Standard Of Living Can Come Between Spoiled Brat Children
Guest Author, Anne Kass, - a retired District Judge of Albuquerque, New Mexico

Some weeks ago I wrote about yuppie couples I see in divorce court who are well educated and have good jobs, but who have borrowed money from their less-educated parents who are living on meager retirement incomes. They generally borrowed the money to buy fancy cars and other consumer stuff, which their frugal parents did without.

There is yet another type of yuppie couple I see often in divorce court. They too are college educated and have good jobs. They too have fancy homes and cars and clothes. They too are up to their ears in consumer debt including money they owe to their parents. The difference is these couples' parents are rich.

These couples' parents paid their way through college in style. They were given fancy cars and clothes and generous allowances. When they finished university and became employed, their entry-level jobs didn't pay as much as mom and dad had. They were not able to maintain the posh standard of living their parents had provided.

Unfortunately, these couples don't tighten their belts. They keep right on living high. Credit cards are sent them in the mail, and they make frequent use of them.

One of the problems that leads them to divorce court is stress generated by money trouble. They find they can't even pay the minimum monthly credit card payments.

These young people have an astonishing sense of entitlement. They feel they have a "right" to big houses, expensive cars, clothes and all the toys they're used to having. When their wages are not sufficient to buy all these goodies, they feel terribly deprived, and they are sure it must be someone else's fault. Frequently each concludes the other is too extravagant and they are often bitter towards their employers who, they feel, pay inadequate wages.

Parents who give their children too many material comforts inadvertently cripple their children. There is nothing shameful about being poor when one goes to college. In fact, it's part of the fun, at least in retrospect. There is a sense of accomplishment and self-sufficiency that comes from making one's own way.

The natural order of things should be that one's standard of living improves when one finishes college and goes to work. For the young men and women I've seen in divorce court, their standard of living diminished when they got their first real jobs. That's backwards.

As with the other yuppie couples I wrote about, these couples find their way to bankruptcy court. One of the debts they eliminate in bankruptcy is the money they owe their parents. However, unlike the sadness I feel for the frugal parents whose loans to children go down the drain in bankruptcy, I often feel these well-off parents have it coming.



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