[WARNING: This post will provide you with absolutely no useful information. Its just ranting, pretty much. Feel free to comment though.]
I am 23 years old and I know for a fact that I make more money per year than my father…with 25+ years of work experience in his industry. This mortifies me.
I know the truth is my parents are probably thrilled that I’m getting paid well, thrilled that their sacrifices have paid off and their work is done in raising me. But at the same time could they be harbouring resentment? They refuse to take any money from me for rent (I’m still living at home), it’s a constant fight for them to let me pay for anything other than my cellphone (excluding car, insurance, going out, etc), and I’m just terrified to think of what their financial situation looks like.
When I was growing up I never stopped to think about money. Who even thought about credit cards back then?! I assumed if my dad bought something, he had the money for it. (Imagine that!) We got along well, living in a 2 bedroom apartment. Several years later, when I was in middle school we decided to move into a slightly larger townhouse…I was getting my own room! We looked for houses for a while. I remember their budget was under $100k. (Imagine getting something for that much now!)
Now here’s the funny thing about awareness and growing up. After we moved, and as I was getting older I began to notice more arguments about money, calls from collection agencies, notices from the bank, worried looks and sighs. Was this because the problems were getting worse, or because I was getting older and more aware of what was already going on?
When my sister started college my father lost his job. I don’t remember a lot about it, except that my sister was dirt broke, and my mom often had to send her money to help with her rent. My dad searched for jobs, and eventually landed one. Not too long after that my mother lost her job. I’m very close to my mother so this loss hit me harder. She’d worked with the company for over 10 years, and they treated her (and the other employees they laid off that day) like garbage, not even giving them a warning. To make a long story short, there were some rough parts just as I was entering high school.
By the time I was getting ready to go to college I think things had settled down. I knew my parents weren’t going to pay for my schooling….it never even crossed my mind. I figured loans would help me make it through. My parents didn’t stop me from applying anywhere I wanted to go, and they barely interfered as I was getting ready to pick my college…I love them for that. Too many of my friends’ parents fought to keep them from leaving home, or tried to convince them to go to a certain school…I’m glad I didn’t have any of that pressure.
Looking back I guess there isn’t much I could’ve done. Kids will only do as much as parents let them, and its the parents job to “buck up” and decide what the can and can’t give their kids. While I do feel guilty somehow for my parents situation, I also feel I can’t do much about it. I’m not sure where their finances stand nowadays. I’m sure they must still have debt, but is it really my business to ask?