Author Topic: Columnist advocates for personal responsibility...Shame and Comedy ensues  (Read 13705 times)

Tjat

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http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2016/04/03/open-letter-adults-who-accept-financial-support-their-parents/82073458/

The above link is a "letter" to adults that are still recieving outpatient economic support from their parents. The comment section is full of "Yeah but (rent, expenses, other) is so high where I live", straw mans of "well what about if the adult child had CANCER? What type of MONSTER wouldn't help out their child if they're able?", and my all-time favorite of "Don't judge, you don't know their circumstances."

All have seemingly missed the point that this letter is directed towards (wo)man-children who are carefree in accepting their parent's retirement money solely to finance their dependent lifestyle.


TheAnonOne

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Yea, the comments are pretty good.

Honestly, I think most of the people who are defending 'parental' help are just attempting to justify their position in life. It's half sad and half pathetic.

They are vulnerable. Imagine, being in a spot where you cannot make rent, or fill your car without a life-line from your parents. I would be scared that the flow would get cut off one day.

I always lived under my means and luckily was either lucky enough or smart enough to obtain a very high income at a low age. Most don't have the drive, or the luck.

Warlord1986

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The comments are the usual. What's sad is that he even mentions emergencies in the article, and says that it's one thing for Mom and Dad to help out with emergencies, but it's still on the adult child to have a plan.

MrsPete

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Yea, the comments are pretty good.

Honestly, I think most of the people who are defending 'parental' help are just attempting to justify their position in life. It's half sad and half pathetic.
Yeah, that article would sting if it applied to you. 

PhysicianOnFIRE

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Apparently, most commenters haven't read Chapter 5 in The Millionaire Next Door, Economic Outpatient Care.

nobodyspecial

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Honestly, I think most of the people who are defending 'parental' help are just attempting to justify their position in life. It's half sad and half pathetic.

They are vulnerable. Imagine, being in a spot where you cannot make rent, or fill your car without a life-line from your parents. I would be scared that the flow would get cut off one day.
It's not easy being Prince Charles !

sleepyguy

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I'll jump a bit on the side of the other side... speaking with a lot of coworkers and even my own siblings... lots of kids in middle to upper-middle class families are SPOILED ROTTEN.  Why in the world does grade 9 student need a Mac Book Pro?  Ipad 4?  Iphone 6?  They aren't paying out of their damn pocket that's for sure.

When raised up to 18 or whatever the age they are when HS is finished, you've never heard the word "NO", it becomes very difficult to change 'your' ways.  It's sad I see this in my nieces and nephews... some are finishing university now (paid entirely by my sisters/brothers of course) and they'll get a dose of the "real world" soon enough.

Parents do need to take some of the blame... "just because you CAN, doesn't mean you should".

mm1970

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hmmm...the comments don't come up for me.

Gerard

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hmmm...the comments don't come up for me.

Check your computer. You may have to disable Complainy Pants Blocker.

Cassie

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True emergencies are so different from allowing people to live inflated lifestyles. I am always amazed at the # of people that provide financial support to family members just because the people can't manage their own $.  I didn't get to see the comments either. 

randymarsh

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Coming from the other side, sort of, there seems to be double standard with what expenses parents are "allowed" to pay for.

2 years out of college and my parents still pay for: cellphone, car insurance, and health insurance. Many will call that spoiled/entitled/mooching. But if my parents had written checks for my college while I paid for those things, no one would bat an eye.

I agree with the basic premise of the article. I would never do something like borrow $5000 and then buy a BMW before paying it back. But I've noticed no one cares if parents pay for their children's education. Many people think parents should even be expected to pay if they can afford it. Pay for a kid's cellphone (which is 10X cheaper) and that child is a mooch though. Same thing with a house downpayment or paying for a wedding. Parents have been doing those things forever right? But no one calls that mooching.

Kitsune

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"Need" is also relative.

When I was a student, my parents paid for a living/education stipend, which (on top of what I made working - I didn't qualify for loans or govt bursaries, hence the stipend) usually left me 20$/week for groceries. I made it work. I graduated on time, and never asked for money again.

My sister took 5 years to do a 3-year program, and then moved back home. My parents say "we're being fair, we pay for her food like we did yours!" - aka, they gave her a credit card and said "put any groceries on that". Meanwhile, my sister has enough disposable income that 200$ Sephora trips are a monthly affair, and 100$ pants are the usual.

My brother... Is doing year 5 of a 2-year program, and still lives at home. Oh, and just quit the only well-paying job he ever had "because it didn't make him happy". He also lives with my parents: they pay for his car and gas, as well as all groceries, etc.

I don't think there's anything wrong with helping your getting-to-be adult children launch, but I think they key word is launch - they gotta learn to fly by themselves at some point.

MayDay

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A lot of people get contributions from their parents- the distinction for me is this:

1. If all the help dried up tomorrow, would you be able to make your budget?  Or would you be in the red every month? 
2.  Is the help hurting your parents' retirement/savings/goals, or are they happy to give the help/doing estate planning/etc?

If you could afford it all just fine, and your parents can easily afford it, then fine, no problems!

If you couldn't make ends meet or your parents are not giving the help happily, then go read that article because it applies to you.


Tjat

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2 years out of college and my parents still pay for: cellphone, car insurance, and health insurance. Many will call that spoiled/entitled/mooching. But if my parents had written checks for my college while I paid for those things, no one would bat an eye.

I think the caveat is whether the recipient is receiving "luxury" items. For instance, are your parents paying for a $100/mo Iphone 6s with large amounts of data? Or are you added to the family plan? Or even better, are you on an low fee MVNO paying ~$20 a month? Same for car insurance. Paying full coverage on a new/leased luxury car is probably mooching. Keeping you on their policy (if you live at home) is probably smart. Paying liability only on a older, reliable vehicle is probably somewhere in between.

index

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Coming from the other side, sort of, there seems to be double standard with what expenses parents are "allowed" to pay for.

2 years out of college and my parents still pay for: cellphone, car insurance, and health insurance. Many will call that spoiled/entitled/mooching. But if my parents had written checks for my college while I paid for those things, no one would bat an eye.

I agree with the basic premise of the article. I would never do something like borrow $5000 and then buy a BMW before paying it back. But I've noticed no one cares if parents pay for their children's education. Many people think parents should even be expected to pay if they can afford it. Pay for a kid's cellphone (which is 10X cheaper) and that child is a mooch though. Same thing with a house downpayment or paying for a wedding. Parents have been doing those things forever right? But no one calls that mooching.

So he justification is: Your parents didn't pay for your college so them paying your bills is ok? If someone pays your bills, you are not an adult. It's that easy. It is not your parent's responsibility to help you out with college, pay for your iPhone, your car insurance, or medical insurance. You are lucky for any assistance they gave you, and when you are ready to be a grown up, tell them you can handle your own finances.

Being on this site, I assume you are already saving money for your own FI. You need to realize money is fungible, and though their money is earmarked phone, insurance etc... it is the same as you paying their own bills and them putting money away for your own FI. You can justify it however you would like, but you are no different than a commenter on the linked article.


WerKater

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hmmm...the comments don't come up for me.

Check your computer. You may have to disable Complainy Pants Blocker.
:D
Complainy Pants Blocker sucks, though. Why would anyone want an add-on that removes the funniest part of the internet?

randymarsh

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Coming from the other side, sort of, there seems to be double standard with what expenses parents are "allowed" to pay for.

