Friday, July 31, 2009

The Family Budget

This column wins for "random fact" of the week. Just when I thought Margo was being, um, normal, she tosses this in!:

Dear Margo: I am 20 and have been lucky in life ... growing up in nice neighborhoods, going to good schools, having parents who were successful financially. I am about to get my B.A. and then work full time at a good job. My wonderful boyfriend is 22 and has been less fortunate. He was raised by an amazing single mother who worked two jobs to support four children. They are from a low-income, mostly Latino community, where the schools were poor. As a result, life has been harder for him. Unlike my parents, who have given me money to save, he's had to work full time, living paycheck to paycheck. Because of this, he'd been out of school for a short while, but has started working on his degree again. The problem is my parents. They say he's riding my coattails and taking advantage of me, and that once we've been cohabiting long enough, he's going to take half of what I have. The things they say come off as classist and even racist, and they both know that their remarks offend and hurt me deeply. Should I tell my parents to take a hike? I want to maintain a good relationship with them and my boyfriend, but they're making it difficult. In some ways, I feel that they should have a say in what I do because much of the money I have saved came from them. What can I do?

— Head Over Heels in Phoenix

Dear Head: I, too, think parents should have a say in a child's life (and not because they have supplied money), but any child who is a reasonably mature 20 should be allowed to evaluate what it is the parents have to say. I suspect you have things pegged right. Your beau sounds as though he was well, if not lavishly, raised, and your relationship sounds like perfection. I suspect your parents are using stereotypical prejudices to deduce that your young man will never amount to anything. I don't have to look very far to counter their thinking.

My own father had to work from the age of 13 and dropped out of school in the 10th grade. With smarts and drive and no higher education, his life worked out; he was the founder of Budget Rent A Car. So go with your gut and stick with your fella. — Margo, intuitively

Yes, yes, yes, yes, um.....what?

Ann Landers and Mr. Budget: America's top 1950s power couple?

SK adds, with great contempt for Margo:
"[snort] Speaking of riding on coattails...."

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