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To be upset by finding out my parents have more money than I thought

(120 Posts)
JaceLancs Sat 07-Nov-15 21:57:01

Expecting to be flamed here.....
I recently found out my elderly parents have a fair bit of money in savings, well at least an awful lot more than I thought anyway, as they always say and act like they don't
They are getting more absent minded and managed to lock themselves out of their online banking plus other similar issues and asked me to help them sort it out, so it was hard not to see the details of their various accounts and investments
It's not that I expect them to give me any of it, just to be more aware that I am not in such a fortunate position and sometimes really struggle
Examples of things fairly recently - my very ancient car was off the road and I couldn't afford to get it repaired quickly, so had to hire a car for a few days, as transport is essential to my job, I kept the hire car for an extra couple of days to do a favour for them, as my DF couldn't drive due to a recent op - they never offered me anything toward cost and I assumed they couldn't afford it
They asked myself and also DD to take time off work recently to take them to health appointments (even a taxi would have been less than £10)
The worst however was that not very long ago they were very stressed about some pressing financial matters which needed dealing with in another country (DF country of birth) and couldn't fly due to health issues. I took over a week off work and drove 1000s of miles, being nursemaid, carer, general facilitator, marriage guidance counsellor on more than one occasion, and obviously chauffeur. On our return they presented me with a bill for £900 for my share of the costs, which I had to pay back in instalments - they obviously thought it was some kind of holiday for me!
I also recently asked to borrow a small sum of money from them for an urgent house repair, which they agreed somewhat begrudgingly, then withdrew the offer when the estimate was for more than I thought it might be - eventually I got a friend to 'bodge' temporarily as couldn't afford the proper repair and parents were nagging about when it would be fixed as it was holding up an arrangement for something else I had promised to do which was a favour to them (as although rather rundown I do have more space in my house than they do)
I've kept it vague - as I don't name change, and someone may recognise this

Chippednailvarnish Sat 07-Nov-15 21:59:15

I was going to say YABU, but actually they sound horribly tight fisted.
I'd be a lot more assertive about them expecting you to help them in the future. A £10 taxi won't hurt them!

Talkmeoutofthis222 Sat 07-Nov-15 22:01:33

Do you have siblings? Other relatives?

I'd be really pissed off actually.

M4blues Sat 07-Nov-15 22:02:42

Well their financial affairs are their business and their money is theirs to do as they please with. However, your parents sound horribly tight and massive demanding. I'm stunned that they billed you for £900 after you did them a favour. But I'm even more stunned that you paid it. You don't sound like you have an adult relationship with them as it seems they expect you to run around after them and for some reason you agree. Just say no next time. Tell them you have other commitments. Alternatively, explain how much they hurst you by asking for your help then billing you and then refusing to help you out of a crisis.

chanie44 Sat 07-Nov-15 22:03:50

Yes, they are being tight, YANBU.

ShelaghTurner Sat 07-Nov-15 22:04:02

You took a week off to sort out things for them in another country and they charged you £900 for the privilege? Wtf?? I'd be fuming.

madwomanbackintheattic Sat 07-Nov-15 22:04:03

How elderly?
Long enough left to spend all their money over thirty years elderly? Or mid-90s and about to keel over elderly?

Big difference.

But ultimately they have the right to spend their money where they want to or not. Are they culturally expecting your husband to provide for you while they support sons? Or expecting you as an adult to be capable of looking after your own finances? (I know a lot of older people who decide to sponsor younger relatives - grandchildren etc, as their sons and daughters are assumed to be more established in their own right.)

Boomingmarvellous Sat 07-Nov-15 22:04:12

totally agree with Chip. In future make sure you don't end up subsidising them.

I wouldn't antagonise them though as there's still the will to be thought about

cranberryx Sat 07-Nov-15 22:04:44

From what you've said they are definitely being a tiny bit unreasonable.

IME people that have money like that in their old age tend to acquire it from scrupulous saving and relying on others to put their hands in their pockets for day to day things (simply by not offering)

Maybe you could be upfront in future with them, if they ask for a favour that will put you out financially - inform them so and explain that you have limited finances.

