Wikinvest Wire

Conversations with father

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Last week was very much of a whirlwind - one day quickly expiring and leading into the next without allowing sufficient time to reflect on what had happened.

Recollections of conversations now come drifting back after the pace has slowed and a normal schedule resumes.

Two such conversations were with my soon-to-be 80-year old father on the changes that have occurred over the generations with the younger crowd.

Seventy-some years ago he started working as a paper boy earning a whopping 5 cents per week. As was the custom during that era, one or two pennies went to his family and he kept the rest.

When I was a teenager, working part time, particularly during the summer months, was about the only way that one could afford to buy their own car (or at least make the required sizable contribution toward one) and fund other expenditures.

Today, teenagers come from eastern Europe by the thousands to work along the east coast every summer because many of the younger crowd couldn't be bothered with slaving away for minimum wage.

Times sure have changed.

Dad also takes particular pride in telling the story about how his son insisted on paying back money borrowed to finish up college twenty-some years ago. At first the elder Iacono refused the monthly remittances but the son insisted on making regular payments for more than five years.

When the story is told today, the listener usually stares in disbelief as freely flowing home equity money has helped to make expensive college educations seem a birthright.

Times sure have changed.

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Anonymous said...

Americans in general (not all) have become lazy and entitled. Homes where there is obviously not enough money for mundane maintenance and both parents (or one if an all too common single parent home) work to make ends meet, lawn services are hired to handle tiny lawns while the healthy teen male sleeps the summer away. Zero is the amount of socially accepted manual or menial labor allowed. Delivering papers or any job not associated with some degree of presitige is considered worse than no job at all. As long as borrowing can fund the difference, they're fine. But soon they'll be maxxed out and I really don't know what is going to happen. I assume the government will simply start paying bills for everyone and printing the cash to do it with.

Anonymous said...

sometimes we wish we didn't have kids.. it is difficult to be honest and still be accepted in this crazy social environment.. we're hoping modesty makes a comeback

dearieme said...

My daughter started a weekend/school holiday job when she was 16. It was part of her education.

David said...

I work with a nice, middle-class mom. Both she and her husband work at very decent jobs and make the daily two hour roundtrip from the 'burbs. They both work hard and live a good middle-class lifestyle. Debt fuels multiple cars, multiple vacations (domestic & international), time share, and brand new kitchen cabinets.

Funny thing is...their three children are getting a free ride at state universities. Five years worth of in-state tuition, books, gasoline, rent and a little walking-around money all come via their 2nd mortgage. Georgia does pay for the first 120hrs but there are many fees and drop/add classes count against this total.

I respect this couple for helping their kids graduate without any student loans, but at what cost to their future? This mom & dad are paying rent for six places (two mortgages, the time share, and three apartment rents).

The three kids don't really work. Just a few hours a week in between the rock climbing, binge drinking and trips back to Atlanta.

I don't know how they sleep at night with this rather massive debt monster hiding in the basement.

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