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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Literal Finance 101

As a part of my job duties as Personal Assistant to the four people I live with, I regularly pick up prescriptions from the drug store.  On this lovely afternoon, the young, blond, female clerk says to me,
"That will be $59.00 Mam."
I looked her kind of like she was crazy.  I knew right away it was an odd amount.
I ask, "Are these name brand or generic?"
"They're generic."
"Well that can't be the right price."
"Oh...do you have insurance?"
Hell yeah...I have insurance. Lucky for me! 
This was the first time I have used this particular pharmacy for my husband.  Not because I like this pharmacy.  I am actually forced to use them by our lovely insurance carrier.  They don't have the insurance on file for hubby, who hardly ever gets sick and even less...actually take medicine.
I hand her my insurance card and the price comes out to $10.00
Now that's a lot more like it!

Instantly, I think of my boys.  If that had been one of them...and the clerk had made the same error...they would have fumbled around and paid her the $59.00...no questions asked, or they may have walked away without the medicine.
The boys take what people say at face value and don't question it if they seem honest. Why would an honest looking person lie...or make a mistake?  They're an authority figure.  They are the professional.  They must know what they're talking about right?

Another example:
Blue really does try to be independent.  The other day he wants to go inside and order his own pizza at Little Ceasar's....or as I call it, Little Yucky's.
"It's only $5.00 Mom!"
 He had it at a birthday party a while ago and now he swears by it.  I give him a $10.00 bill.  I say explicitly, "Pizza and soda...that's it!  No extras."
He comes back with pizza, soda and breadsticks and only $1.00 in change.
"What happened?" I ask.
"They said I have to get the special.  It would save me money."

These little common sense financial decisions are the things that freak me out about their future.  You can't believe every advertisement.  You can't trust every body and take what they say at face value.  You have to always be thinking and be quick on your feet, otherwise you can be duped out of your money or spend needlessly.

They don't teach everyday finance in school.  They don't teach common sense.  This leaves it up to us.  The parents.  I don't know about you...but my kids hate learning anything from me. Of course, that doesn't keep me from trying and dissecting these financial common sense matters, in order to keep them thinking and hopefully learning a thing or two.

Recently, I  felt a little more reassured about Red's future when his Video Tech mentor said this about his most recent project, "I have worked with college interns that are not this talented!  He could get an assistant editing job right now paying $20. to $30. an hour.  And the best thing is that he is self-taught.  Which means he can teach himself on the job.  Employers love that!"
(By the way...this lovely woman has a son with Aspergers, so she gets Red and better yet, she won't let me pay her for her time! How blessed are we?!!!)

So alas...there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Maybe...just maybe, I will get this boy out of my house someday! Now we just need to finish high school with out going totally beserk about not having a girlfriend!  And...figure out a way to teach him some common sense.

Blue...I don't worry about as much.  I can totally see him going to college.  I can see him driving and eventually being very mature and responsible.  The literalness and believing everything that people say...I hope will get better with time and maturity and experience.

Yesterday, I read the funniest blog by Aaron Liken.  The post is titled "Anyone Can Be Fired". It's about the literal mind of an Aspie.  I felt so guilty for laughing so hard that tears were falling, about what he thought as a child about people getting fired.  He accurately describes the literal thinking that many people on the spectrum experience.  It's a must read.

There really should be a high school class on Literal Finance 101, where they teach you how to spend money wisely and not waste your precious dollars.  Money really does not grow on trees or get magically dispensed from the ATM.  Heck ...my 24 year-old is not on the spectrum.  He could still use a class like that...and he's in his last year of college!

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