Does anyone else ever sit there with a new post open, trying to think of a title? Maybe I should leave it empty until I write the post and think of something creative… but I always get stuck on the titles.

Because I’m cool like that, ok?

Although, I’ll say… the title that I wrote to match the above statements has now been changed to match the post. So, perhaps I should call everything “untitled” and then name it at the end.

So, yesterday was pretty good. I know I’ll owe my state some taxes since I moved here, collected untaxed income, and now it’s due. But, I’m pretty sure the feds will owe me money. How much, I don’t really know. And to be honest, I’m not going to lose sleep over it. Because once I get the money, most of it will go back to my dad.

Whats that, you ask? Why will I be giving my dad my tax return?

Because he bailed me out. Again. ::sigh::

Yesterday, my dad wrote me a check for a little bit more than my credit card debt (enough to cover my taxes as well), and we wrote up a 2 year payment program that he expects to be paid off early. Now, I don’t want to get into the numbers because they’re non-important, but I wanted to reflect on my finances and my dad.

I feel very fortunate to have the family that I have. We haven’t always gotten along, but there’s a lot of things that a kid needs to figure out on her own sometimes. However, since moving to and from my little island paradise, I’ve gotten a lot closer to my parents. I almost wish I had started this blog when I was in college, because I can’t even consider re-creating the fights I had with my parents. I had dreadlocks and was taking on the world. I turned my back on “the man” and decided that I would be vegan. Well, I don’t have dreads anymore, and I eat meat. I still have strong liberal ideals, but don’t argue with people about them. My mom and I agree on the freedom of choice, and to me, that’s enough for any disagreements we may have over universal health care.

My brother and I were raised in a completely different world from which we live now. Growing up in an affluent suburb is great and all, but sometimes it makes breaking free from the bonds of that world hard. You have to learn that life isn’t as easy as it was when you were a kid… and not just because you’ve grown up. Suddenly, you and your parents are all living paycheck to paycheck, and you worry that if your parents savings were to run out, there’s no one to catch us when we fall. My dad left a very good career, but left at a time in which he lost his retirement plan and other benefits of that corporate world. He knew that if he stayed there long enough to get those benefits, my mom would have probably left without him. That sounds harsh, but my blessed youth left her very unhappy, and she was ready to leave that corporate world behind. She was never made for that world, yet she kept him sane for all of those years. They saved their money to take us on vacations and send us to college, so when I got crazy scholarships for college, they realized that their dreams were closer than anticipated.

Ok, so… what am I trying to say? Corporate America has its ups and downs. I saw both ends of the spectrum, and when I graduated college, I decided that the ups weren’t worth the downs for my own future. The up side is the financial stability. The down side is “the man”, if you will. But, when I graduated college, my parents financial situation had changed drastically from when I went to college. They went from being completely financially secure to being paid $10 an hour with the rest of us. I don’t want to make it sound like they’re not stable… they did have savings and sell a house up north to buy the house down here… but there’s no way they could ever send me or my brother back to school again. Get the idea?

So, over the last few months, my money situation has gone from “Oh, haha! We weren’t gonna let this happen again!” to “OMFG, how the hell am I going to pay all of my bills this month?!” I didn’t admit to my parents until recently how bad my situation was, as I didn’t want their help. But, it’s gotten just out of my grasp of being manageable on my own. I’ve started playing that game where I don’t schedule payments of credit cards or the cell phone until I know that I’ll have enough money in my account to pay the bill. I’ve always had at least a couple of hundred dollars as “padding”, so I could schedule payments and it’d be ok. Well, in the last few months, I’ve gone from a little padding to none. My credit card with the debt on it gets the minimum payment, which isn’t even enough to cover the automatic charges on it the following month. And, this past month, I almost missed multiple payments because of this game.