2 years out of college and my parents still pay for: cellphone, car insurance, and health insurance. Many will call that spoiled/entitled/mooching. But if my parents had written checks for my college while I paid for those things, no one would bat an eye.

I agree with the basic premise of the article. I would never do something like borrow $5000 and then buy a BMW before paying it back. But I've noticed no one cares if parents pay for their children's education. Many people think parents should even be expected to pay if they can afford it. Pay for a kid's cellphone (which is 10X cheaper) and that child is a mooch though. Same thing with a house downpayment or paying for a wedding. Parents have been doing those things forever right? But no one calls that mooching.

So he justification is: Your parents didn't pay for your college so them paying your bills is ok? If someone pays your bills, you are not an adult. It's that easy. It is not your parent's responsibility to help you out with college, pay for your iPhone, your car insurance, or medical insurance. You are lucky for any assistance they gave you, and when you are ready to be a grown up, tell them you can handle your own finances.

Being on this site, I assume you are already saving money for your own FI. You need to realize money is fungible, and though their money is earmarked phone, insurance etc... it is the same as you paying their own bills and them putting money away for your own FI. You can justify it however you would like, but you are no different than a commenter on the linked article.

My parents can spend their money on whatever the hell they want. There's nothing to justify. I will gladly accept since they can easily afford it.

I never said it was a parent's responsibility to pay for college. I said that many other people do and no one says that child is mooching. By your logic, anyone who's parents paid for college isn't an adult.


mm1970

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Coming from the other side, sort of, there seems to be double standard with what expenses parents are "allowed" to pay for.

2 years out of college and my parents still pay for: cellphone, car insurance, and health insurance. Many will call that spoiled/entitled/mooching. But if my parents had written checks for my college while I paid for those things, no one would bat an eye.

I agree with the basic premise of the article. I would never do something like borrow $5000 and then buy a BMW before paying it back. But I've noticed no one cares if parents pay for their children's education. Many people think parents should even be expected to pay if they can afford it. Pay for a kid's cellphone (which is 10X cheaper) and that child is a mooch though. Same thing with a house downpayment or paying for a wedding. Parents have been doing those things forever right? But no one calls that mooching.

Hm.  I call a down payment on a house mooching.

I guess it's just perspective of how things have changed.

When my sister, who is 51, graduated from HS, she got a job and lived at home, but was expected to pay rent.  (But not food.)

When my brother, who is 44, graduated from HS/ went into the AF/ then got out, he moved home.  And didn't have to pay rent or food.

My nephew is 23, has a job, and lives at home.  I'm pretty sure he doesn't pay rent.

A few years ago, I had a young engineer as a coworker.  She was quite proud about being self-sufficient.  But her parents still paid her cell phone bill, and she once complained about her younger brother "getting her upgrade".

I'm sorry, but having your parents pay for your cell phone bill is mooching.  Own it.  I realize that several things come into play here:
1.  Family plans end up being a deal
2.  Young people often aren't making much money

Still, I had ANOTHER former coworker had a family plan for herself, husband, and two adult kids (one in college, one out) and it was $350 a month.  Ouch.

How do you get to figure out what is important and affordable, and what is not, if your parents are bankrolling you on things that you cannot afford? 
I realize that times are tough and jobs can be scarce.  I think it's smart to save money where you can.  I don't judge friends who live with their parents while working FT (one of my engineers did that) - he was saving BANK.  (And he may have been paying rent too.)  But an engineer making $70k and living at home can damn well afford to pay for his own cell phone bill.  That's one reason why young people often get into trouble.  There's all this talk about wanting to start life with the same standard of living that your parents worked years to get.  Well... unlimited data, cable TV, and fast internet -  those are some of those things.

Likewise, I think it's complainy pants when someone talks about getting a downpayment from their parents.  It's mooching.  Or damn lucky.  Take your pick.

Life comes with choices.  Often people cannot afford health insurance but can afford cable and a nice car and a cell phone bill.

If you have health insurance offered at your job, and you aren't on it, you are mooching.
If you are on your parents cell phone plan, and you aren't paying the "difference", you are mooching
If you own your own car (or not) and are not paying your parents for your car insurance, you are mooching.
(Assuming you have a job).

As far as university goes "many people think parents should pay for it if they can afford it".  The truth of the matter is, the government thinks so.  That affects my opinion.  The amount of aid a kid is going to get is very often related to a parent's ability to pay.  Only in certain cases can you emancipate yourself.

As far as whether or not you are an adult if your parents are paying your cellphone bill etc - I'm kind of going to go with "no".  Or at least, you aren't completely self-sufficient.

If you parents want to buy you a phone for your birthday, fine.
If they want to take you on vacation, fine.
If they pay for you to fly home at Christmas because you can't afford it?  That's a gray area.
If they are paying a regular bill of yours?

On the flip side, for about a decade before my mom died, I bought her a plane ticket annually to come visit, because I could afford it.
We now gift my MIL airfare gift cards to come visit.
Both my mom and my MIL can afford to come visit with their own money.  But buying the plane ticket removed a barrier.  We wanted to see them AND a single ticket was $300 (because they could come whenever), and four tickets on the school vacation schedule are $2000. No brainer.
Likewise, I often paid for hotel rooms for my mom and stepdad to come.  Because our house is too small to host them AND they host us in-house when we go.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2016, 10:29:13 AM by mm1970 »

randymarsh

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How do you get to figure out what is important and affordable, and what is not, if your parents are bankrolling you on things that you cannot afford? 
I don't judge friends who live with their parents while working FT (one of my engineers did that) - he was saving BANK.  (And he may have been paying rent too.)
I can afford them. But since I don't pay for them, I save the difference/pay down debt faster.


Likewise, I think it's complainy pants when someone talks about getting a downpayment from their parents.  It's mooching.  Or damn lucky.  Take your pick.

Who ever complains about getting a down payment? I don't know how complainypants fits in here. Maybe if someone said "I could afford a house if my parents would just give me some money" but I'm definitely not doing that.


If you have health insurance offered at your job, and you aren't on it, you are mooching.
If you are on your parents cell phone plan, and you aren't paying the "difference", you are mooching
If you own your own car (or not) and are not paying your parents for your car insurance, you are mooching.
(Assuming you have a job).

As far as university goes "many people think parents should pay for it if they can afford it".  The truth of the matter is, the government thinks so.  That affects my opinion.  The amount of aid a kid is going to get is very often related to a parent's ability to pay.  Only in certain cases can you emancipate yourself.

As far as whether or not you are an adult if your parents are paying your cellphone bill etc - I'm kind of going to go with "no".  Or at least, you aren't completely self-sufficient.

The government also lets parents keep their adult children on health insurance until 26, so that affects my opinion.

If you parents want to buy you a phone for your birthday, fine.
If they want to take you on vacation, fine.
If they pay for you to fly home at Christmas because you can't afford it?  That's a gray area.
If they are paying a regular bill of yours?

While you're here, can you let me know if this is mooching: I just moved and mentioned to my mom in passing that I had a balcony. She said she'd look for a patio table/chairs and send them to me. It's not my birthday. Mooch or no?

Are these rules written down somewhere?  This entire post proves exactly what I originally said: there's a double standard. Some things are apparently OK to give your adult children and some things evidently aren't or the kids are mooching and bringing down their parents.

pdxbator

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I'm with thefinancialstudent on this. My parents can easily afford to help me financially. They have LIBERALLY helped me and I'm very grateful for it. I have never asked as an adult post-college for help. I have a job and can pay my bills. They see that they have the finances to help their children. It's not mooching unless I'm sitting at home eating bon-bons and not working and they are paying for everything. They have helped set me up financially with a house downpayment and more. They see it as money that would otherwise go to into the inheritance. Why not help their children now.

