Author Topic: What Would You Do?  (Read 3363 times)

spookytaffy

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What Would You Do?
« on: January 18, 2017, 01:23:24 PM »
First the info (not me; my daughter):

Age 24; no kids
Serious boyfriend
Starting new job this week at $9/hour minimum 30 hours per week
Eligible for  health insurance through employer (not sure of cost yet)

Monthly expenses

2012 Chevy Spark car   $277    balance owed about $11,000
Cell phone          $35
Car Insurance    $50
CC                      $200    (balance about $5,000; don't know interest rate)
Student Loans   $0     (balance about $30,000 on income based repayment plan with $0 as the required payment)
Housing              $0  see below

Background:

B.A. in Art.  Near end of the BA degree, she decided she'd like to get her MFA and teach at a college level.  However, upon graduation, she found that schools that offer the MFA won't even look at her application because they require at BFA.  So, she decided to return to school and get her BFA in order to get into an MFA program.

One semester into the BFA, she had the opportunity to go work at Walt Disney World using her BA so she dropped out of school to do that.  Spent 1.5 years there.  Met now boyfriend.  Boyfriend is in the national guard so gets paid from them.

Due to personal reasons, they decide to leave Florida and move in with boyfriend's mom (free rent) in a teeny, tiny town in Appalachia (where he's from).  They contribute to household by grocery shopping and doing 99% of the meal prep/cooking as well as some cleaning. This was in November 2016.  He JUST found a full-time job in the area--not sure of the pay.

She JUST found this job for $9 an hour after applying to virtually every place around the teeny town and the next-over slightly, larger teeny town.

Originally, daughter decided to return to school to finish the BFA and boyfriend was all for it.  But, then she started having panic attacks over paying for it because it would require more loans on top of what she already has.  She has 3 semesters left to get the BFA.  Tuition is about $5,000 per semester.  However, she also has a VERY VERY good chance of a tuition waiver for the final two semesters so worst case scenario 3 semesters = $15,000 or best case scenario is 3 semesters= $5,000.   To finish the BFA, she could live with us and not pay rent.

Dad and I are concerned that she's going to spend her life doing dead-end minimum wage jobs despite her extreme intelligence and amazing talent. She has actually sold a few pieces of art, so it's not just mom pride talking there. 

I'm looking for some input from people not invested in this. I know I'm too close to it and I'm mourning the fact she's not working to her potential.  Hubby says she has to learn this lesson for herself that working for $9 is not the way to go.  I'm just afraid she'll learn it too late and end up married with 6 kids, a couple of dogs and living in a trailer.  Although I do believe she's WAY too smart to do that, but...

So, should I encourage her to continue the degree? Look at a different degree? I know art is one of "those" degrees; I have a BS in psychology and it took 6 years to go back for my master's to be able to do something with it! 

I want to stay out of it; but this is my baby and I want her to NOT make the same money mistakes hubby and I have over the years. 

Input?

Heroes821

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Re: What Would You Do?
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2017, 01:36:39 PM »
First, I would show her MMM.

I know plenty of 24 year olds that think they know everything, so try to get her into open minded learning mode.

Once she gets the basic understanding that turning her life around now instead of 6 years down the road could mean FI over 10 years faster. Once that is understood, the CC is probably the worst bill on the list.  The car is pricey and the likelihood that in her current situation there is probably zero funds available for maintenance or an emergency. Maybe with the financial weapon that is MMM she could look into funding school with her art selling side hustle.

plog

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Re: What Would You Do?
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2017, 02:05:06 PM »
Quote
I want to stay out of it; but this is my baby and I want her to NOT make the same money mistakes hubby and I have over the years. 

Remove 'money' from that prior sentence and I guarantee you every mother has had those thoughts, tried to convey them to their child...and then watched their kid do whatever the hell they wanted.

At this point, the best you can do is politely point in a direction, hope she takes it and be supportive.    First and foremost, treat her like an adult, not the 7 year old girl in pig-tails you will always see her as--don't be condescending or demanding.  Be honest about your fears, be open about the mistakes you have made and respectfully tell her what you think the outcome of each decision will be.  Tell her the decision is hers but you hope she will consider your thoughts on the subject.

nobody123

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Re: What Would You Do?
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2017, 02:14:24 PM »
I agree with your husband, she has to decide for herself what she wants.  If she's willing to give up a job (career?) to follow the boyfriend to Appalachia and live with his mom, I doubt she's in the mental / emotional place to listen to a financial lecture from her parents on why she's making a horrible decision, squandering her talents, and ruining her future.

