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DEAR HARRIETTE: My son is coming home from college soon, and I want him to do more than just sleep and hang out with his friends all summer. I have encouraged him to get a job, but he hasn’t made any inquiries yet. I know I am going to be fire-breathing mad if he does what is his normal: nothing.
School is expensive, and even hanging out with friends costs a lot. I don’t want to fund his fun if he isn’t willing to contribute to it himself, but so far he shows no interest in taking initiative. What do you recommend? — Get a Job
DEAR GET A JOB: Sit down with your son the moment he gets home, and discuss the plan for the summer. Make it a requirement that he find a job. Decide that you are not going to give him an allowance, and let him know. If you can stick to that, he will have no choice but to figure out how to make money. That may motivate him.
You can also offer to pay him for doing things around the house or other tasks that need to be handled. Ask him to work for you for a certain number of hours per week and set a rate for that work. Pay him only if and when he completes the assigned tasks. If you can think of tasks that are different from his personal chores, that would be good. You don’t want to turn his regular home duties into a job if you can help it.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am terrible at bookkeeping, and I run a small business. When things get busy, my books get sloppy. That is not to say that I misuse funds or anything. More, I don’t file receipts. I don’t review accounts payable and accounts receivable at the end of each month. When I did my taxes this year, it was hard to figure things out because I have no system. I have always felt like I am supposed to do everything myself. I don’t make a lot of money, but I think it would be wise to hire a bookkeeper. I told my friend who also runs a small business, and he laughed at me and said I should be able to do it myself. What do you think? — Need Help
DEAR NEED HELP: A clear sign of a smart person is someone who knows what they are NOT good at. Your friend may possess the skills to handle his accounting with ease. Since you know this is a weakness for you, you absolutely should get help. You can find an affordable bookkeeper who can help you to put your accounts in order and ensure that you are on track. You will still have to provide the bookkeeper with information and access to your accounts, so take your time to find someone you can trust. There is no shame in getting help in this area. Bookkeepers exist for a reason. Do what you are good at doing, and delegate the rest.