Reader Case : Need Help with my Tiger Mom!

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FIRECracker

FIRECracker is Canada's youngest retiree. She used to live in one of the most expensive cities in Canada, but instead of drowning in debt, she rejected home ownership. What resulted was a 7-figure portfolio, which has allowed her and her husband to retire at 31 and travel the world. Their story has been featured on CBC, the Huffington Post, CNBC, BNN, Business Insider, and Yahoo Finance. To date, it is the most shared story in CBC history and their viral video on CBC's On the Money has garnered 4.5 Million views.
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Photo Credit: Larry D. Moore [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons]

Chinese parents believe that their kids owe them everything.
–Amy Chua, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

If you’ve ever read Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mother, you’ll no doubt have heard of her claims of “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior” and why it is through her “Tiger Mother” teachings that her daughters managed to get so far in life.

As a controversial best seller, it’s easy to see why this book is divisive. On one hand, you can’t help but be mesmerized by the extreme measures she goes to mould her kids into grizzled champions, like not letting them go to sleepovers or threatening to burn their toys if they didn’t practice piano. But one has to wonder, does this actual create well-adjusted children or just leave horrendous psychological scars?

Who knows? I’m not a psychiatrist. But I do know that this book horrified Wanderer, having been raised by loving, supportive parents. I, on the other hand, thought that compared to my own Tiger Mother, Amy Chua was down right tame. My mother would’ve taken one look at Amy’s feeble attempts at disciplining her kids and laughed. Burning a favourite toy? Seriously? She was allowed to have toys? Where were the parts where she beat her kids so badly they had to make up stories to her teacher that she got hit by a car? What a wimp.

But I digress. The reason why I bring up “Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mother” is because of today’s reader case.

Now, I’m not saying she has a Tiger Mom, but the whole “filial devotion” concept that’s so ingrained in our culture really comes out in this situation. So as soon I read it, “Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mother.” came to mind.

Take a look:

“Dear Firecracker and Wanderer,

Help me deal with my Chinese mother!

Like many of your other readers, I really enjoy reading your blog and hope that one day soon I can be in your situation. While I think me and my husband’s situation are pretty good, we are not as worried about ourselves as much as about my mother. So this case study request is to see how much one can afford helping out a parent while also hitting FIRE asap to avoid the soul-sucking job.

My mom is Chinese (and I am as well) so I was raised with the idea of taking care of one’s parents when they are old. Though, much to my chagrin, my mom considered herself old when she was 50 and I was 24. So I have been helping her out financially since then. I am often torn between resentment and guilt (the whole Chinese thing). As a pessimist, I look at the worst case scenario and If I can survive that then I feel better.

Therefore I wanted to get your opinion and advice on 1) the max I can give her in the next four years and 2) Indefinitely (until she leaves this world, I know a bit morbid).

Ok. So here are the good news.

Me and my spouse make a combined of approxiamtley100K before taxes. I make 73K . Since he is a freelancer, his income is more sporadic but it averages 25-30K before taxes. I’ll get a raise the end of this year, which will get me to 80K.

I max out my 401K and IRA each year. My husband maxes out his IRA and is working on getting a self-employed 401K for more tax savings. I also save at least 1K per month for my investment account. My employer matches 4% of my salary in the 401K and additionally gives me bonus/profit sharing of about $7500 each year.

We have a combined (including 401K, IRA, investment account) of 750K, of which 68K is in cash.

We live in a major city so we don’t have a car. And we currently have a nice house sit gig so we don’t have rent/mortgage. Though this might change in two years. We have no debt. We always pay off our credit bills each month and I finished paying off my student loans a few years ago.

The other stuff:

I give my mom $1200 per month to help with her HOA, food and property taxes since she is unemployed. Our own expenses are $2400 per month (this is high since there is a vacation factored into this number).

My mom has about 100K is savings and she owns her apartment. In four years, she will be qualified for social security at which point she’ll get about $500 per month.

My mom struggled to raise me as a single parent. She often had to take menial jobs to keep the food on the table. Though all of this she never took any handout because of her pride. her goal was to make sure that I grow up and be a “successful” person. So here I am, not exactly successful but at least self-sufficient. I would like her to not struggle as much and would like to help as much as possible. But at the same time, I need to take into account me and my husband’s financial goals.

