Dear Meghan and her Dad,
Hope you’re both well. I’m a 26-year-old woman with an MA in art history. Before graduating in May of 2013 I had a job lined up, and it sounded like a dream job at the time. So for the last year I’ve been working as a researcher at the art museum in my home city, part-time, no benefits, doing what I care about despite its relative unimportance in the big picture. I had a second (retail) job for several months to make ends meet, and then two months in my boyfriend moved in and I quit the other job, because the two of us combined made enough money, and also because the retail job was exactly what you’d expect it to be like.
A Father-Daughter Duo Answers Your Questions: Accepting Financial Assistance From Parents as an Adult
Yet as I near 30 and plan to move in with a partner who is similarly low-income to me, and we think about having a home, starting a family, etc, I become confused about where to draw the line of receiving help from my parents. Should we accept money for a home? A wedding ceremony? Our children’s college funds? The idea of continuing to accept money makes me feel as though I’m in a relationship with my parents, rather than building a life with my partner.
I’m 24 and I’ve been at my first job for about a year; it’s typically a two-year position. My supervisor has recently quit, and according to several coworkers in our (very small) office, I would be a good fit for it. I know the region of specialization, I just submitted a report to my big boss on long-term strategy that she really liked, and one of the other people in our office who works at the same level as my supervisor mentioned to the big boss that (as far as she’s concerned) I would be a good fit.
Here’s the problem: my boyfriend has HUGE student loan debt. Like, staggeringly large. His salary is pretty low… which doesn’t bother me except that he’s barely making any inroads on paying off his debt, and doesn’t really have a plan to do so. I don’t mind being the bigger contributor to our rent, bills, etc., but I don’t want to sink my life savings into paying off his debt, not least because of the, let’s face it, entirely real possibility of future break-up or divorce. A girl’s gotta be practical.
Photo: Vinoth Chandar
I’ve worked for eight years at a job that I’ve mostly loved. In the past three years I’ve learned an enormous amount from my supervisor, and have grown tremendously in the position. This supervisor is moving on to another position, and the people above will most likely replace her with someone who’s vision I don’t share. She’s done an incredible job in the past three years of shielding me and her other employees from the powers that be, who don’t seem to understand the realities of our work. For the first time in eight years I’m looking very seriously at new positions. I have interviews, but I don’t have any offers yet. I’m pretty hopeful about one position in particular coming through. Here’s the dilemma that I face: If I leave the job, I would be one of the four people in leadership positions to leave all at once. The thought of what that would do to the organization, and how it will be managed after we leave, is quite devastating to me. But is that enough to stay? To complicate matters a bit more, I’m a very new mom and I worry about how the stress of a new job will make parenting in the first year that much harder. Help!
A Father-Daughter Duo Answers Your Questions: Should We Use Our Money to See the World Now, Or Save for the Future?
My husband and I live well within our means in a very expensive city. We save what we can in his 401(k) and my Roth IRA. We have some accessible savings in our credit union, however we are not really saving much. We have prioritized world travel as our luxury. We are able to do this in an affordable way, considering the luxury, by often attaching our adventures to his work trips or relying on the kindness of friends who live or own abroad. The cost of the trips pale in comparison to the cost of things like raising a child (or two), or owning things! Would you say it’s worth investing in our lives right now when a couple of thousand dollars allows us to see the world, or put all that money away (somewhere!) to help out a little in the future? To add, we will hopefully make more money in the future. Thanks!
A Father-Daughter Duo Answers Your Questions: On a Parent-Child Relationship Based on Financial Support
So I guess what I’m wondering is this: How do I grow a financial backbone in the face of such generosity and how do I do this while maintaining a strong relationship with my father?
My question is this: how do I approach donating money to good causes (friends’ marathons, NPR fund drives, projects for teacher friends, etc.) when it feels like my money is not my own? Part of me feels like it’s unwise to donate even small amounts of money with such hefty interest rates, but it’s certainly not as if I don’t spend that money on every other type of purchase (everything from books and gas to happy hour and birthday dinners).
Welcome to a new bi-monthly advice column, in which you all ask questions about money and life and get a deeply subjective but very heartfelt answer from both me and my dad, who prefers to be known only as “Meghan’s dad” because he is afraid of being sued (?).