According to a recent study, 87% of Israeli citizens over the age of 25 are receiving significant monthly financial assistance from their parents, to the tune of $25K per year.
“Not me”, you say? “I handle things myself” you say? Ya sure?
Who pays your car insurance? Brings you to the States every summer? Covers that unexpected dental bill? Junior’s piano lessons? Camp? Does Grandma watch your little ones every afternoon, so you don’t have to pay for day care? How about new shoes/boots/sandals/sneakers every season? Have an emergency credit card in your wallet with Mommy’s name on it, just in case? Does an online Children’s Place sale count as an emergency?
As a (proud) member of the minority who stands on her own indebted two feet (ok, four, if you count my husband) I’d like to offer up some distinct advantages for my fellow 13%’ers, lest we tend toward envy. The grass is not greener. It may be better travelled, but it ain’t sunnier.
Here are your top 5 reasons why:
1) Freedom: On the rare occasion you get to visit America, after you’ve saved your child tax credit for at least five years to afford it the plane tickets, you get to go wherever you want, visit whomever you want, eat whatever you want, stay wherever you want and avoid any possible guilt trip headed your direction. You don’t owe nothin’ to nobody. Wanna take the rugrats to Chinatown and chow dim sum at 11pm? No problem. Ditching shul to head to a Yankees game Saturday morning? Easy peasy. Existing on Lucky Charms for the two weeks you’re there? Go ahead with your bad self, put it up on Facebook. Nobody can tell you not to.
2) Permission for slobbiness: You can’t afford a house cleaner, and you’ve got kids and pets. Everybody expects to see dried corn flakes crusting over the table at 3pm. You have the best excuse in the book – you’re not supported – you’ve got to clean it yourself (between groceries, laundry, homework help, muffin baking and two jobs) or the dog might help, if he can reach the table. No worries, he’s learned to jump up on a chair to access the leftovers. Free cleaning help – score!
3) Don’t worry, be happy: Since you are permanently in overdraft (or as the Israelis say “minus”) and you cannot possibly exist in a constant state of agitation and hand-wringing worry (enemies who want to kill us on all sides, you say? Nah – we can handle that too) you simply learn to live with it. Over time, being in the red takes up less and less of your head space, and you become accustomed to beginning each month at zero, and sinking further and further into “minus” as the days wear on…until BANG! your paycheck hits the account, clears out your overdraft, and you are thrilled to be back at just broke. See? Lower your expectations, and everything is a nice surprise.
4) No mortifying begging: Do you remember asking, sheepishly, for a raise in your allowance when you were eleven? Well, it sucked then and it sucks now. Most of us would rather crawl into a hole than beg. Lucky you – you never have to – it’s not part of your world or consciousness to ask your parents for something you (or your kid) want. If there is something you have your eye on, you have several options. You can debate it with your spouse, save for it, budget for it, or put it on Israel’s favorite plan: tashlumim. Yep, each month, we’re paying for the two year old washing machine, the one year old freezer and the six month old refrigerator. But hey, there was no begging.
5) String-free: Considering we all know that there is no free lunch, the only way to live string-free is to depend on yourself. When someone is supporting you financially, suddenly you discover the strings attached……you need to parent according to someone else’s “wisdom”, or smile at people you don’t like, or dress in a way that satisfies your sponsors. Or live in a community which makes you uncomfortable. Those who take nothing, owe nothing.
C’mon….you know you want to join me in the sexy life of the broke independents. We may not vacation very often, but when we do…..it’s Krispy Kreme for dinner all the way. Guilt-free.