Boomers have had much more financial stability than their millennial and Gen-X descendants. However, a recent online post addresses a theme that raises cross-generational eyebrows.
He Sold the Former Family House
The original poster — let’s call her Patti — cites a recent article she read wherein someone is unhappy about their 60-year-old father’s new spending habits. She relays that some brothers “were upset their father had remarried a younger woman at 60 and bought a bigger house with her after she sold her own flat and he sold the former family house.”
Dad’s Lavish Lifestyle
The sons have an eye on their inheritance, so they are aggrieved at their father’s new lease of spendthrift life. Patti also refers to another similar story in which a 35-year-old is concerned by his dad’s lavish lifestyle in light of his own financial difficulties.
Can I Ask Him To Be More Thrifty?
Quoting the young man, Patti says, “I am 35, and I feel that my father’s generation had it easier when it came to making and saving money. Can I ask him to be more thrifty?” This story presents a fascinating question in a rampantly capitalistic society that values personal freedom of choice. Naturally, other online observers have opinions on whether these reckless parents are being selfish or they are entitled to enjoy their retirements. Here are some takeaways.
“I say it’s the parents’ money to do with whatever they want,” declares the first thread poster, who sees no wrong in the parents. “Children should not feel entitled to any of it. Inheritance is a privilege, not a right.” Maybe it is all about levels; if you love your kids, surely you want them to be stable? It is a tricky dichotomy.
Letting Mom and Dad Have Fun
“I will be privileged enough to have some form of inheritance,” writes the next person. “But I hope that’s a long time away at a point (when) I don’t really need the money.” Regarding my own parents’ money, I have a similar outlook. I hope never to rely on any inheritance; I want my parents to enjoy every moment here.
Some people’s parents don’t want to take anything with them. My Spanish mother-in-law is now retired but insists on buying my family food every week, even though she has barely any pension left over. We plead for her not to, but changing a retired Spaniard’s mind is like trying to switch off the sun. “Any time I communicate a challenge like childcare, getting cars repaired, or planning holidays/leave, she tries to throw money at it,” someone says of their own mother.
“My dad is retired and super thrifty,” agrees the next commenter. “I wish he’d blow some money on himself! And I’d keep him forever over inheritance.” The thread thus continues, reinstating some faith in humankind and showing that good parenting will nurture you into old age.
This Dad Needs a Jag
A contributor details his partner’s parents’ impressive frugality, even into their ’60s, as they keep working. “Dad ‘treated’ himself to a new car the other day, which is a 12-year-old Peugeot 308,” adds another observer. “Cost him less than a grand. He always talks about wanting a Jaguar. Man, just go out and buy yourself one!”
It’s All Relative
While the parental love-in continues, one observer puts a sensible dampener on the proceedings. “There’s an obvious problem, though, if the standard of living enjoyed by the different members of an immediate family is substantially different,” he asserts, “and no attempt is made to correct that.” Well, yeah. I cannot imagine watching my offspring struggling while I flew first class to Aruba. However, I am sure this scenario has played out in some lives, which is beyond saddening.
Why Wait Until Death?
“By the same measure, waiting until you die to help your kids financially doesn’t make someone much of a parent either,” argues the final commenter. “Parents are just as free to gift their children money as they are to go on holiday, and many do.” I have parents like this who don’t live beyond their means and live to bless their grandchildren — which is entirely their right.
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