The Original Poster (OP) and his wife chart a unique retirement path, prioritizing personal enjoyment over leaving a substantial inheritance for their children. This decision remains a well-kept secret until a health scare prompts a revelation to their oldest daughter. The disclosure ignites a family conflict, bringing long-held beliefs and emotions to the forefront.
Dual Careers, One Journey
OP and his wife are both in their mid-40s, holding full-time jobs and enjoying the benefits of their hard work. Together, they earn a combined income of about $300,000 annually. This allows them to provide a comfortable life for their three children, though they aren’t extravagantly wealthy.
The Traditional Path
If they followed the typical route of saving and working for another 25 years, they could retire comfortably and leave a significant inheritance. This path is straightforward, familiar to many, and promises future security. Yet, it’s not the one they envision for themselves.
A Different Vision for the Future
OP and his wife don’t wish to wait till they’re elderly to relish the fruits of their labor. Nor do they want their children eagerly awaiting their passing for monetary gain. Instead, they prioritize immediate joy and the value of self-reliance.
An Early Retirement Plan
When their son finishes high school, the couple aims to retire. Their savings will sustain a comfortable life and allow for more travel. While they maintain a contingency fund, they plan to use most of their wealth.
Keeping Financial Plans Private
OP and his wife haven’t discussed their financial plans with their kids. They believe it’s their prerogative how they handle their money. The children, till now, remained unaware of the specifics of their parents’ monetary decisions.
Supporting Education, Not Handouts
OP and his wife have established boundaries regarding financial assistance. While they’re willing to cover half of their children’s educational expenses, they don’t intend to give them regular monetary aid in adulthood.
Health Scares and Financial Realities
A recent health concern (a precancerous mole) faced by OP led to a candid conversation with his oldest daughter about their financial plans. This impromptu discussion revealed the couple’s intentions concerning their savings and inheritance.
Shock and Disbelief
Upon hearing of their parents’ plans, the oldest daughter expresses her distress. She feels her parents prioritize their own enjoyment over their children’s well-being. OP tries to convey the values of independence and self-sufficiency they wish to instill.
Word Spreads Like Fire
The oldest daughter communicates the financial revelations to her younger sister. The information quickly becomes a source of tension and discord. Both daughters feel blindsided and hurt by their parents’ decisions.
A Matter of Perspective
To OP, the inheritance isn’t the children’s concern; it’s the couple’s money to manage. The daughters, however, believe they should have been informed earlier. The clash is not just about finances but about trust and communication.
Confronting the Discontent
The daughters express their feelings of betrayal to their parents. They’re upset about both the decision regarding inheritance and the lack of prior communication. The heart of the matter goes deeper than just money.
Reiterating Core Values
OP and his wife stand firm in their belief about teaching their kids self-reliance. They don’t want them waiting for handouts or relying on inheritance. Instead, they hope their children forge their own paths, just as they did.
Financial Autonomy and Independence
OP’s success was achieved through decades of hard work and sacrifice. He wants his children to experience the same pride and accomplishment after a lifetime of dedication and effort. He believes everyone should have the opportunity to reap what they sew.
Balancing Happiness and Responsibilities
The couple remains determined to savor their life to the fullest because tomorrow is not a guarantee. They’ve dedicated years to their careers and family and now seek a balance between responsibility and personal joy.
Hoping for Understanding
The daughters grapple with hurt and confusion while OP and his wife wonder if they could’ve handled things differently. Despite the differences in opinions and feelings, the family strives to understand each other’s perspectives.
Was The Father’s Behavior Appropriate?
OP posts the story online for feedback and judgment from the internet community. The readers in the forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter.
One reader said, “At least make sure you have enough money to not depend on your kids if you get sick. You sound like the type of people who wouldn’t account for that.”
Another Commenter Thinks
Another responder wrote, “You realize there’s a happy medium between cutting your kids off and spoiling them rotten, right? You can be supportive parents and teach them the value of work.”
A Third View on The Story
A different person stated, “When I was lifeguarding, one of my coworkers had parents like you. His dad would come in and swim, bragging to anyone he’d meet about how he could retire at 45. His kid (my coworker) was working three jobs and skipping meals to pay for his college education.”
A Final Perspective on the Matter
Another reader commented, “You don’t owe your kids anything. But just keep in mind, they don’t owe you anything either. So, if the time comes when you can’t take care of yourself, they can just let you use all your savings on an expensive nursing home.”