Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Living on the Edge

I have always prided myself on being smart with my money and always maximizing a dollar. So when shopping for a house, we have always strived to live on the edge of a really nice town. The cheaper edge that is. In Florida, it worked out perfectly, we lived on the border of Boca Raton, one of the nicest areas in south Florida. I was able to take advantage of all the great shopping, beautiful parks and great schools, without the high dollar zip code. I would sit in traffic jams surrounded by Jauguars, Mercedes and Porshes and chuckle to myself thinking about what they paid for thier cars.

When relocating to Atlanta, I did my research, I wanted the best schools and the lowest possible taxes, but also great sports, parks etc. We started looking in the "better" part of town and realized there were lots of fees and strict rules that come along with living there. We went just a mile down the road, found a much bigger house on a huge lot, with no rules and even lower fees. And just like before, we get to enjoy the assets of the affluent town.

There is only one drawback, who are my children friends with? Children who are handed a set of keys to a beautiful car on their 16th birthday, children who go on cruises for spring break and ski every winter, children who get the latest gadget the minute it debuts! And now children who can go to high-dollar colleges. As an adult I don't have trouble with the "keeping up with the Joneses" mentality, I know the full picture. But what ends up happening is as a parent it seems you can never measure up. I know it is better for my kids to learn fiscal lessons, earlier in life, that you can be happy with less and living on a budget is reality. But this time of year my mind is always blown by what some of their friends receive as gifts. I have a feeling these children will be surprised when they go out on their own someday.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Supporting Role

Well the "Glory Days" of the great football season are behind us, now it's back to reality. Jim and I need to help Bryan weigh all his options and help guide him to the next phase in his life, inching toward adulthood. It is a thankless job, most of the time, the satisfaction that you are doing the right thing definitely has to come from within, because teens aren't known for appreciating guidance from their parents.

We have the cap and gown ordered ($100!) the Senior portraits are taken, the calls from recruiters are coming in, many of his friends have been accepted to the college of their choice. The wheels are in motion! The tests have been taken and retaken, trying to get the scores he needs. Nothing ever goes easy for him!

There is a lot more to do and time is ticking away-- the tap dance between nagging and letting him figure it out on his own is where we are at right now. Once a decision is made, then we get to access how we are going to pay for it all--intimidating stuff! It seems like just yesterday, I was teaching him to walk, now we are starting to nudge him out of the nest!