Addressing Unfair Expectations

3 Apr

{This post is part of a recurring series of thoughts about financial support between families.}

You may recall from my post last week that I recently had dinner with a young couple I’ve known for years, whose parents are now struggling financially and considering their options. These two kids each relied on the generosity of their parents as they were struggling to establish and begin their own lives and now the tables have unexpectedly turned. It seems, that on the face of it, providing support to their parents would indeed be fair and perhaps even somewhat expected.

However, the kids are actually in a slightly similar situation as their parents had been; They are making just enough money to support themselves and sustain their lifestyles, albeit more simply. If they allow the parents to move in so that they can help reduce their costs then this couple will certainly not be able to build any savings and may also begin falling behind just like their parents did. Yet how can kids not come to the aid of their parents, since the parents came to their aid many times in the past? Complicated, isn’t it?

I came to my decision not because I didn’t think it was right or appropriate, I advised them not to let their parents move in because it simply is not fair. In particular, it is unfair emotionally. In my opinion, fair is different than right or appropriate or proper. Turning the tables kind of feels right but it isn’t. These kids are just beginning to experience living in an expansive and growing way.  Asking them to sacrifice any part of that might just be unfair. (Full disclosure: I am not sure I could say no to my parents).


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