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November 14, 2012 - Image 11

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2012-11-14

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SNACKER
From Page 5B
As a child who grew up in the middle
-.class, Katai always had a fresh supply of
Goldfish crackers and nachos available
every afternoon after she got home from
school. Now an adult, Katai still treats
herself to snacks on a regular basis
despite not having the same income or
financial acumen that her parents had.
"I was raised middle class, but I did
not graduate into that stratum. What
I graduated into was a world where I
have a drama degree in a recession, and
'that translates firmly into the lower
class," she wrote. "I buy myself snacks
and drinks and dinners in restaurants
because it is a way of pretending that
everything is okay. I know I should be
saving this money, but the deprivation
in all the other ways ... freaks me out and
makes me sad."
Katai experimented with her own
spending and realized that when she
monitored her purchases of food and
drink at restaurants or at the grocery
store, she saved $130 a month, which is
an impressively lower figure from her
average $360 per month food expense.
For Katai - and for many Americans,
she predicts - snacking is a huge income
suck, and is often a way forus to pretend
that we can still spend money even if our
incomes don't exactly allow it.
Little things like crackers and
smoothies don't seem like they are going
to impact our incomes that much. But
then we buy too many of them and look
at our credit card statements.

Less money, more problems
What some students who have help
from their parents or scholarships don't
realize, Tolentino said, is that money is
not an infinite flow.
"If you're the type of person who has
your parents' credit card and you use it
occasionally for birthday dinners or a
pair of winter boots, that's one thing,"
Tolentino said. "But then there's the per-
son with their parents' credit card who
sits online and shops all day."
The ideal vision is that after we grad-
uate, we will instantaneously become
real people, get our acts together and be
responsible with our finances. We will
cook more, eat out less and open retire-
ment accounts.
But Mike Dang, cofounder of The Bill-
fold, said that's not what happens. For
the first few years post graduation, Dang
said people tend to live lifestyles as if we
had the same financial aid and parental
support as we did in college.
"(College students) instantly want to
feel like adults," he said. "A lot of that
has to do with going out and meeting
friends for dinner and drinks and talk-
ing about jobs even if they can't neces-
sarily afford it."
According to information provided
by the University's Career Center, 79.3
percent of LSA students who graduat-
ed in 2010 found jobs that make below
$45,000 a year. A large majority of them
head to big cities such as New York, Chi-
cago and Washington, D.C., where the
cost of living is significantly higher than
that in Ann Arbor.

And keeping up with a similar life-
style as we did in college, according to
Dang, is just not financially viable. The
Internet is filled with tales of twenty-
somethings defaulting on student loans
or filing for bankruptcy after developing
a crippling credit score.
"Parents aren't going to want to sub-
sidize their kids for their whole lives,"
Dang said. "You just can't spend money
in the same ways. Understanding how
debt works is a really important thing."
Tolentino did note, however, that
though graduating can be financially
startling for students, the speed at
which the real world sets in is much less
abrupt than it was a decade ago.
"The transition isn't as sharp as it
used to be," Tolentino said. "A lot of
people have a cushion from their par-
ents and get help now and then."
Take, for example, writer and actress
Lena Dunham (TV's "Girls"), who lived
in her parents' Tribeca loft until she
was 26 after graduating with a liberal
arts degree from Oberlin College in
Ohio.
"I feel like I'm constantly asking (my
parents) to please stay out of my work
life but also to please bring me soup,"
Dunham said in an NPR interview this
year.
Dunham is one of many people in her
age group who have opted to move back
home with her parents. According to a
2010 New York Times Magazine article,
40 percent of people in their 20s decide
to move back temporarily with their
mothers and fathers.
Some students aim to live a more
upscale life upon graduating. Busi-

ness junior Alison Dunbar, who is the
vice president of the Retail and Luxury
Goods Club, said that though she can't
afford to wear all designer clothing as
a student, she aspired to wear more of it
when she got a job.
"It's important to wear better quality
things and dress appropriately as you
get older," Dunbar said.
She went on to describe herself as
"more on the Michael Kors end of luxu-
ry goods" than a "Prada girl."
What is luxury?
As the daughter of an author and an
artist, my perspective on luxury comes
from within my family: my grandmoth-
er.
For the past 40 years, my grandmoth-
er has gone to the salon every Wednes-
day at 10 a.m. to get her hair fluffed
and styled and her nails re-manicured.
I've always felt that this was a luxury.
It's not that I don't care that my roots
have grown out three inches or that I
have more split ends than I can count,
but unlike my grandma, I just don't have
the money to keep up with it.
But I've realized that I do take a
lot of the things I spend money on for
granted, because being able to go out to
dinner every week or buying so much
coffee that my heart races for three
hours is a luxury in itself, even if it feels
necessary or unavoidable.
Dang said habits like mine will need
to change if I don't want to go into debt.
"If it's easy for you to spend more than
you have," he said. "The only option is
to get rid of those temptations."

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 The Statement
- 3
the leaders and the worst a week of daily stories
by zach bergson and kaitlin williams
- LEADERS --

* An Earl of Sandwich shop opened in
a space formerly used as a public
restroom. Insert obligatory poop.

* Pope Benedict XVI announced
he will soon launch his own
Twitter account. #Salvation-
In 140CharactersOrLess
G Gen. John Allen upholds thatthe
approximately 30,000 pages of e-mail
exchanged between him and Gen. David
Petraeus' biographer and alleged lover
don't indicate an affair. They indicate
that the U.S. military has way too much
free time for the amotunt of wars we're in.

James Bond has slept with more
than'50 women and continues to be
a beloved figure, while Gen. David
Petracus had an affair and is shamed
into resignation, proving that every-
th ing seems cooler when you do it with
a British accent.

Last Friday, University students and alums hosted the first Michigan Sport
Business Conference in Blau Auditorium. The event featured 24 sporting
industry speakers and four discussion panels.

PERCENTAGE OF FOOD BUDGET SPENT ON DINING OUT

AGE
5 de
35 o 44
4a-
SOURCE: BUREAU ',F 1L

>v f

36%
40%
40%
41%
45%
45%

* Residents in more than 30 states have
filed secession petitions following last
Tuesday's election. Isn't democracy
grand?

* Charges of assault on a minor filed
against Elmo voice actor Kevin
Clash have been retracted. Lala-lala,
lala-lala, Elmo loves being Vindicated
by the American justice system, lala-
lala, lala-lala.

WORST

The leases for several businesses in the University's Union - includ-
ing Amer's Mediterranean Deli, Subway and Wendy's - will expire
in April, and the University announced it will occupy Amer's space.

_

COVER PHOTO BY TERRA MOLENGRAFF

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