I got an interesting email from one of my regular readers and wanted to share an excerpt with you:
“As you may remember I have only one daughter and she is 7. By now, she’s getting the fact that we are traveling places for free. I guess I don’t keep it a secret and talk about it with my husband. We live pretty frugally in general and she sees that we don’t have a lot of money. I figured she should know how we get to travel so that she doesn’t get confused by the fact that dad has a crappy car but we still get to go places.
Anyway, my point is this: how much do you feel comfortable telling your children? When Red Bird was still alive, I’d go with her to Target and stop at the Customer service desk and do my loading while she’d look at the “Dollar Spot” items. She didn’t care what I was doing because she loves spending hours there but I figured eventually she’ll start asking. Am I going to explain the full deal to her when she’s able to understand it? I guess as I’m writing this I realize that I’m not 100% comfortable with some of my own practices.”
This email really hit home. They say you shouldn’t do anything that you wouldn’t feel comfortable seeing on the front page of tomorrow’s newspaper. I think an even better analogy is to do things that you would not be embarrassed telling your kids about (well, when it comes to hobby and finances, that is). For me personally, the biggest consideration has to do with my religious beliefs, but it’s not something I choose to bring up in my posts.
Where do you draw the line?
In general, I try not to make definitive statements or point finger at anyone. I’m not here to impose my personal morals or get preachy. That’s not what the blog is about. That said, I’ve made no secret that I’m uncomfortable with many M/S techniques and will not participate in anything that appears deceptive or encourages you to break the rules.
I don’t sign up for business cards even though I’m technically eligible. The reason? You are supposed to use them only for business-related expenses. Once again, it’s my personal stand on the matter and I doubt that banks care all that much.
I do try to be honest at all times. However, honest does not equal stupid. I’m not going to say I’m getting the card only for the sign-up bonus. But I will say that I like the rewards it offers, which is 100% true.
My son is too young to understand this whole miles and points world, but I do tell my daughter about the hobby. I’m not ashamed to reveal the details on how we get to travel so much. She does know that our miles and points come from credit cards, but I haven’t gone into specifics, mostly because she probably won’t grasp the concept. When she gets older, I will explain that we sign up and cancel credit cards on a regular basis in order to collect the rewards.
I also try to be honest about the blog. The other day, she asked me how I make money. I told her that people sometimes apply for credit cards through my site and I get paid for each approval. She suggested that I include more photos of her as well as my son, and let her write some guest posts. Her words: “Mommy, people will see how cute we are. Tons will apply for cards through your blog and we will be filthy rich!” No, I’m not kidding. She is gonna make a heck of a marketer one day!
Overall, I’m not embarrassed to tell family and friends about my bizarre little corner of the universe. I do have to be careful, though. Not all feel that what I do is ethical and I respect that. Let’s face it, this hobby does have a parasitic feel to it, doesn’t it? That said, I’m not taking money or points from starving children, but rather large banks who are in it to make a profit (just like me). They extend the offer and I happily accept. I’m not going to apologize for not getting into debt or renewing cards with monstrous fees.
I think it’s possible to stay honest and ethical and simultaneously take advantage of lucrative opportunities along the way. Of course, everyone will have to define the word “ethical” for themselves. But will the definition differ from that you would give to your child?
Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.