I’m fully ‘adulting’ these days. I pay my own rent, have a steady part time job, remember to do my washing (sometimes) and can cook myself a nutritious dinner (if pasta five nights a week counts).
So why do I still feel the need to justify or downplay the money I spend to my parents? It’s like every time I enter the shops an internal monologue plays in my head: ‘What would Mum say?’
While makeup shopping recently, I was conned into spending $200 to receive a ‘free gift’. When I left the store I was stressed – not about how strapped for cash I would be that week, but about how my mum would respond to my unnecessary purchase.
“Don’t tell her,” I hear you say. “She’ll never know”.
But she will know. And even if she doesn’t know, I can imagine what she’d probably be thinking.
Then, my stress turned to indignation. I’m an adult – why should my mum have an opinion on my finances, or whether I buy those half price shoes?
I assumed I was alone in this endless thought process. However, after confiding my anxieties to my friends I realised this wasn’t the case.
“Mum came over on the weekend and found a new pair of $150 jeans I'd just bought. I explained to her that when I got to the checkout, they told me they were reduced to $50,” one friend admitted.
Another friend, who's been living in Sydney's Bondi since she moved here from Sweden, confessed that even though her parents are on the other side of the world, her $350 rent per week is rounded down to $250 when there’s any money talk between them. "I’m embarrassed,” she says.
It's not difficult to see why millennials are facing financial stress.
With the federal government's announcement this year that university fees would be increased by 7.5%, a person on a salary of $42,000 would be stuck with this debt for 59 years. It's no wonder that in a recent HSBC home ownership survey, Australian Millennials ranked second worst in the world in home ownership, with just over 26% of those aged between 18 and 36 owning their own home.