@catalania I think that's a cultural difference between the US and the UK (and a lot of Europe). There are financial responsibilities that a student in the US might have that a student in Europe doesn't, and that definitely throws in that extra tinge of desperation to the side-job search, but in general I think jobs are so strongly encouraged and people in this thread are so careful to mention that they've worked jobs and when because working for money is a cultural symbol of independence here -- and independence is the prime virtue in America, at least right now.
@bgprincipessa I had entire teeth covered in metal by the time I was five. How can so few teeth have so many cavities?!
I got scholarships that covered 1/2 to 2/3 the cost of my tuition/dorm/meal plan freshman through junior year and which covered about 1/2 my tuition senior year. My parents paid the rest of my tuition all years and transferred money into my bank account each month for rent senior year. I paid for my books and spending money all years, and groceries/bills my senior year, out of savings from my summer jobs. When I graduated, I had zero debt, and my parents had $20K on their credit cards (most of that was actually not from me directly, it was because of random emergencies like dental work for my dad, but since I ate up so much of their money in tuition/etc costs it was my debt indirectly). I moved in with them for a couple years after college and paid them rent -- way under market value in their (very expensive) area, but enough to pay the utilities/groceries/etc expenses I was tacking onto their bills and give them a few extra bucks as well. I also put money toward re-doing their basement (we split the cost). When they got out of debt I moved out. Since then, I've gone through a long period of un-/under-employment and had to ask for their help during a couple emergencies (shockingly high dental bill -- despite insurance! -- etc). They weren't going to support me, but when I would get to the end of my rope they'd slip me a couple hundred to keep me going. I'm now living comfortably and have no debt (credit or otherwise). My grandma also bought me a car when I graduated college. I'm still on my parents' car insurance -- that's the only money I get from them now. For context, my mom is a high school teacher, my dad is long-term unemployed (cartoonist), and my grandma is a widower. She worked in retail and her husband (my grandpa) worked for the federal govt. I'm an only child and my grandma's only grandchild, and even now, she and my parents spoil me completely. I'm grateful for it -- it has given me a huge leg up.
Should I be angry if someone tries to follow her passion for a bit, starves, and decides to try doing something more lucrative? Or follows her passion and does end up being innovative, a boon to society, drenched in money? How is the journey of following one's passion and either sticking with it or changing tracks only applicable to one generation? Why would it be a social ill? Isn't that something young people have done in every generation? Anyway, if the Millenials are so maddeningly footloose and fancy-free, doing whatever non-skill-based thing they feel like and expecting fabulous wealth to follow, what's up with the glut of broke young lawyers? I think that it's a shame that the cost of living is so high that money has to be such a large priority in the vast majority of people's lives. I wish that we were less money-obsessed and that idealism were taken more seriously. But in the current climate, that's like asking a heroin addict to stop being so fixated on shooting up.
In practice, I don't think people ever spend more on labor than they have to -- so companies are already automating everything they can, forcing each individual employee to work as hard as possible, and hiring as little as possible. I doubt that a raise in the minimum wage would actually cause a significant change in the number of minimum wage employees any given business employs, because that's already at or near the minimum amount. In terms of wealth transfers, what if those transfers were in the form of stocks? And what if the transfers went to the government, which then progressively distributed the dividends? I think that's similar what Kuwait does with its oil profits -- it's not a totally hammer and sickle idea.
Savings accounts are scams! The bank is paying you what, a cent for every dollar each year, for YOU letting THEM lend out YOUR money to make a much larger return for themselves. If you need to keep stuff extremely liquid because an emergency is on the horizon, then sure, throw a bit into one -- but to keep cash there for years is self-sabotage, in my opinion. Say you're extremely cautious -- what about savings bonds? Even with flat interest rates, I-bonds are tied to inflation and EE bonds are guaranteed to at least double in value, so bonds have at least a (roughly) 4% interest rate -- not great, but way better than the <1% you get from a savings account. You can buy max $10K of each type of bond per year (I think) but if you're throwing something insane like 25K per year into super (too) safe "retirement" accounts, you need to put some money in stocks ASAP anyway. At age 30, shouldn't 70% of your savings be in stocks,? Just invest in unhealthy things that people need, like liquor, and you'll survive the bumps! Also, maybe this is off the wall, but if there's a way to start some kind of side business, you can use your status as owner of that business to open a 401(k), and put all your earnings from the business into it. You can even have the business match you at up to $2 for every $1 you put in -- I think the max that you and the business can put into that account is $39K/yr and/or you can only directly contribute up to the amount of your earned income from the business. Also, if nothing works out in terms of the usual retirement savings vehicles, you can always buy an annuity when the time comes -- if you've found a way to invest your money well enough that you can afford one. Annuities are super expensive, but if you start investing now with the aim to buy one in 35 years, you'll probably be able to make it, and then you'll have income for life.
I've only had one semi-experience with bottle service. A few years back, I went clubbing with some friends in London -- they were club rats at the time. Before we went out, they called up the promoters they knew, and then we took a taxi down to where the clubs generally were and hopped from one place to another. If the club asked for a cover or if the promoter didn't meet us at the back door, we moved on to the next place. The bottle service part that I remember was: being led into a room off the main club, where there were lots of guys (the promoters and their clients) standing at stocked tables and lots of very hot girls dancing around. The girls were nearly all Russian and my friends said they were likely escorts. We were supposed to flirt with the random dumbasses who'd bought the tables for the night, in return for their booze etc. I *hated* it. I felt like a piece of meat, and there was nothing to do expect try to look hot and not get too bored. It was like being a prop. I've never gone to a big deal club since, because after that experience, I dread them. But it probably didn't help that the same night was an experiment in wearing wigs, so I had this hot, heavy, sliding-off rug of Vietnamese hair on my head.