Do You Expect Your Children to Be Better or Worse off Financially?

Updated on April 21, 2012
J.T. asks from Oradell, NJ
26 answers

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?

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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.

More Answers



answers from San Antonio on

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


answers from Dallas on

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.

Our planning goes into our grandchildren's lives at this point (that is IF daughter chooses to have children). If not, she will be able to make those decisions when the time comes.

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


answers from Albany on

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


answers from Houston on

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!!!

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

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


answers from Pittsburgh on

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


answers from Seattle on

<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.))

8 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

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


answers from Amarillo on

It has always been that way with parents want something better for their children.

You can't predict what will be. All you can do is prepare them for the future by showing them ways to succeed and how to handle their finances. Do the best you can do now so that they can learn to enjoy life and appreciate what they have. Being happy does not mean you have to have million of dollars-- it's a state of mind.

I would love to be wealthy but then you have other headaches so I want to be content in knowing that my bills will be paid on time and that I can do things I like to do.

The world has changed and so have the rules and we are now a global society. The competition is not just Americans it is the world and we have to prepare for that.

The other S.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

If I am to measure things by assets and rate of pay then yes my hubby and I are better off than our parents. I don’t know if our daughter will be better off than us, she is only 5.

I am more concerned about what kind of world this will be for my daughter when she grows up. Look at how awful things are now with politics, media and such. Then I think about genetically modified foods and all the nasty chemicals that we are exposed to everyday.

I was watching a program the other day that said one in six American children have a neurological disorder. What will it be like here in another 20 years? Will people even be able to care for themselves?

No you are not crazy, just a concerned mom.

Nikki, she is not suggesting that her children are losers. She is talking about how crappy our current situation is now in the US and it looks to only be getting worse.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I expect my children to be better off than I was because I had a better job than my dad did. I went to college and pushed my kids to go to college. Some of them went and graduated and some of them went and quit. Those that graduated have good jobs. Those that quit and didn't study and spent to have all the things my wife and I saved for over decades are having a real hard time. But that is their choice.

My college debt nearly killed me. But I buckled down and worked and worked and worked to pay it off. My wife and I did without and saved so we could be free and clear of debt and have our home paid for. Unfortunately the economy took most of my retirement and I put a mortage back on our paid-for home to try and get ahead and it didn't work out.

My hard working kids will be better off than I was. My kids that paid attention to how I saved and shopped wisely will do very well. My kids that refuse to shop wisely and eat at restaurants more often than they cook at home will do poorly. Fortunately the ones that spend poorly are learning to spend more wisely, because they have to. Mom and Dad aren't bailing them out any more. And they are learning because of it. I have helped each of my kids economically to buy cars or homes or other things. Just like my mom and dad helped my wife and I with a home downpayment. AND we paid them back.

So, in the long run, I think my kids will end up better off than I did, IN SPITE of Obama's economy. (Yes, Bush started it, but Obama made it much worse and his spending and spending and more irresponsible spending is making it worse.)

Good luck to you and yours.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

If you put a fish in a small pond, they won't outgrow the pond. Put them in the ocean, and they'll grow to their full potential.

I would never, ever EVER think the way you are thinking now. You are literally EXPECTING your children to be under-achieving failures. That's not fair. How can they be successful if even their mother doesn't believe that they ever will be? I mean, you are literally talking about setting up a "My kid's a loser" fund.

That's so sad. I'm glad I had parents who pushed me to excel in everything I did.

ETA: There is a big difference between EXPECTING your child not to be able to be self-sufficient and PREPARING for the POSSIBILITY that your child will not be able to be self-sufficient. Also, enabling said lack of self-sufficiency by providing downpayments for houses, etc. just perpetuates the entitlement issues that are far too rampant in society now. What the heck is wrong with letting adult kids pay their own bills and fend for themselves?

