‘My food, my roof, my way’

Dear Dave, I’m a single dad with two teenagers at home. My 15-year-old son wants to open a checking account of his own, but he doesn’t want me or anyone else to have access to it. Should I just let him do this and suffer the consequences I know are coming? Tim Dear Tim, When it comes to 15-year-olds, as a parent you have every right to say, “My food, and my roof. You do what I say.” With kids this age you never know what you’re getting. Half the time you’re talking to a 35-year-old, and the other half they’re 5 again. At that age, I think you let them do, or not do, these things based on their ability to perform well in life. To the extent they behave and show some sense, you

lengthen the rope and give them more freedom and privileges. If they act like doofuses, you shorten the rope. Remember, no is a complete sentence. Can you tell I’ve raised teenagers? If it were my son, I’d sit him down and gently explain that he doesn’t have the capacity or knowledge to manage this idea by himself just yet. You wouldn’t turn your child lose behind the wheel of a car the moment they wanted to drive, right? So make yourself a part of the experience by teaching him to handle money wisely. Then, as he matures in financial understanding, you can give him more leeway. If he wants to go dramatic on you, let him. And remind him that for every minute he’s in drama mode, that’s less leeway he’s getting in this matter and every other one in his life. In other words, the more mature you act, son, the better your existence is going to be. No, at 15 he’s not opening a checking account on his own. —Dave

Hunt down the money

Dear Dave, I’m 24, and I don’t have any debt except for a small student loan. I’m going to law school to study international law, and I have a scholarship that pays 25

percent. However, I won’t really be able to work much while I’m studying. How can I do this without taking on more debt? Amy Dear Amy, If I were you I’d do some online research on all the governmental agencies out there. I’ll bet there’s one that’s willing to pay for your law school if you would agree to work for them for a few years after you get out. It’s kind of an indentured servitude deal, but that’s a lot better than taking on $150,000 or more in debt. The scholarship is a good thing, but we both know it will only scratch the surface when you’re talking about law school. Think about this, Amy. You got the scholarship by finding a good opportunity and asking for it, right? There’s a ton of scholarship money out there, and millions of dollars of it goes unclaimed every year. If I were you, I’d get into the business of hunting money. Track down every possibility you can, and use every honest thing to your advantage! —Dave

Dave Ramsey is a trusted voice on money and business. He’s a best-selling author and his radio show is on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at

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