As a regular reader of The Globe and Mail and anything written by Rob Carrick, lately I’ve been seeing a lot of articles written about how parents may need to rethink their retirement plans because of their Gen Y money-sucking kids.
Umm…excuse me? Why aren’t these parents telling their kids “No, you can’t have any more money. Go get a job!” I know it’s a tough job market out there, but that doesn’t mean that Starbucks or No Frills have stopped hiring or all temp-agencies have closed their doors.
Maybe it’s because I was raised to stop asking for money from my parents once I was old enough to earn a wage (even if it was $6 at A&W when I was 16), but I would have never in a million years even dared to ask (let alone expect) my parents to help me pay my cell phone bill or student loans after graduation. I’m inclined to blame these co-dependent millennials for having the nerve to keep asking for more, more, more from their parents, inevitably sucking them dry. However, from what I’m seeing its actually the parents who are to blame.
If you want your kids to be financially independent, then stop giving them money. It’s that simple. If you want to retire when you had originally planned, but feel bad that your 20 year old kids are drowning in student debt, still refrain from giving them any money! Parents, you need to realize that your “babies” aren’t actually babies that need constant coddling anymore. They are 20 – 33 year old adults and are therefore responsible for their own livelihood. If you really want to help your kids out, direct them to a financial planner or give them a helpful book like The Wealthy Barber or Debt-Free Forever to start off their personal finance education. There’s a time and place for tough love and I believe this is one of them. The more you give in to your adult children and show them an easy way out via the “Bank of Mom and Dad”, the more you’ll hurt them in the long run.
Just try it out. I bet you’ll be surprised how resourceful they’ll become once they have no other options but to make money themselves. Take me as an example. Once I was out of school, while I was job hunting I worked odd jobs on film sets and was an on-call teleprompter for the news. Once I got a full-time job, I kept up with those side gigs and even explored otherwise to make money on the side. In the 5 years I’ve been out of school I’ve paid off my student loan and saved up more than I ever thought possible. I don’t know if I would have been this resourceful and money-savvy if my parents had never told me “No”.
What do you think? Is tough love in order or do Gen Yers really deserve a break?