You left out the "personal reasons" why she felt compelled to give up her job (which I assume paid more than $9/hr.) and move in with the boyfriend's mother.  You threw out the option of her living with you and finishing the masters degree, would you be willing to take the boyfriend in as well, assuming those "personal reasons" allowed him to move as well?  That might make it more palatable to her.

I assume you know the "personal reasons" and if they are of the short or long term nature.  If you're really concerned about a worst case scenario, put money aside to help bail her out whenever she might change her mind about her current situation.

spookytaffy

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Re: What Would You Do?
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2017, 02:15:03 PM »
Thanks plog!  That's what I'm doing/trying to do.  She is actually an incredibly mature, intelligence young woman.  I'm thinking maybe the hormones have affected the brain cells a bit right now :-)

A couple years ago this whole thing would never have been an option for her..she's usually very driven and goal directed.

KelStache

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Re: What Would You Do?
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2017, 02:16:56 PM »
I would definitely point her towards MMM, but phrase it as "you're still young so you should check this out, it'll give you a great head-start in your financial life".

I would also encourage her to look into setting up an online portal to sell her artwork (eg. Etsy). This could help her make side income. You don't need a masters to sell art but you do need to hustle. If this is her talent and passion she should focus on monetizing sooner rather than later.

spookytaffy

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Re: What Would You Do?
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2017, 02:18:40 PM »
Hi nobody123

Yes, we offered to have them both move in with us.  Boyfriend really wants to be "home" and not out of state from there.  We are a couple states away from them.  The personal reasons are related to his extended family in Florida and not needing/wanting to be around those folks any more.  That is a long-term issue.   

I will stay supportive and keep my chin up.  The boyfriend is a good guy and he treats her well so that does make me happy for her.

KelStache--she did have an etsy shop set up, but when they moved and she gave up the job, she let it go since they required some sort of monthly fee to keep it going.  I think she plans to get it going again.

notactiveanymore

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Re: What Would You Do?
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2017, 02:18:48 PM »
I understand your concerns and I'm pretty sure I would feel the same way. But it's definitely not a situation you can control.

I think I'd focus on a few things:
  • Make sure she knows you would support her with free rent if she wants to got back to school.
  • Encourage her to continue developing her skills and looking for opportunities to develop her portfolio and/or make a profit from her talents. They probably don't make a ton, but there are a ton of printables on etsy that require very little ongoing effort from the creator: https://www.etsy.com/search?q=printables&order=most_relevant&view_type=gallery&ship_to=US
  • Following from above, encourage her to pursue options locally to design business cards, restaurant menus, etc. as a business venture
  • Be there for her if it all goes to crap. If the situation goes downhill, remind her of her options. Don't say "I told you so."

marielle

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Re: What Would You Do?
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2017, 02:23:14 PM »
I'm 23 so I may know kind of how she's feeling. I agree with others that there's nothing you can say that will just cause a 180 with her plans. I also agree that suggesting reading MMM is a good idea--maybe she'll realize that she could do something more lucrative in the short term and then pursue her dreams later or on the side. But she has to come to this conclusion herself. I guess that's kind of what I did--I got an engineering degree but I can't say I'm really passionate about it, it's just something I was good at. But it allows me to retire in 10 years and then pursue whatever goal I want.

If she only has three semesters left it doesn't seem like the worst idea in the world, especially if that's what she really wants to do. But she probably needs to save up some money first: maybe sell the car, make money on the side with her art, etc.

spookytaffy

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Re: What Would You Do?
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2017, 02:27:39 PM »
You guys are all making me feel better!  And theotherlise, she actually has looked at some of those downloadable things.  She's also going to look into self-publishing with amazon.  She's got some great ideas so I'm hoping she will make them work.

nobody123

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Re: What Would You Do?
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2017, 02:58:25 PM »
If the boyfriend is a good guy and was smart enough to get himself out of a toxic situation, you can't blame him for wanting to stay near home for support.  The fact that he had left that area once means he's probably willing to do it again after he licks his wounds.  It also sounds like your daughter is making the best of the situation and exploring all of her options, so it will probably all work out in the end.

