The Goddess Speaks
When well runs dry, find another well
FOR THE PAST 24 years, I've been banking at Bank of Dad -- "That's my bank!" Since it's open 24/7, is conveniently located, has no monthly fees, charges no interest, gives me a high credit limit and has an accessible ATM (back pants pocket), I've had no reason to switch.
Then came Jan. 1 -- New Year's. "We're cutting you off," Mom warned.
"What?" Those words were foreign to me; she might as well have been speaking Chinese.
"I'm taking away my VISA, and you're gonna sign up for your own," Mom continued. I stood there, jaw-dropped and speechless. I couldn't believe this was coming from the woman who taught me to charge everything because every dollar is a frequent-flier mile. "Happy New Year to you, too."
I knew this day would come, but I always hoped it would be later rather than sooner. Some of my friends were cut off in high school, the rest in college.
When Mom tried to follow the parental trend and cut me off, it was simple -- tell Dad I would no longer be able to maintain a 4.0 since I would have to get a part-time job and -- voilà! Only now that I've graduated and am a working woman, I can't use that excuse anymore. Dad knows all the money I make is spending money.
IT'S PRETTY pathetic that I have no credit at my age. Zero. It does, however, bring forth a newfound appreciation for my sheltered lifestyle and parents who supported me all these years.
I've created a few realistic financial goals for myself. To begin with, I must apply for my own credit card. Although my credit limit will probably be a meager $500 (not enough for one day of shopping and dinner at Alan Wong's), it's a start. I'll also sign up for a checking account since (heaven forbid) I will soon be paying bills. Eventually, when I build enough credit, I'll apply for a home loan and start making mortgage payments. I'll even take Dad's advice and sign up for my 401(k) plan.
Talk is cheap. Realistically, I'm not ready to take on all these responsibilities and be independent, so I've thought of alternatives. I'll disconnect my cell phone, drive without car insurance, use my friends' Internet and eat only from McDonald's dollar menu. I'll ask around for a corrupt accountant who'll deduct all my designer handbags, clothes and shoe purchases. And if my parents kick me out of their house, I'll live out of my car, catch the bus to work and shower at the gym.
On second thought, I'd be much better off switching to Boyfriend National Bank.
Lauren M. Chang is a full-time Star Bulletin/MidWeek ad staffer and former spoiled brat.
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