If you look for me around the interwebs, you'll find that sometimes I'm identified as a “financial expert.” This makes it all the more embarrassing when my mom saves my butt.
When I left home for college lo these many years ago, I figured I was on my own now. A big girl, who could handle her business and her money. Unfortunately, there were times when I found myself in tight spots, and I had to call my mom and ask for help with things like paying a $435 tow bill to get my car out of a remote desert area.
After I married, I was sure that I wouldn't need help from my parents anymore. But that didn't turn out to be the case, either. A clerical error on my part meant I called, frantically asking for money to cover bills, and I can't forget that my parents also helped us pay off our car so that we could qualify for a mortgage. I paid my parents back both times, but it still doesn't change the fact that it was yet another case of “mom saves my butt.”
It's been years since I've needed to ask my parents for money help. I've got the cash flow thing figured out. Because I've been writing about money for eight years, and I've got a system. Which is why it's kind of embarrassing that I had to get help from my mom not once, but twice, in the last few months as we settled in for our move.
Cashier's Checks on Short Notice
My husband had to start his job, so he left for Pennsylvania a few days before I left with my son. We had to wait for the movers to come and get our stuff. We were all packed up before my husband left, so my son and I decided to head up to Idaho to spend time with my parents.
One of the things I forgot to do before leaving was to go to the bank and get a cashier's check to give to the movers. Since there was a branch of the bank in my parents? hometown, I figured it would all work out. Except I tried to go on a Saturday. I was surprised and dismayed to discover that not one of my bank's branches was open on Saturday.
Luckily, my parents were prepared. They belong to a credit union that has Saturday hours until 3 pm. Not only that, but they were willing to let my mom get a cashier's check based on her line of credit, and the fact that I had written a personal check out to her (at least I had sense enough to bring the checkbook with me). Our first attempt to make this work didn't pan out since the bank told my mom that she had to have the money in a certain account. But the second credit union looked at her account, found that she had been a customer for more than 25 years and was in good standing, and gave us no trouble at all.
Of course, all of this could have been avoided if I had just remembered to get the cashier's check before I left for Idaho. I knew I wouldn't be able to take care of it Monday morning (the movers were scheduled to come at 8 am), so I should have thought ahead. Good thing my mom is awesome.
I Need Money for My Home Sale
I've already documented that my closing was a harrowing nightmare that involved last-minute paperwork, a trip to the notary, and $10,000 to make it happen. Unfortunately, I wasn't prepared for this. There was money to be transferred from this account to that account, and other things that needed to happen. I thought my finances were pretty simple and straightforward, but trying to get my money in the right place at the right time proved me wrong. So, even though most of the time my automated finances work like clockwork, getting things out of the normal train changed the game.
I frantically called my mom the day before the closing. “I'm calling you and it's early,” I said. “That can only mean one thing. I've got an imminent financial catastrophe.”
Luckily, my mom and dad were prepared. They went to the credit union, withdrew some cash, and then went and deposited it in a local branch of my bank. The idea was to cover my butt just in case the money being transferred from one account to the other didn't arrive in time for my real estate closing. It didn't, so it was a good thing my parents were prepared to just pull the cash out.
Of course, this experience, combined with my recent remote deposit debacle, is a sad reminder that true liquidity means being able to access your cash right now and be able to put it to good use. The whole thing was mishandled by me from start to finish. I will, of course, pay my parents back (it's not like I'm broke), but the fact that they had to come swooping in to save the day, for the second time in a relatively short period of time, is kind of embarrassing.
I'm 34 years old, and a financial journalist, and still my mom saves my butt. She was joking with me about how being a mom always means helping your kids, and that I would understand when my own child kept needing to come to me for help. “Yeah,” I said. “When he comes asking for help, I'll still have to call you up, and you'll still have to save the day.”