Parker Davis's Story
Parker Davis, 19, is just finishing his freshman year at the University of Colorado-Boulder. His parents will support him financially off of their savings while he is in school, but Parker has been saving up too, wisely budgeting to cover the additional expenses of college life. Because of his foresight, Parker doesn’t have to work, but he has taken an unpaid position with the college radio station where he cohosts a news and sports program, and does play-by-play and color commentary for football and basketball games.
OYO: How did you feel about money while growing up?
Parker D.: For the first 13 years of my life, my mom had the same job. Then she left [the job], and that was the first time I even considered that everything wasn’t always just stable. As I got older, I realized how my parents managed money and that things do get tight sometimes.
OYO: Did you have an allowance?
PD: I never really had a set allowance. But I think a perk of being an only child is that I could just ask for stuff and sometimes receive it.
OYO: What was the worst money experience you’ve ever had?
PD: My mom leased a new car and it started to smoke. The dealer said it ran out of oil, but the oil light never came on, so we’d run the car dry. It wasn’t under warranty because it was user error. So my parents had to spend $5,000 replacing the engine. That was a big expense out of nowhere, right as they were gearing up for [paying for my] college. We had to balance the budget more than usual for a while.
OYO: So your parents are open with you about finances. Is that because you’re heading off to school?
PD: Part of it is that, but they’ve always been open. I don’t think they try to hide financials or anything. I like that we’re to the point where we know who buys what. When I want clothes or rock-climbing passes, that comes from me. The bigger stuff and like food and college goes to my parents. I think that will be our agreement throughout these next four years.
OYO: How much money do you spend—or try to spend—in a regular week?
PD: I do work for my dad’s business, so he gives me about $180 a month. I don’t spend a whole lot. Maybe within a month, I’ll spend $50 to $80 on clothes or something. But I feel like I’ve been doing a good job saving it, because in college I’ll have expenses come up and can rely on my savings account.
OYO: What are the biggest financial challenges facing your generation?
PD: My generation would like to see reform in entitlement programs to make sure we’re not taking a chunk out of our paychecks that’ll never come back to us. And a lot of us want to see the student loan system improve.