Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

Sigh of Relief

with 7 comments

Total Black: $592.88
Total Red: $252,353.44

Well, just over five hundred dollars is all I have left from the ten thousand dollars my mother loaned me today.  Never thought I’d “burn” through that much money in less than five hours.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t fun. But it was relieving.  A sigh of relief for sure.  On my drive to and from work each day I’ve taken to listening to National Public Radio.  It’s a nice change from that other “commute” to work back in New York when I listened to tourists and chatter of passers-by.  It’s a great way to use that time wisely, as they say, and stay current on major issues while learning a few new things as well.  This evening I tuned in to a program on Talk of the Nation with Neil Conan dubbed “The Long Road To Adulthood Is Getting Longer.”  You couldn’t pick a more on point program for me today.  But it was the content of the program that allowed me to sigh in relief as well.

Program host, Neil Conan, spoke to his guest, Professor Frank Furstenberg from the University of Pennsylvania, about a study conducted by the University’s MacArthur Foundation’s Research Network.  He explained: “[o]ne of the conclusions is that children have to rely more on financial support from their parents. Adults between 18 and 34 received an average of $38,000 in cash and two years’ worth of full-time labor from their parents or about 10 percent of their income, according to studies by the MacArthur Network.”  Professor Furstenberg agreed: “That’s correct. And that has been true certainly since the late ’80s, and it may we’re currently conducting research to see if the burden on families has grown. But it we don’t know yet, but it, it’s certainly a high proportion of the disposable dollars on the part of parents that go to their young adult children.”  I commented on NPR’s blog about the program.  I tried to call in but the phone just rang off the hook multiple times.  Aside: why don’t radio programs employ a call-in system like automated systems used by other companies.  You’ll learn upon calling in that you’re caller number 57 in the queue.  Hang on if you want.  But just having the phone ring and ring for over two minutes is irritating.  And all radio programs do it.  But I digress.

The program was fascinating and got my dander up a bit, especially with this whiny mom, Vicky, who called in to lodge her complaint about her daughter potentially having to return back home four years from now once she completes college.  Such comments come only from immature people.  And I don’t mean childish, I mean not mature.  My mother would love to have had me back home.  And I, too, wouldn’t have minded so much—especially after our week here in St. Croix.  My father passed back in 2004.  My grandmother almost a year ago, after years in a nursing home in ever declining mental state.  I watched my mother care for hers each night, helping her in the bathroom, laying out her clothes for the next day, reminding her of the names of other loved ones.  When you experience loses like that, the whining of Vicky seems insulting.  Vicky called in and said: “Yes, I have a daughter about to leave for college, and I live in fear of the idea that she might come home and live with us again. I believe my job is one of trying to teach her to be independent, and I’m not sure how to balance those issues of the financial constraints of these days and how to do that. I have a lot of friends who are still helping to support adult children, even those with jobs, and I sort of selfishly don’t want to be in a position to do that, even though we could.”  At least she’s honest about her selfishness.  I hope her daughter never needs her. But honestly, what’s the point—the function—of family if we can’t lean on each other in tough times?  Whether those be financial, emotional, or even spiritual.  Although sad in a sense, in another sense the program made me happy to hear I’m not alone in this boat.  I’ve needed my mother’s help for too long now and I’ll need it a bit longer.  In plenty of prior posts I noted that I paid her back in years past.  I will once more.  But it’s bitter medicine to have to take today.

With all that said, I can report that I paid off 2007 IRS taxes and both IRS and New York state taxes for 2009.  As noted back in The Tax Man Cometh, I entered into a payment plan with the IRS.  A prerequisite was paying $7,100.00 upfront.  Whatever was left over after 2007 and 2009 taxes due went to 2008.  I made the payments through; it tracks all the payments you’ve made and is an approved payment processing mechanism so I was able to instantly make the payment as soon as the funds were deposited into my account.  In addition to taxes, I also paid off the Saks Fifth Avenue credit card again—something I already accomplished once back in Last Update On Efforts?.  But the purpose of credit cards, in part, is for us to use them moderately and build up a good credit.  I made a few purchases back in New York before leaving.   That card will now stay at a zero balance.  Hard to shop at Saks from St. Croix.

I think I’ll sleep better tonight.  I telephoned the IRS this afternoon to alert them to the payments.  And despite the death knell ringers out there, everything is fine and I’m still on the payment plan, even though I missed the pay-by date by about a week.

Now just to increase my income.

7 Responses

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  1. It’ll be tough for a while, but you’ll come out ok. Any part time job prospects?