Please let me know what you think and if you have to deal with this issue in your family.

Thank you,

Trying to be a Good Daughter. “

 

Well, Good Daughter, I hear you when you say you were raised to help take care of your mom’s finances. If I got a penny every time my mom asked “how much money are you going to give me when you grow up?” as a child I’d be a Millionaire without needing to save a single cent.

You see, instead of “Bank of Mom and Dad”, we have the “ATMO” or “ATM of Offspring”.

Lucky for me, my Dad worked in a job where he got one of those gold-plated defined-benefit pensions that us Millennials only dream about, so they don’t need my support. But for GD’s situation, she’s trying to juggle being an ATMO while taking into account her and husband’s financial goals.

GD, you are a SAINT. I have no idea why you say things like “I am not exactly successful”. Not only are you successful (and you’ll see why when we MathShitUp in a second) financially, you are ALSO successful at being a wonderful human being. Seriously, woman, you need to give yourself a pat on the back. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

All right, now that we got all the mushy stuff out of the way, let’s get down to brass tacks.

Looking at your numbers, you’re doing AMAZINGLY well. If you don’t believe me, look at this summary:

Summary
Combined Gross Income: $100,000/year + $7500/year employer matching
Spending: ($2400) *12 = $28,800/year + $14,400/year to support Mom = $43,200/year
Debt: 0
Investable Assets: $750,000

BUT, because GD has her ATMO duties acting as headwinds, I see 3 scenarios:

Support Your Mom:

1) Until Social Security Kicks in
2) Until Social Security Kicks in, Then Supplement
3) For the Rest of Her Life

So let’s look each option in detail:

Option 1: Until Social Security Kicks In

Currently, GD has living expenses of $2400/month but that’s only because she doesn’t have to pay rent for 2 years on account of house sitting.

So, if she only supports her mom for the next 4 years until Social Security kicks in and then allocates the $1200/month she’s currently giving her mom towards, rent, her yearly expense becomes $2400 + $1200 = $3600/month.

This would require a portfolio of $3600 * 12 *25 = $1.08 Million.

But since she always has assets of $750,000 plus yearly matching from her employer to the tune of $7500/year.

This means, with a yearly spending of $43,200 ( or $3600/month *12), and estimated after-tax combined income of $70,000 (this is a conservative number and will need to be recalculated by her using her actual tax numbers), and $7500 company matching, this means her savings rate is a whopping 44%! Not a lucky number, according to Chinese superstition, but super lucky by the standard of money nerds who don’t give a rat’s ass about stupid superstitions.

For year 1-2, she’s not paying rent, so if her estimated net salary $77,500 (again, she can feel free to recalculate this based on her actual after tax salary), with a yearly expenditure of $43,200, she could put away $34,300/year. Assuming that for years 3-4 she’s paying rent of $1200/month AND supporting her mom before social security kicks in, her savings drop by $1200*12 =$14,400 for 2 years and she can only put away 19,900 ($34,300 – 14,400) this means her TTR (Time to Retirement) is:

Year Starting Balance Annual Contribution Return Total
1 750,000.00 34,300.00 45,000.00 829,300.00
2 829,300.00 34,300.00 49,758.00 913,358.00
3 913,358.00 19,900.00 54,801.48 988,059.48
4 988,059.48 19,900.00 59,283.57 1,067,243.05
5 1,067,243.05 34,300.00 64,034.58 1,165,577.63

 

(Assuming a conservative 6% average yearly investment return)

Less than 5 years!

Now, of course, this depends on where they live and how much rents are in that area, how much their taxes are, as well as the how the market does in the next 4-5 years since this isn’t a long 10+year time frame.

What if her rent ends up being a bit more expensive in 2 years? How about if she pays $1600/month in rent instead of the $1200/month she’s allocating to her mom?