AZDude

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Re: What Would You Do?
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2017, 03:02:25 PM »
Well, for this situation there really is not enough information. We will have to trust your judgement here, but living in some teeny tiny town means you are working low paying jobs. Some people are OK with that  because they like the small town lifestyle. Is your daughter one of those people(not you, her. Is *she* one of those people)?

Otherwise, it wont matter what degree she gets if she is living in some shithole town with 300 people in it. I've been to plenty of those towns, know lots of people from those kinds of towns. Unless you are a doctor or WFH, you are working retail or something similar for $9/hr.

What is the plan for them right now? Get through the personal emergency, whatever it might be, and then move back to Florida? Stay where they are because they like it/need to?

If they stay, then getting more loans would be pretty much financial suicide. If they plan on moving to a place with more options then its time to ask some important questions.

1) Is a MFA degree really putting someone on the fast track to financial independence? My initial thought is no, followed by hell no, followed by "if you do this you better really, really, really love teaching art to college kids".

2) Does it have to be as a professor? Teaching art to elementary/high school kids would be much cheaper. You only need an undergraduate degree and a few certification courses, depending on the state. Hell, in AZ you can teach and get paid while finishing up those courses. Job prospects would be better, I imagine, although the pay would be lower, probably. No idea what starting pay is for teachers in Florida/Virginia/wherever.

EDIT: Saw that moving back to Florida is a no go. Nevertheless, I'm sure there are bigger towns within a few hours of where they are now that would greatly improve job prospects.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2017, 03:04:24 PM by AZDude »

spookytaffy

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Re: What Would You Do?
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2017, 06:40:03 PM »
Well, for this situation there really is not enough information. We will have to trust your judgement here, but living in some teeny tiny town means you are working low paying jobs. Some people are OK with that  because they like the small town lifestyle. Is your daughter one of those people(not you, her. Is *she* one of those people)?  Actually, yes she is.  We live in a small town; not quite that small, but small so she grew up in a similar environment.

Otherwise, it wont matter what degree she gets if she is living in some shithole town with 300 people in it. I've been to plenty of those towns, know lots of people from those kinds of towns. Unless you are a doctor or WFH, you are working retail or something similar for $9/hr.

What is the plan for them right now? Get through the personal emergency, whatever it might be, and then move back to Florida? Stay where they are because they like it/need to?

If they stay, then getting more loans would be pretty much financial suicide. If they plan on moving to a place with more options then its time to ask some important questions.

1) Is a MFA degree really putting someone on the fast track to financial independence? My initial thought is no, followed by hell no, followed by "if you do this you better really, really, really love teaching art to college kids".

2) Does it have to be as a professor? Teaching art to elementary/high school kids would be much cheaper. You only need an undergraduate degree and a few certification courses, depending on the state. Hell, in AZ you can teach and get paid while finishing up those courses. Job prospects would be better, I imagine, although the pay would be lower, probably. No idea what starting pay is for teachers in Florida/Virginia/wherever.   She has looked into that in a couple of states. (Not AZ) and they would require as much time in school as the BFA at a minimum and even more in some instances.

EDIT: Saw that moving back to Florida is a no go. Nevertheless, I'm sure there are bigger towns within a few hours of where they are now that would greatly improve job prospects. Looks like closest bigger town is a couple hours away.  I do like the thought that boyfriend may be willing to move along once he's settled a bit.

Thanks!!!


Jakejake

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Re: What Would You Do?
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2017, 07:46:03 PM »
I suppose I'm obligated to comment here, as I have a BA in Arts and Aesthetics. I had a long round-about career path after that, which I am sure gave my parents some near heart attacks along the way.

I eventually got into teaching art at a high school, and really enjoyed that. Except for the staff meetings. And some other stuff. But ... generally I liked it. :)  I got my teaching certificate coursework done online through university of phoenix while I was teaching, so I didn't have to chose between working or going to school. I don't know if that school choice would have been an obstacle to getting hired - but I already had the job, and our principal had her MA from there, so it wasn't an issue for me. At that point, I just needed the checkmark in my personnel file.

That wouldn't have worked for teaching art at the college level where the MFA is expected, but for K-12, no problem.

Before I was officially teaching full time, I also had some random art jobs while I was working my way from counterintelligence back to art. (long story there). I worked a bit in a gallery. I did freelance children's book illustrations. I did some freelance photography. I taught some after school art classes for elementary kids through the parks and recreation program. As a volunteer, I also did some set design. There are a fair amount of ways to use that skill set. My daughter, also an art major, has taught at some of those "get drunk and let's all make this painting" classes for adults.

