Tuesday, August 26, 2008

She Works Hard for the Money

I'm lucky. I have a job that I like (most of the time) and am a mere week from moving into Manhattan. My parents have given me more than I could ever ask for. At this time in my life, I'm the most grateful for graduating debt free, meaning I didn't have to pay off any loans thanks to my parents and other family members. However, the buck stops there. And, as frustrating as that can be sometimes, I also very thankful for that.

My parents taught me from a young age how to manage and budget my money. They showed me that my purchases are more meaningful when I've earned them. I got my first mother's helper job when I was 11 and I remember saving for an outfit from Limited 2. I also remember how gawd-awful it was (think black and white plaid pants, short-sleeved white turtleneck and short-sleeved black corduroy jacket). It was the first thing I bought with my own hard-earned money and I loved it.

Throughout high school I worked at a book shop and in college I babysat at least three times a week. I paid for my books and any meals that weren't on my meal plan. I paid for my spring break trips and all beer I drank over those four years. Sometimes, all I wanted was to have my parents credit card to charge a trip to the grocery store or to buy a new pair of jeans. But I didn't. My move to Hoboken was the same. I received little housewarming gifts from my parents but I paid my security deposit, broker's fee and rent for the 12 months I lived in that first apartment.

I recently read this article in Newsweek. Twentysomething Melody discusses her financial independence from her parents and how many of her peers are not following suit. Her friends in Manhattan and in cities across the country are still, a year or more after graduation, living off of their parents. Melody is living on her own in a city where twentysomethings are forking over more than the recommeneded 30% of their income on rent, buying new clothes, $81 MetroCards each month and expensive groceries. While her friends have Mom and Dad footing the bill.

I agree with Melody that having their parents paying rent and for other living expenses is hindering her friends financially. They aren't learning the value of money or building the credit they will need later in life.

While being financially independent is stressful and usually puts me in the poor house, I'm happy that I am. There is a great sense of freedom that comes along with is and no shopping spree or free apartment could change that.

24 comments:

Delightfully Sassy said...

Great Post! I am baffled at how many of my working friends still depend on money from their parents every month!

Jade said...

Kudos. We're on exactly the same page. I couldn't be more happy being financially independent. Several of my friends are still sponging for no good reason and to be honest, it makes me lose a little respect for them.

Liz said...

It's great how your parents brought you up. I also have worked part-time jobs since 15 and bought my own things...it taught me alot. Now I know when I want something I have to work for it....nothing is for free.

PS: I love your blog!

NewlyWed07 said...

WG1 -- you rock -- I just wrote a blog about how my financial debt has put such a strain on my new marriage (um, yeah... not fun)--Your husband will love you for your stability -- Hope there are many that follow suit...

Just A Spoonful of Sarcasm said...

Amen!
My brother and his wife and 2 kids lived w/my parents up until a few months ago. Total time of mooching off my parents = 7 years!
Unbelievable!
But snl sure does have a few nice burberry items and jewelry to show for it.
I have a house!

Ashley said...

I'm SO with you girl! I think that's doing nothing but hindering their growth. My parents didn't pay for a thing; I got a worker's permit from the state and started employment at 14, was on my own at 16 and am still paying my way through college while working full-time at 26. I literally didn't have any help. However, I purchased my first house when I was 22 and now make more money that my parents without the degree. So the hardship helped me grow up and I'm very happy to have the freedom and managed responsibilties that I do.

Shelley said...

The way your parents brought you up is how I want to raise my future children. I am an only child and the perks of being one will likely hinder me in the future. I will graduate debt free, too, thanks to my parents. However, I'm not looking forward to footing insurance/rent/internet/electric bills all by myself. I do know that I can limit my spending and will have to work to budget my money so that I'm not struggling to stay afloat.

I wish my college experience with money was more like yours. Sounds like you're doing well because of it!

Sarah said...

Your parents knew what they were doing. ;) Mine taught me the same way. I have no credit card debit, have one car paid off and am paying off the second.

It feels great when you don't owe!

lisa said...

I don't think working girls who still live at home should all be lumped into one stereotype as financially inept bimbos mooching off their parents. I have a f/t job and I still live at home, and my parents prefer it that way; this is common in a lot of Asian and Latin American families, and I've actually met girls from more conservative Asian families than mine who've risked familial disapproval by moving out before marriage and living on their own. I have very few living expenses because of my living arrangement, but it's not like I blow my paycheques either (70%+ of my paycheques go into savings).

Ceara said...

