Because money grows on ATM machines….

moneytreeBy now, most people with internet access have heard about “Kim”, the 22-year-old college student who, having received a $90k college fund from her grandparents, hasn’t enough money to complete her senior year because she‘s already spent the entire fund.  I was laughing reading the news story.  I had to listen to the actual radio broadcast and I’m still laughing.  How in the world did this girl get past first grade, let alone advance to college?

To call her a Princess would be an insult to royalty worldwide.  Self-absorbed?  Yes. Spoiled?  Undoubtedly.  A brat?  Definitely.  Immature?  I’ve known 4-year-olds who had more maturity and sense than “Kim”.

She defended herself by saying that she “didn’t blow the money, I spent it”.  In her mind there is a distinction as wide as the Grand Canyon.  After all no one told it the money was “only to be spent on college”.

Why is she even going to college?  In her words, “to get a better job”.  The word ‘better’ implies she already has a job.  She doesn’t.  And she’s never worked a day in her life.  At 13, I was already babysitting to earn money.  At 16, I rode my bicycle to the Board of Ed to get working papers so that I could get a steady paying job — and pay taxes.  I worked all through college, during the semesters through the work-study program on campus, and on breaks and summers off campus, in addition to applying for every grant and scholarship I could and even taking out student loans to cover all the costs of school, books and boarding.

I knew plenty of other students who had to do the same.  We had no college funds bestowed upon us from relatives.  We had to find a way to pay our own way.  And we had no cars or stereos or fancy clothes.  Once we paid up tuition and other schools costs, maybe we could afford a drink at the pub with friends or a movie.  We bartered and swapped.  We hitched rides home with students who had cars.  We took trains and buses.

Ski trip over winter break in Vermont?  Would have been nice, but I didn’t have the money.  I needed it for the following semester’s fees.  Spring break in Florida?  No, you won’t find my on any of those videos.  I’d leave school at the end of the year with a better tan than when I went back in September because I had to work over the summer.

“Kim” spent her tuition money on trips over every break and summers.  The trip to Europe was part of her education, regardless it didn’t earn her any college credits or contribute to her GPA.

Her parents are not wholly to blame.  Since her father “chuckled” as if she were “stupid” when she admitted she was out of money, clearly he had in the past tried to tell her if she spent her money on things not necessary for college, she wouldn’t have money for college, tried to teach her to be responsible.  (They should have tried teaching long before this time.)  To her, it was all “blah blah blah”.  He wasn’t being “a jerk” and his response to her situation was not “just rude”.  She wasn’t listening.  She didn’t want to listen.

She probably never got an allowance.  If she had, she would have learned some fiscal responsibility long before high school when her parents wouldn’t advance her after her spending sprees.  Instead, her parents gave her whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted it and therefore money became an abstract concept to her.  One she clearly still doesn’t understand.

She does understand the concept of ‘work’ since her father “has worked for like a million years” and has “a retirement fund“ which she feels should be spent on her.  However, the suggestion that she get a job to earn her own money  is “embarrassing”.

Apparently I have embarrassed myself nearly my entire life.  Especially during the time I worked 8 hours at my day job, ate a sandwich while driving in my car to a part-time job where I spent another 4 hours working so that I could pay off three student loans and two cars.  (And neither wanted me to quit either job.)

“Kim” doesn’t believe that money grows on trees (as my parents always said).  It grows out of ATM machines.  Work is for other people.

Hopefully her grandparents — who are still alive — have already changed their will.  There are plenty of charities who could put their money to good use.  Their granddaughter is not one of them.

Oh, and my parents didn’t believe in allowances.  Chores were done in exchange for having a roof over our heads, food on the table and clothes on our backs.