And with a BA, you can always pick up hours as a substitute teacher, which probably pays double or triple what she's making now. So there are some options beyond making an etsy shop. My sister tried an etsy thing, and she had a good reputation and regular customers - but the pay still ended up being less than minimum wage when she worked out everything, so I'm not personally enthusiastic about the possibilities there. Maybe others have a different experience.

notactiveanymore

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Re: What Would You Do?
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2017, 07:49:38 AM »
I suppose I'm obligated to comment here, as I have a BA in Arts and Aesthetics. I had a long round-about career path after that, which I am sure gave my parents some near heart attacks along the way.

I eventually got into teaching art at a high school, and really enjoyed that. Except for the staff meetings. And some other stuff. But ... generally I liked it. :)  I got my teaching certificate coursework done online through university of phoenix while I was teaching, so I didn't have to chose between working or going to school. I don't know if that school choice would have been an obstacle to getting hired - but I already had the job, and our principal had her MA from there, so it wasn't an issue for me. At that point, I just needed the checkmark in my personnel file.

That wouldn't have worked for teaching art at the college level where the MFA is expected, but for K-12, no problem.

Before I was officially teaching full time, I also had some random art jobs while I was working my way from counterintelligence back to art. (long story there). I worked a bit in a gallery. I did freelance children's book illustrations. I did some freelance photography. I taught some after school art classes for elementary kids through the parks and recreation program. As a volunteer, I also did some set design. There are a fair amount of ways to use that skill set. My daughter, also an art major, has taught at some of those "get drunk and let's all make this painting" classes for adults.

And with a BA, you can always pick up hours as a substitute teacher, which probably pays double or triple what she's making now. So there are some options beyond making an etsy shop. My sister tried an etsy thing, and she had a good reputation and regular customers - but the pay still ended up being less than minimum wage when she worked out everything, so I'm not personally enthusiastic about the possibilities there. Maybe others have a different experience.

Substitute teaching where I live nets $80/day for 7-8 hours at the school. And unless you manage to nab a long-term sub position, you're likely not getting 5 days a week of that. So while it's worth checking into, at least where I live, it's not likely very different from her current job.

If she does want to move towards teaching art at the k-12 level, she could look into other school positions to get her foot in the door: paraprofessional, teacher's aid, etc. If she's in that small of a town, there are probably only 1-2 art teachers in the schools total, so unless she gets lucky with a retirement, it won't be the golden ticket. But at least if she moves somewhere else, she might be able to secure an art teaching job with BA + teacher's aid experience and then work on the certification in the job.

From an encouragement perspective: I hit a deep depression right after graduating college. It had been building for awhile, but finally a few weeks before I was set to start teaching middle school math, it got so bad I was scared I would do something terrible. So I quit everything and moved back in with my parents for 9 months. I would have made 43k back in 2011 at that job, but after a couple months getting my health issues under control, I found a full-time job for $10/hr doing website and marketing stuff for a crappy little SEO business. The company moved out of town a few months later and my next job was $12/hr 36hr/week. After a few months there, I got offered a job for 25k/year as a state employee. One year later (I was 24 by now) I got my current job where I started at 36k and now 3.5 years later I make 47k. My parents over that rough period of 2ish years helped me move 5 times. They let me stay on their health insurance for the first 6 months after school until I had access through work. They encouraged me to keep believing in myself and my career, they made me feel like I wasn't a failure for not having my life figured out in my young 20s. It sounds like you both care a ton about your daughter's happiness and security. Having that kind of support in your corner is huge.


Jakejake

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Re: What Would You Do?
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2017, 09:35:52 AM »
Substitute teaching where I live nets $80/day for 7-8 hours at the school. And unless you manage to nab a long-term sub position, you're likely not getting 5 days a week of that. So while it's worth checking into, at least where I live, it's not likely very different from her current job.