Cassie

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My parents and inlaws helped us when we were young and needed it. We did the same for our kids. Not at the levels of down payments for homes but at the level we all could afford without hurting ourselves.

TheGrimSqueaker

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Sorry in advance for bloviating, and the following paragraphs aren't going to be very well structured, but I'm going to think out loud here and say there's a problem with how some of us are looking at this "mooching" issue.

It seems unrealistic to me to expect young adults, who by definition lack education, work experience, and wealth, to be able to support and educate themselves with no assistance from the older generation that controls the wealth and opportunities... particularly while being taxed to subsidize that older generation and while paying members of that older generation to train them or to do work that the younger adults are not yet qualified to perform. I'm a fan of self-sufficiency, but this takes the "I got mine, forget you" mentality to a ridiculous level.

In this day and age, particularly in the USA, we fetishize independence to the point where anything short of moving out at age twelve and working one's way through middle school is considered by some to be "mooching". In reality, complete independence from the elder generation is a myth. Everybody reading these words was taught to read and/or provided with written material by somebody from an elder generation. Between public education, roadways, and other advantages that are provided indirectly, a lot of us have lost sight of just how much we've benefited from other people's work, to the point where most of us don't realize how much of an advantage we've been given until we encounter an actual feral human: someone from a very undeveloped country or deprived environment who has reached adulthood without learning to read, use metal tools, operate a toilet, or interact appropriately with other humans well enough to earn a living.

Throughout history, it's been the norm for each generation to help the next. Nowhere else in the world, and at no point in history, have young people ever been stigmatized for being set up by their parents to learn skills or accumulate resources in order to enhance their productivity and contribute to the family assets. Was a 16th-century baker's apprentice "mooching" when he allowed his father to set up an apprenticeship for him in a fellow guild member's shop, because the apprenticeship wouldn't have happened without his father's money and influence? Most likely not. Or, how about an old-fashioned Amish barn raising? The family that gets the barn doesn't do all the work, but benefits from materials and labor provided by more established members in the community, chiefly their parents. Is that "mooching"? I personally don't think so.

The transition from childhood to self-reliant adulthood is not an overnight process, and it never has been. Being completely financially independent from one's parents very seldom occurs before one has completed the education necessary to earn a living in one's field. But in today's economy that education seldom occurs in the home or in a family-owned business. Training and education cost money because they require time and resources from somebody else. Nobody, and I mean nobody, has the ability to pay for training and education until they've already had enough training and education to do something useful in exchange for money. Whether this training comes from a public school, or private tutors, or an in-home apprenticeship, or from working in the family business doesn't matter: somebody, somewhere, makes a big investment in a child's development.

The mooching debate is centered around the point at which parental or family investment in a child should stop. Most people seem to be OK with parents supporting an adult child who is genuinely unable to work due to illness, autism, or a disability that precludes employment or specialized education. Likewise, most people seem to be OK with the idea of the adult child providing something (such as rent or labor) in exchange for use of family resources. The "mooching" label generally only gets thrown around when the adult in question is physically and intellectually capable of providing for himself or herself, but does not, because of help received from parents.

It appears to me that there are two specific scenarios that make people use the word "mooching". The first is when an adult child who is otherwise able to work receives help that has nothing to do with making him or her into a more effective adult, but simply allows him or her to enjoy a standard of living far above what his or her contribution to society would otherwise warrant. The second is when a recipient of gifts pressures the giver into sharing or offering resources, particularly when doing so puts the giver at economic risk.

Now, if those particular scenarios are accurate descriptions of "mooching", then I can see an argument for making a moral distinction between accepting an unsolicited gift and soliciting gifts or ongoing support. The former is a pleasant and welcome surprise; the latter is mooching.

We should probably also consider whether the initiative comes from the gift giver, or the gift recipient. For example, I don't consider receiving an inheritance to be "mooching", and neither would most of the people on this board, because the initiative does not come from the heir. In fact, one very well established estate management strategy is to transfer wealth to one's heirs by giving gifts or paying for education. So I see no point in blaming and shaming people as "mooches" simply because of their parents' estate management strategies. Subtly pressuring a parent for a gift of money or resources, however, could easily be considered "mooching" since the initiative comes from the gift recipient.

index

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Coming from the other side, sort of, there seems to be double standard with what expenses parents are "allowed" to pay for.

2 years out of college and my parents still pay for: cellphone, car insurance, and health insurance. Many will call that spoiled/entitled/mooching. But if my parents had written checks for my college while I paid for those things, no one would bat an eye.

I agree with the basic premise of the article. I would never do something like borrow $5000 and then buy a BMW before paying it back. But I've noticed no one cares if parents pay for their children's education. Many people think parents should even be expected to pay if they can afford it. Pay for a kid's cellphone (which is 10X cheaper) and that child is a mooch though. Same thing with a house downpayment or paying for a wedding. Parents have been doing those things forever right? But no one calls that mooching.

So he justification is: Your parents didn't pay for your college so them paying your bills is ok? If someone pays your bills, you are not an adult. It's that easy. It is not your parent's responsibility to help you out with college, pay for your iPhone, your car insurance, or medical insurance. You are lucky for any assistance they gave you, and when you are ready to be a grown up, tell them you can handle your own finances.

Being on this site, I assume you are already saving money for your own FI. You need to realize money is fungible, and though their money is earmarked phone, insurance etc... it is the same as you paying their own bills and them putting money away for your own FI. You can justify it however you would like, but you are no different than a commenter on the linked article.

My parents can spend their money on whatever the hell they want. There's nothing to justify. I will gladly accept since they can easily afford it.

I never said it was a parent's responsibility to pay for college. I said that many other people do and no one says that child is mooching. By your logic, anyone who's parents paid for college isn't an adult.

I think we are saying the same thing as evidenced by using the word child in your response. I am making the distinction if parents regularly pay the their children's bills, then the child is still financially dependent. You said yourself you can afford it, but taking their help lets you pay of debt and save faster; put alternatively, your parents are paying for your debt/saving for you. 

Adult moochers are still children. There is nothing wrong with that. Children either decide they are ready to grow up or their parents force them to grow up.

randymarsh

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I think we are saying the same thing as evidenced by using the word child in your response. I am making the distinction if parents regularly pay the their children's bills, then the child is still financially dependent. You said yourself you can afford it, but taking their help lets you pay of debt and save faster; put alternatively, your parents are paying for your debt/saving for you. 

Adult moochers are still children. There is nothing wrong with that. Children either decide they are ready to grow up or their parents force them to grow up.

I don't think we're saying the same thing at all. You're using the term child as an insult, whereas I was using it to describe being the offspring of 2 people. I will always be my parents' child, even when I pay for every single bill.

If I paid all my expenses but my parents saved up X every single month for 5 years and then gave it to me in a lump sum as an early inheritance, no one would call me a mooch. Well, I didn't think they would until I stumbled into this thread.

This entire thread reminds me of the Internet Retirement Police. I'm not an adult because my parents pay for some bills and Pete isn't retired because he earns money. Why? Cause reasons!!!

