J.T. asks from Oradell, NJ on April 19, 2012
Do You Expect Your Children to Be Better or Worse off Financially?
I've heard our kids are the first generation that likely won't have a higher standard of living than their parents. I tend to agree and I worry about it a lot. How do you feel? It's one reason I didn't want more than 2 children but it seems like most people don't think that way. I also continue to work bc I got lucky with my job and figure they likely won't be as lucky so want to save money to help them if they need it. Not spoil them... But help with a downpayment on a house or something like that. I don't want to see either of my daughters really really struggling to have a decent life. Does any one else worry so much? I tend to think our expectations of lifestyle are set by how we grow up. I'm better off financially as an adult than my parents were so while some people may think I'm "poor", relative to how I grew up I feel good. I have friends though who grew up with fairly wealthy parents and now my friends are struggling a bit and I think how much harder it must be on them. They probably had a different set of expectations going into adulthood... So part of me watches how we do things like vacations bc I dont' want my kids to be so used to really nice vacations in case they can't afford that when they grow up. Am I crazy?
So What Happened?™
Nikki - I forget there are perfect people like you. But maybe I don't think your lifestyle is such a success.... Glad you do. And I don't think they're going to be failures!!! I just know of and hear of many many people who are super smart and have Phd's etc who are struggling. My husband has people apply for jobs at his company he interviews who are brilliant with Phd's from places like MIT and they can't find a decent job! That scares me. It has NOTHING to do with thinking my kids are going to be losers. It has to do with even if they're very accomplished, it seems like they might still struggle. Read this board and how many people seem very stressed out. I guess all those people didn't have perfect parents like yours or are losers since they're are struggling...
My question isn't about enabling my kids to be dependent on me or not ambitious. It's wondering if people think their kids are going to have the same, better or lesser standard of living. That's all!
ETA: Nikki - I didn't say I expect my children won't be able to take care of themselves. Geez. There's a difference between being self sufficient and really struggling though. And you again are saying I'm a bad mother. "You hope my children can overcome this." My horrible, horrible motherign skills... So many things I could say to you from reading your posts/answers and seeing your picture but I won't. I didn't know being pregnant makes people mean.
And I didn't say no vacations of course.
Thank you for the other encouraging answers. A lot of good points and insights.
B.B. answers from San Antonio on April 19, 2012
I teach 10th graders, and I have two children of my own. I don't think you are crazy at all. I honestly believe (totally my opinion) that the top three things that we can do for our children, in the hopes of their being better off than our generation are:
1. Instill a good work ethic. FAR too many kids miss school or assignments because mom or dad come to pick them up to take them to lunch, they stay out late on a Thursday to go to a midnight showing of a movie with their parents, or they just "don't feel like coming to school" so their parents let them stay home. This is doing nothing (in my opinion) other than setting them up to believe that when they get to college, and the professor won't hound them about coming to class, or missing assignment deadlines, that they will be able to explain their way out of it. I understand the occasional lunch, or mommy and me day, but, seriously, it happens all together WAY too often.
2. Establish financial responsibility at a young age. I watch parents in stores (and please understand, I am by NO means saying I am perfect - far from it) buy their kids toys to get them to stop whining - rewarding bad behavior. I also see students in classes that can't afford deoderant, but they have the latest I-phone. Priorities. Teach them to save - not live paycheck to paycheck. I did that for FAR too many years of my life, and I pray my kids never will.
3. Stop saving them every time they fail. Learning how to overcome failure or things that don't go according to plan is part of life. I have parents call me after their child fails a quiz, which is not the end of the world, and want them to do re-takes or corrections, which goes against our policy that is handed out in the syllabus in the start of the year. It sounds like a minor thing, but life doesn't always give do-overs. Instead have them learn from their mistakes. Correct it, on their own, and see where they went wrong. That, in the end, will teach them problem solving skills, which will take them much further in life than my quiz ever will.
Just my opinion. Hoping for the best for you and yours.
18 moms found this helpful
T.F. answers from Dallas on April 19, 2012
Ok, first of all.... hormones must be getting to Nikki these last few days so take her advice with a grain of salt... move on. I am sure I will be attacked next.
Your question... I feel like a lot of it depends on how the children are raised, what their expectations are and how hard they want to work to achieve their goals.
