Author Topic: Visit family abroad or save my moneys?  (Read 9584 times)

nikki

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Visit family abroad or save my moneys?
« on: November 12, 2013, 03:32:21 AM »
Alright, so the part in me that wants to be physically near my family is broken. I'm an awful daughter/granddaughter/sister/etc. because I'd much rather save my money than see my family.

There. Now let's ease into the situation.

I've been living in South Korea for almost two years. I will be here at least one more year, and realistically several more. In this time span, I have not visited my family in America once. (Incidentally, nor have I gone on any trips abroad to Japan, China, or other goodies easily accessible in Southeast Asia.)

I don't particularly care about going back. I already know what's there--I lived there for over a quarter of a century. I talk to my mom and grandma online, and that's enough for me. (TMI: my aunt and sister aren't even Facebook friends anymore. That's when you *know* your relationship is screwed up.)

My mother visited me in South Korea in May, so that's recent enough I think.

But I know my grandmother doesn't work the same way I do, and she really just wants a hug and to look at my face. And she's my grandmother, so time is potentially limited.

Also, my boyfriend lives in California, and would go to Texas to see me during that time period as well. He recently lived in Korea with me for three months (tourist visa duration), and come January it'll have been three months since I've seen him.

I'm looking at spending at least $1500 if I make this trip, since I'll have a place to stay and meals provided when I'm back stateside. $1500 is roughly how much I save each month, and my networth is now around $30,000 (huzzah!).

SOOOO... what would you do, Mustachians? Save your moneys for your growing 'stache, or be a nice human being and make your grandmother, grandfather, mother, and boyfriend happy?

The fact that I have to ask an internet full of strangers should give you an idea of how much of a soulless harpy I am.

mahina

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Re: Visit family abroad or save my moneys?
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2013, 03:51:00 AM »
go see your family.

full disclosure: i am a grandmother, and bless you for realizing she truly needs to hug and see and hear you in the flesh :)

consider the cost of the trip as an investment in your peace of mind, your strong connections to those who care for you, and your future security if you should ever need help. take a lot of (inexpensive) gifts, too--it's possible to turn meh relationships into supportive and enjoyable ones with an injection of fun and affection.


Nicster

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Re: Visit family abroad or save my moneys?
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2013, 05:22:17 AM »
It is family and friends that make our life truly rich. In Sidelsky's book How Much is Enough- Money and the Good Life, he talks about what constitutes the a "Good Life" and family/friends is definitely on the short list.




berrysteevan

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Re: Visit family abroad or save my moneys?
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2013, 07:50:21 AM »
You need to learn to balance between saving money and being with your loved ones. If you figure that out for yourself then you will surely stop being unhappy with life. Live life without worrying much and with loving much..Cheers!

rockstache

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Re: Visit family abroad or save my moneys?
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2013, 10:13:00 AM »
Time is short and you will never regret that you made a small (in the scheme of things) sacrifice to spend time with your grandmother. Go!

Eric

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Re: Visit family abroad or save my moneys?
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2013, 11:40:06 AM »
I wouldn't make the trip just because others expect you to.  I'd only make it if I wanted to.  But I'm kind of a soulless harpy too!  :)

galliver

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Re: Visit family abroad or save my moneys?
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2013, 11:48:48 AM »
Do you have a bad time when you visit? Just because you aren't missing them horribly every minute of every day doesn't mean you don't feel better when you do get to see them.

Calling my mom is perfectly great most of the time, but it's much better when I get to go see her (at least) once a year (IL to CA trip). And I can tell she enjoys it immensely when she gets to have her kids back. Traveling to see relatives overseas (aunt/uncle/cousins/grandmas also father/brother) is harder/rarer, but also great when it happens. It's hard to form a relationship with people I haven't seen since I was small through email.

Exflyboy

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Re: Visit family abroad or save my moneys?
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2013, 01:07:55 PM »
I'm more curious about the botfriend.. I mean do you really plan on getting back together or are you permanently seperated.. If so how can you hope to stay BF and GF???

I'd find a closer BF (if this is permanent) and travel to see your family infrequently.

Frank

Paul der Krake

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Re: Visit family abroad or save my moneys?
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2013, 01:15:11 PM »
Same situation here, my entire family lives on a different continent too, and I don't intend on visiting more than once every 2-3 years, although this is more my hate of flying rather than monetary concerns.

