Young, broke: what to do? Subsidiarity

You don't need to be an economist to know that it's a tough economy for all of us, but especially young people. Trying to get a decent education, work, learn how to budget, balance a social life with responsibilities: it's tough.

Of course, most young adults dream of being "independent" - having the car, the apartment, the whole enchilada. But, it's not always possible. And so living with family is a positive answer, but then you get flack for "living in Mom's basement."

Our oldest nephew lived with us for quite some time when he was working and saving money for school. It was great - he was able to keep his finances in good shape, and we had an extra pair of hands when we had five young children.

Tallest Son currently lives with my sister. She lives in an urban area, close to his work and school. Again, he can keep his living costs down while trying to grow up.

It's no shame to rely on family like this. In fact, it's part of our Catholic teaching: subsidiarity.

The teaching of the Church has elaborated the principle of subsidiarity, according to which "a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to co- ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good." (CCC 1883)

Rather than getting into financial trouble, relying on government assistance like food stamps, we should rely on our family, friends and faith communities to help in these situations. I'd much rather my son lived with my sister and saved money than over-stretching his budget by trying to pay for rent, utilities, etc.

Living in mom's basement isn't glamorous. It's not living the high life. But it's good - Mother Church says so.

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