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Old 08-16-2014, 07:44 PM
 
Location: New Yawk
8,652 posts, read 4,786,033 times
Reputation: 14011

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And that's their foolish choice to make, likely born of lack of life experience if they prioritize a vacation over an emergency fund. You don't have to have a large emergency fund, but 3-6 months salary is ideal. For us, we had 9 months salary in liquid savings and that was barely enough to get us back on our feet when, right after I had already went back to school full-time (no loans, academic scholarship covers tuition, books and daycare for my youngest), my husband was laid-off from him job of 14 years and could not find steady employment for another 6 months, and then another month of lag-pay after he did start. We even had to down-grade to a much smaller apartment, but needed 1st months rent + 3 months security upfront (grand total of $5000). If we had had more fun (ie. saved less emergency money), we'd be looking to the government for help.

Long story short: you cannot accurately predict your expenses, particularly when kids are involved, and a one income family is especially economically vulnerable, hence why so many moms return to work ASAP and shell out the money for daycare, even if they just break even.
Quote:
Originally Posted by eddiehaskell View Post
That is standard protocol, but many working class families live without a large emergency fund.

 
Old 08-16-2014, 07:47 PM
 
436 posts, read 306,504 times
Reputation: 645
My parents had plenty of means to provide me with a stellar existence. They could have bought me fancy clothes, had me go to private school, enrolled me in whatever extracurricular activities I wanted to do - heck, they could have bought me a pony to put in our massive backyard if they had wanted to. They didn't. In fact, in hindsight, I must have ranked pretty low on their list of priorities. I remember sitting in the car waiting while my parents spent the day antique shopping, or buying decorative trees for the garden, or buying hundreds if not thousands of dollars worth of clothing for themselves. I remember sitting in our NYC apartment, alone, eating a TV dinner, while they went out for a night at the opera and fancy dinner. I remember sitting in our hotel room by myself, coloring, while they went out to enjoy nightlife and casinos in whatever destination we were visiting. (Wow, that's depressing to even write out, lol.)

It didn't really strike me at the time, but in hindsight I feel kind of incredulous that they didn't spend more resources (and I don't mean just monetary) on their kid. My husband and I now live comfortably enough, but are definitely not rich like my parents were. And yet we dedicate much more of our time and attention (and proportion of our income) on our kids. They have many more options than either of us had growing up. That said, their lives aren't fancy, either. They go to the Y, not private dance academies. They have toys, but they're mostly childhood classics. We go on vacations, but it's not to Europe or Hawaii or the Caribbean, it's to the next state park over where we spend a weekend. My mom has said more than once that she feels bad for me that I'm not able to provide my kids with the same opportunities she was able to provide to me. And that just strikes me as ironic.

I think "average" parenting is just fine as long as it's proportional to what you're able to give, and it's a conscious value. "Despite the cultural trend towards being too intensive a parent, I'm going to make sure my kids stay grounded and not go out of my way to spoil them." Great, terrific, yay! I see NOTHING wrong with a simple childhood. I love the book Simplicity Parenting. One of my favorites. But my parents' behavior wasn't a conscious choice on their part to give me a simple childhood, it was just basically that they were living their lives, and I just happened to be their kid. That, to me, is weird. I don't get it at all. I'm not one to butt into other people's business, but if I saw a family that had a ton of resources and pretty much didn't use any of it for their kids, I'd probably raise an eyebrow. But hey.
 
Old 08-16-2014, 07:48 PM
 
8,541 posts, read 5,262,232 times
Reputation: 9100
Quote:
Originally Posted by eddiehaskell View Post
But it appears your idea of having a life may limit some parents to going bowling once a year.
Not all fun costs money. There are a lot of things people can do for fun that are absolutely free or at least cheap. And no, I doubt many kids would be negatively impacted by their parents spending a little cash on some fun from time to time. We are a working class family and my daughter has friends in all spectrums from wealthy to middle class to dirt poor. We all manage to do the best for our kids that we can with what we have.
 
