More than 300 families that I know must have made this statement! I love it. All those reading my blog know that I believe in keeping things simple, and using own skills rather than ‘hired’ skills. Even when it comes to making a will…my normal advice is “If you have led a simple uncomplicated life – one marriage, two ‘normal’ kids, do not worry about a will. Ensure that everything that you own is properly documented, nominated,…and kept in a safe place.

However some stories that I hear are stunning…here are two:

One father always had a troubled relationship with his son. Now he is unable to ask his son to go leave the house. The son is earning well and can afford to pay for his rent and food. He gave his son a choice of paying Rs. 20k rent or moving out. However the mother of the son will not have it either way!

In fact she convinced the father to co-sign a car loan for the son…a nice big car which the son’s Form 16 did not support.

The son did not pay beyond the second or third installment. Then he banged it up so bad that the car cannot be sold.

The father is convinced he banged it on purpose. Mother is now not sure. However she also feels she should not have pushed for the Rs. 9 lakh loan.

The second story

Another normal family. Father died….and there was not enough life insurance. Mother a housewife. Elder son employed, younger son studying in college.

When the mother asked the elder son for money to pay for the younger son’s college, the elder son said “My brother’s education is not my responsibility…pay from wherever, but I do not have the cash flow”.

Next month the elder son made a down payment for a car.

Both the families are ‘friends’ of friends ….and I have met them after the incidents had happened.

However it could have happened to ANYBODY…be prepared and communicate well with your kids….DO NOT ASSUME!

These days nobody seems to be normal !

will do more stories about ‘normal’ kids.

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  1. Very true. I came across a client (unmarried daughter) whose father was laid up in bed due to terminal illness. Her brother (unmarried son), settled overseas refused to financially support the father’s treatment as he saw no point in ‘wasting money’. Her father has passed away and she is now left with lot of debts and taking care of her mother.

  2. Muthu the example you have given is different – I am talking about relationship after the death of the parent. Frankly I have no clue how a person allocates limited resources between treating his 80 year old father’s cancer, his own retirement and his daughter’s MBA fees. Limited resources being allocated is always the breadwinner’s prerogative. Sad but true.

    So if you need to be treated well in your old age, YOU NEED TO HAVE YOUR MONEY..that is the crux of retirement. Should a son pay for a pair of glasses or cancer treatment..hmmmm it is an individual call. Society’s views are quite a joke….

  3. One of my teachers in Retirement Planning while doing my CFP used to say “There is no worse curse than a dependent Old Age” and the instances we see all around fully support this.

    Sad but True..

  4. Subra sir,

    little delicate and emotional issue but very true. Other extreme also happens. Running the family, marriage and all financial situations are funded by the kids at the expenses of their financial future. I know of one of the friends families post pone the marriage of their elder daughter ( early 30’s ) just because she takes care of the entire families financial needs.
    As you rightly said it has to be rightly communicated between parent and kids without any emotions.

  5. A brother who pays up for his sibling’s education, a son or daughter who takes care of the old parents – these are not normal conditions anymore. This is the age of new normals where families are getting more and more nuclear.

    And as Kamal said, it’s difficult to lean on one side of the equation. Western Thought would find it very unfair that an individual’s career and life should be held back because of family issues.

    All said, people need to understand the importance of retirement planning and bequest plans.

  6. @ Subra : question is whether this is a choice given to the breadwinner ? Have also seen families where one keeps on sacrificing one’s self for sake of bros/sis and they dont care.
    Resources limited or unlimited is another question.
    But i must say this is where upbringing values play a crucial role. Always said in Orgs, when faced with a difficult choice refer to values

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