Good morning wonderful people.
I read this post from JohnnyFD about how he gives his parents $1000 every month and helps them pay their taxes so they can retire. At first I wasn’t too impressed by this since his monthly income was averaging 10x this amount. And because from one Asian to another Asian, we know it’s in our culture to financially support our parents if we are capable of doing so. But then I realised this attitude towards financially supporting your elders isn’t as obvious in many non-Asian cultures. And I, myself have been asked by many non-Asians why I need to give money to my parents every month.
Which is why I wanted to talk about the reasons why I give my parents $1000 usd every month even though I don’t make anywhere near the amount JohnnyFD does. This is going to be a cultural lesson for all those who don’t understand Chinese values or ideas, so buckle up and be ready to read a post you might not emotionally understand or agree with!
My parents retired young; in their mid 40’s. They weren’t educated or from well off families. Instead it was the complete opposite, but they managed to retire so young because they were entrepreneurs. You can read a little more about it from my About Me page. So you might be wondering “why do you give your parent’s money if they don’t need it?”
And the answer is rather simple.
It’s to say thank you for raising me and providing all the opportunities that I had while growing up. It’s to show them that I respect them as my parents and I appreciate everything they sacrificed for me.
It’s not that I’m putting a price on my parent’s efforts or parenting skills. But it is a representation of my respect for them; to say I will not just fly off and forget all the things they have done for me once I have a life of my own.
It’s also a way for me to express my willingness to take care of them in old age. Not just financially, but emotionally and physically. It really is putting my money where my mouth is and not just give my parents cheap mouth service when I say “I’ll be there for you no matter the situation.” Right now, both my parents are in good health for their age and they have each other for support, but there’s going to come a time where this won’t be the case and that’s the time where a bit of money every month will mean nothing.
However my willingness to give them money every month NOW, reassures them that in the future I’ll be willing to also give them the emotional and physical support if they need it.
We all know that money is a means to an end, it’s not important in and of itself, but what we can do with it is. So if you’re not willing to give a bit of your pay check to your parents now, then how do you take the next step and give them your time and energy in the future?
Your time and energy is worth infinitely more than any currency. It’s the reason why I’m a passive income chaser!
Now, I know not all parents want their kids to take care of them and I know not all parents need their kids to take care of them even when they’re struggling with basic self hygiene. Some are very happy at these fancy 5 start retirement homes or these luxury cruises with on board nursing staff.
In fact, I know my dad has too much Asian male pride to let me directly take care of him. (I have to give the money to my mum, he doesn’t accept it) But I also know he appreciates my offer and sincerity, and if I ever stopped offering he would be heartbroken. It must sound like a joke to some of you reading this, but I’m deadly serious. It’s this weird social dance all Asians do with each other. The “I will earnestly offer to help and you will consistently refuse to accept my help, because you genuinely don’t want my help. however you want me to offer my help sincerely each and every time no matter how many times you do not accept because a decent human being will sincerely want to help.”
See guys, the thing is. It’s not about how much money I give them or if I ever will need to take care of them hands on. It’s about my willingness to do it. (and I am very much willing)
It’s not like my parents brainwashed me since birth with the message of “You must take care of me when I’m old and frail”, but culturally Chinese people tend to put family rather high up on our value system and so without them ever saying it directly; the message has always been expressed and communicated. And to top it off, my parents were immigrants. Fresh. off. the. boat FOBS. I think anyone who has immigrant parents will know the number of struggles immigrants have when they get to a new country without the cultural context or the language. Especially if you’re in Europe where immigrants don’t create big communities like in North America.
I grew up watching my parents work hard. very hard. Long hours with little security and a lot of barriers they had to overcome. My parents were never these invincible super heroes when I was growing up, they were very relatable and mortal humans. They have weaknesses and they don’t have all the answers. They relied on me as much as I relied on them while growing up, and I think most children from immigrant families share these feelings. You’re born in a team where you have a very active role in, and your team is at a disadvantage socially. So it only makes sense that once you get yourself in a better situation you’ll always want to pay it back to your team and say thank you for all they’ve done for you.
The dream would be to have them fully covered for all the basics they need to live a long, comfortable and healthy life. Which depending on what your definition of long, comfortable and healthy life means, could be rather simple or hard to achieve. For now, I think I just about pass my own expectations. But I know I need to continue to step up my game and keep improving if I want to keep passing. (I’m Asian, I want to be excelling, not just passing guys.)