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When did the apron strings get so long? September 29, 2009

Posted by fetzthechemist in Uncategorized.
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When I was growing up, yes that was years ago, every kid could not wait to get out on his or her own. Moving out from your parents house was a rite of passage. Even the thinking of going off to college was that you no longer lived at “home”. You just visted there on some weekends. College only formally put off that move out, even though psychologically it had already happened. That had been the mindset for decades.

Now, and especially in this economy, I see kids living in their parents’ homes even if they are working and have a good job….until their mid to late 20s. The economy has many moving back home, living off of mom’s and dad’s nest egg, deferring their retirements. That would have had to have been an extreme situation for me and my peers to ever do. Being independent was a core value.

Now kids expect to be given lots more than ever before….a car while in high school, a full ride or close to it through college, and a places to live two, three, four, or more years afterwards while they get into the swing of things. The oddest thing to me is how readily parents who lived the opposite view now accept it from their kids. Were the parents too coddling in raising the kids or have the kids become too expectant of getting things easily? I don’t know, but it sure looks like independence is no longer a value.

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1. The Chemist - September 30, 2009

I don’t think it’s necessarily a matter of choice for many these days. My good friend had just finished his MBA at the beginning of the economic crisis we’re in. He had been quite diligent in looking for employment and finding a job and lowered his expectations considerably. Now he has a job that doesn’t pay well at all considering he’s trying to pay back student loans and credit card debt for that period of time that he was unemployed- and they may be letting him go soon due to layoffs.

Meanwhile he’s been living with his grandparents (who raised him) in a more rural area, rent in Atlanta was just too high for someone without a job. It’s not as if he’s uninterested in living away from them. Believe me, he would like nothing more than complete financial independence but his prospects are still highly uncertain in this economy.

Of course his is just one case, and I suppose there might be people who fail to cut the umbilical cord out of convenience, but to be frank I don’t know anyone my age who isn’t independent or striving to be independent as quickly as possible. Maybe it’s just the people I happen to be exposed to.

I myself have been trying to scrounge some money together to start building my own nest egg early, researching IRAs and investment accounts. Ideally everyone has an emergency fund, but when you compare inflation to the rates of even a good CD, saving seems wasteful.

2. fetzthechemist - September 30, 2009

I saw this changing over the past ten to fifteen years, well prior to the economic crisis period. In fact, those were boom times generally. The proportion might have gone up in the past year, but it was already high. I would guess that in my and earlier generations, only one in ten kids did this, possibly even less.

I do not know the full consequences of this attitudinal change, but kids seem less independent, less adaptable. When you are in your late 20s and still relying on mom and dad to always bail you out, you box yourself in.

Student loans have been around. It took me several years to pay off mine, but that meant a very tight budget without discretionary spending – no vacations, no extravagent purchases or gift giving, little indulging in expensive nights out for dinner, concerts, clubbing all night. I know people now collecting unemployment who regularly blow fifty to a hundred bucks in a night. That seems both ludicrous and obscene (since they are collecting unemployment and are on food stamps).

3. psi*psi - September 30, 2009

It’s not all of us! I was out at 17, and never turned back.

4. Rhenium - October 1, 2009

Off to boarding school at 11 and only back during the summers to chase cows and cut firewood.


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