If their rent ends up being $1600/month instead of $1200, after social security kicks in, her yearly expenditure would be $48,000/year instead of $43,200/year, which means she would now need 1.2 Million. So from year 1-2, the yearly savings number is the same ($34,300). But for years 2-4, she’s supporting her mom AND paying rent, causing her savings to go down to $77,500 – ($2400/month + $1600/month + $1200/month)*12 = $15,100. But after social security kicks in, her yearly savings goes back up to $77, 500 – ($2400/month + $1600/month)* 12 = $29,500

Given that HUGE lead with $750,000 in assets, even in this case where their yearly spending goes up to $48,0000/month, they’d STILL have a TTR of:

Year Starting Balance Annual Contribution Return Total
1 750,000.00 34,300.00 45,000.00 829,300.00
2 829,300.00 34,300.00 49,758.00 913,358.00
3 913,358.00 15,100.00 54,801.48 983,259.48
4 983,259.48 15,100.00 58,995.57 1,057,355.05
5 1,057,355.05 29,500.00 63,441.30 1,150,296.35
6 1,150,296.35 29,500.00 69,017.78 1,248,814.13

So we’re looking at a TTR of around 4-6 years if they are to continue supporting her mom until social security kicks in, and start paying rent in 2 years after their house sit is over.

 

Option 2: Until Social Security Kicks in, Then Supplement

Now, what if she wants to supplement the $500/month she’d get from social security by $700/month to get it to the current $1200/month level? How does that change the numbers?

Well, assuming she’d have to pay rent at around $1600/month (again, she’ll need to redo the numbers with what she expects her rent to be) in 2 years while continuing to pay her Mom $700/month in 4 years, she’ll have a yearly expenditure of $56,400, which will require a portfolio of $1.41M. This would lengthen her TTR to:

Year Starting Balance Annual Contribution Return Total
1 750,000.00 34,300.00 45,000.00 829,300.00
2 829,300.00 34,300.00 49,758.00 913,358.00
3 913,358.00 15,100.00 54,801.48 983,259.48
4 983,259.48 15,100.00 58,995.57 1,057,355.05
5 1,057,355.05 21,100.00 63,441.30 1,141,896.35
6 1,141,896.35 21,100.00 68,513.78 1,231,510.13
7 1,231,510.13 21,100.00 73,890.61 1,326,500.74
8 1,326,500.74 21,100.00 79,590.04 1,427,190.79

8 years! Still not bad. Also, 8 is a lucky number in Chinese, so yay?

Option 3: For the Rest of Her Life

What if she were to be REALLY generous? What if she continues supporting her mother to the tune of $1200/month for the rest of her mom’s life, with or without the social security?

This means her yearly expenditure would become $62,400, which means she would need a portfolio size of $1.56M, brining her TTR to:

Year Starting Balance Annual Contribution Return Total
1 750,000.00 34,300.00 45,000.00 829,300.00
2 829,300.00 34,300.00 49,758.00 913,358.00
3 913,358.00 15,100.00 54,801.48 983,259.48
4 983,259.48 15,100.00 58,995.57 1,057,355.05
5 1,057,355.05 15,100.00 63,441.30 1,135,896.35
6 1,135,896.35 15,100.00 68,153.78 1,219,150.13
7 1,219,150.13 15,100.00 73,149.01 1,307,399.14
8 1,307,399.14 15,100.00 78,443.95 1,400,943.09
9 1,400,943.09 15,100.00 84,056.59 1,500,099.67

Slightly over 9 years.

So, this is kind of a “Choose Your Own Filial Adventure” sort of deal. How nice does she want to be to her mom?

If she cuts her mom off as soon as the social security kicks in, she could retire in 4-6 years. If she agrees to supplement her mom’s income once social security kicks in, she could retire in 8 years. And if she wants to win the Chinese Filial Devotion Daughter of the Year award (HA! As if. Chinese parents don’t give you awards for doing stuff you’re suppose to do), she could continue to paying her mom $1200/month for the rest of her life and retire in a little over 9 years.

So what do you think? What would you do if you were GD? Would you pick option 1, 2 or 3? And bonus question: If you’ve read Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mother, what did you think of it?

47 thoughts on “Reader Case : Need Help with my Tiger Mom!”

  1. Facing the same challenge. Hold a resentment against my parents for expecting this (f**king selfish, I say. Plan for your own retirement, seriously!). But at the same time, I still feed them a ton of money.

  2. Wow! I am so thankful this is not an expectation of me! Of course I will help out if required, but I am trying to instill in them the wonder of ETFs 🙂

    Bravo, GD, Bravo!!

