Career

Should we millennials pay board for living at home? Laura Platts votes NO

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Laura Platts of The Workher blog responds to the topic that’s doing the media rounds RN

OPINION: From being given pocket money as a kid, to an allowance each month as a teen, to now growing up and being faced with the bright-lights-big-city-type life where you gotta pay your way. Peeps are out there in the papers (read here and here) questioning whether it’s time to flip the coin, making it our turn to now pay our parents while we’re still living at home.

Umm hello, there’s a major housing crisis in Auckland which is sweeping more parts of the country, and some people choose to live at home as a strategy to save the moolah (or even because they literally have no choice with rent prices on the up). Paying board can kinda defeat this, ya feel me?

Or why don’t we leave it for each family to decide? Well, we do but why not talk about it? Now.

We’re only gonna break the taboo topic of money if we start having real life conversations about it. I know it’s a pretty personal subject but being clued up on the finances is something we need, it’s tip top important to have a strong understanding of how money works. Bare with me, I know it can be a totes boring subject but the world freakin’ moves around on money so it’s only just a little bit important. YUP.

You also might be thinking, ‘My parents love me so much they don’t want to take my money nor do they want me to move out! I’m doing them a favour! Right?!’ Okaaaay we might be getting a little carried away with this line of thinking but the savings angle is a legit argument.

I get it, it can be seen as a big sign of the ol’ R.E.S.P.E.C.T to pay your parents board. They’ve done so much for us as we’ve grown up, their worlds practically revolved around us for years. But if they can help out some more and have you living at home while you advance those much-needed savings goals, I reckon it’s seriously a good thing.

Another question that might be rolling around in your head is, will my $100 a week (or whatever the nominal going rate is in your hood) really help my parents that much anyway?

With some families it will be a big help (it’s circumstantial right?), in others… okay, maybe it won’t be that much to the oldies. I think it’s one of those life lessons that some parentals try to bury deep in their actions. They’re thinking along the lines of ‘My kid needs to be equipped for the real world, they’ll be paying bills one day so let’s teach ‘em how.’

It’s great you wanna teach us a life lesson but maybe this can be done a little more openly and more transparently? Don’t try trick us into learning. Let’s be straight up about it.

“It’s great you wanna teach us a life lesson but maybe this can be done a little more openly and more transparently?”

The lesson I think the over 18-year-olds living at home should be taught is more along the savings line of thinking. How about instead of paying board, that money goes into a longer-term savings account? Setting up automatic recurring payments with your bank can help get you into a solid habit of setting money aside (and along the way you’ll learn to keep the temptation at bay when espresso martinis are calling). It’s that idea of paying yourself first (#goals) but also helping you learn to consistently put the pennies away – like what you do as a real-world grown up with bills and rent to pay. That way it’s not gonna hit you in the face as a big surprise when you do eventually move out. Now you can all sit back and watch your savings (slowly) roll up as one big happy family. KACHING.

You might be saving for a house, apartment, car, travel or hey, you might not even know what you’re saving for. But at least you’re making a start.

You also never know what life has installed for you right around the corner. You might get the opportunity to be part of an overseas exchange program, or your BFF’s aunty’s cousin has a villa in France you can stay in for a month, or you might want to buy Mum that new washing machine for Mother’s Day. You might want to test out the share market and give investing a go, or woah-zah you might have your light-bulb moment for the next best thing in fashion or tech and you’re gonna need that little bit of cash to get your entrepreneurial idea off the ground. #Boss. Whatever it is, if those savings are there, you’re much better prepared to grasp opportunities – and make that lemonade out of life’s lemons. (You’ll also be more set up to avoid having to borrow [so much] off your parents if you’re one of those lucky ones that can.)

It might even be teeny tiny small amounts to start with, heck you might even split it so some money goes to saving and some goes to ‘board’ as a contribution to the water or power bill, similar to what one mum, Maxine Hemi’s doing (love her thinking!). Whatever it is, however it’s done, let’s be transparent about it.

So, thanks mum and dad for trying to prepare us for adulting but please be straight up with us along the way. Let’s have an understanding of where our pennies are going and let’s not stop talking about money.

Surely that’s a much better life lesson?

laura platts millennials money

Laura Platts manages The Workher, a blog covering career advice, issues and inspiration for millennials.
Follow The Workher on Instagram and on Facebook, plus you can join their Workhers Auckland group on Facebook.

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