Do you remember that colleague who always seemed to have the latest and most fancy clothes? She’s your same age with your similar salary and you’re slumming it with Old Navy and 5 dolla foot long subs (half of which you save for lunch tomorrow!) while she carries a Gucci bag and eats sashimi for lunch. What about that guy who drives a $50,000 BMW 335i coupe one year out of school while you still chugalug with your 10 year old Civic, or better yet, your shiny bus pass? What’s up with that you wonder.
I used to think these young folks just had nice high paying jobs and made home run investments in college, but maybe not so much anymore given the absolute armageddon we’ve seen. The older you get, the more you realize there’s a lot of smoke and mirrors. I remember going to at least 25 open houses one summer in 2004, and I swear to you that 80% of the lookers had parents looking to buy their adult child a place. “But mom, I want a view of the city from my bathroom,” said one young buck. “Oh honey, what what do you think of this nice Brazilian cherry wood?” Bleh. Go to a car dealership, and you’ll find the same scenarios. It’s not unheard of that parents will subsidize or pay completely for their children’s rent, as well as provide an allowance. “Dad, I just have to have that Rolex Yacht Master II watch!”
Should we encourage parents to support their kids after college? Why not, if their child doesn’t have a job or much money. But, how do college graduates learn about personal finance, if all they are doing is receiving hand outs from parents and splurging on wasteful crap? They don’t, because they don’t need to, and that’s fine by me because we need them to consume like mad to help get this economy moving again! At the end of the day, it’s really none of our business what other people’s parents choose to do for their kids. Heck, if you were rich, and could donate a lot of money to get your kid into Harvard, wouldn’t you? It’s just the ostentatious righteousness that may get to us.
The real question is, should we pay back our parents, and if so, when? I say yes, and whenever we have the means to do so. They put the investment in us and many have paid for our education. Why not pay our parents back at least in real terms the money they spent on us from ages 18-22? Many of us in our 30’s have parents who are retired and rely on a fixed income. How nice it would be if their kids started sending them a check for a couple hundred bucks a month for the rest of their lives. I’d sure like that little Social Security bonus when I’m retired!
The issue of Bank of Mom & Dad is that of jealousy. Instead of letting it eat you up inside, use it as motivation to get ahead. Readers, feel free to share your thoughts on the subject!
“Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”