Yesterday, I read an interesting article in the Boston Globe highlighting the experiences of the many 18-29 year olds still depending on Mom and Dad.
You: Because they’re still living at home?
Actually, the examples in this case aren’t boomerangs. Instead, the article profiles people living in the big city who are still getting checks every month (or are having certain bills paid by) their parents.
While there are exceptions to every rule, for the most part I found such behavior detrimental to one’s reaching financial maturity.
You: What’s financial maturity?
When you’re able to truly support yourself and your family. It means you can pay your bills and save for the future.
You: Sounds nice.
It is nice, but my experience shows me that it can only be achieved via earning it.
You: The old fashioned way?
Indeed. I loved that commercial.
No single person making $50,000 a year truly needs financial assistance. Yet this article shows how Megan Brown has grown to depend on her folks to make ends meet. Of course, given her lifestyle, it’s easy to see how she needs additional funds:
- She lives in the most expensive part of Boston.
- She has a parking spot – not cheap in Boston.
- She has a health club membership – probably not at the Y
Candidly, we know very little about her spending habits, but the fact that a single individual earning $50,000 can’t take of her own bills tells me that she’s spending too much somewhere. Not sure who she’s dining with in the picture, but if you’re ordering Pellegrino, you pretty much lose any rationale for monetary assistance.
Yet, I have sympathy for her plight.
You: You do?
You: Why is that?
Because most people would take the money if it were offered to them. At 23 years old I probably would have to. But for me, it was never an option – and not because my parents couldn’t have helped had I genuinely needed it.
It was clear to me, as part of my upbringing, that when I was done with college my folks were done supporting me financially.
So, I didn’t live in the best part of the big city right away – I commuted 45 miles each way. I didn’t live alone – I shared an apartment. I didn’t drive a nice car, I drove a freakin’ Neon. I could go on but I’m tiring of it and I had a great life so I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining. I’m not. I’m contrasting.
Still, I have sympathy for Megan because it isn’t Megan’s fault. It is her parents who are causing, via their enabling behaviors, Megan’s lack of financial maturity. Yet it will be Megan who, long term, will pay the price.
A person with low income and high student loans who is making wise financial decisions but struggling despite them has my sympathy. But not the people profiled in this article.
What do you think? Is this a problem and, if so, who’s to blame?