    July 7, 2010 at 00:27

  2. I’m in two minds about parents financially supporting adult children. From my own experience I’ve always been on my own in that regard my family have never been in a financial position to help me.

    Its certainly a topical issue these days. The parents who complain about supporting adult children, well I can sort of see where they are coming from. However, a lot of people these days have children without really thinking things through, the days of children leaving home and getting married at 19 and starting their own family (like my mother and grandmother) have long gone. Children these days can be a financial drain for a long time. It could be a problem if the parents themselves are trying to live on a fixed income or want to retire, where does it end?


    July 7, 2010 at 04:53

  3. I think that parents, if they are able, should help their children after college IF it is reasonable to assume that the children need such help due primarily to no fault of their own.

    By this I mean if “good jobs” are scarce and the “adult-child” is making a decent effort. In other words, I don’t think the parents should support the new adult if they’re spending their money on dope and lying around playing video games all day.

    However, after someone graduates from college, I think any financial support should be done from a place of respect and love, and no longer out of obligation, which many of the new adults seem to be the case.

    I have a really hard time figuring out how you got so deep in the hole, although it kind of does seem like you have a bit of a spending/saving problem (understatement). I mean, I can see the student loan debt, and I can also see that as a young, successful, highly paid attorney right out of law school you thought it would last forever, so you weren’t worried about trying your hardest to eliminate your debt right away. That’s understandable.

    Where things went awry is when you got downsized… that was years ago and I really think you still haven’t been able to make the adjustment to a life with a Mt. Everest of debt relative to your disposable income (which, really, is about nil).

    I actually don’t have a problem with your mom loaning you money, as it really does seem to be directed to helping your core problems (transportation, debt consolidation, etc.). In fact, I recommended that you think about borrowing from her from a HELOC or HE Loan to consolidate your high-rate cards to a low rate, possibly deductible loan many months ago.

    Everyone, including you, I think, bashed me about that at the time, but I figured it would eventually happen anyway. I’m glad it did, for your sake, but think about the interest you’d have saved if you’d done this a while ago! Maybe not much in the grand scheme of things, I guess, but still…

    By the way, I see you’re still “Tweeting” from your iPhone! Still need that extravagance now that you’re living in laid-back STX?

    Straight-Talk Wireless… $30 per month for 1000 minutes, 1000 texts, and some web time. They run on Verizon’s network, so you should have coverage in STX I think.



    July 7, 2010 at 09:06

  4. Try Italy: men stay at home with mama until thier 40’s! Its a changing world now, intergernational households are the next norm.

    set me up

    July 7, 2010 at 14:23

  5. @T-Bag: Verizon? Phsht. Please. But actually, I am tired of AT&T’s shenanigans. Not enough though to give up the iPhone. 😉 I do recall you mentioning something along those lines. A credit union, perhaps? The catch, however, is that my mother isn’t helping me because it’s the wisest move for me financially—or indirectly for her (along the lines of having financially stable adult children, that is). Instead, she’s helping me out of motherly instinct. So I couldn’t have approached her with the suggestion that she borrow this money to let me consolidate my credit cards, loans, other debts, etc.—all for a 3% interest rate (which is what she’s got now on the line of credit). Yes, that makes sense, but she just wouldn’t have gone for it. It had to be a rescue. Like with the approaching storm of the IRS. Even now I wish I could borrow a bit more and pay off that closed credit card, for example. But at least I sent $500 to it, bringing it down to $4,000 even.

    @Dreamer & T-Bag: I think everyone agrees that the lazy, loafing around the house son with no direction and no ambition—and no sense of obligation to his parents—they aren’t worthy of parents’ financial support. What got me in that NPR broadcast, however, was the parent who called in sounding indignant that her daughter might have to lean back on her in some remote time in the future. How sad. I guess she really doesn’t like her daughter as a person; or vice versa. A follow-up comment in the transcript link I provided above.

    Laid-off Lawyer

    July 7, 2010 at 22:31

  6. Thanks! No job prospects yet but only because I’ve stopped looking. Co-Clerk advised that get the judge’s permission first instead of finding a job first and asking then. Now I’m just waiting for a moment when the judge is upbeat and having a good day. Strategy…

    Laid-off Lawyer

    July 7, 2010 at 22:34

  7. I listened on NPR Addict and that mother also struck a nerve with me. As if she’d been counting down the days since she first realized motherhood can be a real speedbump to your nightlife and mojo. I hope she just came across wrong. Otherwise my guess is that the daughter would rather be living in a van down by the river than back with Mommy Dearest.


    July 8, 2010 at 02:07

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