I read this article the other day: I'm first-generation white collar - Feb. 3, 2011
While I am not first-generation white collar, I am second-generation. There are elements of the article which still rang true for me.
In the book Military Brats: Legacies of Childhood inside the Fortress, Mary Edwards Wertsch writes about the vastly different frame of reference which military brats often have from their parents. One of the differences in frames of reference has to do with the military classism, distinguishing officers from enlisted.
My mother came from a large Catholic farm family. My father's had a single mother who worked in a factory. But because my father entered the military with a college degree, we were raised as Officer's children, with expectations that we would live a white-collar, middle-class life.
In Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki describes his experience growing up with his birth father and his rich mentor. It occurred to me recently that I had a roughly similar situation, except that my "Rich Dad" came in the form of an insurance, banking, and investment company called USAA. We were still in the military when I began to drive, and that was about the time, USAA began sending ME newsletters on financial awareness, investing, safety, insurance etc.
I'm not certain that my parents ever learned the life lessons L. Marie Joseph describes in the first article. I read the finance articles (such as Octomom critiques) that expect all families to save for their children's education, and I have a hard time relating. By the time I was 10, I knew that I was expected to go to college, but that it was up to me (and whatever grants/loans/scholarships I could get) to fund it.
Then, as I came to adulthood, I began to realize that my parents "retirement fund" was their six children. I find myself conflicted, because that is the Traditional way of things, for children to care for their aging parents, in MANY global cultures. But it's not the American Middle-Class expectation. I believe Kawphy would call this cognitive dissonance.
I recently read C.J. Cherryh's novel, Regenesis. It's approximately like Brave New World meets Foundation, where the main character is something of a psychologist shaping the 'programming' of the mass-produced factory-built clone humans. The protagonist thinks about things like how adjusting the rules will affect the situation in the third generation.
I certainly hope that my son will be the third generation to go to college. I do have a college fund set up for him to help that dream. It will be interesting to see what expectations he grows up with.
How many generations of your family have gone to college? Do you see a shift in attitudes and finances over those generations?
- Second Generation White Collar