Saying I'm not an adult because I get financial gifts is ridiculous. I graduated college, work full-time, live 1500 miles away from my parents, run a small(tiny) business, etc. I think I'm pretty firmly in the adult stage of life regardless of how much money they give me.

mm1970

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Quote
The mooching debate is centered around the point at which parental or family investment in a child should stop. Most people seem to be OK with parents supporting an adult child who is genuinely unable to work due to illness, autism, or a disability that precludes employment or specialized education. Likewise, most people seem to be OK with the idea of the adult child providing something (such as rent or labor) in exchange for use of family resources. The "mooching" label generally only gets thrown around when the adult in question is physically and intellectually capable of providing for himself or herself, but does not, because of help received from parents.

The whole post was great, but I wanted to copy this one, because it's super-great.

As times change, so must we - but attitudes change more slowly.  I don't much like the term "mooching" really.  But I'd also argue that someone getting a lot of help from their parents isn't "independent".  And that's okay, but let's not pretend we are independent if we aren't.

Very often on these boards, it's common to make fun of people who make poor decisions on borrowing money for college, or spending too much on X or Y, or not being able to get a decent paying job (because they chose the wrong major, etc.)  On the other hand, there is talk about "privilege" vs. hard work, and the fact that many people don't want to acknowledge their privilege, but they want to take credit for their hard work.

So which is it?

"Back in the day", in my rural, blue collar, small town - you were pretty much out at 18.  Now, that's not totally true.  As I said, my older sister (more than one, actually), lived at home when they first got a job.  Well, of course they did.  Minimum wage didn't pay much, and you had rent, food, car, insurance to consider.  So my sisters lived at home but paid rent.  They bought their own cars, and paid for their own car insurance.

My younger brother was supposed to pay rent, but rarely did, and was on my mom's car insurance for a lot longer.  There is a 21 year gap between the eldest and my younger brother, and an 8 year gap between my next older sister and younger brother.  (I make this distinction, because I'm in the middle of those two - I went to college, so I lived at home one summer between Freshman and Soph years, but then I was gone).  So my sister was basically "out" at 21, I was "out" at 19, and my brother was "out" somewhere in his mid-20s.

That number of when kids are "out" has shifted.  Even just comparing my rural small town, you'll find my nephew and other relatives living at home at 23, not paying rent, and with no plans to move out.  But, they do buy their own cars and pay their own car insurance.

Comparing that to wealthier people gets a bit more tricky, because there is more money to go around.  I was not middle class growing up, so I don't really know how it used to work, and what's normal now.  Some of my coworkers pay for cell phones for their adult children, or pay for their rent.  I have a nephew and niece who are in their 30s and my sister STILL pays for their plane tickets home.  Is that normal?  I mean, 30 years ago, was it normal for parents to buy their kids a car, pay their rent, etc. when they were in their 20s?  I don't know the answer.  (There were no cell phones, so I don't know a good comparison.)

I just find it fascinating that there are people on this board who poke fun at 18 year olds who take out outrageous school loans because "they are an adult and should know better!"  But on the flip side, if you go back and read TheGRimSqueakers whole post...are they really?  Maybe they used to be, 20-30 years ago.  But I'm not so sure they are now.  I'd say younger adults *do* need a lot more guidance than they are getting, as it's a lot easier to get into debt than it was in the late 80s.

Of course the sad state of the economy doesn't help.  That kind of changes the rules.

mm1970

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Quote
I'm not an adult because my parents pay for some bills and Pete isn't retired because he earns money. Why? Cause reasons!!!

Saying I'm not an adult because I get financial gifts is ridiculous. I graduated college, work full-time, live 1500 miles away from my parents, run a small(tiny) business, etc. I think I'm pretty firmly in the adult stage of life regardless of how much money they give me.

When I was in my 20s, my adult meter was this: (too harsh?)

What would you do if you lost your job.  What would be your next step?  How would you survive until you got another one?

The answer for me was NEVER "move home" or "borrow money from family", not for even a minute.  Part of that is my personality, how I was raised, how my parents were, and the fact that my parents were poor.  It was never an option.

Can you at least acknowledge your privilege?

runningthroughFIRE

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@TheGrimSqueaker I think that is an excellent way of defining what is considered "mooching" rather than simply having generous family.

My parents had an arrangement with my sister and I that after we turned 18, they would pay for half of our tuition at a public university, help out with rent and utilities while we were there (in-state, but out-of-town schools), and let us come back to live with them for a full year after graduating rent-free.  After the year was up, we could still live at home with them, but would have to start paying a small amount of rent.  Scholarships came out of our (sister and I's) half of the tuition, and we would have to find a way to pay any remainder through loans or work.  My sister worked part time year round through college, and I worked full time over the summers while focusing on academics during the school year.  While this was a great deal for my sister and I and we're extremely grateful for it, I don't consider it mooching or particularly outlandish.

I'd genuinely like to get some opinions on this: When I turned 16, my dad bought a used car from a family friend who was having his 3rd kid.  This effectively became my car: I'm the only one who drove it, but insurance and probably half the gas was paid by my parents.  I still drive this car, and it's still in my dad's name, although the insurance is now in my name and I pay all car costs.  I have offered to pay him full Kelly Blue Book value for the car, but he's said to keep it and use whatever I eventually sell it for to buy a new car.  Mooching or no?  I'd have thought no, but maybe that's unrealistic.

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Quote
I'm not an adult because my parents pay for some bills and Pete isn't retired because he earns money. Why? Cause reasons!!!

Saying I'm not an adult because I get financial gifts is ridiculous. I graduated college, work full-time, live 1500 miles away from my parents, run a small(tiny) business, etc. I think I'm pretty firmly in the adult stage of life regardless of how much money they give me.

When I was in my 20s, my adult meter was this: (too harsh?)

What would you do if you lost your job.  What would be your next step?  How would you survive until you got another one?

The answer for me was NEVER "move home" or "borrow money from family", not for even a minute.  Part of that is my personality, how I was raised, how my parents were, and the fact that my parents were poor.  It was never an option.

Can you at least acknowledge your privilege?

I don't think that's harsh. This is going to sound really arrogant, but if I lost my job I'd file for unemployment and get another one  Maybe I'm young and naive or spoiled due to working in tech, but there are tons of lower paying jobs I assume I could get if I had to. If it was a longer term job loss, then I suppose savings and credit cards. And then, parents if things got that bad. 

That last one is only an an option because I know it's an option. Like you said, since your parents didn't have the money, that wasn't a resource you had.  I know mine can afford it, I know I'd pay them back, and they would want to help if it kept me from getting evicted or going hungry.
 
I wasn't trying to pretend that I'm on my own island doing everything myself. My parents help and I openly admit it. I've very fortunate to have that. I distinctly remember a college friend stressed out because they didn't have health insurance and I realized I never thought about the cost when going to the doctor.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2016, 03:57:45 PM by thefinancialstudent »

Chris22

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I have a nephew and niece who are in their 30s and my sister STILL pays for their plane tickets home.  Is that normal?

I'm 34, have a wife, kid, and two homes (one rented) and a 6-figure income.  My parents usually split with me the cost of flying my family home (1x at Christmas and usually 1 other time during the year).  Why?  Because they can, and because they are acknowledging a trip to see them is for their benefit as much as it is for my own; we're doing them a favor flying halfway across the country to visit because they want to see us. 

I've got relatively wealthy family, and I've received 4- and 5-figure gifts completely out of the blue, unrequested.  I've also borrowed some money from them on occasion, always with a 100% arrangement up front on how it would be repaid thus no issues about "you have money to do that but not to pay me back? etc" (for instance, when I was in grad school, I had to pay my tuition up front and then wait for reimbursement from my company, my family found out I was using a credit card, 0% for the first year, and asked to float me the loan, 3-4 months at a time, after the 0% period was over). 

