Author Topic: On becoming a responsible person (and respecting my parents)  (Read 4215 times)

guineapig

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Disclaimers:
==========================================
1. English is not my mother tongue.
Therefore, the sentence structure will perhaps be weird or incoherent at times.
2. This is a very personal post and I anticipate harsh criticism.
That's fine, just don't call me names or use generic insults. Please.
3. My parents don't live together, I have a sister that's 14 years old who lives with my mom.
We all live in Canada and my family moved from South America around 6 years ago.

Background info:
=================
me:
21 year old, student. 0$ debt, no job, studying in Quebec (Canada)
recieving: ~1.5k/month (~1.3k/month [from parent's house; see below] + 200$/month from dad)
monthly expenses: $1.3K/month (660$ rent, $140 food, 100$ others + ~4k per year for tuition)
savings: 7k in saving account, 10k [sister's money for her studies]

mom (40 years old):
~25k student debt (rough estimate)
after tax salary of around ~35k
5k saved for sister's education, no retirement money
~$180k mortage on a house here (3.3%, 25 or 30 years)
800$/month to pay mortgage

dad (47 years old):
~10k student debt,
no idea of his salary (random guess: ~40k after tax)
no idea of savings in bank, some retirement money in Peru would apparently
grant him around ~65$/month, some money for my sister's education

dad/mom:
house in Peru (worth ~150k rough estimate). [already paid in full]
Generates 14k per year (renting it out - taxes, stuff, etc)

bottom line:
========================
21 year old dude living way too comfortably while my mom has to live on ~35k paying a house mortgage and raising my sister and a craazy dog.

My dad's strategy is to retire to Peru once he reaches the sweet age of 65.
In Peru you probably need 300$/month to live comfortably if you do not have to pay rent, so he needs around ~3.6k/year to make it.
Simply renting his half of the house and living in the unused 4th floor would more than comfortably pay for this (or so I hope)

Now, my mom is the one that sort of worries me. If I am not mistaken, she'll try to stay here to help my sister once she grows older. She would be getting ~7k from Peru. In Canada this is seriously not enough money.
Reallly not enough money.
She would probly still keep the student debt that she has right now, which she is not paying and which will KEEP growing.

And here I am, not being terribly helpful to my parents.
Also, my sister wants to be a doctor and that will be prohibitely expensive too.
Adding insult to the injury, the 10k I have is from what my grandma gave us
(10k for my sister, 40k for me... which I used to pay school/ down payment of the house)
so don't even think I am being remotely nice to my sister

I think the best solution is just to move back with my parents
(I pay around $660 in rent and getting from my mom's or dad's place to my university would take roughly ~45 minutes)
and taking a debt / part time job to pay for the ~4k school fees.
This would give my parents 7k in extra income each, which would pay their debts
in 2 and 4 years respectively.
I feel like I seriously need a wake up call to realize how lucky I am and how much help I've received.
Please help me get there

bogart

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Re: On becoming a responsible person (and respecting my parents)
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2012, 08:25:15 AM »
Good for you for thinking about this stuff.

Some questions for you:
  • What are you studying, and how much longer will you be in school before you get your degree?
  • Do your parents work, and if so, in jobs with benefits, or not (e.g. are they working full-time for "big" employers, or do they do free lance work?)?
  • Could you get a job (even a part-time job) while you are also in school?

guineapig

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Re: On becoming a responsible person (and respecting my parents)
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2012, 10:19:41 AM »
~thanks for replying~
Answers for you:

Software engineering. 1 year and a half left.
Yes, they work in jobs without benefits, full-time but not necessarily for big employers. I'm pretty sure they like their jobs though.
I could definitely get a job while in school.

bogart

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Re: On becoming a responsible person (and respecting my parents)
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2012, 10:29:04 AM »
OK, thanks.  It sounds like you're within a manageable distance of finishing your degree; I agree it could well make sense to move back with your mom or dad to save money -- I guess I'd recommend that you discuss this idea with them and see whether they like it or not.  If you have concerns about it yourself, you may want to discuss those with them or post about them here.

The main reason I asked about your folks' jobs was I wondered if they are contributing to a retirement program such as a 401K or social security.  I know the Canadian system would different from the US; it sounds like there's no 401K (or the equivalent) involved if they don't have benefits, but there could still be whatever the Canadian equivalent of social security is?

