By JLP | April 28, 2008
NOTE: The reader-submitted question of the day will begin tomorrow morning.
Should Parents Bail Out Their Kids?
That is the title of Liz Pulliam Weston’s article over on MSN Money.
I can’t remember a time when I ever “bailed out” financially by my parents. Sure, they helped me from time-to-time and my wife’s parents helped us with groceries and stuff when my wife and I were in college but nobody bailed us out. Why? Because my wife and I knew our place. In other words, we didn’t go out and buy things we couldn’t afford. We were responsible for ourselves.
Normally I agree with Liz but her excuses for why today’s kids get into trouble bother me. Check this out:
Most baby boomers had the economic winds at their backs. They graduated into decent job markets and enjoyed strong appreciation of their homes and (for the most part) stock portfolios.
Today’s graduates, by contrast, are a bit more behind the eight ball:
- A rapidly decelerating economy means college graduates are facing the worst job market in several years.
- Instead of getting free money in the form of grants to pay for college, they’re taking out student loans — an average of about $20,000 at last count, an amount that’s nearly doubled since the mid-1990s.
- And then there’s the demon credit card, pushed on college campuses today with a vigor unheard of a generation ago. The majority of students now have credit cards, according to studies by student lender Nellie Mae. The average balance was $2,864 for college seniors in 2004 and $8,612 for graduate students in 2006, the latest years for which statistics are available.
Excuses, excuses. Tell me, what generation hasn’t had obstacles to overcome? Didn’t the Baby Boom generation graduate from college into the inflation-ridden 70s?
I think the root of the problem lies in the fact that today’s kids think they deserve everything right off the bat. There’s no working and saving up for things. At least that’s my perception of today’s society. Maybe I’m wrong and maybe I’m being harsh but I think today’s kids need to figure out that everything costs money and that they are going to have to prioritize their finances and make decisions accordingly.
Our kids are still young so it’s tough to say how my wife and I will treat them when they are adults. I’m hoping that they will have a good understanding of their responsibilities when they leave home. I can tell you that if they were to ever come back home after leaving, rent will be due. Hopefully it won’t ever get to that point.
What are your thoughts?