I fully acknowledge I am fortunate to be able to have family who can do this for me, but I also do not build it into my standard of living (I pay all of my own bills).  If you ask my family, they would, and have, said that I, with my sister, will inherit this money someday anyways, and they'd rather be alive to see us enjoy it rather than just get a check when they're dead.  Some of the gifts are in the form of fairly elaborate family vacations that they've funded, and it is quite literally how they've chosen to spend their money, with their kids and grandkids. 

You can fault them for that all you want, but frankly, a lot of it comes across as jealousy or thinking it's "unfair" more than anything else.  Frankly, I don't care; I don't ask for it, but if it is provided I will be thankful and enjoy what is offered with a clear conscience. 

randymarsh

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That number of when kids are "out" has shifted.  Even just comparing my rural small town, you'll find my nephew and other relatives living at home at 23, not paying rent, and with no plans to move out.  But, they do buy their own cars and pay their own car insurance.

I just find it fascinating that there are people on this board who poke fun at 18 year olds who take out outrageous school loans because "they are an adult and should know better!"  But on the flip side, if you go back and read TheGRimSqueakers whole post...are they really?  Maybe they used to be, 20-30 years ago.  But I'm not so sure they are now.  I'd say younger adults *do* need a lot more guidance than they are getting, as it's a lot easier to get into debt than it was in the late 80s.

Of course the sad state of the economy doesn't help.  That kind of changes the rules.

This is spot on. I think it was much more realistic to kick your kids out at 18 in 1970 when they could get a factory job and start earning a very livable income right away. The childhood we think of today is a relatively new. 100 years ago, children worked in factories. Then we put them in school, but only until 8th grade. The we made HS mandatory.

Our economy has made college the default ticket to the middle class. Two income households have made it much harder for a single person to compete for housing. The costs of launching the next generation have increased and these costs are shouldered by individuals and families, not the public at large.

Kaydedid

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We make a lot less money than my mom, which given our age and life choices, makes sense, although she's had some good breaks too.  She currently pays for our phones-will not take a penny for it, and got hurt feelings when we suggested getting our own plan.  We did voluntarily downgrade to dumb phones, which are <$40/each per month for both, and we paid for the phones outright.  From what I can tell, she worries about us-our income wouldn't be enough for her to live comfortably, and she sees Mustachianism as reduced quality of life.  I can live with subsidized phones in return for less worry on her part.

She also has started gifting us yearly with the money from a required distribution on an investment account.  It's money that she doesn't need, and would be reinvested otherwise.  We invest it, in better funds than she would have picked.  As I'm an only child, she views it as early inheritance.  And if she ever needed help from us (not likely, she incredibly independent and uses enormous safety margins), we'd support her in any way we could.  And I'm ok with that.

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That article is timely for me as I've had this discussion several times lately with family and friends. 

Tonight I was having a beer with a buddy and he was justifying letting two of his daughters live with him, rent free: "I love them, they're my best buddies, I want to have them around."  Fine, I said, but charge them rent.  You're not doing them any favors in the long term. 


ShortInSeattle

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I think we are saying the same thing as evidenced by using the word child in your response. I am making the distinction if parents regularly pay the their children's bills, then the child is still financially dependent. You said yourself you can afford it, but taking their help lets you pay of debt and save faster; put alternatively, your parents are paying for your debt/saving for you. 

Adult moochers are still children. There is nothing wrong with that. Children either decide they are ready to grow up or their parents force them to grow up.

I don't think we're saying the same thing at all. You're using the term child as an insult, whereas I was using it to describe being the offspring of 2 people. I will always be my parents' child, even when I pay for every single bill.

If I paid all my expenses but my parents saved up X every single month for 5 years and then gave it to me in a lump sum as an early inheritance, no one would call me a mooch. Well, I didn't think they would until I stumbled into this thread.

This entire thread reminds me of the Internet Retirement Police. I'm not an adult because my parents pay for some bills and Pete isn't retired because he earns money. Why? Cause reasons!!!

Saying I'm not an adult because I get financial gifts is ridiculous. I graduated college, work full-time, live 1500 miles away from my parents, run a small(tiny) business, etc. I think I'm pretty firmly in the adult stage of life regardless of how much money they give me.

Perhaps it's a generational difference? I'm coming up on 40 and I would have been mortified to have my parents pay some of my bills (or send me money) in my twenties, after I had my own income. Doing so would have provoked feelings of shame - it would have felt like evidence I was incompetent and not capable of caring for myself. Self sufficiency was the primary marker of adulthood and self-respect when I was a young adult, or at least that's how it felt.

I'm not saying that these things are objectively correct. Only that social norms seem to have changed.

SIS

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I think we are saying the same thing as evidenced by using the word child in your response. I am making the distinction if parents regularly pay the their children's bills, then the child is still financially dependent. You said yourself you can afford it, but taking their help lets you pay of debt and save faster; put alternatively, your parents are paying for your debt/saving for you. 

Adult moochers are still children. There is nothing wrong with that. Children either decide they are ready to grow up or their parents force them to grow up.

I don't think we're saying the same thing at all. You're using the term child as an insult, whereas I was using it to describe being the offspring of 2 people. I will always be my parents' child, even when I pay for every single bill.

If I paid all my expenses but my parents saved up X every single month for 5 years and then gave it to me in a lump sum as an early inheritance, no one would call me a mooch. Well, I didn't think they would until I stumbled into this thread.

This entire thread reminds me of the Internet Retirement Police. I'm not an adult because my parents pay for some bills and Pete isn't retired because he earns money. Why? Cause reasons!!!

Saying I'm not an adult because I get financial gifts is ridiculous. I graduated college, work full-time, live 1500 miles away from my parents, run a small(tiny) business, etc. I think I'm pretty firmly in the adult stage of life regardless of how much money they give me.

Perhaps it's a generational difference? I'm coming up on 40 and I would have been mortified to have my parents pay some of my bills (or send me money) in my twenties, after I had my own income. Doing so would have provoked feelings of shame - it would have felt like evidence I was incompetent and not capable of caring for myself. Self sufficiency was the primary marker of adulthood and self-respect when I was a young adult, or at least that's how it felt.

I'm not saying that these things are objectively correct. Only that social norms seem to have changed.

SIS

I'm currently 32, and I would never have let my parents pay my bills (I mean that - I ran up 5k worth of debt at 22 rather than accept help). In my case, though, it's because the strings attached to the money were more painful than the interest rate on the line of credit.

MrMoogle

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I almost forgot what it's like reading comments on normal articles.  For every reply trying to debate the article, there are 5 replies attacking someone else.  I have been spoiled by reading MMM's forum.

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I think we are saying the same thing as evidenced by using the word child in your response. I am making the distinction if parents regularly pay the their children's bills, then the child is still financially dependent. You said yourself you can afford it, but taking their help lets you pay of debt and save faster; put alternatively, your parents are paying for your debt/saving for you. 

Adult moochers are still children. There is nothing wrong with that. Children either decide they are ready to grow up or their parents force them to grow up.

I don't think we're saying the same thing at all. You're using the term child as an insult, whereas I was using it to describe being the offspring of 2 people. I will always be my parents' child, even when I pay for every single bill.

If I paid all my expenses but my parents saved up X every single month for 5 years and then gave it to me in a lump sum as an early inheritance, no one would call me a mooch. Well, I didn't think they would until I stumbled into this thread.

