The ant and the grasshopper story plays itself over many times. So hear it once more. A married woman with a very well to do husband comes to me to talk to me about her brother who is the grasshopper. He has a daughter who is married off and is abroad. He has no other children. He has a father to support and his father is staying with him. The father is about 77 years of age and has some money which is more than enough for his own expenses. The father does not have a house, and all he has is some Fixed deposits – he lives on the interest that he is earning. I have my doubt whether the Rs. 22 L that he has will be sufficient…but currently he is well off. His mother (our hero’s grandmother is about 95 and lives in an old age home in Chennai. HER DAUGHTER TAKES CARE OF HER…as she is well off compared to our hero’s father. Financially the father cannot afford to send Rs. 25k every month to the Old Age home.

Now the Hero in our story has a good qualification, but has lost his job. He is in his mid 50s and was expecting to work till 60 years at least but he is unable to find a job. He has a house in South India and has about Rs. 35L cash. This is OBVIOUSLY not going to be sufficient for the next 35 years of his life. He would scoff at his sister when she used to ask him about his investments / savings.

The sister (younger by 12 years!!) has no clue how to help him. She knows that he is spending more than his income – and knows that this cannot last. He has asked her for help saying “I will need help …”. Here is what the sister (aided by me of course) has told him:

  • I will pay for the medical insurance of the couple
  • she has offered to buy a small house in Coimbatore and he could live there ON RENT, but guaranteed tenancy rights for life
  • he will not spend more than ┬áhis income
  • the sale proceeds of the house (about Rs. 79 lakhs) will go into Cap Gains Bonds..and will be touched only after 3 years when it matures
  • no expensive travel, no expensive gifts…..
  • daughter is settled in NZ and this couple will go there IF THE DAUGHTER buys him a ticket.

Clearly it is not easy to help a Grasshopper – the sister feels angry at her brother, but she also realizes that the brother is the only sibling she has. She has offered to pay for her father’s expenses if he exhausts his capital, but she cannot take him on board. She has 2 young children, and she her inlaws live with her. Her husband is earning very well and she has also married into a rich family. However, her husband and in laws do not have too much respect for her side of the family – her husband told her 16 years ago (so she claims, I know her for 9 years, and I can vouch for 9 years!!) that she will have to look after her parents as they do not have money or assets!!

She now seems to be in agreement with her…remind me after a couple of years to post a sequel….!!

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  1. Many will share similar experiences. This society of ours is reflected in Subra’s very many posts. Scaring but closest to reality. Lifestyle changes may have occurred on a regular basis, but appear happening rather too fast of late.

  2. Looks like there’s at least one grasshopper in everyone’s family. I know a person in his early 70s, not well off, doing some media works here and there. Mostly depend on his two sons. Again elder one not well off doing some finance job, complete income is going for his apartment EMI, depends on his wife’s income for family running. Younger son is little better compared to the dad and bro duo. But still they all go in taxis, wear branded shirts, go to parlors, eat out most of the time, FDFS and what not. I wonder why they don’t even think about tomorrow if not future. I’m scared just by seeing their way of spending.

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