You're not an awful daughter/granddaughter at all.

Albert

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Re: Visit family abroad or save my moneys?
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2013, 01:33:28 PM »
I fly to see my parents and a sister three times a year plus my mother visits twice a year, but different people and different families... For a a long distance like this I'd go once a year.

Rachelocity

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Re: Visit family abroad or save my moneys?
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2013, 01:47:39 PM »
I'd go, but I'm a sentimental fool when it comes to family.  I think once every 12-18 months is a good balance between working on your stash and working on your personal relationships.  There's no substitute for that "grandma hug".

dadof4

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Re: Visit family abroad or save my moneys?
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2013, 02:29:44 PM »
Before the kids were born, we would visit our family on the other side of the world once every 18 months.
Now that my 4th is no longer a lap child, it has become a five figure trip (about $9k in flights, plus other travel expenses). I'm having a nearly impossible time justifying it.

My semi-solution is to work the credit card mileage angle. I get about a roundtrip ticket a year this way.

SunshineGirl

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Re: Visit family abroad or save my moneys?
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2013, 03:07:08 PM »
How old is your grandmother and is she in good health?

It's an expensive trip if you don't want to take it, and there are other things you could do to compensate for being gone, such as handwriting letters to her and such. Maybe instead of the trip home, for her next birthday tell her when you get back you want to take her on a special trip, just the two of you. For a few hundred dollars, you could make some excellent memories

expatartist

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Re: Visit family abroad or save my moneys?
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2013, 05:30:45 PM »
I don't go back to the US much. Maybe once every 3-4 years. Family and I get along fine, but I prefer to spend 2K on a trip in Asia rather than to the US. Also, my family travels a lot, so I tend to see at least someone once/year in Asia or Europe (ie my mom will visit Beijing early next year).

We stay in touch the best we can, and they respect my decision to be here. That said, next year we'll be moving to Europe, in part to be closer to our families as our parents get older.

So, no you're not being a harpy ;) Re. the BF, definitely make time for him too. DH and I spent a lot of time apart in the past, but we were committed to being together whenever we could, and that kept us going.

galliver

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Re: Visit family abroad or save my moneys?
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2013, 05:46:07 PM »
Before the kids were born, we would visit our family on the other side of the world once every 18 months.
Now that my 4th is no longer a lap child, it has become a five figure trip (about $9k in flights, plus other travel expenses). I'm having a nearly impossible time justifying it.

My semi-solution is to work the credit card mileage angle. I get about a roundtrip ticket a year this way.

You didn't really say whether "impossible time justifying" means you don't go at all anymore or just far less often...but from "the other side" I can tell you that however may $1000s my parents spent on our family of 5 traveling back to the home country (every 3 years at first, then more sporadically), I believe it was worth it...to form or maintain relationships with our relatives and stay in touch with our roots. As mentioned above all people (and by extension families) are different, but I just want to convey that this kind of travel can be important and meaningful to your kids down the line. I wouldn't prioritize it above food and shelter, of course, but I would put it above ER. You/they/your family only have so much time to do this...

nikki

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Re: Visit family abroad or save my moneys?
« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2013, 05:53:52 PM »
How fun to wake up to so many different opinions! I'll respond to some.

Do you have a bad time when you visit? Just because you aren't missing them horribly every minute of every day doesn't mean you don't feel better when you do get to see them.

I don't think seeing them would make me unhappier since it would only be for a short time and I can prep myself for the onslaught of attempts to make me feel guilty about living abroad, but I'm not sure it will make me feel better, either ;-)  Worth a gamble, perhaps!

How old is your grandmother and is she in good health?

It's an expensive trip if you don't want to take it, and there are other things you could do to compensate for being gone, such as handwriting letters to her and such. Maybe instead of the trip home, for her next birthday tell her when you get back you want to take her on a special trip, just the two of you. For a few hundred dollars, you could make some excellent memories

Unfortunately, my grandmother isn't in good health. She's obese, diabetic (in control), has myeloma (bone marrow cancer--in control), and is always suffering from sinus infections or something. At only 66 years old, her body is probably much "older".

