Seeking financial responsibility with a $1,000 credit card limit


March 25, 1998|By Bonita Formwalt | Bonita Formwalt,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

HERE, MOM, sign this, please," my son said as he thrust a paper under my nose.

Obviously, my son still thinks he's dealing with an amateur. haven't signed anything without reading the fine print since that messy litigation with the Columbia Record and Tape Club.

Putting on my reading glasses, I discovered that my 17-year-old unemployed son has been guaranteed a VISA card with a $1,000 credit limit.

"It's a chance to learn financial responsibility," he intoned.

Sighing, I prepared to share with my son the ugly secret I've tried to shield from him: He is genetically predisposed to financial irresponsibility. Mom and dad are clueless when it comes to fiscal planning. We try, but our priorities are a little odd.

We have no retirement plan to speak of, but we have two phone lines, three cell phones and a beeper. I have been known to cash in savings bonds to take advantage of a Giant half-price sale on Honey Nut Cheerios. Through most of the '80s, my mantra was "minimum monthly payment."

It began with my first credit card from Montgomery Ward. For emergencies only, I pledged, as if somehow Ward would be able to provide plasma at an 18 percent interest rate. Two weeks later I owned a "sofa-size" oil painting of three sad-eyed kids holding balloons. I didn't own a sofa.

My son was quiet for a moment, then he looked up, suddenly pale.

"No retirement plan? That doesn't mean you two plan on living with me when you get old, does it?"

Not if Sears has a retirement village.

Just charge it, Glen Burnie.

Five to be honored

Five people whose work enriches the lives of those around them are to receive accolades Friday at a dinner at the Glen Burnie Elks Lodge.

Tfc. Daniel McLain of the Maryland State Police, Officer Gregory Huck of the Anne Arundel County Police, Capt. Steven Thompson of the county Fire Department and community volunteers Paul and Gene Greska will be honored.

McLain, a lifelong county resident, has been a state trooper since 1993. He has closed an impressive 85 percent of his criminal cases.

Thompson developed the protocol and procedure for the use of blood glucometers for emergency medical technicians in the county and the state. He also was instrumental in equipping all 13 county Advance Life Support units with electrocardiogram equipment.

Huck, a five-year veteran of the force, is assigned to patrol south Glen Burnie and Old Mill, one of the county's busiest areas. His work in targeting criminal activities by nonresidents in apartment areas resulted in a program to ban people without ties to the community who were involved in crimes.

The Greskas were nominated by Mark Barnes, associate pastor of Severn Baptist Church.

Affectionately known as Grampa Paul and Grandma Gene, the Greskas are active in the Community Assistance Program, which helps feed and clothe needy people year-round.

Tickets: 410-969-2266.

Spaghetti and magic

There will be a touch of magic in the air Saturday at Boy Scout Troop 533's spaghetti dinner and magic show at the Glen Burnie Moose Lodge on South Crain Highway. The doors open at 6 p.m., with dinner at 7 p.m. Magician and ventriloquist Bill Moore performs at 8 p.m.

Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for children 3 to 12. Children under 3 are admitted free.

For ticket information, call 410-987-6495 or 410-166-1156.

Pub Date: 3/25/98

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