This month: Mar­cus Padley

One day the mol­ly­cod­dling will end and the kids will be re­spon­si­ble for them­selves

Money Magazine Australia - - CONTENTS - Mar­cus Padley is a stock­bro­ker with MTIS Pty Ltd and the author of the daily share­mar­ket news­let­ter Mar­cus To­day. For a free trial go to mar­cus­to­

My first mode of trans­port was a Honda C70 step-through mo­tor­cy­cle. The 70 stood for 70 cu­bic inches of raw power. That bike got me through my first year at univer­sity in the UK. I once rode home 55 miles through sleet and thick snow and didn’t think twice about it.

My first car was a Citroën 2CV6. The 6 stood for 600cc, which is how big its piti­ful en­gine was. It still goes down as one of the best cars I’ve ever owned. It did about a thou­sand miles to one tank of gas and you could source most spare parts by vis­it­ing an or­di­nary hard­ware store.

To buy this sym­bol of my man­hood I had to save £600 work­ing in wa­ter at a cress farm eight hours a day for three months. My dad and I ser­viced it our­selves. At one point we even re­moved and re­placed the en­gine. No me­chan­ics re­quired.

Those were the days when if some­thing needed mend­ing you mended it; if you didn’t have the cash you didn’t buy any­thing. In those days you earned things. You bud­geted. There was some­thing called “sav­ing up”. There were no sta­tus sym­bols – you couldn’t af­ford them.

I can’t quite re­mem­ber when it all changed. I think it was when the Yanks ar­rived in the fi­nan­cial sec­tor of Lon­don. When the stock­bro­ker I worked for of­fered me a com­pany car and a sub­sidised mort­gage. They had dis­cov­ered an ac­cess to credit we had pre­vi­ously known noth­ing about and they handed it on to us. The rat race had started.

That was about 1985. The year the world moved from “I want, I work” to “I want, I get” or, more ac­cu­rately, “I want, I bor­row”. No one’s wanted for any­thing ever since.

Note to self: teach the kids the value of money.

My old­est is out of the house and at univer­sity and, I am very proud to re­port, she has been given a mea­gre bud­get to live off and she sticks to it. She also un­der­stands that should she re­quire any­thing lux­u­ri­ous, she is go­ing to have to work for it.

My sec­ond daugh­ter has a job but if I am ever go­ing to get her out of the house she has to learn to be re­spon­si­ble for her own ex­penses and up to this point she still con­sid­ers them to be ours.

Our other two are still at school. They are en­ti­tled, cour­tesy of their youth and in­no­cence, to ex­ist un­der our roof, with meals pro­vided, the wash­ing up done, their clothes laun­dered, folded and re­turned to their bed­rooms, their mo­bile phone bills paid, their mo­bile de­vices reg­u­larly re­newed, their Net­flix, Stan and linked PayPal ac­counts op­er­at­ing on re­quest, trans­port avail­able at no cost at any time, school fees paid and, most im­por­tantly, with the bins emp­tied by magic elves.

My par­ents did the same thing for me, al­though there was less to take for granted. These days, thanks to our un­fet­tered ac­cess to debt, we as par­ents have had it eas­ier, mean­ing our kids have had it un­ques­tion­ably easy com­pared with us.

But this mol­ly­cod­dling is not for­ever. The day will come when our chil­dren be­come adults. That day will be a lib­er­a­tion for us both. It is the day they fi­nally choose to be­come re­spon­si­ble for them­selves. The day they choose to find their own roof, buy, make and clean up their own meals, do their own laun­dry, fold and re­turn their clean clothes to their own bed­room, pay their own mo­bile bill, care for or fix their own phone, sub­scribe to their own TV ser­vices, buy things on­line with their own bank ac­count, drive them­selves any­where at any time with their own car. And it will be ob­vi­ous when this day ar­rives – it will be the day they re­alise they have to empty their own bloody bins.

Adult­hood isn’t a dec­la­ra­tion, it’s an ac­tion. While you’re un­der my roof, it doesn’t mat­ter how much you whinge about how grown-up you are, you’re still a kid. It’s your choice when you grow up. Un­til then, you’re wel­come and please empty the bins.

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