A WWYD? Update From The Millennial Whose Parents Want Her Hard-Earned Savings

As you perhaps recall, I recently posted a WWYD? question from a letter writer who preferred to remain anonymous, whose parents had approached her with a request for $5000 when she only had $8000. She was gratified, if a bit overwhelmed, by the response and the desire for more information. Here is her update:

1. My family’s always been pretty open about money, but in terms of them knowing how much I have, it again goes back to a pride thing. The longer I worked and saved, they’d periodically ask how I was doing and when I told them they would just be beaming. So their knowing comes from a good place. It’s not necessarily something that’s weird for us.

2. Yes, there is a cultural element at play here.

First, it’s rare in my family for a woman to move out of her house unless she is married, so that in itself is a whole thing. Theoretically, I could have moved out and lived with roommates and scrimped by, but that sort of thing just isn’t done in my family. I’m sure as hell not moving to Florida, though.

Secondly, there is an expectation that children will take care of their parents, usually in old age. Nursing homes are not an option.

Third, maybe less of a cultural thing and more of a Just Their Thing, but they would never charge me rent. They aren’t lording it over me; they’ve said before it would feel like I’m just renting a room and not part of the family.

3. They would be selling our house and moving down to FL. You’re right — where would I live?? If I’m approached again, I’ll bring all this up and more. Houses down there aren’t as expensive as up north, but I don’t know many more details so I can’t share anything else.

4. I should mention that my parents are nowhere near as sketchy/manipulative as they may have come across in my question. I love them to death and they would do anything for me. They are in the very early stages of looking at houses and my dad was the one who approached me with this in passing. He can be a foot-in-mouth kinda guy. I’m sure if my mom had been there she would have shut him up until they had figured everything out first.

I do feel for them — they’ve worked so hard at OK paying jobs for years since they came to the U.S. and they’re just plain ol’ tired.

I don’t know much else, but you guys have given me a lot to think about and a lot of questions to ask if the topic comes up again. But if they still need the money, I think what I’ve decided is to give them what I can, not most of what I’ve got. Thanks!

FWIW, my response remains the same. Either grit your teeth and say yes; grit your teeth and say no; or bargain. But giving something, as long as you can afford to and you can do it with love rather than in resentment, and even if it seems mostly symbolic, does seem like the right thing to do.