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Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This …

Other people’s money, on the way to riches

POSTED: November 16, 2011 4:00 a.m.

There have been countless books, movies and late-night infomercials geared to the topic of how to become a millionaire using other people's money. It seems like regardless of how good your business idea or invention is, bottom line, it's better to take a risk using someone else's money instead of your own.

If using other people's money is all it takes to become a millionaire, I am expecting my son Cole to be topping the Forbes 500 by the time he's 10.

It all started about a year ago, when my mother-in-law had sent Cole a crisp $50 for his birthday.

That same week, the book fair was going on at school.

"I got three books picked out," Cole announced to me when I picked him up. "And that's educational...you said you'd get me anything educational, ‘member?"

I sighed.

Yes, I had agreed in some Walmart induced fever once that if it was educational, I would get it for him. So the next morning after I sent him on his way to his room, I headed for the library where I discovered that the three books totaled about $50.

A week later, as we were in Walmart, so Cole could show me what he wanted Santa to bring him, he found some new super-duper Optimus Prime toy that was $49.99.

"I need this," he pleaded.

"Do we need to re-visit our discussion of ‘need' versus ‘want'?" I asked.

"Mama," he had worked up a chin quiver now. "I really, really need this."

"Cole, that hunk of plastic is 50 bucks. No."

He grabbed it even tighter. "I got money," he said firmly.

"No, you don't."

"Do too. I have that money from Grandma. It's enough."

"Cole - you got your books with that money," I told him.

Big blue eyes looked confused. "No, I didn't. You got my books."

"Yeah, with the money from Grandma."

"Oh no," he began. "Oh no, oh no, oh no. That was my money, Mama; you don't spend my birthday money on books, you spend your money on books. My birthday money, I get to buy fun stuff with - your money is to be spended on stuff like books."

Having to leave Optimus Prime on the shelf until Christmas, he has not yet let me forget that I spent his birthday money on something I am supposed to pay for. His money is to be saved for the fun stuff -Transformers, Bakugans and Pokemons.

As we walked through the grocery store the other day, I stopped to admire a piece of Lodge cookware on display.

"I'll buy that for you, Mama," Cole announced sweetly.

"You will?" I asked, knowing the child usually has more cash than I do.

"With what money?" I asked.

Cole laughed. "Oh, don't be silly - with yours of course."

Yup, if all it takes is spending other people's money to get rich, my child is well on his way.

Sudie Crouch is an award-winning humor columnist and certified life coach. She lives in the north Georgia mountains with her family and four insane, but fairly well behaved dogs.

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