The awkward thing about making promises for the future is that I don't know how long I'll be abroad. I'm probably going to work abroad until I reach FI at least, which will be in 13 years at the earliest.

I'm more curious about the botfriend.. I mean do you really plan on getting back together or are you permanently seperated.. If so how can you hope to stay BF and GF???

I'd find a closer BF (if this is permanent) and travel to see your family infrequently.

Frank

Haha Frank... whew. My boyfriend is so incapable of thinking about or talking about the future that when I asked "what next?" a week before he returned to America, he was unable to respond. So I don't think there's any reason to believe this is a long term partnership. Our relationship started online and will probably end online as well. Before I met him and agreed to be romantically involved with him, I had resigned myself to a life of spinsterhood! I don't really need a boyfriend close by :-p

I prefer to spend 2K on a trip in Asia rather than to the US.

Ahhhh! I haven't even traveled anywhere in Asia yet because I'd rather save money. It's so strange to think that I'd go back to Texas before going to Japan.

This really is a difficult decision because my only motivation for even considering visiting is to try to please my grandmother, I think. I'll probably end up going, and I hope I don't regret spending so much money afterward.

dadof4

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Re: Visit family abroad or save my moneys?
« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2013, 06:06:19 PM »
You didn't really say whether "impossible time justifying" means you don't go at all anymore or just far less often...
It's a work in progress...My youngest just turned turned 3, and we haven't gone in two years. I currently have the miles to get two roundtrip tickets, so another year and another ticket might make it for us.

Before our most recent trip, we would go every 18 months like clockwork. I had fewer kids and made more money though.
but from "the other side" I can tell you that however may $1000s my parents spent on our family of 5 traveling back to the home country (every 3 years at first, then more sporadically), I believe it was worth it...to form or maintain relationships with our relatives and stay in touch with our roots. As mentioned above all people (and by extension families) are different, but I just want to convey that this kind of travel can be important and meaningful to your kids down the line. I wouldn't prioritize it above food and shelter, of course, but I would put it above ER. You/they/your family only have so much time to do this...
Good points. I struggle with those issues a lot. The answer is probably, like you said, to reduce frequency but not to give up altogether.

My parents come here all the time (every 6 months, stay a month at a time). They joke that they spend much more time with our kids than my nephews who live 10 minutes from them. My MIL won't fly even if we send her a free ticket. Visits from other family members have dwindled over the years.

galliver

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Re: Visit family abroad or save my moneys?
« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2013, 07:23:06 PM »
My parents come here all the time (every 6 months, stay a month at a time). They joke that they spend much more time with our kids than my nephews who live 10 minutes from them. My MIL won't fly even if we send her a free ticket. Visits from other family members have dwindled over the years.

Step-paternal (?) grandparents traveled almost every year, but maternal grandparents weren't in good health so they never did, sadly but understandably. No other family visited, except my uncle moved to the US, but that doesn't really count.  I'm struggling with when/how often to visit myself...next summer will be 3 years and I really want to go...but not sure how it will fit into my work schedule. Then again, there won't really be a better time after grad school to take a month off and go (or even 3 weeks)! Basically I sympathize; it's really hard to have family across continents!

mm1970

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Re: Visit family abroad or save my moneys?
« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2013, 07:51:16 PM »
You didn't really say whether "impossible time justifying" means you don't go at all anymore or just far less often...
It's a work in progress...My youngest just turned turned 3, and we haven't gone in two years. I currently have the miles to get two roundtrip tickets, so another year and another ticket might make it for us.

Before our most recent trip, we would go every 18 months like clockwork. I had fewer kids and made more money though.
but from "the other side" I can tell you that however may $1000s my parents spent on our family of 5 traveling back to the home country (every 3 years at first, then more sporadically), I believe it was worth it...to form or maintain relationships with our relatives and stay in touch with our roots. As mentioned above all people (and by extension families) are different, but I just want to convey that this kind of travel can be important and meaningful to your kids down the line. I wouldn't prioritize it above food and shelter, of course, but I would put it above ER. You/they/your family only have so much time to do this...
Good points. I struggle with those issues a lot. The answer is probably, like you said, to reduce frequency but not to give up altogether.

