Thursday, November 16, 2006


Following directly from the themes of my last post:

My parents have offered to contribute $500 to my monthly budget. Consider that I take home about $890 every two weeks, and this would increase that by more than a third. I could join a gym and have sushi every now and again. But I've prided myself on beginning a more independent part of my life and on not being a burden on them as my father retires. I initially turned it down. My father was hurt, and said something along the lines of, "I just want you to have some fun. You're 23. Life's too short." I felt guilty.

Do I take it, take a reduced amount, or turn it down?


Sarah said...

It is a hard dilemma. I understand the need for independence, but if your parents have the money and don't mind sharing the wealth then I wouldn't feel too guilty about it. Especially, because you can do something positive for your future with the money and give it up when you don't need it anymore, say $250 for sushi and gym and $250 for your e-fund and retirement.

$30K in NYC is not really enough money in my opinion. I think most people who live there on that salary get help from their parents. Perhaps you can set a limit with your dad, like when I make $40K a year I will no longer accept payments. My parents never gave me direct cash, but they did give me a car and pay my insurance/gas, which is essentially the same thing. I really couldn't have afforded to get to work otherwise. We english majors just make a pathetic salary starting out, no?

Sarah said...

Oh- just one follow-up point so people don't think I'm a brat, I give this advice only if your parents have the extra money and have themselves well taken care of. It sounds like they do from your posts on your private school education, but I wanted to make that clear. I wouldn't have taken help from my parents if they didn't want to give it AND weren't in a financial position to do so.

Anonymous said...

There was an article in the NYT recently about this - NYC is very expensive and recent grads with low salaries getting money from parents. There can be a problem when the giver tries to influence how the money is spent. Or maybe they want to hold onto the idea that you are not independent...

After graduating college all money I received from my parents was as a loan. In the end my Dad cancelled the loans I took from him in grad school after I had begun to repay them (In Boston my TA salary wasn't a lot and as a foreign student I couldn't work off campus even if I wanted to - I also was unemployed for a while back in London...). That time I happily took the money. Later when I moved back to the US 4 years ago my mother lent me £8000 to help with the move. She offered to cancel that loan and I declined the offer that time and repaid in full even though it's no problem for her to give me that or even 10 times that.

More recently, we have this situation. I don't have a problem with this as this is in an "inheritance" context. I'm happy to inherit money when I don't apparently need. Much less to take a handout when I do apparently need it. That loan cancellation back then after grad school was when my Dad sold the big artwork. He gave the same money to my brother £7500 - my brother received that all in cash, me mostly in cancelled loans. So again that was an inheritance. It wasn't a need based handout.

How you feel about things may be different. If I was you I'd turn it down. But you're not me. But if your Dad said "I'm going to gift $6000 a year into an investment or retirement account for you and you won't need to save as much for retirement". That would feel entirely different to me than receiving $500 a month spending money.