Do We Want to Discuss the Money Diaries Thing?

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash.

I’m betting a few of you saw the recent Money Diaries post at Refinery29, either because you follow their Money Diaries series or because… well… this one went viral.

The piece was originally titled “A Week in New York City on $25 an Hour,” and has since been renamed “I’m 21, Make $25 An Hour — & My Parents & Grandfather Give Me A Monthly Allowance,” because part of the overwhelming reader response focused on the fact that this anonymous contributor wasn’t actually living on $25/hr. She was earning $25/hr plus an $800 allowance from her parents and a $300 allowance from her grandfather. Her parents also covered the bulk of her expenses:

Monthly Expenses
Rent: I live in a one bedroom/one den apartment. The total rent is $4,050. My share is $2,100 (my parents pay) and my roommate’s share is $1,950. (She lives in the den.)
Student Loan Payment: $0 (I’m still in school, and my parents pay for my education.)
Health Insurance: $0 (I’m on my parents’ plan.)
MoviePass: $9.95
Sugared + Bronzed Pass: $40.76 (I get one Brazilian sugaring a month.)
Equinox Membership: $210
Phone Bill: $0 (I’m on my parents’ plan.)
Netflix, Spotify, Amazon: $0 (I use my parents’ accounts.)

Some people focused their criticism on the “misleading” headline, other people argued that Refinery29 shouldn’t have featured a woman whose parents subsidized her life (even though, like our own Doing Money series, Money Diaries subjects are volunteers and come with a range of financial backgrounds), and at least one person was frustrated that this young woman had privilege that she wasn’t using to help others.

There’s a lot to snark at in this piece, whether you want to feel superior or envious — the subject arrives late to her internship, spends her workday “online shopping and journaling,” then heads out for a long weekend in the Hamptons complete with boat and chef — but I don’t like the argument that this story shouldn’t have been published simply because the subject is financially fortunate. Refinery29 publishes multiple Money Diaries every week, after all. The series includes a lot of perspectives.

So, on the subject of perspective, I’m curious what you think of this piece — and, if you want, the various arguments people have made about it.

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