Saturday, July 16, 2016

Is middle class-ness an entitlement?

We are dealing with a family problem of a retired relative slowly going downhill mentally and physically. Having to deal with this from the other side of the country is hard, stupidly time consuming, and expensive. This post is not about our beloved (& difficult) senior citizen, but another relative who has leaned on the elderly relative for financial support.

I'm not going to go into the details of the elder's (Mom's) challenges, but just to explore a philosophical question of are any of us entitled to live a middle class life? I lean to the side of 'no', but live in an area where various activists don't seem to agree.

In Thomas J. Stanley's Millionaire Next Door books, particularly Millionaire Women Next Door and Millionaire Mind he mentions "Economic Outpatient Care." Economic Outpatient Care (EOC) is pretty much older adults still supporting their nueronormative/non-disabled adult children on a regular basis. EOC does not do the parent or adult child any favors.

Mom and her money are currently unavailable to EOC kid, and EOC kid logically asked us to fill in the gap since we are in the process of taking over Mom's finances. The quick answer was no.

The slow answer is no. We get that EOC kid was a SAHM (stay at home mom) who in the past few years has separated from her ex and now has to figure out how to live on her own. Yeah, that's bad, but it really isn't our job to keep her in the lifestyle of which she has gotten accustomed. Divorce is expensive for both parties, avoid when possible.

Keeping her in the life she's grown accustomed is not our job as siblings nor our job as a society. The middle class is a spot you earn. Yes, as a society we should clothe the naked, feed the hungry, house the homeless (local government have been sucking at this for decades), and care for the sick and disabled. But should it allow you to stay at home with your minor children for 18 years, in a 'nice' neighborhood, in 'nice' housing, with great schools? In addition, should shopping trips to non-discount stores to clothe the SAHM & kids be funded on someone else's dime? If that dime is called alimony, yes.

But she didn't get any alimony. So SAHM needs to get a job. Preferably one that is 40 hours a week, all year round. Yes, child care costs money. Mom can't pay that for you. We won't pay that. She needs a full time middle class job, to pay for the car, the clothes, the apartment, life. Welfare will get her a subsidized housing, food stamps, medicaid/ Obamacare?, maybe the odd voucher, but not the lifestyle she wants.

So in conclusion, don't get dependent on your parents, one day they will get old and a sibling will have to care for them and won't give you more money. And as a Catholic I need to add, don't get divorced if you can help it. Don't get divorced if you are economically dependent on your husband and there is no abuse.

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