“Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after.”
George Orwell said that in 1945. It was true then, is now and will probably always be true.
I feel as though I am uniquely qualified to comment on ‘kids these days’. Mainly because I’ve been referred to as an ‘old soul’ by our Client Relations and Administration Manager Kylie when she is being nice to me.
I’ve also been referred to as a ‘grumpy old fart’ by my wife when I refuse to do something new or change my routine.
However, I am only 29 years old and so I’m actually a millennial.
I read an article the other day complaining about Gen Z, so hopefully that means millennials are out of the woods. For this post though, I’ll lump everyone under the age of 30 together.
What are some of the accusations levelled against ‘kids these days’? They don’t work hard, they only care about themselves etc. But why is this the case? Because some can get away with it.
Think about your own childhood and early adulthood. It was hard.
You earned next to nothing, which was fair because you didn’t know anything.
You had to learn how to do your job while at the same time navigate the world on your own.
If you were given the option to coast along and have your lifestyle funded without effort, why wouldn’t you? It would be like lifting weights by hand when there’s a forklift available.
To be honest, in that situation you’d worry about the mental aptitude of someone who knowingly chose to make their life harder by lifting the weights instead of using the forklift.
But this is the point. Using a forklift doesn’t make you stronger. Lifting the weights yourself does.
In the same way, having your parents give you money doesn’t help you develop the skills and attitude required to survive on your own. Earning it yourself does.
This is not to say there isn’t value in helping your kids. To continue my clumsy weight lifting analogy, sometimes you need a ‘spotter’.
My parents paid for my first years rent when I left home and I have borrowed money off them in the past (with a sound business plan to back it up).
I am and always will be very grateful for the help they have given me.
It’s a hard thing to get right. I understand why some people feel that they need to ‘take care’ of their adult kids financially. You’ve been doing it for 20 years, it might be hard to stop.
But do it in the long term and you’re not doing them any favours. For one thing, most people I meet need to focus on funding their own retirement, not fund handouts for their kids.
It’s tough but have the discussion with your spouse and your kids.
I have seen both sides of this equation (the kids and the parents, and what happens when it becomes implicit that the parents will be there to bail their kids out.
What do you think is fair and what does your spouse think is fair? Work this out, and then tell your kids exactly what you can and will do to help them.
Don’t let them drift along thinking you’ll be there to pick up the slack anytime they want.
Written by Dallas Davison.
Dallas Davison, Michael Hogue and Ali Hogue.