This entire thread reminds me of the Internet Retirement Police. I'm not an adult because my parents pay for some bills and Pete isn't retired because he earns money. Why? Cause reasons!!!

Saying I'm not an adult because I get financial gifts is ridiculous. I graduated college, work full-time, live 1500 miles away from my parents, run a small(tiny) business, etc. I think I'm pretty firmly in the adult stage of life regardless of how much money they give me.

Perhaps it's a generational difference? I'm coming up on 40 and I would have been mortified to have my parents pay some of my bills (or send me money) in my twenties, after I had my own income. Doing so would have provoked feelings of shame - it would have felt like evidence I was incompetent and not capable of caring for myself. Self sufficiency was the primary marker of adulthood and self-respect when I was a young adult, or at least that's how it felt.

I'm not saying that these things are objectively correct. Only that social norms seem to have changed.

SIS

I'm currently 32, and I would never have let my parents pay my bills (I mean that - I ran up 5k worth of debt at 22 rather than accept help). In my case, though, it's because the strings attached to the money were more painful than the interest rate on the line of credit.

The word child is not an insult. I would say moocher, spoilt, or entitled would be insults. I think it was on point when you said:

Quote
This is spot on. I think it was much more realistic to kick your kids out at 18 in 1970 when they could get a factory job and start earning a very livable income right away. The childhood we think of today is a relatively new. 100 years ago, children worked in factories. Then we put them in school, but only until 8th grade. The we made HS mandatory.

Our economy has made college the default ticket to the middle class. Two income households have made it much harder for a single person to compete for housing. The costs of launching the next generation have increased and these costs are shouldered by individuals and families, not the public at large.

I think society, parents, and children need to realize the above is happening. There still comes a time when children decide to grow up or parents force their children to grow up. The Kitsune and ShortinSeattle are examples of people who grew up early because they wanted to. That 18 year old in 1970 was forced to grow up by their parents. Accepting money, college tuition, or letting your parents pay for bills should make you realize you are still dependent on your parents. It seems many parents and children are fine with that, but lets not call the children moochers, spoilt, or entitled and just remain calling them what they are- dependent children, until they assume responsibility for their own finances.

Articles like the linked article are just a backlash against social change. The next generation will establish what and when adulthood happens. Their is nothing wrong with being a 25 year old child, but you are going to see backlash because many today become self sufficient at 18 - 19 - 20 in the US and even much younger in other countries. 

There are members on this board who entered the workforce at 18 and went to college at 21, paid for it themselves without loans, graduated a year early and at 26 or 27 have a family with all the financial responsibility that comes with it. It shouldn't come as a surprise that someone with that experience is going to laugh when they hear - college is too expensive to afford without loans; houses are too expensive to buy a house on a single income; the younger generation needs help to launch because it's so expensive; I'll take the help because my parents make so much more than me; etc.     

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In 1970, an 18-year-old man who graduated from high school either got a war related factory or farm job where he'd be exempt from the draft, or got his ass into university. Otherwise, he was sent off to war in Vietnam, where he would spend 13 months and 16 days trying to not get his legs blown off by a land mine. Should he survive in an uninjured condition, he got to come home with a galloping case of PTSD to be spat on and called a "baby killer". But assuming he could function at all, he was luckier than some of the veterans from earlier wars because there was still a job of some kind available for him.

In the 1970's, the USA was still benefiting from a post-WWII industrial boom caused by the fact that every other industrial economy on the planet had been bombed into pastry and had its transportation and industrial infrastructure destroyed. Due to the need to rebuild, there was work available for nearly everyone who had a pulse. You didn't need a journeyman's ticket or a university degree to earn a living wage, because if you lived in a semi-industrial part of the country (as opposed to rural areas, the Deep South, or Appalachia) there was more than enough work to go around. You didn't even need to have a high school diploma to deliver mail or run a machine in a factory.

In the 1970's, the cost of living was low throughout the country because the first big real estate boom hadn't happened yet. Neither had the 1986 changes to the tax law that closed a very popular real estate tax loophole that allowed people to "write off" money-losing rental properties. Rents started to skyrocket along with the interest rates, and in the late 1980's the era of cheap rent was over forever.

In the 1970's, it was mathematically possible for a single breadwinner to make enough to comfortably support him/herself and also a family. It was also possible for an inexperienced, untrained person who might not even have a high school diploma to support himself or herself and live independently in a studio apartment while working full-time and earning minimum wage.

In the 1970's, industrial manufacturing jobs existed and technical trades didn't require advanced skills. You could be a machinist or a mechanic and not have to be literate. These days, much of your job has been computerized. Unless you can read well enough to be able to program a CNC machine, you're not going to make it through trade school and you're going to lose out, job-wise, to people who can and will... because there aren't enough unskilled jobs to go around anymore.

Under circumstances like what existed in the US in the 1970's, yes-- for the first time in history it was possible and even practical for large numbers young adults to become completely independent at age 18. That hadn't been possible before. There were always a few exceptional individuals who pulled it off, of course, but it wasn't the norm. Note, for example, that the minimum age to file a land claim during the pioneer era was 21 and not 18. 21, incidentally, was also the age at which apprentices typically graduated to journeyman status under the medieval guild system. However, when the economic conditions that produced the opportunity ended, so did the opportunity.

The post-WWII boom in America was a flash in the pan. The amazing economic opportunities they produced provided more opportunity to a greater share of the population than ever before, but they're gone now because the rest of the world has successfully rebuilt and many nations have caught up with the USA in terms of an educated population and a working industrial economy. The factory jobs are gone overseas now (possibly for good), so it's no longer possible for the majority of the population to support a family on one working-class income. Nor is it possible for significant numbers of 18-year-old high school graduates to live independently without having significant work experience, assets, or practical education. It's just as impractical now as it was in 1800.

The normal age and standards for adult independence now are more like they were in 1800 or even 1900. The same goes for things like the ability to support a sizable family on one income, the ability to function as a nuclear family, and the ability to enjoy several years of comfortable retirement in one's old age. There will always be exceptional individuals who become independent at an early age or who either have a very high individual income or adopt exceptional standards of frugality. However, as the effects of the big boom wear off, normal standards of independence are reverting to what's actually been in place throughout the majority of human history.

mm1970

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I have a nephew and niece who are in their 30s and my sister STILL pays for their plane tickets home.  Is that normal?

I'm 34, have a wife, kid, and two homes (one rented) and a 6-figure income.  My parents usually split with me the cost of flying my family home (1x at Christmas and usually 1 other time during the year).  Why?  Because they can, and because they are acknowledging a trip to see them is for their benefit as much as it is for my own; we're doing them a favor flying halfway across the country to visit because they want to see us. 

I've got relatively wealthy family, and I've received 4- and 5-figure gifts completely out of the blue, unrequested.  I've also borrowed some money from them on occasion, always with a 100% arrangement up front on how it would be repaid thus no issues about "you have money to do that but not to pay me back? etc" (for instance, when I was in grad school, I had to pay my tuition up front and then wait for reimbursement from my company, my family found out I was using a credit card, 0% for the first year, and asked to float me the loan, 3-4 months at a time, after the 0% period was over). 

I fully acknowledge I am fortunate to be able to have family who can do this for me, but I also do not build it into my standard of living (I pay all of my own bills).  If you ask my family, they would, and have, said that I, with my sister, will inherit this money someday anyways, and they'd rather be alive to see us enjoy it rather than just get a check when they're dead.  Some of the gifts are in the form of fairly elaborate family vacations that they've funded, and it is quite literally how they've chosen to spend their money, with their kids and grandkids. 

