Venmo is most widely used by millennials. Like other topics once known for being verboten at a dinner party, we’re known for being more open than our parents about money. So it’s fitting that Venmo, unlike its predecessor PayPal, includes a social networking aspect: I log in and can see that Alex paid Sara $13 for movie tickets. But we’re also still navigating a time in our lives when careers and financial milestones move at varying paces among peer groups, breeding those awkward bill-splitting moments that so often end in temporary annoyance (“Did you see the way Pat stiffed the bartender on the tip?” “Those girls John brought last night ordered like, three pitchers of margaritas that they didn’t pay for, dude.”)
As the twentieth century draws to a close, I find myself the father of three boys under five.
The youngest is born under circumstances that seem positively routine compared with our first outing. When I return to hospital six hours after the birth, my wife is dressed and ready to go, the baby packed up like hand luggage.
I’m totally thrilled that my childhood friendships have withstood the test of time enough to make the wedding day invite list and the annual birthday happy hour, but every so often, I wish for a phone call, text or invitation that didn’t come accompanied by an overinflated spending expectation.
A story in receipts.
A few Billfold pals and I went for a drink after last night’s event and we got to talking about our parents and the complicated relationships we have with them.
The first time I moved back home with my folks, I was a 26-year-old with only two suitcases, a deferred NYU student loan, and bank account that was overdrafted by $800 (thanks to a sketchy Vancouver landlord who peaced out with my rent deposit) to my name.
My father passed away when I was 24, the youngest of six siblings. We were close; we loved talking about hard work and money, whether we were out eating at Denny’s, or at home watching football or the Daily Show. He died before he got to see me go to grad school, start a real professional career, meet the love of my life, get married, get a mortgage, have kids, have grandkids, start my 401(k), live a life. My dad was 54 years older than me, but his passing was sudden. When I was younger, I didn’t anticipate that he wouldn’t be able to walk me down the aisle, and now I have no idea how I’m ever going to afford a wedding in the future. His parents (my grandparents) lived to be 93. I thought my dad was in otherwise good health until he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer at the age of 78.