I don't think there's anything wrong or attacking about my response. I just feel sorry for your kids that you are expecting them to not be able to take care of themselves. I hope they can overcome that.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I don't think any parent "expects" their kids to be better or worse off than they are. I think as parents, you raise your kids to know what life really is can't predict what's going to happen. There's lots of college grads right now that are finding jobs, and lots aren't. Its just how it is right now. If you are so worried about this, then you need to work even harder at making sure your kids get good grades, help them pay for college (student loans will NOT help them financially!) and set them up to have a great life. I think times have changed drastically over the last 60+ years, but that's to be expected. You just do the best you can and help the kids to do the same. Just my opinion but you can't worry about the "what if's". It just makes for a very unhappy and stressful life. Good luck!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

You got barraged for no reason, shrug it off. You got a lot of great responses too, so I won't repeat.

Your feelings are very valid. I do encourage you to sometimes go to nice dinners or on family vacations. Sometimes kids need to see the *finer* things in life so they can have the drive to pursue them in the future. This approach worked well on my now 22 yr old daughter.

A year ago my 4, 5, & 7 yr old asked to go to Disney (we've never been). We told them it's a lot of money and we are not sure when we would be able to go. They decided to make a disney savings box and put all their money into this box. They had no problem putting all money from birthday, Christmas, chores etc in this box. Anytime we went out of the house they were on the hunt to find coins and as soon as we got home it went in the box. They saved so much money we had to get a large jug. BTW we are going to Disney World for 9 days next month.

Basically there are so many variables, try not to stress so much.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

J. I know exactly how you are feeling, but I would go ahead and take those vacations when you can afford them because these are the memories that your kids will cherish. I'm not saying over-spend, or charge it, or do it every year...but if you can, do it.

I totally agree with 2xtots. In fact, I think I am moving to San Antonio so she can teach my kid : )

I am better off financially than my parents, who are better off financially than theirs. The first generation was running around on a hillside after goats, so yeah we are doing better. The one attribute shared by each generation is a very strong work ethic...I am just as proud of my grandparents for their work ethic as I am of my parents. I know I work HARD--a full time job and full time school--and I expect the same of my child.

So far as I can see, education has been the key. As each of us has reached a higher degree of education, we've done better. I'm not saying that's a guarantee though, not anymore.

Lastly I am absolutely planning on helping with college and hopefully a down payment on a house--if I am fully funded for retirement. It's not a handout: it's family helping family, rather than giving the banks a bunch of interest on loans. It will be my expectation that my daughter do the same for me, if needed, and for her kids.

I guess we all have to do the best we can given our circumstances. As long as I have a roof over my head, food on the table, and my health, I think I'm doing pretty well. Everything else is window dressing.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

J., your SWH is really over the top. Nikki was a little tough on you, but a lot of what she says rings true. If you make things too easy on your kids, they won't HAVE to strive to get a better job or save their money or not spend on stuff they can't afford.

The best way for a young adult to learn to manage money is to have to do it without help. Taking the pain out of it by doing what you are talking about doesn't really help.

Maybe your kids will be frugal and won't get themselves in trouble. Maybe they will hit the job market hard, work hard, get promotions, be happy with their progress - all of us parents want the same thing for our kids. It is your choice if you let them do this themselves or if you help them. However, I would not tell them that you are going to help them, if you decide to go this route. Let them have wings to fly and let them struggle a bit. It will make them strong.

And if you don't have nice vacations, you are just hurting yourself. Why would you want to do that? And you would be taking some wonderful memories and education away from the kids if you don't do the vacations for this reason. It's one thing to want to save the money for yourself, but quite another to keep them from experiencing something wonderful in case they can't afford it later on. I really DON'T think you should be thinking this way.

Lastly, you ask "Am I crazy?" If someone gives you an answer that questions your thought process, they've done what you asked - they've told you why they think your ideas are unproductive. Several threads were removed last week because the original posters blasted people in their SWH's, calling them names and berating people. One of them continued to write more threads about the same subject, unable to let go of all her arguing. I would hate to see more of this - it will just get your thread removed and it is inappropriate.


