By: Heather Desmond O’Neill
As part of my job, I’m constantly asking teenagers what their vision is for their future. It’s a bit overwhelming to be 14 years old, sitting at a table full of adults – some you know, some you don’t – and have to answer a question about what you want to do for the rest of your life.
I find myself thinking about what my boys will be like. If you were to ask me today where I thought they’d be in 5-10 years, I’d tell you, “Hopefully in one piece.” The way things go in my house – the Jimmy SuperFly Snuka Splash from the couch or the Evel Knievel style jumps in the driveway – I’m hoping they will have all of their limbs and still be able to form complete sentences.
At their ages now, they will still be in middle/high school in 10 years. But what about 20, 30 years from now? Where will they be?
Much like their parents.
How did we get this way? School loans, car payments, mortgage payments, credit card bills.
My husband and I both work. We cannot survive otherwise. Most of the families I know have two working parents. Not because they want to, but because they have to. In addition to the above-mentioned bills, they also need to secure childcare. If they’re not paying for daycare, they are paying for pre-school, full-day kindergarten or even private school.
Those who are fortunate enough not to have exorbitant daycare costs, often work opposite shifts. This is how our family gets by. I often joke with people that my husband and I have a great marriage … we never see each other, so we never fight!
Many of our friends, ourselves included, struggle to meet the demands of the monthly bills. It’s terrifying and exhausting to crunch the numbers each month and figure out what’s left for us to save and/or spend for the little “extras” I always want my boys to have. Some months there is nothing left. Others we come up short. The months when we actually feel like we have gotten ahead are rare.
I can’t predict the future. But I do know that my children will most likely have school loans, mortgage/rent payments and a car payment.
I want better for my boys. I want them to feel as financially secure as they feel loved by us. My vision for them is that they go to a reputable college, earn a degree where they can both earn enough financially to live the lifestyle they choose and be happy.
I don’t know how or if they will get there, but I do know that my husband and I will do whatever it takes to make this vision a reality. We’re sacrificing now so that they can. I just wish it wasn’t so damn hard.