Here it is again, the time of year when many college students wistfully reflect on the past four years of studies and think to
themselves, "Wait, four years and I'm still only a sophomore? Man, I really have to start hitting the books."
Those of you who are actually graduating, however, will first want to attend your commencement exercises. This is a centuries-old
tradition in which the berobed Leaders of Tomorrow are compelled to sit through one final boring lecture from a Leader of Today.
Then it's off to the graduation party for a last chance at scoring with that hottie you lusted after in Human Sexuality class.
Sadly, because of a scheduling conflict, this year I will be unable to deliver a commencement speech at the top university that
inquired about my availability. And here I use the term "scheduling conflict" to mean "lack of interest," and "inquired about my
availability" to mean "did not return my phone calls." Oh, and "top university" might be more accurately rendered as "The Learning
It's a shame I won't be giving this speech, however, because today's young graduates could really use some help with my proposed
topic: preparing for a sound financial future. Back in college I only took one economics class, but I was deeply affected by a lesson I
learned from the professor specifically, that someone can dedicate his life to studying economics and still drive a beat up
15-year-old Volkswagen Jetta.
To avoid this fate, new college graduates will have to learn to be frugal. And with housing costs what they are, what better way to
begin than by moving back in with your parents?
Admittedly, you may worry that your moving home represents a failure of long term planning. And it does. By your parents. When
they got wind of your plans to major in "hydroponic agriculture," your folks should have immediately put the house on the market
and moved into a one-bedroom condo, leaving no forwarding address.
But instead they were foolish enough to think that setting fire to all your Marilyn Manson memorabilia, installing tasteful window
treatments and pointedly referring to your old room as the "guest room" would be sufficient to keep you away. Nice try, mom and
Moving back will undoubtedly save you money in the short term, but if you ever hope to establish an independent identity in the
world, you will have to face an unpleasant truth: you can't live with your parents forever. Eventually they're going to have to move out.
To you this probably sounds like the ideal solution to your housing problem, but your parents may see things differently. They will
likely argue that they deserve to stay, simply because they've spent their entire adult lives working hard to establish a comfortable
home for themselves.
But look at the facts: your parents have high-paying jobs, equity, good credit, plenty of assets and functioning means of
transportation. You have none of these things, yet you're the one who's supposed to move out? This is exactly the kind of fascistic,
discriminatory thinking your socialist professors warned you about in the real world.
So how do you get your parents out? For the answer, take a page out of your Psychology 101 textbook. Now cross out all the
gobbledygook you highlighted in yellow and, in the margin, write down the following three point plan:
1. What's mine is mine
Instead of telling people that you live with your parents, always explain that your parents live with you. Eventually transition into
saying that they're merely staying with you, and then that they're just visiting. Soon your folks won't bat an eyelash when you start
referring to the place as "my house."
2. Pound the pavement together
Masters of subtlety that they are, your parents will likely start placing the classified section of the paper on the kitchen table every
morning, with certain rental opportunities circled. Go ahead and take your parents along to check out prospective places to live (just
don't specify for whom), but look exclusively at houses for sale. Be sure to comment on what a nice place each one is, although,
sadly, way out of your price range.
3. I know what you did during the '90s
All parents have secrets they keep from their kids. In conversation, make frequent reference to "knowing more than I let on,"
casually mention that "there are some things children shouldn't know about their parents," and imply that you'd hate to "have to alert
the authorities to certain activities."
Follow these steps and your parents will soon realize that they're better off getting a new place than trying to extricate you from the
old one. Just don't count on getting anything in the will.