Recently I managed 20 minutes to watch television while nursing my 6 month old son. Instead of watching yet another episode of Roseanne, I switched to the basic channels. After some scrolling, I came across Rachel Ray’s show. Loving the fact that she puts cheese on EVERYTHING and I live in Wisconsin, I put down the remote.
Halfway through the show, after organizing all your white-middle-class crap and making white-middle-class tacos and advertising her white-middle-class select brand dog food called “nutrish” (as if the show couldn’t get any whiter), she featured a woman who talked about getting out of debt and getting control of your finances.
A white, middle to upper class woman.
Now, I am white, and middle-class by society’s standards based on what my husband and I make as teachers, but this woman was the epitomy of WASP-iness.
Her blonde hair shashayed around her shoulders, her white, furry vest catching loose ringlets and holding. Perfectly make-uped, she brought out her props. A piggie bank. Giant index cards.
This lady put me over the edge; off my ledge of passive, semi-interested daytime television viewer into the swirling waters of WHATTHEFUCK. This woman advised that by 30 years old, everyone should have at least one year of their salary saved up.
My stomach clenched at the thought that we are SO far behind this savings goal. This woman must be completely disconnected from the reality of a millenial’s financial situation. While I have a great job and great benefits, I have jack shit.
No, take that back. I have DEBT.
Not the, “I bought too much shit because I wanted to keep up with the Joneses in my cute suburban home” debt (I live in the city by the way), but the, “I went to graduate school and wanted to have children before I was 50 and could actually afford children” type of debt. I live in a small home in Milwaukee county, and everything this lady said did not apply to me. I felt more like Roseanne from the 1980s sitcom; I should’ve watched THAT instead.
While yes, I should be following the 50-30-20 model, I have exorbitant daycare costs to contend with, two small children, a mortgage, and student loans from graduate school. So does my husband, who is also a teacher. We have two dependable cars, which we are still paying off. There’s no way we can start saving money, and still get through the summer months, until our children are out of daycare. And even then, we’ll be in our mid-thirties and waaay behind where blonde-hair and furry-vest Rachael Ray lady says we should be.
Ms. Thang also suggested the envelope money system, where you put cash into envelopes and once it’s gone, it’s gone. I get this idea, it’s a great budget tactic, but how can I pay my bills in cash? The electric company is going to think I’m running drugs, shoving cash into envelopes. Or a doomsday hoarder. My grandparents had a stash of cash hidden in a little desk in their kitchen; they were prepping for the next Great Depression…
So where is the financial advice for the millenial with student loans and came into adulthood already straddled with debt? I guess that’s still forthcoming, maybe next episode.
Just kidding. THAT definitely won’t be featured on Racheal Ray.
But those tacos still looked damn good.