    1. Yes, it’s a lot harder when it’s an expectation, especially since Tiger Moms are guilt-trip ninjas!

      Good thing we both don’t have that problem. GD is a taking it like a champ.

  3. I’m not Chinese, but I always struggle with the guilt that comes from having a healthy nest egg while listening to family members talk about money problems. Even when most of their problems are the result of choices they made (not enough education, too many kids, unwise spending, etc), it’s still hard not to feel like a good daughter/in-law/sister would want to help.

    1. I can relate, one side of my family is full of people who check off all those boxes you mentioned when it comes to financial failure and I always feel that guilt as well especially because I feel like they didn’t get some of the advantages that I had, many of which I took for granted but still ended up in a good financial position anyway due to lucky investments and frugal spending habits.

      1. I’d be torn if I were in your situation as well. Money is a very touchy subject and when emotions and guilt get involved, you can get into a messy situation. But maybe there are other ways to help rather than financially. That way you can help but also protect yourself.

    2. Having a similar experience as the reader case (although MIL, not my own mother), it’s a bit tricky, especially once you have kids. For us, it’s important to show our kids a good example – ie: take care of yourself, but show some charity as well. On the other hand, there’s not much point in helping folks only to have them drown you as well. The recipient has to demonstrate some willingness to improve their situation and their needs can’t be allowed to jeopardize your well being (or that of folks you’re responsible for, like kids).

      1. I definitely believe it’s better to teach a person how to fish than handing them fish. I think this is why an estimated 70% of lottery winners lose their windfall within a couple of years. Money means nothing unless you know how to manage it.

    3. That sounds hard, Tenyearcountdown. I met a guy in Thailand who had the same problem. His siblings and parents made so many bad decisions with money and he knows if he were to help them financially, they would just keep making bad decisions and waste his hard earned money. He ended up not telling them about his finances. It’s definitely a hard decision.

    1. Good question. Well, the point of this reader case to figure out how to continue helping her mom out while also working towards FI. I can’t assume that she will be able to make decisions for her mom’s savings. I’ve known Chinese moms how will steadfast REFUSE to invest them savings, even if it’s getting eroded by inflation. There’s an emotional aspect to that which you can’t anticipate.

  4. I am not sure where GD and her mom live…but having had to support financially and emotionally both mother and mother-in-law, I believe it is best to have more options than just giving money indefinitely.

    1) Could GD’s mom qualify for more benefits than $500/m social security based on her low or non-existing income? Maybe it is worth the look into SSI, a supplemental benefit for low income seniors. I know GD said her mother didn’t accept any handouts but would she consider SSI a handout?

    2) GD might look into buying a life insurance on her mom. It might be worth the payments plus the money she gives to mom for the rest of her mom’s life if GD can be compensated after the mom’s death. I know some might find this offensive but I learned that aging is horrendously expensive in the USA. My husband pays up to $600/day for caregivers for his mother who has dementia. His other option is to place her in a facility that costs $8000+/month. Most people can’t afford such payments.

    I applaud GD’s devotion to her mom but it will be wise to plan for the expenses of her mom’s golden years.

    1. Both are good practical suggestions (though I do think most life insurance policies are expensive and not worth the money), but coming from an Chinese background, suggestion #2) would probably get her disowned.

      Death is a pretty taboo subject in Chinese culture, so even the hint at your parent’s death (even for pragmatic reasons) will completely destroy them. And knowing that GD wants to be good to her mom, this will likely freak her out. Ditto with talking about putting them into a “facility”. You will never hear the end of it.

      1. Eh. Discussion of a ‘facility’ can have variable results. This is actually an ongoing conversation for us – the key part is that all of these sorts of things have incredibly long timelines. ie: you’re not going to sell any of these things in the short term, it’s about planting seeds for the future.

      2. Fwiw, it also helps my wife that she’s married to a 外國人. There’s no expectation that I’d understand something like filial piety.

    2. For option 2, I would consider Long Term Care insurance. It’s a kind of health insurance that covers assisted living, senior care, caretakers, and all the stuff that comes with taking care of an elder who can’t live on their own anymore. These things are VERY expensive, and are NOT covered under normal health insurance (which only covers illness and injuries).

