Amazing response to Joint Family expenses which I wrote a few days back made me write another one….

The worst thing about Joint Family expenses is the perception of who is doing well and who is not. So if one son is doing his own business, one son is working with an Investment banking outfit, one has a wife who is working and earning well…..the parents have no clue about who is earning well. So the conclusions are drawn on the basis of their spending!

Assuming that if two people are spending X amount per month means both are earning (say 3X) per month is a stupid assumption. One son may be a spend thrift while the other may be saving every rupee and spending less! Families who do not communicate with each other about money end up not knowing the truth!

Financial communication – in this country is a joke. Even inside the house it might be easier to get a parent to talk about sex with the children, but you cannot catch them talk money! It is absolutely necessary to talk to each other about each person’s earnings, dreams, desires……… that there is some equitable distribution of work and money burden.

Many a times children are expected to ‘help’ as per their capability, not as per the parents needs. So if a son is doing well he has to pick the bigger tabs – this causes a lot of resentment among the daughters in law and sometimes even among the cousins (the kids). Even parents who distribute their own wealth unequally among the kids run a risk of creating a fight between the kids….The kid who gets less feels …’Oh so you loved him more than me’  – leading to tensions.

The most important thing in any relationship is decent communication – say even the unpleasant things, it is necessary!


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  1. Well written. Even the children hide their exact salaries as they may be asked for more money if they say that they are getting more salary.

  2. @sricharan, do you see hiding salaries (even net worth) as wrong? i do that to avoid my parents asking/expecting me to fund my sister & her husband who borrowed like crazy & destroyed their business/capital/reputation…

  3. one should be straight forward when dealing with financial issues.
    this should be like lie to your doctor about your health issues.
    things should be discussed in clear and you should not put yourself in compromising situation just because some one in your family is careless.
    teach good lessons and stop paying for useless things.
    remember your responsibilities and enjoy

    hiding salary can be good to avoid jealousy from relatives and extra expectation depends on experience to experience

  4. @param – I don’t see it as wrong exactly. May be it depends on personal experience. If we hide our salaries, i don’t think we can expect others at home (brothers, sisters, father, mother) to reveal their original salaries and in fact the budget planning may fail. I feel everything to be maintained transparently but somehow it doesn’t work for most of them.

  5. ha ha …. communication with the people who hold a key to all problems/arguments.. the key being emotional blackmailing and uttering the word death…. ders no use of communication if u know ders not going to be any impact on it… jus a waste of energy and time and adds stress

  6. Subra,

    No one communicates in family about money. It is considered bad, not cultured etc. I have taken pains to talk to my daughter about money. I hope I have been able to do good by her.

    nalayini – not sure if it is ok to start communication with assumptions such as it is of no use, other person wont understand etc.

    Param – nothing is wrong or right. You should be OK with family members hiding stuff from you too. Though I understand where you are coming from.

  7. I just lost my father-in-law. Mother-in-law is a housewife. Both, the son and the daughter are married and both their spouses are earning well. Mother-in-law can opt to live with any of them, both will be glad to have her. I (son-in-law) don’t want any money from her (inheritance or whatever, my conscience don’t allow me to touch any money not earned by myself, even that of my father 🙂 ) and I hope that they have got that message from me.

    Apart from a house, she has got a cash corpus of around 10 lakhs, I want her to invest the cash in pure debt/fd (sbi/hdfc) so that she can get monthly interest of approx 7k. Not that her kids wont give her money for monthly expenses but you never know about the future. Something may happen to kids, spouse may not want her etc, there are n unforeseeable bad scenes that can happen. I want her to be financially secure. And nothing lends you the respect that financial security gives.

    But I am uncomfortable talking finance/money with them, lest they think I am a money minded person with some ulterior motives. What do you suggest, how to put the message across to them, or should I even get involved ?

  8. Atiker,

    it is ur call whether to advise or not. Best is a combination of bank fd, bonds like power finance corporation, and say 50k in a liquid fund….

    however if she is young, she may have to worry about inflation…esp if she lives say another 15 years…

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