My parents come here all the time (every 6 months, stay a month at a time). They joke that they spend much more time with our kids than my nephews who live 10 minutes from them. My MIL won't fly even if we send her a free ticket. Visits from other family members have dwindled over the years.
Yes, I know.  We used to visit both families every year.  After our first child, it was about every 18 months.

Now with two kids, we visit once every two years, and we take two weeks.  So we fly into PA, spend 5-7 days, drive to NY, spend 5-7 days, fly home.  Too expensive and painful to do it more often.  I'd be happy to fly people out...and did for years.  I'd fly my mom out annually.  We just bought my MIL a gift cert to SWA for  her birthday.  The only negative is that my husband bought her a large enough gift cert that she's bringing her boyfriend. :(

Albert

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Re: Visit family abroad or save my moneys?
« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2013, 11:32:35 AM »
I lived in US for eight years - twice my parents came to visit and I flew back 7 times. Being closer to family (2 h flight now) was a significant part of the reason why I decided not to stay in US permanently. Of course all this traveling was made easier by me not having any kids. As for money I made it a priority and thus it was still affordable even from a grad student's fellowship.

By the way for those of you living in Asia (white Americans/Europeans, I assume) are you able to feel at home there? Do you speak fluent Chinese/Korean? I think it would be very difficult for me...

nikki

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Re: Visit family abroad or save my moneys?
« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2013, 05:24:42 PM »

By the way for those of you living in Asia (white Americans/Europeans, I assume) are you able to feel at home there? Do you speak fluent Chinese/Korean? I think it would be very difficult for me...

Yep--I am Caucasian.

I feel really comfortable here; I wouldn't be thinking about staying here several years if I weren't!

For me, the lifestyle I can have in South Korea is a lot more like the lifestyle I want to have--no car, low expenses, access to great public transportation. In America, it seems like access to good public transportation also places you in a higher expense area. I'm from Arlington/Grand Prairie, Texas, and while the cost of living is relatively low in most aspects (housing, importantly), you're pressured into driving everywhere because there is little tolerance of bikers and little to no support for biking in the infrastructure. When I left, there was some buzz starting to get bike lanes in Arlington, so that might change in the future.

I don't speak Korean aside from a few phrases. I casually study Korean just because it's interesting, but I actually don't feel much motivation to be able to speak Korean fluently. When I try to speak Korean, people sometimes surprise me and use English themselves. (I live in Busan, the second-largest city--go to a more rural area and this would be much rarer.) And I have so much support from friends and coworkers that I'm able to tackle more difficult situations--like setting up my prepaid phone service--with their help.

From what I've experienced, Koreans actually don't expect foreigners to try to learn their language, so when you put in even minimal effort, you gain a lot of respect.

So I guess what I'm suggesting is that with very basic use of "survival Korean", you can live here very easily and happily.

totoro

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Re: Visit family abroad or save my moneys?
« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2013, 05:37:15 PM »
"it's possible to turn meh relationships into supportive and enjoyable ones with an injection of fun and affection"

Yes to this.  I would most definitely make the trip and I would make the most out of it too.  If I could tell my younger self something it would be that friends and family relationships are not easily replaced and become more important over time.  Invest in them.


MissStache

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Re: Visit family abroad or save my moneys?
« Reply #22 on: November 14, 2013, 07:34:54 AM »
My grandmother died 10 years ago, and I would give just about anything to make my 20 year old self take one more trip to visit her.   You won't regret going to visit, but you may regret not going . 

babysteps

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Re: Visit family abroad or save my moneys?
« Reply #23 on: November 14, 2013, 09:32:10 AM »
If it were me, I would go.

In part because you seem to be fine $ wise.  I think I'd have a different opinion if it would push FI out by a whole bunch or if you didn't have a pile of savings already.  Also the sooner you visit granny, the healthier she is likely to be and the more you both can enjoy visiting together.

I might also set expectations for the future - "this is my first visit back, I might not be back for at another 2 or 3 years" sort of thing.


<Personal history> When I was in grad school (my $), my folks paid for a ticket home for a visit (cross-US).  Once I was working, I paid for any transport to visit them.

Now married with in-laws, we take turns at Christmas - one year nearby (his folks), one year cross country (my folks).

