DR. WALLACE: I have always been a very good student. This is my first year in high school, and I've just received interim grades of five A's and one C+ so far this semester. I got the C in biology, and my parents are totally upset about it. Actually, I had to work extra hard just to get the C. I just don't like science, and I find it a very difficult subject. Not much of it makes sense to my mind. Do my parents praise me for my five A's? No way! They threaten to put me on restriction for the C. I don't think this is fair. Do you? — Unfairly Judged, via email
UNFAIRLY JUDGED: Your parents would be unwise in your case to punish you for receiving five A's and one C, if, indeed, you work extra hard to get the C. Not all of us are gifted in all academic areas. Ask your parents to arrange a meeting among your biology teacher, your parents and you to discuss your science abilities. It is possible that a C is the best you can do in biology, and your parents should hear it from your biology teacher rather than only hear it from you.
But if your parents hear that you are likely capable of a higher grade, you will be studying science a little longer and harder. In either case, I feel you should not be put on restriction over this matter. It's not like you've been cutting classes or doing anything intentionally wrong.
With a little luck, your teacher may be able to connect you a bit better to the subject matter so that you can lift your grade a bit going forward. Do your best, and feel free to tell your parents that I agree with you on this one.
BE HAPPY TO HAVE HELPED DAD
DR. WALLACE: I'm a high school girl who is almost 18, and I've been babysitting regularly for the last year. I've saved up quite a bit of money over that time. In fact, I have saved up over $900! I keep the money hidden in my room and only spend a little bit gradually when I need to. A few months ago, my father asked me if he could borrow some money for a short period of time because his finances were quite tight. I said yes, and I gave him the $700 he asked me for. About two weeks later, he did pay me back exactly $700. When I asked him why he didn't include some interest on my loan, he said that because I had the money in my room, I wasn't earning interest on it anyway, so therefore I shouldn't receive any interest from him. He also said that interest rates are so low these days, even if I put the money in the bank, I wouldn't get much interest on it.
Do you think he should have given me a little bonus for providing him this unsecured loan? I should also tell you that I love my finance classes at school, and I hope to be a loan officer at a big bank someday! — Future Financial Officer, Charlotte, North Carolina
FUTURE FINANCIAL OFFICER: Well, it would have been nice if good old dad slipped you a few extra bucks for helping him out, but I trust your dad has already done several very nice things for you over the course of your lifetime.
You did a good thing by being a prudent saver and a great thing by helping your father out when he truly needed your assistance. It's excellent that your dad repaid you so promptly, too.
I advise you to tell your father that you've changed your mind about asking him for some interest on the money. Tell him that you'd like to charge him one nice, big hug instead. Hold out your arms in front of him, and watch how fast he will deliver that "payment" to you! Family members can and should help each other out when they need help; that's what family is all about.
And with your excellent financial acumen at such a young age, I indeed foresee a career in the financial industry for you. One last suggestion: In the meantime, take 80% of all of your cash, and open a bank account in your local area. Put 80-90% of your future earnings in the bank on an ongoing basis as well. It's true that you won't earn much interest on your money at today's low interest rates, but your cash will be safe from fire and theft, and you'll start to build a financial history for yourself that will benefit you as you grow older.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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