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Skyping from Indianapolis, Jean says her son soon will have an opportunity to travel to Costa Rica with some of his fifth-grade classmates for a Spanish language immersion experience—a trip he has known about since kindergarten. "Right now we can't afford it. How can we make this happen for him?" Jean says. "Should we be able to take out a loan?"

Suze asks about their debt. Jean says they have about $20,000 of credit card debt. And how much is the trip? "About $2,200 to $2,500," Jean says.

Even though Jean's son will be disappointed, Suze has bad news. "If you ask me, a good parent is somebody who has enough money to make sure that the kids can always eat, they provide shelter for them, there's money in case they get sick. If you take this money as a loan to send your kid away and now you lose your job, something happens, what's the kid going to think?" Suze says. "I wouldn't be doing it if I were you. Honest to God, I think you'll be making a serious mistake. $20,000 in credit card debt? I don't think so."

If Jean does decide to take out that loan to send her son on the trip, Suze says she will be teaching him a powerful message...just not a good one. "She's teaching him to live a financial lie, because Mom is living a financial lie," Suze says. "Love your children. Don't reward them with money. Reward them with honesty and love—that's what this is all about."
FROM: The Best Money Lessons You Can Teach Your Child
Published on October 22, 2008


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