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by Abigail Van Buren

'Pay as You Go' Is Wisdom Mostly Ignored by the Young

DEAR ABBY: I strongly disagree with your response to "Too Trusting in Delaware" last summer. You stated that most parents are repaid money they lend to their children. In my experience (and that of 97 percent of my friends and acquaintances), parents of today are not repaid.

You missed the sad point of the letter: that the children are not "dishonest" or "bad" -- they are financially irresponsible. Young people starting out today want everything; they never want to wait. The terms "budget" and "save" are meaningless to them. Borrowing money to buy a computer and Christmas presents is typical of their mentality.

We were brought up to see food, shelter and basic clothing as the only essentials. Today, young people believe that television sets, computers, answering machines, pagers, CDs, videos, microwaves, etc., are required items. Their credit cards are "maxed" out and they need co-signers on loans -- but they continue to buy, buy, buy.

Advice from parents is unwelcome. They only want gifts or "loans." If parents refuse, they are considered selfish. "You have everything and/or lots of money" is the lament. I have learned to respond, "I didn't have everything at your age. I have acquired my possessions (or money) through years of working and saving. Try it!" -- HAPPILY SELFISH PARENT, HAYWARD, CALIF.

DEAR HAPPILY SELFISH PARENT: You said that you were brought up to see food, shelter and basic clothing as the only essentials, but apparently that message wasn't taken to heart by your own children.

Of course, it's never too late to learn to be financially responsible, so you are not wrong to deny them money for luxuries. But please go a little easier on the young people of today, many of whom were never taught the importance of living within their means.

DEAR ABBY: This is for the woman who says she despises bumming rides: Did it ever occur to her to put a couple of dollars in an envelope and give it to the driver?

I drive, and I never refuse a ride to anyone from our church who asks, but the cold hard facts are it costs me money to drive my car. My insurance is $900 a year. Last year I spent about $800 on repairs, plus gas, oil and parking. There are a few folks (very few) who will slip a couple of dollars into my purse. These people are picked up at their door, rain or shine, and returned there.

For years, my mother lived in Florida. She didn't drive, but she always gave the driver $2 for gas.

Abby, please tell these people to "wake up" -- I am living on a limited income.

No name, please. Sign me ... CHICAGO

DEAR CHICAGO: I'm printing your letter with the hope that those people who are given chauffeur service routinely will see themselves, and reward the driver appropriately.

Abby shares more of her favorite, easy-to-prepare recipes. To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, More Favorite Recipes, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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