In-laws. If you’re lucky, you have great ones. Some people aren’t as lucky.
There is a couple I know that has encountered some interesting issues with in-laws. I know this couple well, so I won’t make the details identifiable – and will relay the situation is a slightly different way. But you’ll get the idea of what the issues are.
Anyway, the guy’s parents are seemingly nice people on the surface, as are the woman’s parents. However, his parents have a built-in expectation that they should be given some kind of financial support from their son. This isn’t something that they directly discuss with his wife, but they have instilled in him over the years – and probably growing up – that it’s his responsibility first and foremost to make sure his parents are financially taken care of. In other words, taking care of elders comes first, as payback for all they have done to raise you over the years.
His wife, on the other hand, does not pay her parents anything. She finds it hard to imagine parents taking money from adult kids, much less expecting to receive it. Needless to say, this is a source of conflict.
She doesn’t want him to pay his parents. She feels that they don’t truly need the money, as they live in a home that’s seemingly paid for. They don’t appear wealthy, but they don’t appear to truly be struggling either. Her in-laws appear to be in good health.
Her viewpoint is that income that a couple earns is for them to support themselves and their own children.
His viewpoint, on the other hand, is that since he works hard for his money, he should be able to give money to his parents if he wants to. He sees it as his duty to help them, whether she likes it or not. In his view, they are a part of the package and she should understand that. Clearly, she doesn’t.
This money that he gives them is in the thousands of dollars annually, from what I understand. I don’t know the exact amounts, but that’s what I’ve inferred. That’s a significant enough amount for them, it would seem, and could be used to help with retirement savings or to help fund the kids college account. It must burn her to think that money that could be used for their family is being given to his parents as a priority – despite her having a problem with it.
What do I think? I happen to agree with her. I don’t see how money can be spent to support others outside the core, immediate family unit, when those needs aren’t fully being met. Perhaps more importantly, one of the two people in the relationship does not approve of these large allocations of money to others outside the family unit. I think the parents seem to be freeloaders.
Am I being harsh? Or am I right in siding with her?
My Questions for You:
Who do you agree with here, the husband or the wife?
Do you think that parents have a right to expect financial support from kids, as payback for all they have done throughout life?
Do you think that one person in a relationship has the right to give money to parents even if the other strongly objects?