While I agree you shouldn't just accept your parents' funding of your education without thinking through its impact on them and ways you can help minimize costs, they may (also) see this as an investment in their future security, with the expectation that you will assist one or both of them financially or otherwise if they need it in the future -- may be a good thing to talk to them about (what are their expectations and goals?) and to think about the best way(s) to reach those goals.

$_gone_amok

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Re: On becoming a responsible person (and respecting my parents)
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2012, 11:26:53 AM »
My advise is to study hard, land a good internship and job so you can help your mother financially.

Osprey

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Re: On becoming a responsible person (and respecting my parents)
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2012, 05:00:09 PM »
If I'm not mistaken there is an implicit understanding that you will look after them once they retire. My family is the same - kids get to freeload until our tertiary degrees are completed but we are "investments." It's an old-fashioned way of doing things and I think it's nice.

I agree with previous commenters that you could move back home to save money. Also consider creating a "family fund" where you build up a certain amount each month, and then draw from that fund any time they need financial help. It will soften the blow if unexpected expenses occur, it separates your own money from the "debt " to your family and it keeps resentment at bay.
This post is very interesting to me. Maybe others will have more practical advice. I wish you the best of luck!

englyn

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Re: On becoming a responsible person (and respecting my parents)
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2012, 07:33:21 PM »
Thanks for posting this! It's great to hear from two people today who are both helping out parents. Good on you.

I think we all need a reminder occasionally how lucky we are.

My suggestions might be a little different. Obviously your parents are sacrificing to ensure you get a great education and you want to honour that. So
a) you want to get the best grades possible. Do not rush into taking a job that will affect your study time.
b) conversely, you often learn a lot more career-useful stuff at work than at uni. A job in your field while you are still studying will accelerate your future career a lot. I think you should be very persistent about trying to get something, anything, related to your field. Even if you spend 6 months working at the university's IT helpdesk your work ethic there will shine through and then you'll be able to get something more relevant.
c) If this also means that you can free up some of the monthly $ they are giving you, perhaps so they can use it to support your sister instead, fantastic.
d) after you graduate, you could treat a portion of the money they've been giving you through uni as your own 'student debt' to them and come up with a payment plan that will help with their student debt or mortgage.

A student's job is to study, try not to spend too much money, and importantly, have fun! There's plenty of time for earning later, make sure you enjoy university.

deciduous

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Re: On becoming a responsible person (and respecting my parents)
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2012, 09:06:41 PM »
~thanks for replying~
Answers for you:

Software engineering. 1 year and a half left.
Yes, they work in jobs without benefits, full-time but not necessarily for big employers. I'm pretty sure they like their jobs though.
I could definitely get a job while in school.

My read on this is that you're doing the right thing by thinking about this now, have you had a talk with your family about what they all want?

If you are good at software engineering, by which I mean diligent, you will have ample opportunity to do right for everyone... soon. I think now is the time to talk openly and honestly with everyone, and make a plan for yourself and them. You aren't in a position yet to contribute directly, but work hard and you will be soon.

guineapig

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Re: On becoming a responsible person (and respecting my parents)
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2012, 08:11:05 AM »
Thanks for all the support!
I spoke with my mom and basically she also suggested that I move back with her. I am still unsure about it but I'll definitively keep that in mind.
I also confirmed that my numbers were right about her debts, etc.

I love the suggestion of keeping a separate account 'saved for emergencies' but I sort of already do that... with all the money that I have. Thing is, I don't consider that money mine so all of it according to me is/could be used by my parents. My dad never asks for money or stuff but my mom occasionally wants to make some small repairs on the house or something and that's where I give her the money.

As for the person that suggested me having fun, I think I am. It's just that the 'go crazy and wild partying and hooking up with random people' is not my thing. (just my opinion) I was also brought up in sort of a frugal environment so that also helps.

Finally, I do know the expectations of my parents and they obviously include things such as letting them live with me if they ever need it, staying with them during sick days, letting them help me raise my children, etc. typical old school South American stuff I guess. [except for living in the same neighbourhood... I don't think that'll happen but you never know]