Growing up, I had the immense privilege of not having to worry about money. I am infinitely grateful to my parents for this, and am more than well aware that I am in the minority of people who grew up not worrying about money. My mom grew up in a family of eight in South Buffalo, and she made it her mission to make sure my brother and I grew up not having to worry, and end up without school debt, which she’d dealt with.
Because of this, I wanted for nothing growing up, did not have to work through high school and college (though I did work two jobs in college), and was able to graduate college debt-free. I was lucky.
As I’ve aged into adulthood, I knew that I always had a financial safety net in my dad. But I never liked to rely on the fact that my family was well-off. As I mentioned, I worked through college to have my own spending money — which I did precisely so that I would not ever have to ask for money. Getting older, and becoming acutely aware that my family’s situation was not the norm, I never liked borrowing money from my parents. And as soon as I graduated school and got my first job, I wanted to move out and achieve complete financial independence from them.
The main reason that I avoid taking money from my dad is that I have a (somewhat childish) need to prove myself autonomous. I want to stand on my own two feet, and I have been. But that need for autonomy has also led me to some sticky financial issues in the year since moving out on my own.
Here are four times I had to swallow my pride and ask my dad to lend me money.
1. My first rent payment
As I said, I was in a big rush to move out after getting my first Big Girl Job. I was in such a rush, though, that I found a room in an existing two-bedroom lease and had to move in before I even got my first paycheck. Which would have been fine, if I had saved any money over the summer and could actually afford my first rent payment. And in the interest of becoming an independent adult, I started my independence by asking my dad to front me the money for rent, because it was due a week before my paycheck would hit. I was deeply embarrassed, because my whole point in moving out was to prove my independence. And I couldn’t even make rent.
2. An expensive prescription
I’m quite open with people in my life about my struggle with depression and anxiety, so my dad was well aware that I had just switched psychiatrists and was trying to change my medication regimen. I had the unpleasant surprise of finding out that the new medication I was about to try did not have a generic, and thus, due to my insurance deductible, would cost me nearly $300. And it was $300 I did not have in a health savings account or to spare in my checking accounts. I had already been on the phone with my dad, asking for a simplified explanation of insurance deductibles, so I just went all in. He was more than willing to cover the cost of the prescription, knowing that I was struggling with the doctor switch and that I couldn’t exactly afford a medication that cost as much as my car payment.
3. New glasses and contacts
As anyone who has poor vision undoubtedly knows, your annual eye exam has the potential to totally wipe out your wallet. Contacts are pricey, sure, but glasses, frames, and lenses are ungodly expensive. I had put off my eye exam this spring knowing that it would be expensive — my vision has changed every single year since the third grade, so I always need at least a new batch of contacts and lenses. My aforementioned health savings account was regularly depleted for mental health costs, so I knew that wouldn’t be able to cover the several hundred dollars I was about to drop. And I certainly didn’t have the room in my monthly budget to cover it either. I hadn’t been planning to ask my dad for money this time around, but I mentioned the upcoming appointment in passing on the phone and he offered to give me money for new glasses. I didn’t refuse.
4. The property tax on my car
Property taxes are still beyond my understanding. I had gotten the notice from my car leasing company that the property tax bill would be arriving soon. I foolishly assumed it would be around $200 dollars, but still didn’t plan accordingly. My Nissan bill came in at a whopping $416 — thank you, state of Connecticut and your absurd tax rates. My preferred (and stupid) method of putting things I couldn’t quite afford onto my credit card wasn’t going to work in this case, because that’s not how car payments or taxes work. I didn’t have the $416. I called my dad.
Olivia currently works in marketing and likes to say she spends her free time doing yoga and writing, but mostly winds up spending too much time on Twitter and watching HGTV.
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