Thursday, November 13, 2008

Entitlement: Some Words to Wisdom
Encouraging Personal Responsibility

I picked up a light, yet insightful book at the library. It is a book about friends, family, and money titled Isn't It Their Turn to Pick Up the Check?: Dealing with All of the Trickiest Money Problems Between Family and Friends -- from Serial Borrowers to Serious Cheapskates by Jeanne Fleming and Leonard Schwarz. It is written in a question and answer format and includes some tidbits and poll results from Money Magazine. So far I'm enjoying the light reading and I have decided to post a few excerpts that are related to subjects we've discussed on this blog.

My son the architect versus my son the actor
When it comes to family, should the professionals support the artists?

Question: I have two sons, Tyler and Jeremy. Tyler, who graduated from Brown three years ago, is a a talented actor trying to make it in New York. Jeremy, who's about to start a graduate program in architecture, is a savvy, ambitious guy who I'm sure will have a very successful career. Recently, Tyler told me he realized that, even though he was the "big brother" in the family, he'd probably end up looking to Jeremy for help, instead of the other way around, since most actors are poor. The problem is, Jeremy's a bit of a tightwad. What can I do to encourage my younger son to realize he needs to help Tyler?

Answer: You're asking the wrong questions. You should be asking what you can do to encourage Tyler to take responsibility for his financial future, rather than bolstering his belief that he can rely on handouts from his brother.

It's not that we think you're wrong to want Jeremy to be generous. But Tyler is making important decisions about his life right now, decisions that will play a critical role in determining how much money he has in the future. One of the things he needs to realize is that life involves making trade-offs, and that if he is going to pursue a career such as acting, he may well live less comfortably than if he chose a different career. In particular, Tyler shouldn't be encourage to think that there are no trade-offs because brother Jeremy will make up the difference for him. Neither should he imagine, as a would-be actor, he is exempt from the ethical obligation we all have to provide for ourselves.

And there's one more thing to consider. In order to have that successful career you envision him having, Jeremy is going to have to work very hard. Generally the people willing to do that are not indifferent to money. In fact, they typically have plans of their own for the money they earn, and the plans of even the most generous among them rarely include perpetually passing out big chunks of cash to healthy, intelligent, well-educated siblings who have chosen not to concern themselves with how much they make.


Lion of Zion said...

i don't know if its just my computer, but i can barely read the orange

שבת שלום

Ezzie said...

Orange is a bit rough.

But great piece.

Commenter Abbi said...

Agree on the orange. I think for long quotes you're better off blockquoting the material, rather than using a different font.

Just replace "actor" with "kollel" and word for word it applies to the frum community.

Orthonomics said...

Is this a better color?

Anonymous said...

Much better color.

Esther said...

I just read that book too! (Also just saw it at the library and thought it looked interesting.)

What a great way to connect this to Orthonomics!

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Ariella's blog said...

right on the mark, Sephardi Lady!