Save. Spend. Splurge.

I’m just tired of hearing the same old story.

I read this post by AP (which you should all read too), about her mother’s money secret.

To boil it down, her brother makes over $100,000 a year and her mother found it he is $70K in debt, living far beyond his means, has not been helping out with the family finances the way AP has, and this is after her mother already gave him $20,000 to help out.

They don’t have that kind of money to give to him, let alone to a son earning over $100,000. They’re on a very low income budget as retirees.

AP moved in with her parents out of the goodness of her heart to pay for the mortgage and expenses (they are unable to work), putting her life on hold so that they could live.

She has been dying to get out and be in her own space but has sucked it up, paying for the bills and basically managing the family the way Revanche of A Gai Shan Life has done (and still does).

I read it… and felt all sorts of emotions, but mostly a deeply, sad, defeated one.

I’m just tired of hearing the same story.

I’ve talked about it a bit in the past about Filial Piety, and about my own issues with it to death, but really…. I’m just tired.

I’m sad and tired for all of the children who have to go through this, and I am angry at their families and their siblings for being such terrible money managers.

So, no furious rant today, but a few observations.

Just because you make a good income it doesn’t mean you know jack squat about managing it

Here are some poor vs Rich spending habits and a mini review I did of super high income earners making $160,000 – $200,000 and feeling like they’re just barely making it.

What I see is that the more you make, the more you spend (if you let it get that way), and you really can’t afford that life if you are getting into debt for it.

It’s called lifestyle inflation, and if you aren’t aware of it, you can fall deep down that rabbit hole as I can WELL attest to because I have done it, am doing it, and will probably do it again.

The only way out is to budget & track your expenses so you can fix the situation if it gets bad and to give yourself a reality check like I did here.

Your parents are hard to cut off, they’re your PARENTS

It is very hard to pull away and say “No” especially if you live in the same city.

There is no easy way out.

You can say what you want, but actually putting into practice, actually cutting off your parents is another ballgame.

You are well aware of what they have sacrificed and done for you to get you, and if you have children of your own, it becomes even more apparent.

They have their own money baggage, just as you do. My mother learned this about money, and this was my father’s experience with money.

Your children are hard to cut off, they’re your CHILDREN

In the same vein, your children are hard to cut off, they’re your children.

So I can understand where AP’s mother is coming from.

I get it.

You carry, give birth and raise a child all the way to adulthood and form a permanent irrevocable bond (unlike between my partner and I because we are both adults but we aren’t permanently attached to each other the way Baby Bun and I are, or the way Baby Bun and his father is.)

I can feel the tug to want to do everything for Baby Bun (with a conscious pull-back of course), and I also see the way my own mother is, and she has the same tug from time to time which has gotten her into trouble as well.

You can’t help yourself sometimes.

The trick is to not spoil them, and to understand when you are doing more harm to them than good (in this case, constantly giving cash gifts and “helping” is not really helping them get any stronger; it just makes them weaker.)

Your siblings have an equal responsibility to help

Don’t feel like you should shoulder all the burden on your own unless you’re an Only Child (in which case read why I am not giving money to Baby Bun nor spending a ton of money on him).

Note: Baby Bun saves his own money from the government which I invest on his behalf following this strategy, I am not putting any of my own money aside from him.

He has a monthly net worth corner in my budget updates, and is a little over 3 years old with $16,000 to his name.

You need to also step in and ask for them to help out, the way AP has done, and if they say “No”, it is then your decision to either let it go or to force the issue and point out the glaring obvious of why their refusals don’t hold water (e.g. they make way more than you do.)

Everyone needs a reality check & a handle on money

*cough*.. A budget to track your expenses for starters, a basic “Money Management 101” lesson and to see harsh realities of what a budget is for you versus for other people, which is why I am still partly talking about money to begin with.

I hope know it is helping keep me grounded.

The only thing I can suggest to AP is to at the very least, get Panchi and Pixie in for a Family Talk.

They suck, but at least you’re seeing each other’s perspectives and hashing it out, preferably without blaming anyone along the way.

Use facts.

So AP, here’s what I suggest…

Outline the budget you are living on, and have them outline theirs (along with actual income numbers), and then tell them the reality is THIS.

Also, it might help to mention that there are goals you may have on your own as well and their selfishness is what is keeping you from realizing them. They robbed your future, not just your parents’.

E.g. No more cash gifts, and there is now an expectation of repayment of that full $20,000 with a debt repayment plan that is affordable for them (e.g. $500 a month until it is cleared, no interest charged… or interest charged at 2% because that’s what you can get in a high-interest savings account).

Until people see the facts, they don’t realize what they’re doing. People are very good at pretending things don’t exist, and denying what they know subconsciously to be true.

I have done this myself, spending myself $60,000 into debt and not living frugally AT ALL during my college years.

I even did this again last year, spending freely until my budget smacked me in the face and I realized that I need to mentally lengthen my bench time in between contracts due to my travel restrictions and work environment factors.

Working together is the only way out of this.

Know how I know this?

Because I did something similar with my parents and a sibling to force back a repayment to my parents (albeit only $10,000), and this is how you start saying “No” to family members from now on.



  • Elisa

    I also was very saddened when I read AP’s situation. I think she is an amazing young lady who is in a very difficult and rather unhealthy situation. Your advice to her is right on target.

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