Richer parents are great for kids, question is, are we becoming one?

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Last weekend, I was in Penang for a Toastmasters’ Conference, District level. Met lots of great people and when the organising committee needed someone to buy dinner for some performers, I volunteered. When I was waiting for my take-away order in Chillie’s, I saw a group of teenagers browsing the menu outside the restaurant. Then they came in, asked for a table for 10. I was standing right beside their table and heard some other conversations. One asked if everyone is okay. (Well, they have come in and now only deciding if its okay?) One replied that he has enough money for his own meal and drinks.  Actually a meal,  including a bottomless drink would be around RM40 if not higher.  Fortunately, none of them said, ‘Let me pay for everything.’ Haha. I seriously hope my kids would not think of this as usual  when they become teenagers. I could not afford such an extravagance anyway. Until today, I think we go Chillie’s only once per quarter and usually for some sort of celebrations or if there’s a big group.

For this group of kids, I think they are already used to spending so much for one meal.  Whichever way,  now we know why the new workforce today are saying that it’s hard to buy a property or some would need “PAMA” (father and mother) bank’s help. One meal RM40. Assuming it’s the same for dinner, that’s RM80 per day. That’s nearly RM30k per year!  I did not yet include breakfast.  Perhaps they only do this once per week,  since they are in school for five days and would spend substantially lower.  At 50 percent discount this is still RM15,000 per year or RM1200 plus per month. Now I know why a survey by Jobstreet survey showed that fresh graduates are asking for even up to RM6500 in starting pay. Looking around, I saw that except for one whose phone screen has cracked and one using an iPhone two generations back,  everyone of them had more expensive smartphone than me. Haha. So, my general conclusion is that their parents are RICH. If they are working for their own meals, it would be crazy to work one whole day to get “10 hours x RM4.50” and spend it all within ONE meal.

I have some questions from this 5-minute encounter with this group of ‘rich’ teenagers. Are they going to be realistic enough to face the working world in the future? If they are not, then who are we going to blame? The media for portraying that this is the usual lifestyle? The parents for earning too much and giving these teenagers huge allowances? Perhaps even the fact that perhaps that’s because the parents have no time and thus providing them more money instead? Last but not least, assuming this is going to be the trend for our kids in future, as parents are we rich enough? If we are not, are we moving towards being rich enough? My belief is that it’s advantageous for kids to have rich parents. Invest lah. Just make sure we are not spoiling them though. It does not need to be just money all the time. Stop here this time. My wife’s calling me now to help my son wear his shoes. We are going out for a simple breakfast in the nearby kopitiam. RM20 for whole family. Cheers!

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written on 1 May 2017

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