The original poster (OP), a 47-year-old husband, turned to an online forum with his frustrations about his wife not pitching in to financially support his parents. Although he agrees it is not her responsibility, she makes significantly more money than he does. He didn’t understand her refusal, reasoning, or the hostility or shock he received from the forum. What do you think?
Husband Wants His Wife To Support His Parents
OP believes his wife, who makes more money than he does, should help support his parents in retirement. His Dad has Parkinson’s and is in declining health, while his mom, as a caregiver, has challenges taking care of him. He can’t afford live-in care, and his father may need to go into an assisted care home, separating his parents.
Their Finances Significantly Differ But Are Split Proportionally
OP’s wife earns significantly more than her husband. She works in private equity while he teaches high school kids. The couple splits their finances equitably, with his wife paying 70% to his 30% share. While his wife makes (£400K aftertax, in UK pounds) or ten times more than his £40K compensation, OP explained that they settled on this split, saying, “We do this as she picks up most of the housework and childcare, and she has taken that into account when splitting the bills.” It can be uncomfortable when one partner makes more money than the other.
Her Family Are Better Off Financially
Her parents immigrated to the UK, sacrificing so she and her sisters could succeed. His wife and her sisters all have very high-paying jobs, one working in tech and the other being a surgeon.
Recently, her parents retired. His wife and her sisters give their parents around £2K monthly, which OP finds ridiculous if they have pensions. She assured her husband that this money did not come from their joint account. She says it’s her responsibility to take care of her family, while he needs to take care of his parents.
His Family Is Less Financially Secure
Meanwhile, his parents had government jobs with pensions. His sister lives on benefits and is a single mom. They are a relatively low-income family.
OP’s Young Sister Is A Single Mom Without A Job
His wife did help his younger sister when she became a single mother at a young age by offering her a secretary job at her office. However, he said, “My sister quit after a month as she found it too difficult.” Previously, OP had asked for a loan for his sister to buy a house, but his wife declined, believing his sister would never pay her back. It appears his sister doesn’t have a job, so equally unclear how she would pay back a loan to his wife or a mortgage.
Should His Wife Help Support His Parents?
OP told his wife that his parents were retired, like hers, and could use her help. His wife told him his parents were his responsibility, and he should give them money from his salary if he could afford it. OP was shocked and angry with his wife, pointing to her capable sisters who made more money while his parents only had their son to depend on.
Their Lifestyle is Lavish
OP said that his wife has an expensive taste. They live in a house he couldn’t have afforded on his own. They go on multiple holidays, and he pays for his share. She likes lovely presents, which require him to save money in advance.
He Thinks She’s Cheap and Selfish
OP sees his wife as cheap and selfish as she makes substantial money, has multiple rental properties under her name, and is unwilling to share her bounty with his parents. He explained that it’s been an emotional situation with his father and declining health. OP feels helpless, betrayed, and hurt. He agrees it’s not her responsibility to care for his parents but thinks she should be more empathetic.
The Verdict: OP’s A Real Piece of Work
The online comments were largely harsh, especially from single moms, towards his expectations that his wife should be helping his parents. They pointed to his wife finding a secretary job at the office for his sister, who quit after a month “because the job was too difficult.” Many saw the OP as entitled since he doesn’t spend much time helping with their daughter or housework. Many wondered if a prenuptial arrangement would protect the wife as her husband had set his eyes on her assets. Commenters suggested the OP should earn more money by finding a gig like remote tutoring to save more money.
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With a passion for investing and personal finance, I began The Cents of Money to help and teach others. My experience as an equity analyst, professor, and mom provide me with unique insights about money and wealth creation and a desire to share with you.