So, last month, I went over the limit on my credit card. And I finally admitted to my parents how bad off I was.  And my dad yelled at me for not asking for help. I told him that I wanted to take out a bank loan to pay off the debt… buy myself some time to pay it back and maybe improve my credit at the same time. I refused to accept his help. My mom was just opening her shop, and it’ll probably be a few years before they break even or start turning a profit with that. And neither of them worked all winter (they were supposed to open the shop together… plans change), so I knew that they had been eating into what savings were left. I didn’t want my dad to bail me out because I didn’t know if he actually could afford to. So, I’d take out a bank loan and not let my parents go broke because of me.

But, it turns out that if you don’t have anything of value to offer up to the bank in exchange for a loan, the interest rates aren’t much better than my credit card. (Right now it’s 0%, but in a few months it’ll pop up to 20% or more).  The banker told me that if my dad opened a CD with the amount of the loan, and then basically put up that CD as collateral for my loan, I could get lower rates and he would gain interest on the money.  So, I call my dad up and tell him that. Maybe I had found a solution that allowed him to help me like he wanted to, but also allowed me to keep my pride in tact and deal with the problem almost on my own.

And he started to yell at me.

Well, not really yell, but he was annoyed. Really really annoyed.
See, here’s some more back story… when I was in college, I spent a semester abroad. My dad ended up taking over my credit card bills and cell phone bills (since I couldn’t have the statements delivered to me in Mexico) and never told me what I owed him. When I moved to TX, he helped out with the movers and again never told me what I owed him. This has happened a couple of times, but basically he’s trying to help his little girl and won’t let me pay him back. I know that some parents do this and others don’t, and I feel fortunate that my parents are in a situation where they can help me. But, I’m also not dumb and have always wanted to take care of myself, so I don’t like to accept free help. I’ve asked before how much I owed him, and he’d be vague and say “oh, I’ve got it somewhere. We’ll talk about it someday.”

This bothers me. I mean, I know that I’m daddy’s little girl, but daddy’s little girl knows that daddy isn’t made of money.

So, I decided a long time ago that my dad bailing me out had happened for the last time.  I would never put him in a situation where he could pay a bill for me that I would never receive. I figure, in college, that may be understandable. I was always responsible with money, so he wanted me to enjoy it while I could. And when I moved to TX, he was helping me start the rest of my life. You know… daddys last time to be a daddy, if you will.

Well, yesterday, we sat down. We talked for a long time, and agreed to an arrangement that works for both of us. He lent me the money that I need to get on my feet again, and we worked out a payment plan. His biggest fear is that I mess myself up for the long term while not admitting that I need help. But, I made him be honest with me about their money situation, and it’s not as bad as I thought, but it’s still not good. I mean, if they got really sick, they probably have savings to cover 6 months to a year for both of them. It could be a lot worse, but my intuition was correct that dad isn’t made of money. (I know! Go figure!)

What am I getting at? I don’t really know. I needed to write this all out… as I’m in such a very different world than 10 years ago. From an affluent suburb to a relatively isolated island. The security my parents and I had 10 years ago is pretty much gone, but the need to help each other succeed is SO MUCH stronger. My dad doesn’t want to see me ruin my credit because I miss a credit card payment due to a lack of money, but I don’t want to see him go into the poor house because he bailed me out AGAIN.

And now, I finally feel like I can exhale. Dad bailed me out… but I hope you can see by my ramblings that I’m not necessarily proud of that. I’m very grateful that my parents are in a situation that they can help, but I HATE the fact that I still need their help to stay out of trouble.

So, I told my parents yesterday, and I tell you all today… I will make them proud. I never ever want my parents to wonder what happened… how their daughter came to expect so much and give so little.  I will pay my dad back in full, and at the same time I will never allow my debt to get out of control again. That means that if I decide to move across the country again, I will only do so with SAVINGS. If I can’t afford to pay for something in full, I will not finance it with a credit card. Instead, I won’t buy it. The sewing machine that I bought last summer? I LOVE my baby, but she still hasn’t been paid for. She has instead been transferred from card to card and added to the debt. Now, mind you, the sewing machine was an investment for the future and has enabled me to make the quality of bags that I need in order to sell them, but you get the idea.

Wow… I just wrote so very much.

If you got this far, I’ll say it again. I will make my parents proud.  I will show them that their bailing me out for the final time is not taken lightly.

Advertisements