Dear Dave: Our family has an account at a movie rental store. I rented a movie the other day, and forgot to take it back on time. The late fees add up to $20. I’m in college and have a part-time job, so my parents think I should pay the late fees.
They started the account, so shouldn’t they have to pay the fees?
Dear Angie: Technically, I’m sure your parents are responsible for the account.
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But think about this. You’re the one who rented the movie and forgot to take it back on time. If you have a job and access to money, I think you should be the one to make things right.
Chalk this one up as a learning experience, Angie. If you’re grown up enough to be in college and have a job, then you’re grown up enough to start cleaning up your own messes. That’s the way life works.
It doesn’t mean that your parents don’t love you. In fact, it means that they love you enough to teach you a valuable lesson in responsibility.
Dear Dave, I’m having issues with my youngest brother, and I need some advice.
He’s 25, divorced and has two kids. He only wants to play dad when it’s convenient for him, and he’s very irresponsible with money as well. Our parents passed away a few years ago, so this leaves me to be the big brother and dad at the same time. I worry about him, but I’m not sure how to help him grow up.
Dear Jeremy: One of the bad things about these situations is watching people you love do stupid things to themselves and the people around them.
And I don’t know that there’s really a lot you can do without becoming the enemy to some degree.
You can always try to hold him to a higher standard and refuse to tolerate immature, irresponsible behavior when you’re around him. You might even look for opportunities to use yourself as an example. Point out areas in your life where you made mistakes in the past and how you fixed the problems. But to go out and directly intervene in his life, trying to force him to be a man, would be a tough thing to pull off.
When I help people on my show, I have the benefit of them calling in and actually looking to me for help. These people actually care about what I think. I don’t just walk up to folks and say, “You know, what you’re doing there is really stupid. Let me fix you.” I think that’s kind of the situation you’re in right now. I would also begin to pray for him, and ask God to bring people into his life who will have a positive impact.
You never know what might happen, and asking Him for help is never a bad idea.
Who knows? He might even start dating some strong, mature young woman who’ll jerk a knot in his tail and straighten him up.
Dave’s latest project, EveryDollar, provides a free online budget tool. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.