Real World 101

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THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: “If life is so good, then why is it, that we often feel so badly?”

What do teenagers of all income groups have in common? A love of money.  Once a year, the Harrison Group, a marketing consulting company in Connecticut, surveys 1,300 teenagers 13 to 18 across the U.S. about their financial attitudes. This year’s study included an in-depth look at those raised in affluent households, those with more than $150,000 in annual income.

Seventy percent of all the teens surveyed said they wanted more money. Half agreed that money “may not buy happiness, but it comes close.” And 34%, up from 29% in 2004, said “it is hard to be truly happy without a lot of money.”

Not surprisingly, teens raised in more-affluent households had distinctive spending habits and brand preferences. For example, more than 70% of them said they love luxury-car models such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Lexus.

The study also noted that “Inner-city kids are taught more about sex and drugs and violence than how to take care of money,” the article goes on to say. “The poor kids were fearful because they didn’t know how it (personal money management) worked, and they didn’t want to take risks.”

It appears that in America … “Wealthy people value time; poor people value stuff.”  In our case, Cup Cake and I, have too little of the first, and way too much of the second.

At the core of the problem, could be the message that we send our children.  Chicago’s public-school system recently has awarded a brand new car to a “12 year old girl, as a reward for her perfect school attendance record.” Now how sad is that?  She cannot legally drive the $15,000 Dodge Caliber for another four years, and critics question whether such lavish gifts send the wrong message to children.

Duh, you think so?

There are some schools of thought, at least my old man had one, and it was, “learning and achievement” were rewards in themselves.  If you can do simple math, if you are able to read this, then be thankful for your education.

Meanwhile the dork that runs the Chicago Public Schools said that this prize was a vital weapon in the fight against truancy and that they were not going to (ever) apologize for that.  My dad had a prize for truancy; it was called a trip to the woodshed.

Meanwhile out on the left-coast, a student at Tesoro High School in affluent Orange County, Kali-fornyuh, was charged with 69 criminal counts for allegedly hacking into the school computer and changing all of his bad grades to A’s.  When asked the reason for his criminal behavior the kid replied that he just wanted to make sure he got into a good college.

Back in the day, when I brought my report card home, and it was all A’s, I would be automatically suspect for sure.  Just didn’t happen.  I remember one day my Dad said, “What you get on your report card?” and I replied, “I dunno, I think it is a Full House … 3 D’s and 2 C’s.”

That dog didn’t hunt either.

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