      With respect, the mother in this Reader Case sounds like the type to just show up at the house and shout “I can’t live on my own! I live here now!”. So I would look into LTC insurance now.

      Sincerely,
      ARB–Angry Retail Banker

  5. GD – you’re a good daughter indeed! And doing quite well. Perhaps, if your hubby got
    a better paying job, you can continue helping your Mom and still retire early.

    1. I’d say, if her hubby is happy with his job and continues working long after she quits, that cuts down her TTR regardless of whether she has to help her mom or not. Even now, worst case it’s still only 9 years. So I’d say he could stick with that job (if he enjoys it) and they will still make it.

  6. Good advice. Tough situation since there is no father? What happened to the dad?

    I’m exactly in the opposite scenario with my mom constantly giving me money even though she doesn’t have much money. But every time I try to reject her offering, she says she’d rather Are use it while She’s alive than wash his dead.

    So I use her money to redo my home’s rood and I named it “mom’s roof”.

    Now any money she gives me is sent straight to my sons college savings plan.

    1. That’s a good place to be in, FS! I guess she just wants to see you happy and give her money a worthy purpose. Sounds like it’s going to a great cause!

      1. I’m in a similar situation, my mother wants to give us money (even though she has little), but my MIL wants us to give her money (and she has plenty of it).

        Sometimes it’s those with the least that have the best hearts.

  7. I’d personally pick option #2 + increase for cost of living. There are other factors where GD’s income could increase over time as well. Also, her husband’s income could increase. But if they want to FIRE sooner, maybe a quicker path would be for her husband to try to increase his income faster. Their income levels are very different. If GD were to lose her job that would put the entire family at risk. Perhaps, GD is also feeling a lot of pressure of being the breadwinner. It can get conflated with additional resentment of having to support her Mom. But being a single Mom could not have been easy. There are creative solutions where GD can achieve FIRE, continue to be filial and also feel less resentment about it. Perhaps she has the difficult conversation with her Mom to set expectations that it’s a supplement after social security kicks in and no longer the full $1200. Maybe her Mom’s response would be surprising.

    1. I would pick the middle option as well. You’re right in that their incomes could increase over time, bringing them to FIRE faster. I don’t know what his field is, so it’s possible he’s just ramping up in that field and it just takes time for experience to build up. He could also offer to not retire and just let her retire, in order to reduce the portfolio they need. If his salary could cover just half their projected yearly expenditure, they could cut the portfolio size they need by half.

  8. I live in Asia and Tiger mom’s are everywhere 🙂 … my wife is from here too!!! Grin! 🙂 … her parents have lived with us for quite a while … and it is kinda fun actually – though as a North American … it took some getting used to – my parent-in-laws helped with the cooking, cleaning and other costs … they help us pay for our 2 maids now (1 is kinda like a nurse aid to the father-in-law ) – who do all the household chores (the cost is very cheap here for maids/chefs, nannies and the like) ….(I have a private driver for the mornings too for work … which sounds expensive but it is not …..) …. but we saved boatloads of money by living together and helping each other out along the way – I think your Case contestant? 🙂 … would be good to go with Plan C maybe … in house baby-care? …. anyway living with the in-laws helped me save and become a multi-millionaire via savings, investing and connections … which write a bit about in the above link … not all Tiger moms are so severe and fiery as your above examples but they can certainly be persistent … 🙂

    1. Wow, sounds like you are living the life! I really don’t think your in-laws are Tiger parents if you can actually live with them. 🙂 They’re more like Kitty parents. Lucky you!

      1. Thanks … sometimes they can be interesting Kitties … I like your photo for the blog entitled Tiger Mom too … they are two very popular actors over here …. the fellow usually does a mix of serious or humorous romancy soapishy tv dramas … the lady actress is super famous and is a billionairess entertainment mogul together with her spouse … chat more later CPO, From the Far Side of the Planet

  9. Whoa whoa whoa. Okay, I don’t know about everyone else, but it sounds to me like her mom is taking advantage of her.

    First of all, age 50 is when she decided that her daughter would support her forever!? Is the mom disabled or something? At that age, most of us are still working. If mom isn’t making enough at that age, she should work harder or find a higher paying job. Is mom even working? There was an implication that she wasn’t. Early retirement is awesome, but not on the backs of others. At 50, she should still be working if her passive income streams haven’t made her FI yet. Both my parents worked through their early 60s. You don’t get to quit at 50 and demand money from your kids! What the hell is going on that mom decided that daughter needs to send her $1200/month. Mom better be confined to a wheelchair and receiving daily lifesaving medication!