4 moms found this helpful


answers from Fort Smith on

I can understand your concern and can attest to the theory. My mother and all of her siblings grew up real poor. My uncle worked extreemly hard to make sure he could give his kids better, and he did. They take vacations several times a year. They never wanted for anything. As they got older, they were given cars ect. Now, it's amazing to me that we are related. They are spoiled brats!! With the exception of one.
I also worked with a guy when I was 22 and he was 27 in sales. Both his parents were doctors. He had the worst work ethics because he didn't have to work for what he wanted, it was handed to him.
It really depends on how you raise them. I believe in having my kids earn an alowance and that is the money that they can buy the extra stuff that they want. If they want more money, then they get more chores. I'm not mean about it. Sometimes I will buy them a toy and tell them it's just because.
I've heard many parents say they want better for their kids, and that's great and I understand. But it is better for the kids to not just have a better childhood than his parents, but to be taught and trained how to provide a better life for their own kids. But a kid needs to be motivated in the right direction and fully understand that when they are on their own, they are on their own. If they always have some one to run to, they will always be running to that person.
My son, right now at age 8 is always coming up with different ways that he can earn money. He doesn't ask for money, he asks what he can do to earn it.
As far as the whole vacation thing... I don't think I would hold back for that reason. If they can't afford nice vacations when their older, maybe that will motivate them to do better thinking how great it was when they were kids and want that for their own. What I would do is be completely honest with them when they are say 13-15 about how much it all costs. Our plan with our kids when they are about 15 is to sit down with them with the house hold finances. Teach them all about it and after a couple of month hand the check book over to them and expect them to make sure all the bills are paid and the grocieres are bought. After they get used to doing that, then we are going to have them, just on paper of course, make all the same bills with a job making just minimum wage and see how things are different.
"Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime."

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Well, I certainly HOPE she does better, or at least does not do any worse. Nobody knows what the stock market or job market is going to do in the next 20 years. All I can do is prepare my daughter (who right now is only 4) as best I can to be financially independent, whether or not she ends up married. And some it, if she does get married, will depend on him, and what kind of work ethic and financial "attitude" he's grown up with. I hope she will choose wisely (as far as career, investments, husband, etc.).

We are doing well ourselves, and part of that is from me having a sound education and a good career, and part of it is because of money we inherited after my parents passed away. I am grateful that my parents set me on the right path and gave me the tools I needed to succeed on my own. My husband was not so lucky, being born into a poor family that constantly struggled, so in that sense, our daughter will be better off than he ever was.

However, I would not hold back from things like nice vacations just because you are afraid of what impact it might have on your children. We've done some nice things with our kids and I think of it as creating happy memories and giving them some positive experiences. And with my teenage stepsons, it's become a way of showing them what is possible when you are smart with your money, and invest in a college education. My cousin's parents were like this, telling them they didn't need to go to Disney World because then they wouldn't appreciate a simple camping trip as much. My cousin still resents it to this day.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Wow, what a variety of answers. your post is very valid, i must say, as i have been thinking about the same issue. look, we are doing better than our parents but far from what we thought we would be doing. this economy, these last 2 administrations have put us in a gutter. we are with advance college education and we are nowhere close to being well off. we have the 'college' fund put aside and we may touch it if this freaking economy continues like this. my kids are smart, but so are thousands of smart educated people out of work right now.

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answers from Dallas on

I love the answer 2txtots gave.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Wow, thats really sad... You dont want to have nice vacations with your kids, and give them long lasting happy memories because you think they might not make alot of money when they are older.. All you can do is raise them right, and when they become adults, thats their life.
So yes, you are crazy... IJS

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Im one of those parents that will not do what you are talking of doing. if you can then power to you.

My parents never paid for their kids college education or a house or anything like that, as their parents before them. They just thru us in to the world and said bye bye if you know what I mean. I left home at 16.

I learned early about debt, paying for college, starting a family. You name it. I was married and divorced AND going to college with 2 kids before I was 20. I took me 5 years or so to get out of debt. Sometimes I held 2 jobs. So personally I wont pay for college, give them the deposit on their house and anything like that. My older sons in college right now and he got student loans on his own. I told them from the start if thats what you want you have to make it happen and be prepared to pay it off.

Does it make me a bad mother? I dont think so. They are learning independence and solving problems. My sons pay for their own car insurance & cell phone bill. If they want it they have to pay for it. They have friends that have a car that mom purchased AND moms paying for the gas and insurance. Lucky for them but what are they learning? My ex husband still gets money from his father till this day! My husband wants to start charging rent once my younger son turns 18 in July and I agree. My husband had to do that when he was younger and when he moved out. They gave him that money, they never told him they were holding it so it was a nice chunk of change to start off with. We are planning to do the same thing.