Do I think my daughter will have the current lifestyle we have right now when she is out of college... I don't know. There are too many factors into play right now.
I was raised in a divorced family, split and divided every weekend with one side pulling against the other... UGH I was not raised in a wealthy home or lifestyle. I started working at 13 to get the he-- OUT of the situation as I saw it and I worked my way through college with academic scholarships and paying my way through.
Move ahead... I am also married (23 yrs) to a high achiever, smart man, educated from 2 of the best colleges in the nation. He too, came from a broken home and he managed to pay his way through college on a golf scholarship and maintain good grades.
We have a 17 yr old daughter (one child by choice). College, hard work, good work ethic has been modeled to her since day 1. College was never an option in her mind... her mindset is which one and she only wants to go to a top 25. Her college fund, wedding and house fund are not "my kid's a loser fund, Nikki". We choose NOT to allow her to come out of college with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. That is no way to start out.
So, some say we spoil her and yes, she is a good kid and she lives a very good life, we all do, debt free. But we live this life because we have sacrificed, worked our butts off to make it happen. Failure is not an option and we don't give up.
To other naysayers, yes, we took care of ourselves as well for retirement.
Is our life perfect, Lord no... who's is? We have just done the best we can to our ability to provide the absolute best for our family.
We started up our own company a few yrs ago in the middle of all the crappy economic times.. Fortunately, we have done well and it is growing like crazy. Side note;;;;; we are in raw materials and the manufacturing business in the US is booming. Our sales are up over 20% from first quarter last year as in a high level 6 figure sales number.
We started saving for her college fund before she was born -- at this time, even with some down markets and us pumping in more $$ she should be fully funded and if she gets a scholarship, which is likely, that is great! Any monies leftover will go to her children.
I believe any child can be a success and "do better" than the generation before him/her if they are in a good environment with strong parental support (yes, $ helps). Maybe fully finding a college is not for everyone and you don't have to be wealthy to establish a successful mindset in children. Children need a good basis from parents because many people who started with nothing have become quite successful.
Sorry for the length.... Just my 2 cents.
18 moms found this helpful
T.N. answers from Albany on April 19, 2012
I think kids coming of age in the current environment of economic distress and high unemplyment rates are ready for it. After all, they've been surrounded by the Bad News as long as they can remember. I think it will make them clever, and scrappy, and flexible. They've never lived in a time of excess, a thriving economy, too many jobs for people qualified for them.
It is human nature to overcome. And I think they are going to move us all forward with their new thinking, with their new technology, of their LACK OF FEAR.
I've got three older teenagers. They are poised and ready to take the reins. With the prefered type of communication, dress, attitude that is foreign to us. THey have spirit and determination. I am very excited for them.
I don't think you're crazy, but I DO think you are not seeing the world through Fresh Eyes the way they do.
Not that there won't be bumps in the road but I think they will endure, J.. I really do.
13 moms found this helpful
S.B. answers from Houston on April 19, 2012
Wow Nikki, that was uncalled for. In this economic climate, I'm concerned. My daughter graduates college, nope not a loser Nikki! She has had some interviews but no offers. We think one is coming in the next week or so, but I understand what you are saying.
If you look at the unemployment rate of citizens under the age of 25 it is staggering. Even among college graduates. However, we have told our kids that a job is a job and a stepping stone. It may not be your "dream" job but it can help you get to your dream job. That is how I look at this.
I was raised in a comfortable household as was my husband. When we got married our lifestyle went drastically down because hey we had no money. We are teaching that with our kids as well. Great to have with Mom and Dad, but you will have to provide these things for yourself. If your kids struggle that is part of learning. Its not always going to be perfect and they are going to have to learn that. Use these as teachable moments. I do!!!
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T.K. answers from Dallas on April 19, 2012
Ya'll quit yelling at my friend Nikki. She's pregnant! She gets to be a little emotional. :)
J., I understand your point. I'm irritated that my generation (I'm 40) isn't able to achieve what the one before us did. What does that say about what our kids are walking into?
I personally grew up poor and have far eclipsed my parents lifestyles, but I'm jealous of the people that came before me.
In the Golden Era - You were considered middle class if dad worked at the factory. WIth that one income he was somehow able to buy a house in the suberbs, a shiny new Ford and put his kids through College. There was a 2 week vacation to Niagra Falls or Yellowstone. He belonged to a Union and had a great retirement fund and insurance. Working at the plant all your life used to be considered salt of the Earth, humble, blue collar lifestyle. Now, I look at those jobs with envy. This guys had it made!