If she does want to move towards teaching art at the k-12 level, she could look into other school positions to get her foot in the door: paraprofessional, teacher's aid, etc. If she's in that small of a town, there are probably only 1-2 art teachers in the schools total, so unless she gets lucky with a retirement, it won't be the golden ticket. But at least if she moves somewhere else, she might be able to secure an art teaching job with BA + teacher's aid experience and then work on the certification in the job.
I just went looking for average pay. The national average is $105 per day, but it's amazing how wide the range is! "$20 to $190 per full day" - how can anyone pay $20 for a full day?! Source: https://www.nstasubs.org/?page_id=34

Where I taught, almost all of our long term subs got their foot in the door through normal subbing, and then some of them landed full time jobs as regular teachers from that. A typical progression might be sub for a day here or there, then someone goes on maternity leave and you get a long term sub position from that, then the maternity leave mom decides at the end to be a SAHM, and the long term sub slips into that position.

It probably helps at our school that teachers are able to request specific subs by name. We pump our students for information, and sometimes the feedback is great, but other times I heard things like "he just sat at his desk the whole hour and didn't talk to us." The good subs get more and more jobs and eventually become almost like regular staff members. Or like I said, they sometimes because actual staff members.

Subbing isn't a career goal in and of itself, but depending on the school and your goals, it can be a good stepping stone - in that way, it might have more potential than the current $9/hour job.

Laura33

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Re: What Would You Do?
« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2017, 11:09:55 AM »
Thanks plog!  That's what I'm doing/trying to do.  She is actually an incredibly mature, intelligence young woman.  I'm thinking maybe the hormones have affected the brain cells a bit right now :-)

A couple years ago this whole thing would never have been an option for her..she's usually very driven and goal directed.

So, is she actually driven and goal-oriented?  Or is this just who she was when she was living at home with you, because that was who you wanted her to be and she wanted to make you happy?  Honestly, the "hormones" joke set me off a little bit, because it belittles her choices (i.e., no one could logically make this decision, ergo it must be hormones).  Clearly, something inside her drew her to this guy, this family, this living situation, this "beneath-her" job; no one acts contrary to everything they believe/want for no reason at all.  So she either wasn't exactly who you thought she was, or she is discovering other parts of herself that she didn't realize before.

I know it doesn't sound like it, but I am totally with you on the panic here (please God let this girl have good birth control!).  But if you want her to get out of that situation, the best thing you can do now is treat that situation like a legitimate choice: treat her like a capable, rational adult, whom you trust to make capable, rational decisions.  This is her decision, not yours.  And the more you push now -- the more you drop hints that this is beneath her and she's not living up to her potential -- the more you will force her to defend her current choice.  OTOH, if you treat her as a mature adult now, listen to her, let her vent/fret, point her to MMM for advice on how to live on $9/hr, let her know your door is always open if she and her BF want to change course -- then it is far, far more likely that after a year or so of feeling what it's really like to live that way, she'll come back to you for help making a change. 

True story:  my mom never told her mother when she and my dad divorced -- I actually spilled the beans when I made a comment about going to my dad's wedding.  Why?  Because my grandma never liked my dad, and my mom couldn't stand the idea of being forced to admit that her mom was right and she was wrong.  So instead, she built up a wall of independence and never let my grandma across it.  She went on food stamps rather than let her mother support us.  When she was in an extremely bad car accident and was bedridden for 6 weeks, she again didn't tell my grandma, choosing instead to have 6-yr-old me learn how to cook Franco-American Spaghetti and reheat casseroles from our awesome neighbor.  Etc.  I should mention that my grandma was one of the top two most loving people I have ever known -- it's not like my mom was running away from some horrible witch.  But that love was smothering to my mother, who was determined to show the world that she could make it on her own; she always felt the unstated, passive-aggressive judgment, that need to fix things for her.  What my grandma saw as love and support, my mother heard as "I don't trust you to make good decisions, let me fix your life for you."  To which my mother (like most rational people) responded with "screw you, I'll do it on my own."  She kept my grandma at arm's length (at best) for the rest of her life.

Don't be my grandma.

Jakejake

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Re: What Would You Do?
« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2017, 02:43:52 PM »
Laura - I just wanted to say I appreciate that post. Some of those thoughts were jumbling around in my head but hadn't managed to gel into coherent words. Part of what sits oddly with me is the idea of what "living up to your potential" means.

Does it mean making as much money as possible? Does it mean sacrificing a life and a family with the person you love to earn that money? Does it mean living in an urban area, and intelligent people don't live in rural Appalachia? Does it mean successful people can live in trailers - but only if they are called "tiny houses"?

Laura33

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Re: What Would You Do?
« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2017, 02:53:22 PM »
Does it mean successful people can live in trailers - but only if they are called "tiny houses"?

LOL.  :-)