Even if I won the lotto I dont think I would give them anything.

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answers from San Francisco on

I'm better off than my parents were at my age, I think because they were better parents to me than my grandparents were to them. However, as much as I am trying to be the best possible parent to my children, the landscape is shifting very quickly under my feet. Some things that worry me are the cost of college tuition (the college I went to is $46,000/yr before room & board, and community colleges in our area are bursting at the seams so that's not necessarily a great option either), the cost of medical care (thankfully Obamacare will allow them to be on my insurance until they are 26, and hopefully that will give them a chance to get their careers set and get to a point where they can have benefits before they're cut off of my benefits), the shortage of good jobs for the young/inexperienced (many college grads are working for minimum wage now - good luck paying back those crippling student loans, kids!).

I was just talking to another mom yesterday, and she said that she feels like a hypocrite pushing her kids to go to college, when she knows that the amount of financial support she can afford to give each child will be minimal, that they will not find easy jobs getting out of college, and will likely have a mountain of student loans to pay back. I hadn't thought of it that way, but it is really disheartening when you think about it!

Add to that, Social Security is constantly under fire, and it's not likely our generation will benefit from it. I certainly hope that I will not be a burden to my kids in that way, and am taking steps to be financially secure in my retirement, but you never know. If there's no safety net for the elderly, what will that do to our children?

All I can do is hope that the company my husband and I have built will be a successful business for years to come, and that we can teach our daughters how to run the business as well. With any luck, this will provide them with good jobs, benefits, and a decent start in life. It's definitely something I worry about all the time though.

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answers from New York on

You are not crazy for thinking that way. I do see that the cost of living is rising, people are not able to save as much, pesions might be a thing of the past, college is sooooo pricey and so are the loans the kids (and parents ) have --etc...
I wouldn't refrain from taking a vacation. Rather, I would take one every
few years. I tell my kids that we live within our means. So, we go away every couple of years.
So many people have charge card balances that are out of control because they continually buy material things. We don't.
My kids see that we have a bigger house than the one I grew up in. Yet, I grew up on a lake. I don't have a lake in my backyard. So, I explain to my kids about the decisions we made. I tell them how we got to where we are.
I would give them what they need and a few extras - like vacations every so often. You sound like you are more conservative w/ money. That's a gd thing. So many people aren't. Your kids will see this. I tell my kids that we are doing the best we can and we won't live on a charge card. They get it -- and they see how much work it takes to make and save money. Kids (ages 7+) should have extra chores to earn spending money & learn the value of a dollar ! And a PT job at age 16. That's all we can do !
Hopefully, the economy will turn around and everything will not be outsourced much longer. I try to think positive for my kids sake ! But, I hear exactly what you are saying !

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answers from Minneapolis on

You aren't crazy. It is true that this is the first generation where many won't live as well as their parents.

My grandparents were immigrant farmers and stone workers. My parents were scraping-by poor when they married. My parents farmed and made it into the middle-class before the farm crisis of the 80s almost bankrupted them. I have had the opportunity to get advanced college degrees and have had jobs that paid 6 figures. My stepkids are now struggling to find work after college.

I think my kids will be OK, but they are having a more difficult start than I had, and that can be hard to recover from longer-term. I am supporting them only emotionally now as I'm back in school to prepare for a "second career" as I believe I'll need to work until I physically can't, to support myself and my 10 year-old. I'm hopeful for her because she is smart, talented, and persistent already at her age. She's seen me work hard to get through school and I hope to show her the benefits of that as I re-enter the FT workforce soon. I have thought that this has been a good experience for her, us living on a small income, since I did watch many of my stepkids' friends flounder after having been raised with everything handed to them. Many are now still unable or unwilling to support themselves.

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answers from Houston on

Gosh...almost afraid to answer! Nah...not really. I am indeed alot better off than my parents were. However...we were raised poor...but we never really knew it. What we got was not money....but a closeness that will remain with us forever. Both of my children...inspite of not having a father since age 8 (son) and daughter (17) accident...are what I would call very successful...with good jobs and real estate...and don't want for anything. My grandson...don't know what he has in store for him...but he will most likely go to college...but alot will depend on him after have to be a go-getter....not a slacker with your hands in your pockets.

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