There are millions of people that have been affected by the recent government shutdown. Unfortunately, our family is on that docket of people. Like many, my husband has had a great government job for almost thirteen years now. Then last week, he got the news that neither of us wanted to hear: that his paycheck would be cut until our wonderful government gets their stuff together. So while he continues to go to work without pay, the same people who caused the shutdown to begin with, continue to collect ALL of their pay. And yes, sure, federal workers will be "backpaid" once the situation is resolved. But what good does that do when we have mouths to feed and bills to pay?
A while back, I wrote a post about why I wasn't teaching my kids that they HAD to go to college. Now, before you get your panties in a bunch, please read the post carefully. In a nutshell, I was simply stating that college is not the end all, be all for everyone. I believe that some people were given natural gifts and abilities and that a college education is not the only type of education that kids can obtain. On the flipside, my husband didn't go to college and from my years of recruiting and hiring new employees when I worked in corporate, I know that his salary is higher than many who were college educated and in leadership roles. But then again…he's in the same boat that millions of other government workers (college educated or not) are in now — on shutdown and currently without a paycheck. As with most things, we always try to find some underlying lesson. In this case, the shutdown reinforced the need to teach one big lesson to our kids: the importance of not relying on someone else (government or otherwise) to determine when and if you get a paycheck.
One way we are committed to teaching our kids, is to be open and transparent with them when it comes to talking about our finances. I attended a recent conference and The Budgetnista talked about how her father went through all of the bills with them when they were growing up. They knew how much income was brought in the home, how much all the bills were, and how much was left after paying them all. She learned early on the importance of budgeting and money management. Oh how I wish my parents had done this with us. And no, it doesn't count to constantly yell, "stop wasting water", "stop leaving the lights on", or "money doesn't grow on trees". So one thing my husband and I will be starting with our kids (starting with the oldest who is 6) is to go over our bills with them so they understand finances at a young age. We've found free resources online that teach money management in a fun and easy-to-understand way for kids. I want them to really grasp what happens when there's only one way for money to come in, so they are clear about the importance of having multiple streams of income.
That "good government job" that you keep hearing about is not a bulletproof plan. Even with a good job, you need to keep your options open and find other ways to make an income.
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Has your family been impacted by the recent government shutdown? What are some things you're doing to get through this difficult time, and what are you teaching your kids?