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Owe our kids?

May 9th, 2017 at 09:48 pm

I've heard twice today from friends that they owe their kids a certain quality of life. One was the friend who is about to have a lifestyle change. She said she was struggling with the realization she can't give her kids the lifestyle they have now. I said that's not true. The lifestyle they have now is funded by debt so it's not real. You can't compete with that. Even staying married you'd be cutting back and "decreasing" their "quality of life" anyway. She thought about it and agreed. But said it still sucks because this is all they've know. I agree.

Then at lunch another friend was discussing about how she is desperate to buy a house because renting is throwing away money. That renting is making their life unstable and shouldn't they buy because it would stabilize their life for their kids? I mean they are rushing to buy a house with less than a 10% DP and she was talking about pawning her jewelry to get more money together. I wanted to shake her and say no you don't need a house to be stable. The kids are okay. But I get it. I get the feeling of instability. I asked her if they were preparing for retirement and she said no. They are struggling to save for the house.

But that got me thinking. I've never felt we owe our kids anything. I feel like we need to be responsible adults and making good decisions about our financial future is being good parents. I don't think we had to buy a house for our kids. We bought it because we wanted a house. We also don't think that we have to provide x, y, or z.

But I'm realizing that parents of all different economic levels feel this pressure to provide everything. We're expected to provide a nice home, college, car, house down payment, wedding. It's insane. Don't get me wrong I get wanting to give your kids everything. But I'm still firmly in the camp that you take care of yourself and everything else will fall into place. I see these parents giving EVERYTHING of themselves and their money for their kids. What happens when it's time for them to retire or not have a job? How will their kids manage if everything is handed to them? Or worse will their kids be able to turn the tables and support them if these parents give anything for them.

Are we doomed to failure if we continue down this path? What do we really owe our kids?

6 Responses to “Owe our kids?”

  1. LuckyRobin Says:

    We owe our kids love, food, shelter, and appropriate clothing to keep them comfortable. We owe them the instillation of a good moral compass and a belief system that will keep them out of trouble when they are not with us. If we have a faith, we owe it to them to bring them up in that faith, but also we owe it to them to realize they may one day choose a different one and be willing to allow them to find it. We owe them adequate medical attention when needed. We owe them the value of learning how to work for what they want. We owe them the attention required to make sure that their education is actually being learned, either by being involved in the schools and keeping up with their teachers, checking homework every night, helping them if they are struggling or finding someone who can, or homeschooling. We don't owe them their expectations. We don't owe them anyone else's expectations, either. Giving kids everything is a bad idea. It teaches them to be very spoiled human beings who have no empathy for anyone else, do not understand the value of money, and think the world revolves around them and only them.

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    Well said LR! Completely agree.

  3. Carol Says:

    What LR said. ( beautifully,by the way.)

  4. Debt-free by Thir-ty Says:

    Thirding the praise on LR's comment. I don't have children yet, but if I'm lucky enough to one day, I certainly want to give my kids a better quality of life than I had growing up. However, I don't think I owe them anything. I got where I am by working hard, and I hope to pass that work ethic on to any future children I may have.

  5. CB in the City Says:

    LR said it! I have seen some sad examples of children who have been given everything material -- unfortunately they are straitjacketed by greed and entitlement, and not the least bit happy with all that they have. Give them good parenting and character! That's what they need!

  6. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    I wish more parents could and would read what you wrote LuckyRobin. That's it. I think you provide to the best of your ability and realize that what you are giving your kids is the BEST you can do. It may not be more or less than others but you are trying. And even then it may not be "enough" I think of many people in shelters where we volunteer. And they don't have enough but are still trying to do as much as possible for their children. I'd like to think every parent does.

    But I guess for many parents it's the guilt of feeling that you aren't doing enough.

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