Backing down on the repair offer was horrible though, at the very least they could contribute the money they promised and you could make up the difference?

Not to sound entitled, as it's their money and they can do with it as they wish BUT it seems like they ask a lot of you and don't give much back in return, and seem fairly content to cost you money but not vice versa. It should be a two way street.

BumWad Sat 07-Nov-15 22:05:05


I would be pissed of in your shoes too. Do they have a couple of thousand in savings or is it a lot lot more?

RunRabbitRunRabbit Sat 07-Nov-15 22:05:19

Well it is pretty obvious why they've got savings!

Given a choice between them spending money and you spending / losing money they'll choose to save their. Like getting you to take time off work so they could save a tenner on a taxi.

Just keep this fact in mind next time they ask for a favour.

redexpat Sat 07-Nov-15 22:05:52

Stop being available for them. Sorry i cant afford to take time off. Youll have to make other arrangements.

Why did you pay them when youd done all of that for them in another country? Did you say anything to them?

madwomanbackintheattic Sat 07-Nov-15 22:06:09

But yes, I think knowing what you now know, you can alter your future behaviour in respect of assuming they are frail and poor (re taxis etc) Perhaps they assume you are well off, with no proof given otherwise? I mean, they might have just the same false impression of your finances as you had of theirs...?

BumWad Sat 07-Nov-15 22:07:04

I'm guessing OP paid for the trip and taxied them as she assumed her parents didn't have any money

DancingDinosaur Sat 07-Nov-15 22:07:16

Crikey. I was going to say yabu but you're really not. Can't believe they charged you £900 shock

Dixiechickonhols Sat 07-Nov-15 22:07:37

Yanbu. you can't carry on as you are. Would paid carers (paid for by them) be an option?

BumWad Sat 07-Nov-15 22:08:40

* I mean, they might have just the same false impression of your finances as you had of theirs...?*

Doubt it - didn't op ask to borrow money from her parents and they withdrew their offer? I think they're just stingy buffers!

SirChenjin Sat 07-Nov-15 22:08:46


I found out recently what my dad's pension income was (he was complaining how much tax he was paying, and DH calculated what that meant his income was) - he refused to let my mum spend any money on the house when she was alive so it hasn't been touched since the 60s, hasn't helped us at all over the years when things have been really, really, really tight (and when DS1 was in hospital for heart surgery and we incurred quite a lot of expense) and DS1's 18th birthday looks like being a card and nothing else. I know that's nothing compared to you, OP, but it still hurts.

I'm well aware of the MN line that it's their money and they can do what they like with it. Well, yes of course they can - but I'm damned sure that I will be helping my family out as much as possible in their times of need no matter how old they are. I couldn't sit by and let them struggle while I'm sitting with piles of cash in the bank.

insameboattoo Sat 07-Nov-15 22:08:47

Sound awful. When they gave you that £900 bill why did you agree to pay it. Could you not have told them you thought it was for their benefit not yours

BumWad Sat 07-Nov-15 22:08:56


Cookingongas Sat 07-Nov-15 22:10:08

Yanbu. They're your parents and you obviously love and care for them very much. It must come as a huge disappointment that they have treated you this way, whilst you bend over backwards for them. Scrooge-iness is a horrible trait in anyone.

harshbuttrue1980 Sat 07-Nov-15 22:10:12

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

BusShelter Sat 07-Nov-15 22:11:24

I don't think this is that unusual. My DMIL makes everyone ferry her around rather than pay for a taxi that she could easily afford. I think it's more that she likes people fussing over her rather than the money though.
If I were you OP I would not say anything but I would be less willing to shell out for them if it doesn't suit you. Do you have the type of relationship where you can tease them? I don't think I'd be able to help myself.
A lot of people are genuinely concerned about what will happen when they are very old and infirm and so may never feel comfortable with whatever they have saved.
I'd be more confused if they were wasting loads on themselves.

OddlyLogical Sat 07-Nov-15 22:11:34

I can't believe they charged you £900 for helping them out!
Normally I would say that their finances are their business, but they are taking advantage of you and you have to put a stop to that.

BusShelter Sat 07-Nov-15 22:12:28

Making you pay the £900 was terrible

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