TL;DR – It’s 2017 and I learned a lot about $.
In Asia where I come from, it’s completely normal to get money from your parents. Some still get money from their folks even after they get married, and to be honest, if there is (extra) money to be given, I don’t see anything wrong with this. I’m a little bit over 20 now and I admit to have received funding and all sorts of financial aid from my parents – tuition, restaurant money, rent money, vacation money – you name it. I used to have a credit card back home and I would use it religiously. I never saw the bills and never paid for any of them. Life was good but also, I had 0 net worth of my own.
So it came as a shock to me when my monthly stipends from my parents were stopped. I was unhappy and I raised an argument, “But you have the money! It’s not like you’re broke!” and my parents’ reasoning (the good parents that they are, refusing to spoil their daughter) was: they simply didn’t want to give it to me.
Simply. did. not. want. to. give. me. money.
I did not understand and did not want to understand and I could feel my millennial sense of entitlement bursting from the seams.
All of a sudden without a warning, the journey of supporting one’s self had begun for me. Do I have a job? Yes. Do I get jealous of 27, 28-yo men who still get wire transfers from their parents back home? Absolutely.
But a few recent occurrences helped me realize what’s wrong here.
One of my (dear) acquaintances had wanted to borrow money from me. For the purpose of the story, I will use ‘they’ as a pronoun. I didn’t have the heart to say no right away so I slept on it and slept on it and finally I agreed to give 1/3 of what they asked for. They were disappointed and negotiated for a better deal. I said that’s my final offer.
Then I reviewed my financial stance again, this time thoroughly. Because I am no longer a customer of the Bank of Mommy and Daddy, I said I would give this adamant borrower exactly how much I can give them and it is less than 1/3 of the original amount. I asked them to go and ask their Bank of Mommy and Daddy for $ instead. If you’re thinking – why did they ask me and not their parents to begin with- idk fam… idk. Pride?
Instead of thanking me for GIVING – not lending- them 1/3, they said I was not helpful, that even with a full-time stable job I was still selfish enough to not lend them money, that my parents are more well off than theirs, that it’s not big money for me.
The second occurrence is planning a friend’s birthday. It’s a special age, so the birthday person, their close friends, etc. instinctively thought celebrations will be big and festive. The birthday person asked the group chat if people are down for bottle service (aka if they would chip in). Again, given my situation, I have to be smart and plan my finances right. I can’t drop $300 at a club like I used to anymore. Frankly, I don’t enjoy it anymore (really). As they are my close friend, I told them the truth. “I’m not in a place to spend that kind of money now. Mom and Dad cut me loose financially.”
They asked. I answered.
Instead of getting an “Ok that’s fine” or “Ok I understand”, I got something along the lines of, “Come on Natasha, it’s one less brunch, one less rave, one less this and that…”
When people “ask” for money, they go into the request with the mindset that the answer will and should always be yes. Somehow people think if the answer to money is not yes, the saying “money is the root of all evil” prevails.
Dude. That’s not how it works.
There’s a reason why you’re asking me; it’s MY money. What I choose to do with it, how I choose to spend it, is my business. The subject in the first story bought shoes and bags and other retail items (some of them for gifts) after asking me for money. Did I say anything? No. Although, if it were me I would not have shopped and used the money wisely in a way that I don’t have to ask others for money. I know this works because I haven’t bought clothes in a long time ( ugh halp papa mama 🙁 ). Do I still go to raves and concerts? Hell yeah. You’re going to derive unhappiness from my life decision and tell me I’m selfish? I’m sorry that using my money to treat myself once in a while upsets you.
Even IF I was in a position to lend money, I can still say no, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
You can request for a loan at a bank and they can say “No fam, we ain’t lending you crap”. Are you going to reason with them, “But you have the money doe!”
I don’t understand how you guilt trip someone into lending you money and be upset when it doesn’t work.
Meanwhile, things went quite well with the subject in the second story. To begin with, they were not asking for money for their personal use, but for me to be a part of their birthday – which is all kinds of normal and welcome. For the record, how I wish I could splurge without thinking twice. This person later apologized and said they understood my situation. We are still going to go out, but I will be under a budget and understandably so.
Thank Jesus I am still friends with all the people mentioned in the stories.
It’s only the end of the third month of 2017 and I’m already learning a lot. I learned it’s not right to demand and to be self entitled for money or anything else, even to your own parents. Maybe I won’t be one of those 27, 28-yo adults who still get financial stimulus, but I have to be content with being the 22-yo who used to get financial stimulus. That’s a number of years longer than the regular folks here.
I also learned to not be guilty when guilt tripped to lend money. What I wish people would learn too is that even when someone’s wallet is brimming with cash, they can still say no to lending you $ and you have to be ok about it. Don’t question or reason with them and try to question their spending habits. Who knows, they spend the way they spend and therefore they are brimming with cash. Maybe that’s something to take home.
So do I believe that money is the root of all evil? Only if you let it.
All photos by Yzelle Duran