So here’s another post started in 2011.
I was struck by a comment by “brokeprofessionals” (they used to have a blog, but sold it many years back!) on an old get rich slowly post (remember when that blog was worth reading? Man, we need to clear out our drafts from 2011.). The commenter said, and I quote, “for most of us, growing up we never saw our parents or our parents [sic] friends struggling.”
He makes the argument that in general we were born after our parents were settled financially and we didn’t see them just starting out.
That, of course, does not mesh with my personal experience, nor probably with the experiences of the bulk of Americans. My parents struggled financially when we were growing up. That’s part of why my sister and I chose jobs that pay well and have saved a ton. We don’t *want* to have to worry about the rent or be insanely frugal or have to worry about small over-charges or larger emergencies. So much of our childhood was spent worrying about money. That tends to leave a mark.
And actually, our parents were doing better before I was born and were doing much better before my sister was born. For a while they got to live in the same city and were both employed. After my sister was born things were less stable because of jobs in separate parts of the country, spells of unemployment, etc., etc., etc. But hey, at least we still had the nice couches and the stereo system and the VW bug (man I loved that car) from before I was born. Those lasted through high school. My parents still have the couches.
My DH lived in a trailer in the woods when he was a little kid and his dad broke his back and had to retrain from being a carpenter to being an accountant while his mom was getting her RN.
Children are expensive. Starting jobs don’t always lead to stable careers. Families can interfere with flexibility.
And, of course, much of America is struggling and has been. Inequality has been widening since Reagan, and was wider before Johnson. Families struggle, especially those with children. Not everybody has the blessing of being upper-middle class. Most people don’t.
How about you? Did your parents struggle financially when you were growing up?