You can fault them for that all you want, but frankly, a lot of it comes across as jealousy or thinking it's "unfair" more than anything else.  Frankly, I don't care; I don't ask for it, but if it is provided I will be thankful and enjoy what is offered with a clear conscience.
My husband used to get 4-figure gifts annually from his European grandmother.  I think the death tax rate was something like 80-90%, so she gave away as much as she could annually to her 2 kids and 3 grandkids before she died a decade or so ago.

As far as flying goes - in my family it worked one way.  I mean, my parents never paid for my plane tickets home.  But I bought tickets for my mom, and now my MIL. Pretty much every time they've come to visit in the last 10 years.  But then again, we have more money than they do, and I want to see them, and it's a hell of a lot more convenient to me to give up my bed for a week than it is to schlep our family of 4 (including a 3 year old!) cross country.

Where is the line between gifts and being supported by your parents?  It's probably not a very fine line.  Depends a lot on how much money the parents and kids make.  My parents used to gift money to my brother and sister when they were in need, but almost never me (I think once).  In reality, when my sister needed it, she really needed it (her husband was injured and out of work for a long time).  When my brother needed it, it was because of poor choices.

Capsu78

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Grim,
Not sure I agree with every point you make, but that was a very thought out post.  When I want to do a reality check on an "18yo in 1970", I simply ask what types of jobs they had from 13- 30?  Many delivered papers, pumped gas, flipped burgers, did farm labor, worked in a record store, sold drugs, worked "at the X plant" etc, etc etc.   
Ask a 30yo today, who was 18 in 2004 what types of jobs they had and the answer is usually much less diverse, if they had a work history prior to 20 something at all- I find retail the most common answer.  Played a lot of video games doesn't count!

Chris22

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Where is the line between gifts and being supported by your parents?  It's probably not a very fine line.  Depends a lot on how much money the parents and kids make.  My parents used to gift money to my brother and sister when they were in need, but almost never me (I think once).  In reality, when my sister needed it, she really needed it (her husband was injured and out of work for a long time).  When my brother needed it, it was because of poor choices.

To me, it's pretty clear, it's if your parents are paying for a significant ongoing part of your lifestyle, that's "support".  For instance, they pay some or all of your rent.  Or are buying you a car to use.  Versus for your birthday or Christmas or whatever they send you a chunk of money or gifts or something, that's not ongoing support of your lifestyle.

I don't consider things like cell phones significant, I can see where a person is on a parents' plan in HS/college and then through simple inertia neither the person or parent ever bothers to change the arrangement, and the parent doesn't bother to charge the person (a per-line fee on a phone is like $20/mo).  I'd place other "hang over" things in the same bucket, such as your dad got a new car in college and you 'inherited' his old one that you're still driving, that's not support.  Support is when you decide to replace that car, and he buys it for you. 

TheGrimSqueaker

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Grim,
Not sure I agree with every point you make, but that was a very thought out post.  When I want to do a reality check on an "18yo in 1970", I simply ask what types of jobs they had from 13- 30?  Many delivered papers, pumped gas, flipped burgers, did farm labor, worked in a record store, sold drugs, worked "at the X plant" etc, etc etc.   
Ask a 30yo today, who was 18 in 2004 what types of jobs they had and the answer is usually much less diverse, if they had a work history prior to 20 something at all- I find retail the most common answer.  Played a lot of video games doesn't count!

It's illegal to hire a 13-year-old in many states now. There are very, very few jobs available for people under the age of 16 these days.

Paper delivery is now done by adults with cars, because the routes have expanded to require delivery of hundreds of papers. Children on bikes are no longer being hired. It doesn't help that evening papers are no longer commonplace, and the vast majority of people want their news in the morning, so morning papers that have to be delivered by 6 AM simply aren't an option for pre-teen employment. Citation:
http://herald-review.com/news/local/once-for-kids-on-bikes-newspaper-delivery-now-domain-of/article_92872be8-3229-11e3-a746-0019bb2963f4.html

Working in a grocery store as a cashier or bagger is not an option for the under-18 set if there's alcohol, and most grocery stores like to sell alcohol.

Most fast-food employers require that applicants be 16 or over. It's theoretically possible to babysit or do nanny work and get paid in cash, but most parents want to hire adults with driver's licenses in case the kid needs to be taken somewhere.

Farm labor? Good luck getting that if you don't have a driver's license, and no 13-year-old has that. You might be able to work on a family farm or in a family business, but otherwise you're out of luck.

Retail options theoretically exist, but most boutique and big-box stores require applicants to be 16 years of age or older. Employers simply don't want to deal with the extra paperwork that goes along with hiring someone who needs to get a work permit from the state in order to be considered employable. They're willing to take the risk associated with breaking the law to hire someone who's in the country illegally, because it's in that person's interest to run and hide if there's a raid, and because such individuals are easily exploited. A local teenager isn't worth the risk.

The worst part of it is that most of the jobs available to the under-16 set are also coveted by adults. A 15-year-old competing against a 25-year-old is going to lose out.

vivophoenix

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its life support if when yanked, you would die.

If you stop receiving the handouts or gifts or whatever you want to call it, and your life style changes,  it was economic life support/outpatient care.

 if cash birthday gifts were halted  and then you're evicted, miss a car payment or can not afford a downpayment on a house, you're on life support.

 this applies to people who also stay at home,  pay no rent and then invest everything. you don't get to be smug about how much you are savings up or really how close to FIRE you are. you fund zero of your own lifestyle and NEED your parents to support your current lifestyle.

however if you stayed at home, pay rent, ( aka have parents as your roommates)and then take public transport to work. you get a trophy and have fun bragging


Fishindude

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Good article.  I saw the author speak at a function a couple years ago and find his ideas to be pretty common sense and realistic.

Kids really need to start working to earn money pretty early in life and parents should do their part to make it happen.   
My dad never GAVE us money, but he always offered some work where we had an opportunity to EARN some money.  Raised our kids the same way.

There are countless opportunities out there for kids to earn money.  Many older folks would love to pay a kid to do chores such as; wash windows, cut grass, paint, clean gutters, wash a car, shovel snow, clean the garage or attic, etc., etc.

StarBright

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I wonder if the comfort with boomeranging kids also has something to do with contemporary home size.

My mom was one of 8 children in a two bedroom house. You can bet those kids were out the door at 18, the girls to be married and the boys to the army.

My dad was one of only two kids in 900 sq house. He stayed until he was 21 but had to pay rent.

Unlike many of my contemporaries I grew up in a really modest 1100 sq, one bath house. When my first husband left me in my mid twenties (i'm in my mid 30s now) I had no money and no where to go. I moved back in with my folks until I found a job but had to sleep on the futon in the guest room/work out room and put everything away every morning so my parents could use it during the day. As soon as I saved up 1st, last, and security deposit I was out of there just to have some space.

But a lot of my friends were single children and their parents had a 3000 sq ft house - They could go days without seeing each other. Why not just live with your parents in that case? (if they are willing and able).

Dezrah

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To me it's not even about adult versus child. It all boils down to this rule:

If person A gives person B money, they get some say in that person's affairs.

When my grandparents give my cousins regular handouts, they get to insist they bring the children around occasionally.

When my parents paid for my sister's wedding, they had a right to be upset that she didn't want a religious ceremony; I agreed with my sister's principal but told her unless she was going to pay for it herself, she better give them their way.

