At The End Of The Academic Year, Bank Of Mum And Dad Is Open

It’s the end of the academic year and amongst the celebrations of degrees and diplomas comes the realisation that, despite the financial burden of student loans on our kids, the spending hasn’t stopped quite yet for us parents.  No, the Bank of Mum and Dad can’t close its doors.

I’m sure that loads of students fail to realise that trying to get a job can be a costly process. There’s the cost of an interview outfit, new shoes and haircuts. There are train and bus fares or fuel for cars.

Flickr:  Archie Campbell

And if our graduates do get a job there’s the cost of actually being employed – again transport, clothing, lunches, office socialising. Or even the costs of further education and vocational training which they may be expected to fund themselves in order to secure a promotion.

I have been quite shocked to find that it is seemingly the norm for companies in certain industries to offer positions to new graduates on the basis which are unpaid on the basis that they are offering ‘valuable experience’. The word ‘exploitation’ springs to mind.

However, we must remain positive, encouraging and upbeat, despite most of us being hard-nosed veterans of the work arena. All we can do is offer our advice quietly and consistently in the background. I specialise in ‘nagging aunt’ – can you tell?

My niece, Emily has recently graduated with First Class Honours in Film Production and has a small runaround car which, typically now she really needs it, has developed a fault with the breaks when most of her interviews are easily reached by car. This is an expense she neither wants nor can afford.

I remember my dad shelling out for two return tickets to London to take me to visit IPC Magazines. In those days I was convinced journalism was my calling and after 20 years in marketing, I’m now a blogger so perhaps dad was right after all.

For parents, at such a critical time for their young adult children, the ability to help them is very important. Very few of our youngsters leave college and walk straight into a well paying job that allows them to pay their way – however much we may feel it is time for them to stand on their own two feet!

But the ‘Bank of Mum & Dad’ can only take so much and there may be times when a small cash injection in the form of a short term loan would be very welcome.

You can bet that extra bills will appear exactly when you don’t need them. I have mentioned in one of my previous posts that I really need to be more organised and diarise my insurance renewal dates!

How many of us breathe a sigh of relief once we have paid for the family holiday (and let’s not even start talking about the price hikes we parents have to put up with from day 1 of every single school holiday!), only to find we’ve forgotten about the MOT, the insurance or the fact that we really need a safer set of tyres.

It’s a bit like that film with Tom Hanks “The Money Pit” – everywhere you turn, there’s a new expense.

My nieces and nephew are in their late teens and early twenties whereas my two are just 11 and 10. For us, this means a double set of new school uniform for September and then Caitlin’s birthday in November, her cousins’ birthdays in November, December and January and then Christmas!

As you know we have been trying to save for Christmas but inevitably there will be something that ‘appears’ out of the ether when we least expect it.

For example, our boiler has decided to develop a fault with one of its sensors. It has ‘moods’ in the morning. I know how it feels.

And what about if you are also caring for your elderly parents? You may find yourself chipping in for cleaning, garden services, extra food or medical supplies.

It’s so important to make a budget and review it regularly. July is a great time to do a little financial housekeeping and check that you are on course to cope with the expenditure you know about and to put in place contingency plans for those costs you don’t!

If we want to really help our youngsters, teaching them to budget and cope with unexpected bills is worth its weight in gold.  Otherwise, the Bank of Mum and Dad will be funding our kids indefinitely.

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