Old 08-16-2014, 07:49 PM
 
11,356 posts, read 6,424,031 times
Reputation: 6112
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozgal View Post
No, that is what YOU are saying.

Every family, and every child has different needs and wants and requirements. It's not arbitrary, it's considered on a case by case basis depending on a multitude of dependent factors.

...and I quote:
But it is arbitrary. How do you know your child couldn't benefit from you working harder and raising his standard of living? What made you decide that your lot in life is all your child deserves?
 
Old 08-16-2014, 07:50 PM
 
11,356 posts, read 6,424,031 times
Reputation: 6112
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkb0714 View Post
Why is it suddenly working class families, when you titled the thread "average life"? Working class families are not the average, not by $20-30K.

Oh wait, it is because your "point" is spectacularly not true for the "average" aka the middle middle class.
Working class, middle class, average - call it what you will. That's somewhat irrelevant.
 
Old 08-16-2014, 07:50 PM
 
436 posts, read 306,504 times
Reputation: 645
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ms.Mathlete View Post
And that's their foolish choice to make, likely born of lack of life experience if they prioritize a vacation over an emergency fund.
Yes and no. (Note: I didn't see the post yet that you were referring to, so I'm not defending any one situation, I'm just taking that quote of yours on its own.) Sometimes, DUE to life experience, you prioritize vacations over other things. If life is stressful enough, and you don't see any way out in the near future, you just have to make a sacrifice and take a vacation. Possibly not a very FANCY one, but it's sometimes necessary to have a mental health break, and/or to make some good memories as a family. If you scrimp and save and put off taking a vacation until you're more settled financially, you may NEVER get to go on it, if you have a string of bad luck and emergencies, etc. I'm not saying that it's an ideal situation, of course not. But I put an annual vacation on the list of necessities in our budget line as well. Lean years mean simple vacations. But you can't just put them off forever...
 
Old 08-16-2014, 07:50 PM
 
8,541 posts, read 5,262,232 times
Reputation: 9100
Quote:
Originally Posted by eddiehaskell View Post
But it is arbitrary. How do you know your child couldn't benefit from you working harder and raising his standard of living? What made you decide that your lot in life is all your child deserves?
What made you decide to settle for what you have?
 
Old 08-16-2014, 07:53 PM
 
11,356 posts, read 6,424,031 times
Reputation: 6112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ms.Mathlete View Post
And that's their foolish choice to make, likely born of lack of life experience if they prioritize a vacation over an emergency fund. You don't have to have a large emergency fund, but 3-6 months salary is ideal.
Ok, lets say they have the emergency fund. Emergency funds don't impact a child's life, but $2-3k could, right?
 
Old 08-16-2014, 07:54 PM
 
Location: The analog world
15,572 posts, read 8,742,257 times
Reputation: 20900
Quote:
Originally Posted by eddiehaskell View Post
Ok, lets say they have the emergency fund. Emergency funds don't impact a child's life, but $2-3k could, right?
They do if they prevent your children from going hungry during a rough patch!
 
Old 08-16-2014, 07:55 PM
 
11,356 posts, read 6,424,031 times
Reputation: 6112
Quote:
Originally Posted by zenapple View Post
My parents had plenty of means to provide me with a stellar existence. They could have bought me fancy clothes, had me go to private school, enrolled me in whatever extracurricular activities I wanted to do - heck, they could have bought me a pony to put in our massive backyard if they had wanted to. They didn't. In fact, in hindsight, I must have ranked pretty low on their list of priorities. I remember sitting in the car waiting while my parents spent the day antique shopping, or buying decorative trees for the garden, or buying hundreds if not thousands of dollars worth of clothing for themselves. I remember sitting in our NYC apartment, alone, eating a TV dinner, while they went out for a night at the opera and fancy dinner. I remember sitting in our hotel room by myself, coloring, while they went out to enjoy nightlife and casinos in whatever destination we were visiting. (Wow, that's depressing to even write out, lol.)
It appears that according to some your parents failed you. They could have provided you with an upper class lifestyle but chose not to do so.
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