I guess I want them to learn the larger concept of hope, but also specifically about the economy: It goes in waves and while the undertow stinks, it doesn’t last forever. No need to jump out of windows.
Mrs. Fuchs: Windows, waves — how did I marry such a drama queen? So, what does Driscoll say about my other idea — maintaining that degree of austerity?