DEAR ABBY: I can't get a letter that I read in your column out of my mind. It was from "Happily Selfish Parent," who wrote that today's young people want everything and people of her generation wanted only food, shelter and clothing.
I would like to point out that all of the things she thinks we "have to have" -- television, computers, answering machines, pagers, CDs, videos and microwaves -- did not exist in her day. She couldn't want items that hadn't been invented yet. Nor was she bombarded by the media to desire such things.
Let me ask her this: Did you consider newfangled inventions like radios and telephones important? How about electric lights and indoor plumbing? It's all relative. Don't be a sour grape. -- LIVING FRUGALLY AT 35
DEAR LIVING FRUGALLY: I defended today's young people in my answer to "Happily Selfish Parent," but not as eloquently as they did themselves. They responded in droves. Most of them had part-time jobs while they went to school (some held more than one). Many have budgets and savings plans. Some have never borrowed from their parents, but of those who did, the majority paid back all the money. They purchase their "luxury items" with their own money.
One young reader summed it up very well: "Financial irresponsibility is not a generational trait but one that spans genders, races and ages. Please don't take your own family's shortcomings out on a whole generation. We have proven that we deserve better."