Lately it has come to my attention that many parents see their children as a means of retirement. I am not talking about those near (or at) retirement age who have lost their retirement funds due to the bad economy. Rather, I am referring to those who “invest” in their children from the beginning so that the children can support them in their old age.
From talking to my friends — especially those of Asian descent — I have found that this phenomenon is more common than I thought. The parents make many sacrifices while pressuring their kids to go to good schools and get good jobs in hopes that one day, the children will realize just how much their parents have given up for them and willingly invite them into their homes and provide and care for them as soon as possible.
I know of families whose parents quit their jobs as soon as the children finish school and start working, assuming that the kids will provide for them.
I also know of families whose parents pressure the kids to pay for their vacations and demand lavish gifts.
Do your parents see you as a means of retirement?
Will you expect your kids to care for you in your old age?
I have personally never dealt with this kind of pressure from my parents. My parents have sacrificed everything for me and my sister. However, they do not expect us to care for them. They are building a retirement fund that will allow them to live independently from us so that they will not be a financial burden to their daughters.
This isn’t to say that I plan on cutting off my parents as they grow older. I will definitely give them money if needed and provide assistance as I see fit. I even give (and will continue to give) lavish gifts once in a while as signs of my love and appreciation. At the same time, I know that they really expect nothing but intangible love, not money or gifts.
I fully plan on doing the same for my children because I do not believe that having children should be a selfish act. Having said that, I can understand how some people would feel differently. Because at the end of the day, having kids is practically a surefire drain on your finances; why not expect them to return the favor?