Wow! This was a new one on me. I’ve always thought of retirement as a well deserved reward after decades of dedicated employment. So when I ran into a casual acquaintance the other day and found out she is retiring in three months at the very young age of fifty-five, I was shocked at her response to why she was retiring.
She said she had to quit working so her twenty-six year old son would learn to stand on his own two feet and grow up. Seems he still runs to Mom and Dad every month for help with his bills, help with transportation and maybe a little marital advice as well. He works out of town and by the time he gets home every weekend his wife has spent through his pay check that is direct deposited. His wife does not work and has no desire to work. Why should she? It sounds like she is living the life of riley.
A few months ago, Mom loaned the daughter-in-law a vehicle and it was returned to her nearly void of oil and running on fumes with cigarette burns everywhere. Mom’s only request at the time of the placing the keys in their hands was “Please don’t smoke in m y car.” If only Boy on a Budget had been available to this family fifteen years ago. Mom is thinking “better late than never.” where financial lessons are concerned. It is just too bad she feels like she has to take the drastic measure of retiring and not continuing to make deposits towards her own retirement accounts.
So now, when the twenty six year old son comes to borrow money, Mom and Dad can honestly say they cannot afford to help. Their son and his wife will have to make a budget, pay down their debts and learn to live below or at least within their own means. The apron strings and umbilical cord are being cut once and for all. This will be a cold turkey wake up call to financial reality. He is liable to squall louder than he did when his literal umbilical cord was cut.
How does one get to be well educated and twenty six years old without knowing how to stand on his own two feet? Through years of bad habits on both his part and the part of his parents. This young man was allowed to pad his wallet with Mom and Dad’s money. Mom and Dad are learning that they really were not doing anyone any favors by allowing these bad habits to continue past college.
Once Boy on a Budget is published there will be a whole chapter devoted to parents in this same predicament. With a few steps in the right direction, every family can overcome this situation and turn down the road towards financial security. Becoming a free babysitter so the daughter-in-law can find a job is not going to be the right option for every family. Keep checking back at the blog to see when you can expect to see Boy on a Budget in a bookstore near you.
Let me know how you and your family come up with ways to spend less and save more. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.