    And wait a second. I know $100,000 only goes so far if not invested (mom’s fault, not daughter’s), but mom is demanding money while sitting on a six figure bank account!? Hell no, that is not acceptable.

    Honestly–and I don’t want to sit here and attack someone’s mother–but I disagree with GD. Her mother is the type to accept–and demand–handouts. Demanding that amount monthly at that age when she should still be working and while she intentionally leaves a whole cash reserve in something that earns no interest!? I’d go with option 4: cut Tiger Mom off, tell her that she has to work and take control of her money if she is in such a situation, and let her know that you have a responsibility to yourself, your husband, and any children you have now or will have in the future. Speaking of which, how does your husband feel about his mother-in-law dipping into the family finances at her own whim?

    Mind you, don’t let your mother go homeless or anything. And be there to support her when she grows elderly. But she shouldn’t be looking at you as a source of unearned play money.

    Sincerely,
    ARB–Angry Retail Banker

    1. Just reread it. There’s no implication; mom IS unemployed. And with such tiny benefits, it really DOES sound like she decided to “retire” at 50. What exactly is preventing mom from getting a new job, other than the ATMO?

      I think it’s time to announce that the ATMO is out of order.

      1. Well, I’d say it’s a little late to push her to go back to work at 50, considering how she’s now 4 years from social security ( age 66), so I’m speculating that was 12 years ago.

        But yeah, I can see where you are coming from. There is an aspect of taking advantage here (because she’s expecting repayment for all the years she had to take care of her daughter as a single mom) but it’s a Chinese cultural belief that you OWE your parents. So this sense of “filial devotion” is pretty ingrained.

        I’d say to even the playing field, she could make the money have more strings attached. Like if she’s supporting her for so long, her Mom needs to get the 100K in savings working and generating passive income instead of just sitting there, eroding from inflation. But again, the math is easy, the messy feelings part is hard, so she’d have to work that part out with her Mom.

  10. In the spirit of improving your writing – which is generally pretty good! – I offer the following minor correction. “Bifurcating” means “to divide into two branches or halves” – I think you meant “so divisive” or the like, unless, of course, you mean to imply that the book is itself dividing into two halves. 🙂

    Carry on.

    Signed,
    Son of a Tiger Mother

  11. Timely. I spent half an hour yesterday going over my (widowed) father’s finances with him, in preparation for meeting with an estate lawyer tomorrow. Fortunately his pre-1986 federal pension more than takes care of his needs — he ends up throwing a fat wad of cash into VTSAX every quarter.

    Wish I could convince him to spend it on himself rather than letting it grow eventually for me and my brother. Between a life spent reading Thoreau and now missing mom to the point of not enjoying travel without her, it’s difficult.

  12. I think you forgot a fourth option FireCracker — What if the mom in question actually went out and got a job to support herself?

    It’s not easy to say ‘no’ to our parents because we’re conditioned to obey, but it’s a real option. Mom may get all pissy and throw a fit, but whatever…

    Our parents taught us that life isn’t always easy. Sometimes they need a reminder too.

    I follow this simple rule in life — When you’ve got a leech, you cut it off.

    1. You do have a point, Mr. Tako. She could ask her mom to get a job until Social Security kicks in. Even if it’s a part time job for 4 years. Some people choose to work even after retirement so they can stay social and keep their minds sharp. Maybe if she pitches it that way…

  13. Playing the devil’s advocate, what is the utility of children? What are the economics of raising children? Do parents out there calculate and track the costs of raising children? What is the proper repayment for life and being raised and cared for? There are different cultural and philosophical perspectives to the child/parent relationship. In general, is it possible to economically measure monetary spending and time (as opportunity cost) spent on a person, whether it be a child or a parent? Should children or parents then be billed for this? It would indeed be frightening to make everything a transaction. What is our obligation to our children or to our parents? Do we set examples for our children by taking care of our parents? Or do we neglect our children as well as neglect our parents?

