You know what I’m doing to be “financially responsible”, as so many commentators claim my generation is not?
NOT HAVING CHILDREN.
And I don’t plan on it. Ever. I also don’t plan on living long enough to retire, but I am still contributing to a company pension on top of meagre but existing RRSPs. I go on binges of putting thousands of dollars into savings once an expensive time has safely passed – expensive times, might I add, that revolve around other people’s lives almost each and every time.
I’m made to feel poor. This is mostly self-inflicted, and that in part comes from a deprivation type mentality indirectly present in my upbringing. While older generations may feel like they were making more and spending less at my age, however, there’s a key difference in how expensive it is for me to live and how expensive it would’ve – should’ve, at purchasing-power-parity – been for them. When my mother was my age she was pregnant with her third child. I have no children. I make less as a household because I live by myself, so I spend more per person on living expenses – but, if logic were included anywhere in here, that’s becuase I can.
If anything I’m planning for my future too much. I won’t have children so I don’t need to save up for anyone else’s future tuition. I won’t have a wedding (must shut mouth must shut mouth must shut mouth) and there’s five figures saved. I’m paying modestly into pension and retirement plans even though I’m fairly sure that I’ll die prematurely and/or retirement age will always move up to be just out of my reach if I do last to what’s currently considered “senior years”. Even the people who are having children are having them later – my cousin’s wife is pregnant and they’ll be having their first child at the same age my parents had their third – which theoretically should build up a career to a higher earning level in time to support children better.
But nobody is giving us credit for that. They’re criticizing later childbearing as higher risk to children’s health and disconnecting families as grandparents don’t get the privilege until a later age in a more fragile condition. They’re saying not having children young is more selfish than having children poor. Combined with purposely redesigning the working world to not give us permanent, subsistence employment is cognitive dissonance.
Anyway, while I panic over my financial situation and how harshly I’ll be judged for taking a week-long vacation within my own country, I need to remind myself of how much easier this all is for me because I don’t have another mouth to feed. Give me some credit, even if I won’t give you any grandchildren.