Ah! I couldn't agree more. My friend and I were literally JUST discussing this (and I even wrote a vaguely similar blog). Not that I haven't had to get help from my parents once or twice for emergencies (dead car!). People who depend on their parents won't understand the real value of the hard earned dollar - and thus in the long run (I think)appreciate things, and even life in general, a lot less. Providing for yourself is a much more satisfying experience!

PS: Great blog!

Kyla Bea said...

I have a friend who is getting married this year who has a car that her pay for (gas, insurance, repairs) a credit card her parents pay no matter what the cost and she lives at home.

And neither of them is employed full time.
And they want to buy, not rent.

I'm so scared for them, I have no other reaction to that than pure fear.

Very good post.

aleksiedancer said...

I think if people are getting everything paid for by their parents, even though they could do it themselves, that's bad. I think teaching people to be independent is one of the best things that can happen

I won't necessarily criticize someone for living at home. One of my friends does that so that she can be more financially stable when she gets out in the world. She pays for her car, gas, anything else she wants, and then she lumps the rest into savings

Mary De Bastos said...

I moved out of my parents house 7 days after high school graduation and have not taken a dime since. I have had to pay for college myself, as well as everything else. When I got evicted from my apartment, I asked my mom for help and she said NO. Because she wanted me to learn how to get out of that situation so it would never happen again. I'm glad for my independance, and it's not been easy. I WISH I at least had college paid for!! Lucky!

Smilf said...

Holy crap, I can't imagine still living off of my parents after college. I didn't even live off of them while I was in college! I was raised like you - I always had to work, had to save up for my "cool" clothes, etc. I would be all over my friends if they still lived off of their parents. I'm just sayin'. :)

Liv/e in Both Senses said...

I'm in a similar boat. I still live at home, but I pay for everything for myself. My education was paid for, getting lessons for my license, my car (although the folks helped)... We tend not to have parents giving their kids credit cards, but we do get them paying for their things when they're in their 20's. It teaches nothing.
And when they do leave home at the tender age of 30 (note the sarcasm), they aren't quite sure how to do things for themselves...

Sunny said...

The children who are brought up in such a way are really well prepared for a tough city life. I'm very grateful to my parents , because they taught the value of money.

About Jen, Domestic Goddess said...

Word. It's not easy being independent in a city like New York, but it's waaaaay more rewarding when you make it on your own. Great post!

Pink Scrappy said...

My parents taught us the same thing. We received no financial help from them growing up and beyond. We all had jobs at a young age, we all paid for our own things, and I usually work two jobs. Sure it would be easier, but I wouldn't feel as proud of my accomplishments. I agree with Jade, it kind of makes you lose a little bit of respect for your friends. My son is following in my foot steps although I know I indulged him more than my parents did us. But he's now living in another province and making it on his own. I'm so proud of him!

unwritten said...

I have to say, this is a sensible way to raise kids, but i am an only child and my upbringing was very different.
My parents paid for everything obviously, and they want me to be comfortable.
I have to say though, even in college, where they paid for everything (basics) i had to get a job to support myself in terms of food, gas, etc.
They bought me my first car, and have not let up in expecting their payback now that i'm working.
It was a great way because they gave me enough and wanted me to have a life their parents couldnt afford but all the extra things, i had to pay for.
I was MUCH less spoilt than most only children i knew.
Now though, im on my own, they wont even cave on giving me loans.
I have to say, i think its more difficult for them to hit up tough love when they only have one kid..
just my opinion..

Douchegirl said...

I still live with my parents because, as someone else said, it's common practice in Latin American families. They have taught me the real value of a dollar. Rent and meals are free. Everything else, I pay for. And before my mom got married, she was a single parent and I helped her out with most of my paycheck. It felt so good to be able to use my hard earned money to help her.

alyssa said...

I agree! I am super financially independent and always have been. My sister, on the other hand, is complete opposite of me. While sometimes I may get jealous and/or annoyed at the fact that my parents give into her, I am thankful that I am the way I am.

Jenny Girl said...

Phenominal post. You could not have said it any better. I think it's nice to help your kids out, but there comes a point when they are supposed to take care of themselves. Are these kids going to take care of mom and dad when they are elderly?
Have a great holiday!

~Kristin~ said...

I commend you on writing this post, it's a very black and white subject. And, with the way the economy is nowadays, kids who don't know how to manage their money will surely be hurting. I myself was raised to basically pay for all that I want. I babysat, and then worked really hard - still do. Thanks for voicing these, nice to know people like us still exist! :)

Back to School Blogger said...

I cannot clap and cheer enough for you! My daughter lived at home and went to college to save us and herself money, she worked and saved money, she graduated college with honors, secured a good job making a modest salary, and just this year purchased her first home at 26. We are so proud of her hard work! I know your parents must be so proud of you too!