The interval of visits isn't so important.  What helped a lot was to announce the 'plan' ("now that we're married, we'll be trading Christmas visits every other year").  When my widower dad got remarried he & my step mom came to our side of the country for their first Christmas together - made it simpler to work out local family obligations for them ;)

This is in a family where everyone was completely on board with my choosing a family vacation (with parents & an aunt) over a trip to my Grandfather's interment (he had been ill for a long time...) - so we might all be slightly heartless? </Personal history>

Norrie

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Re: Visit family abroad or save my moneys?
« Reply #24 on: November 14, 2013, 09:33:25 AM »
Go home to visit. You can't ever get that time with family back.

I wasn't able to make it to Australia in time before my grandma died, and I'll always regret it. My aunt and uncle were just here visiting, but the moment that they landed in Australia my aunt was diagnosed with an advanced, very aggressive form of cancer. It came out of nowhere for all of us. We were just with her and she seemed fine. Now she's very much not fine, and all I can think about is getting over there again soon.

I know that's AAM, and maybe not where you're at, but I can't imagine that you'll ever regret spending the $1,500 to spend time with your grandma. Let her give you some hugs.

MrsPete

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Re: Visit family abroad or save my moneys?
« Reply #25 on: November 14, 2013, 03:48:14 PM »
Go visit.  I just lost my grandmother, and I would pay any amount of money for one more day with her.  Thanks, now I'm crying. 

Also, I'm the mother of a college student.  We talk, email, text and Skype frequently, but that is no substitute for laying eyes on her regularly. 

Go visit.  This is one of those things that you'll regret not having done later.  If you had debt, I might say differently, but that's not an issue. 

nikki

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Re: Visit family abroad or save my moneys?
« Reply #26 on: November 14, 2013, 05:03:22 PM »
Thanks for all the feedback everyone.

I'm going :-)

...and probably won't go again for two more years, unless they pay ;-)

dodojojo

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Re: Visit family abroad or save my moneys?
« Reply #27 on: November 14, 2013, 07:37:48 PM »
I live across the country from my immediate family and half way across the world from my extended family.  I try to not think too much about the money spent on family visits--it's an expense in which the monetary value is secondary.  I mean I try to find the best deals and all but at the end of the day, you accept it's a lot of money going out the door. 

My grandmother is 85 now and the thought of not making my next trip in time is too much to bear.  The issue now isn't money but time--I'm on a contract job and do not have paid vacation.  Okay, it is about money somewhat as I will not be paid for the time I'm away.  But I'm nervous about taking 2 weeks off on a contract job--no one on my team has done it since I joined last year.  Usually it's just a day or two at the most.  I am determined that I will go in 2014 so it's a question of nailing down a good fare and slow time in the office.

galliver

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Re: Visit family abroad or save my moneys?
« Reply #28 on: November 15, 2013, 08:01:46 AM »
I live across the country from my immediate family and half way across the world from my extended family.  I try to not think too much about the money spent on family visits--it's an expense in which the monetary value is secondary.  I mean I try to find the best deals and all but at the end of the day, you accept it's a lot of money going out the door. 

My grandmother is 85 now and the thought of not making my next trip in time is too much to bear.  The issue now isn't money but time--I'm on a contract job and do not have paid vacation.  Okay, it is about money somewhat as I will not be paid for the time I'm away.  But I'm nervous about taking 2 weeks off on a contract job--no one on my team has done it since I joined last year.  Usually it's just a day or two at the most.  I am determined that I will go in 2014 so it's a question of nailing down a good fare and slow time in the office.

That is like, exactly my situation...except I'm a grad student (but doing ok with money...well, staying in the black, anyway ;) ) It's $400-600 to visit family across country and roughly $2-2.5k to visit extended family.  But I also have an aging grandmother I need to visit soon and am not sure about finding the time... :/

nikki

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Re: Visit family abroad or save my moneys?
« Reply #29 on: November 18, 2013, 09:43:16 PM »
UPDATE: I got my tickets today. $1033.69 round trip from Busan to Dallas/Fort Worth.

I'll spend money while I'm there on some things, and will buy my boyfriend's ticket from CA to TX as well. My estimation of $1500 is probably accurate, unless I decide to get a new tattoo while I'm there too. The tattoo itch has been getting me, and it's been about 7 years since my last one!

Super spendy behaviors, boo.