When I gave my brother $500 to seed his Vanguard Roth, I got the right to inquire into whether or not he's continued to add to it.

When my in-laws were paying for my dumb-phone, they were within their rights to see who I was calling. (This is ultimately what prompted me to pull the trigger on my RW phone.)

Personally, I want zero strings and obligations tying myself to others. If I do something with someone, it's because I want to, not because I owe you anything.

randymarsh

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There are members on this board who entered the workforce at 18 and went to college at 21, paid for it themselves without loans, graduated a year early and at 26 or 27 have a family with all the financial responsibility that comes with it. It shouldn't come as a surprise that someone with that experience is going to laugh when they hear - college is too expensive to afford without loans; houses are too expensive to buy a house on a single income; the younger generation needs help to launch because it's so expensive; I'll take the help because my parents make so much more than me; etc.   

For every person that successfully does those things 100% by themselves, there are 10 more in the shadows who had to drop out of school after a year and are now juggling student loans for a degree they didn't get and credit card balances that filled in living expenses.

The stats are all pretty clear. Graduation rates for students from low income families are terrible. Same with students working full-time and those with families.

Recognizing & encouraging hard work is  great and highlighting rags-to-riches stories can be motivational. But I don't think that should come at the expense of realizing that there are real barriers to success (even if you work hard) that society should try to reduce.

mm1970

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In 1970, an 18-year-old man who graduated from high school either got a war related factory or farm job where he'd be exempt from the draft, or got his ass into university. Otherwise, he was sent off to war in Vietnam, where he would spend 13 months and 16 days trying to not get his legs blown off by a land mine. Should he survive in an uninjured condition, he got to come home with a galloping case of PTSD to be spat on and called a "baby killer". But assuming he could function at all, he was luckier than some of the veterans from earlier wars because there was still a job of some kind available for him.

In the 1970's, the USA was still benefiting from a post-WWII industrial boom caused by the fact that every other industrial economy on the planet had been bombed into pastry and had its transportation and industrial infrastructure destroyed. Due to the need to rebuild, there was work available for nearly everyone who had a pulse. You didn't need a journeyman's ticket or a university degree to earn a living wage, because if you lived in a semi-industrial part of the country (as opposed to rural areas, the Deep South, or Appalachia) there was more than enough work to go around. You didn't even need to have a high school diploma to deliver mail or run a machine in a factory.

In the 1970's, the cost of living was low throughout the country because the first big real estate boom hadn't happened yet. Neither had the 1986 changes to the tax law that closed a very popular real estate tax loophole that allowed people to "write off" money-losing rental properties. Rents started to skyrocket along with the interest rates, and in the late 1980's the era of cheap rent was over forever.

In the 1970's, it was mathematically possible for a single breadwinner to make enough to comfortably support him/herself and also a family. It was also possible for an inexperienced, untrained person who might not even have a high school diploma to support himself or herself and live independently in a studio apartment while working full-time and earning minimum wage.

In the 1970's, industrial manufacturing jobs existed and technical trades didn't require advanced skills. You could be a machinist or a mechanic and not have to be literate. These days, much of your job has been computerized. Unless you can read well enough to be able to program a CNC machine, you're not going to make it through trade school and you're going to lose out, job-wise, to people who can and will... because there aren't enough unskilled jobs to go around anymore.

Under circumstances like what existed in the US in the 1970's, yes-- for the first time in history it was possible and even practical for large numbers young adults to become completely independent at age 18. That hadn't been possible before. There were always a few exceptional individuals who pulled it off, of course, but it wasn't the norm. Note, for example, that the minimum age to file a land claim during the pioneer era was 21 and not 18. 21, incidentally, was also the age at which apprentices typically graduated to journeyman status under the medieval guild system. However, when the economic conditions that produced the opportunity ended, so did the opportunity.

The post-WWII boom in America was a flash in the pan. The amazing economic opportunities they produced provided more opportunity to a greater share of the population than ever before, but they're gone now because the rest of the world has successfully rebuilt and many nations have caught up with the USA in terms of an educated population and a working industrial economy. The factory jobs are gone overseas now (possibly for good), so it's no longer possible for the majority of the population to support a family on one working-class income. Nor is it possible for significant numbers of 18-year-old high school graduates to live independently without having significant work experience, assets, or practical education. It's just as impractical now as it was in 1800.

The normal age and standards for adult independence now are more like they were in 1800 or even 1900. The same goes for things like the ability to support a sizable family on one income, the ability to function as a nuclear family, and the ability to enjoy several years of comfortable retirement in one's old age. There will always be exceptional individuals who become independent at an early age or who either have a very high individual income or adopt exceptional standards of frugality. However, as the effects of the big boom wear off, normal standards of independence are reverting to what's actually been in place throughout the majority of human history.
Very good points in here.  I read "The Way We Never Were" by Stephanie Coontz (borrowed it from the library, and I quote it so much I should just buy the damn thing).

I cannot speak for what it was like in 1970, because that's when I was born.  However, my two oldest sisters are 19 and 18 years older than me, so that lined up with when they left the house, approximately.  The eldest became an X-ray tech.  Was married to a man who was in the Navy in Vietnam, and then became a PA.

The 2nd eldest basically worked odd jobs, got married, had kids, worked on a farm, etc. for a very long time.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2016, 04:36:53 PM by mm1970 »

Paul der Krake

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There is definitely some holier-than-thou attitude at play when discussing these things. The dollar values are largely irrelevant, it's basically a kneejerk reaction to the tune of "doesn't deserve it".

Let your children use the summer home two weeks every year that would otherwise rent for $1,000/week, nobody bats an eye. Subsidize their iPhone by $50/month, everybody loses their shit.

TheGrimSqueaker

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For every person that successfully does those things 100% by themselves, there are 10 more in the shadows who had to drop out of school after a year and are now juggling student loans for a degree they didn't get and credit card balances that filled in living expenses.

The stats are all pretty clear. Graduation rates for students from low income families are terrible. Same with students working full-time and those with families.

Recognizing & encouraging hard work is  great and highlighting rags-to-riches stories can be motivational. But I don't think that should come at the expense of realizing that there are real barriers to success (even if you work hard) that society should try to reduce.

The barriers to success often persist even after a deserving young person receives a full-ride scholarship or other amazing, life-changing opportunity to go from rags to financial stability. A lot of it, sadly, has to do with family environment. Families where higher education isn't common often sabotage the young person's school experience. The offenses go far beyond failure to educate the student about loans or how to pick a useful program.

The factors that cause a family to be low-income don't disappear just because one of its members gets into university. If anything, they create additional pressure on the "successful" student. Sick family members don't magically get well, younger siblings don't magically turn into adults, and unreliable people don't suddenly become reliable just because someone from the family is doing well in school. They continue to have the same problems that demanded a large slice of the student's time and resources in the past. People who have never had to write a major term paper or study for exam week simply don't understand how important it is for the student to have uninterrupted, unstructured time to study and to get work done. They don't understand how disruptive and unwelcome calls or texts can be, especially when the student is punished for not responding immediately.

It's very common for family members to come sniffing around when the student loan money comes in, or to make unreasonable demands for free on-demand babysitting because the student "isn't busy" or "can afford to take some time off school". Add to this a bunch of family members who punish the student for not having lives that revolve around them, for taking a break from family drama in order to study, for daring to spend time with family members besides themselves, or for not making a bunch of promises to live with and support the less functional family members after graduation. Pretty soon you've got a huge emotional load on someone who simply doesn't have the resources to support even one child or high-needs adult, much less the entire extended family.