Now, it takes both our incomes to keep food on the table and provide the basics. We're praying for gifted kids that can earn scholarships. No 2 week vacations. No retirement fund. No insurance. When my generation retires it's going to be rough.
So, my expectation for my kids is they will thrive in that bad climate. But my fear for my kids is that it will be harder for them even than it has been for us.
9 moms found this helpful
☆.A. answers from Pittsburgh on April 19, 2012
You know, I suspect you might just be listening to a lot of doom and gloom.
I think we all worry about our kids and their future. I tend to worry more about the character of their generation than the dollars and cents.
Some good advice before buying what the media is selling, is to stop and look around you. Like I've said before about the media barrage, I don't see muggings in my street, break ins in my neighborhood, children getting yanked into vans. Yes, bad things happen, they always have, but I don't 'expect' them.
There have always been the cases of kids who far surpass their parent and cases of kids that flounder and never launch.
Sooooo.....what to do to help make sure your kids have the brightest future possible?
•Live on less than you make & teach them the same principles
•Save for college NOW. Don't wait.
•Teach them the 3 uses for money: save, spend, give (and model your behavior to reflect them).
"Hard" is a relative term. Hard can be good. Hard can make you grow.
Hard can build character.
Smart choices is what it's about--whether they make 20K per year or 200K per year--they can be happy & OK.
I think if the next generation can plan for the worst and expect the best, they'll be OK. :)
9 moms found this helpful
J.W. answers from St. Louis on April 19, 2012
Actually I am from the first generation who was predicted to not achieve a higher standard of living than my parents and I am 44. I am equal to my parents as is my brother and I feel pretty good about that.
I sometimes wonder if my peers don't get it because they have the same this or that that their parents have but forget they have monster mortgages and don't pay cash for their cars. I guess I am saying is those that think they are better off than their parents have never balanced the equation.
I think the next generation is just slated not to borrow their way into equal so it will be more apparent.
The thing when you look at your kids is will they feel poor? We determine our standard of living by looking at our parents and our peers. If everyone has less it will be the same so they will be fine, ya know?
8 moms found this helpful
R.J. answers from Seattle on April 19, 2012
<grin> I think this is one of those rare q's that everyone has a piece of the answer. LOVE those.
So yeah, things are diverging to create a new whole.
My dog in this fight is Theresa's.
People keep griping about 'entitled' kids, and I think they're dead wrong. I think the CREDIT CARD generation, who only measure upto their parents success via borrowing (Jo Ws bottom line) were the entitled ones. I think kids these days are scrappy and smart and creative.
I think your kids and Nikki's kids will both be successful, with parents doing things completely differently to reach the same end. And because of that divergence competition and paths are going to be very different, with the SAME result. Successful kids.
Our culture really stagnated for a couple generations, happens all the time with empires. Those that collapse stay stuck, those that diversify? Usually they avoid wars and collapse.
The thing is, when everyone is on the same path, middle class & 'success' shrink dramatically, while poverty gets out of control. We've seen that start here. But, somehow, we shifted.. Culturally speaking.
Look at the school choices: public, private, parochial, charter, secular, religious, homeschool, boarding school. That's REALLY foundational when you're looking at creating different paths to the same goal.
Look at media. No longer that massive conglomerate only, but freelance, bloggers, YouTube, Internet, etc.
Look at geography. Free movement of people is VITAL to growth. Every time a culture stagnates, one constant (amongst many) is that people stop relocating. Even our own short history, you can see it. The more people move about WITHIN a society (Im not talking about conquest), the more they create opportunities, instead of waiting for someone else to offer them one).
The list goes on and on... But it basically boils down to gumption. As a society, when people have to get creative, it shakes everything up, normalizes 'success' again. And when people get complacent, it stagnates. And when people get desperate... They revolt.
I think the next 2 generations have some REAL surprises up their sleeves for us. Regardless of whether it's families pooling resources, or individuals getting scrappy and creative... The next 2 generations are going to do some amazing things.
((sorry I couldn't reference everyone, I'm on my phone and the scrolling works worse than my memory... But really... I think EVERYONE is right. It's way cool.))
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