Cars and Loans and Math and Grown Up Daughters.

January 15, 2014

Last night, Steve and Sarah sat down to talk about money.  And savings. And rates of return. And demand accounts. And—excuse me while I shudder—m a t h.  Because it appears that you cannot talk about loans and savings accounts without the subject of math coming into the equation. (Get it?  Equation? I just made a math joke!)

Since mathematic terms were being bandied about with some abandon, I stayed clear of the room pretty much the whole night. (I didn’t want to catch any math cooties.)   However, I did creep in there long enough to take a few photos, which I will post in just a moment.

The main purpose of this important Father/Daughter Meeting was to fill out the paperwork that would transfer Sarah’s savings from our account into her own personal account since she is now eighteen. 

And on that subject:  

Over the years, we have told both Nathan and Sarah that we would match whatever they put into savings for their first car. Our first goal for the kids has been to pay for their first car in cash so that they don’t have any car payments as they get started into adulthood.  Our second goal has been to help them buy a good enough vehicle that they could drive 5 or 6 years without needing to replace it.

Nathan has always been good with money and saved a good chunk of change for his first car. He bought the vehicle when he was a college sophomore and is still driving it, five years later. Thankfully, he married a woman who is also good with money and the two of them keep to a strict budget; they aren’t afraid to make hard choices when it comes to spending so that they can live within their means.  (They actually went without Internet for a while which I thought was pretty amazing for such a technological couple. I would break out into actual hives if I didn’t have Internet.)

As with many young couples, their main challenge is paying off student loans and they are working as hard as they can to do that as quickly as possible. They also give generously and sacrificially to the church and to different needs that they become aware of.  Steve and I could not be more proud of the two of them.

Sarah has said many times that her husband will have a lot to live up to with Nathan as her example, and the area of finances is yet another place that he has been influential.  She has followed his example and has already saved a significant amount of her own.  (And considering she only works part-time during the summers, what she’s saved is even more amazing.)

And so all of that background brought us to last night. The appointment with car savings accounts and numbers. (And math.)

Here is the accounting team of Smith and Smith, hard at work.



At one point in the discussion of high finance, one member of the aforementioned accounting team got tickled with the whole process and started smirking. And also giggling.


I told her, “No grinning allowed, young lady. This is serious. This is about math. You do not mess around with math.”

Look at that face. That is her, “I will not giggle. I will treat math with respect,” face.


But I don’t know. It looks to me like another grin may be threatening to break out.


I must say that anyone who has a proclivity toward giggling at the same time that they are dealing with numbers has my heartiest approbation.  If it had been me sitting next to Steve in that chair, I would have been either crying or eating large amounts of chocolate in order to deal with the stress of it all.

But I’m happy to report that everything went well during Steve and Sarah’s financial session. Steve said that Sarah grasped the concepts very well and seemed to have a good handle on it all. 

I told her I was so proud of her for digging into finances early on in life, something I didn’t do and now regret, since I still struggle with balancing a checkbook. I am making progress though, and am further down the track of dealing with finances then I was last year at this time.  Baby steps!

In other news, I have been on my antibiotic since Friday but still have a plugged ear. I’ve also been dealing with unusually pronounced shortness of breath this whole week so am going back in to the doctor again today. Good times.

18 responses to Cars and Loans and Math and Grown Up Daughters.

  1. sorry you’re not feeling better, Becky.
    super kids, that’s for sure!

  2. I think that crying AND eating chocolate are the only ways to deal with math, and both at the same time – no need to pick one or the other 🙂 Its truly ironic that for as much as I hate numbers (and they seem to share an equal hate) I spend a majority of my days dealing with them! And really, hope you get better soon 🙂

    • CJ,

      I admire anyone who spends the majority of their day dealing with numbers! I hope you have a good stash of chocolate somewhere in the corner of your work space! 🙂

  3. Looks like my dad and us kids when it was time for us to purchase our first vehicle. We had to have enough money to either buy it or a job so we could take a loan and pay it off quickly. Dad also took us girls out to the car and taught us to change tires and check the oil and even change the oil which I could probably not do anymore, that was a lot of years ago! So happy that Sarah is getting to that point of “grown- upness” 🙂 Sure hope you start feeling better really soon now.

    • Wendy,

      What great lessons you learned! Changing tires and checking oil is a skill most women don’t have–I know I don’t. That would be good for both Sarah and me to learn.

  4. This tickled my funny bone today. Thank you!

  5. Such wise parents your children have! Getting into money trouble is so easy for young people these days with the “have to have it now” attitude that we all seem to exhibit. You and Steve have given Nate and Sarah a wonderful gift in teaching them about handling money wisely.
    Sorry to hear you are still not up to par. Sending lots of prayers!

    • Liz,

      I agree— a lot of young adults can fall so quickly into the credit card/easy money trap and it’s a whole lot harder to get out of it than it is to get in it!

  6. Becky, I certainly hope you are feeling better soon. Hopefully the doctor will get you started on just what you need to make you feel better. I’m sure Sarah will manage her finances just fine, considering all fine examples she has. And, she is smart enough to listen to her family’s good advice. Hugs to you all!
    Linda in Pittsburgh

    • Linda,

      Yes, I’m thankful that Sarah doesn’t seem to have inherited my “number avoidance tendencies.” She just wades right in there!

  7. What a change from when I was brought up. My folks never ever discussed money or budgets, etc. The first checking /savings account I had was after I got married. It has been difficult on my mom because my daddy always took care of money items and once he passed away it has been very hard for us to teach her. How wonderful that you are teaching her these things. Hope you are feeling better…

    • Becky,

      It really is especially difficult for a woman to manage financially if she has relied on her husband her whole life. That’s why I’ve spent the past year making myself learn to pay bills. (Thankfully, Steve is a patient teacher!)

  8. She is so blessed to have such involved family members. Tell Sarah I hope she finds a good and affordable car when she is ready. My first car I had a loan on at 17. Not a great idea but I managed and I had that little car for over 8 years (Honda Civic). I then bought my current car (Ford Escape) which I have also had for almost 8 years. I’m 32 and only on car #2. I didn’t spend a fortune on either one and they have both lasted me a long time. Expensive, fancy cars are overrated. Tell her to spend the extra money to study abroad and see the world. She would remember that experience for a lifetime.

    • Rachel,

      Sounds like you have made some wise car decisions, having had only two at the age of 32. Like you, I’d much rather spend money on traveling all over the place than on an extra fancy vehicle!

  9. Sarah will be just fine in life because of her Dad and her brother, not to mention her mama and her sister-“in-law.” What a lucky girl to have someone take the time to explain all of this to her – wish my girls would have had the same!

    Becky, I so hope and pray that you will feel better soon. You have me a little worried so I will ramp up the prayers.

    • Mary,

      Sarah is a lucky girl to have such a great dad in her life. Your girls have certainly been blessed with a FABULOUS mom throughout their whole lives!