In our Money Mic series, we hand over the podium to people with controversial views about money. These are their views, not ours, but we welcome your responses.
Today, one 32-year-old woman tells us how she went into five-figure credit card debt by footing the bill for her parents’ expenses and why she now lies to them about her $70,000-a-year salary so she doesn’t have to continue to bail them out.
I love my parents dearly and will always be grateful for the love they’ve shown me. That’s why lying to them about how much money I make—and resisting the urge to bail them out of the financial messes they continually find themselves in—is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.
When I was growing up, I wasn’t really aware of the fact that my parents weren’t very smart about their finances. My dad is a member of the clergy and my mom is an executive assistant. While they never made a ton of money, it always seemed like we were fairly comfortable. My parents could afford to send me to summer sleep-away camp and to sign me up for extra-curricular activities, and they always portrayed this image of us being a we-can-keep-up-with-the-Joneses kind of family. It wasn’t until I got to high school that I realized there were some holes in the well-woven story that my parents had spun.
My Parents’ Money Problems
When I was in 12th grade, my dad lost his job, so my mom, dad, brother, and I moved to Colorado. When we got there, my mom was suddenly out of work as well. Money-wise, things went downhill very fast after we moved. I sensed that my parents were in financial trouble; I could see that they weren’t working, but they were still spending, and the numbers just didn’t add up. I guess I just assumed things would work themselves out.