    Firecracker and Wanderer, if you want to delete this post because it’s off topic, please do. There are lots of cases of elderly abuse be it physical or financial because they are vulnerable. Sadly adult children are often the perpetrators. The crimes are under reported and more social awareness should be made about the topic. The topic has touched a nerve because I see my parents have aged over time. I don’t know when it happened that they are not as young and strong as I remembered growing up.

    1. In the west, the laws favour kids over the parents. As parents you legally have to take care of children and provide for them, but there is no law that dictates children have to take care of their parents. That’s probably why the birth rate is much lower and you see lonely people in old folks home with kids who never come to see them.

      It’s a difficult question to answer. I don’t think there’s a law that fits every situation. You could force legally force kids to support their parents, but what about cases where the parent is physically abusive? What about parents who are alcoholics and need more care than the kid could provide? So don’t think there’s one answer that will fit all situations. I don’t believe people are inherently evil, so I don’t see how a child could neglect a parent for no reason. It’s usually more complicated than you think.

  14. It’s really interesting to read this perspective. You truly are a Good Daughter! My husband’s parents are never quite convinced that we’re doing fine financially. Every time we talk about finances, they look at us with these sad eyes that say “Aw, those silly 24-year-olds still haven’t figured out how expensive it is to live yet. Here, let us give you some spending money. You really don’t go out enough.”

    1. You have the opposite problem 🙂 It’s condescending but that’s okay. We Millennials can pretend to be dumb and let the Boomers feel smart every now and then. They need it 😛

  15. I feel for this girl. The same thing happens in South Asian culture as well. Fortunately I don’t really have to deal with it but I worry if I will have to eventually once my parents run out of money. My dad spent his life being treated as an ATM machine by my grandmother. Sadly in Muslim households, it is expected that financial responsibilities rest only with sons and not daughters. So much that my grandmother and my dad’s sisters squeezed my dad out of as much money as they could, twisting religion to guilt trip him about his “responsibilities” and my grandmother’s rights which they claimed came before his wife and children. Not only was my dad cheated out of his inheritance, he spent his life paying for three of his sisters’ weddings.. and south Asian weddings are expensive. Lol he even financially supported his youngest sister who got divorced because she felt entitled to it and later even paid for her second wedding. Funnily, my dad didn’t pay for his own daughter’s wedding. Im sure he would’ve somehow arranged the funds if I had demanded it from him, but I couldn’t do what his sisters and mother did to him all his life. Im the first to admit that my dad should’ve put his foot down with those women. Sadly he was weak and still is. He is still made to feel guilty for not having done enough. It boils my blood to see entitled monsters like that who use their children like their retirement plans. Sadly there are too many people in South Asian community like that. What’s worse is they pass it on to the next generation and it hardly ever ends.

  16. Although I am not Chinese, coming from a similar cultural background (I’m Korean), I feel GD and why Wanderer was horrified. My situation is a lot better than GD as my father retired a few years ago after working for the government for 30 years and now he’s receiving sufficient amount of pension so I just give my mom some cash on a monthly basis to make sure she has cash cushion, which I do happily out of free will.

    But when I look at my parents, they are baby boomers and they still have to financially support my grandparents as do most other Korean baby boomers and I see many many of these people (so called the “sandwich” generation as they are sandwiched between their financially uninformed and unprepared old parents and ungrateful(?) millennial offsprings who can’t even get a decent paying job) who are not in a position to prepare for their retirement (not to mention “early” retirement). Only if they had known about this FI/RE community heaven knows what would have happened to them but I’m sure glad more people are being educated about this. 🙂

    1. That’s nice of you to support your mom out of free will. Definitely better if you WANT to do it instead of being forced or guilt-tripped into it.

      Yeah, I feel for the “sandwich” generation when you have to support the elderly and the young’uns (oh God, I just said “young’uns”, I’m getting old). That’s definitely a lot of responsibility to take on.

  17. In Chinese culture, it is a sin if you don’t take care of your parents when they get older. your neighbors and relatives will look down on you and you will be labeled as ‘ungrateful’.

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