PREFACE: This post could come off like a rant, maybe it actually is, but bear with me. I’m a very curious person!
I’m fortunate to work in a very diverse field with LOTS of interesting people. I’m talking people of all ages, single, married, all colors, all sexualities, etc. You get it. Since I’m around so many types of people, I hear stories about all kinds of journeys, troubles, and experiences. This whole thought process started a few weeks back and I just started to wonder how common this “lifestyle” actually is.
I have a co-worker (let’s refer to him as D) in his early 30’s. He’s been having some vehicle issues lately (it’s a very old car with LOTS of expensive issues) and it all boils down to one thing: he needs to cut his losses and get a new-to-him car. D is claiming he can’t get a new one until his parents come with him to pick one out…what? D whines about this often and D’s parents are going to help him with the purchase. He says he doesn’t have any money; that said, D makes the same wages that I do. D has no debt – student loans or credit cards. He also saves money, but probably spends about $300+/month dining out (his guess). He also reveals that his parents pay his car insurance and cell phone bill. D is OVER 30. What gives? He’s a grown man – own place, full-time job, and live-in girlfriend. Life is solid for him – why do his parents subsidize his life?
Another colleague of mine (please refer to her as B) has another extremely subsidized lifestyle. She’s younger and more of a recent college graduate, so I’m more willing to be sympathetic here. B’s parents pay her cell phone bill, her insurance (car & renters), they send her an allowance, and pay for her health insurance – which she could be getting for free from our employer. She also has no student debt or credit card debt. Again, what?
I guess what I’m wondering is this: Parents, once your kids are self-sufficient, when do you cut them off financially?
I was PROMPTLY cut off at two major intervals: high school graduation and college graduation. At high school graduation, I became responsible for all of my gas and car (not insurance yet) costs, my cell phone bill, any “extras,” and the rent for my first college apartment. Upon college graduation, I became responsible for everything that a typical adult pays for in their life – home, transportation, insurance, etc. My parents are two hard working people who make a very standard middle class living in rural America so I’m sure they couldn’t stand to support me forever. Sure, it’s not always been easy, but I’ve learned to be resourceful and how to provide for myself. I’ve also learned about negotiation and bartering because sometimes that’s what you do when money is low. I’ve eaten a lot of PB & J and ramen noodles in the past, but I’ve always done it my way. I would not have it any other way. I’ve learned so much about responsibility, myself in general, and how to “live.”
As a gainfully employed adult, I’m wondering WHY people would still want their parents to pay their bills when they are fully capable of making their own way in the world. It seems to me that, in at least the two cases I’ve listed, people are afraid to “cut the cord” when it comes to facing grown-up life. I understand a legitimate request for help from parents every now and then, that’s life and emergencies do happen. However, if I’m a third of the way through my life as an adult, I’d hope to still not be leeching off of anyone if I could help it. I’m wondering how common this actually is? How does this affect our parents and their retirement plans if they are still funding the lives of their adult children?
Then, for my parent readers, maybe you haven’t reached this point in your parenthood journey yet, but please tell me what you think. How would you feel to have your kids kids still receiving so much financial support from you after the age of 25? After the age of 30? Or more?
Here’s my two cents:
- If you have a full-time job, no debt, and money to spare for “luxuries,” your parents should no longer be subsidizing your life.
- If you have graduated from college, have a job, and no debts to repay, your parents don’t need to give you an allowance.
Like I said, this might come off as a rant, but I’m genuinely very curious about this whole idea. I know everyone is different and that’s fine, but I’m just sayin’. So…<end rant>.
Parents: How do you handle this type of thing? Tell your adult kids no? Give them money?