Why I Give My Parents Money

Do you give your parents money?

I do. And I’m proud of it. Every month, I transfer a fixed percentage of my salary to my mom. If my salary goes up, that contribution goes up too. Hopefully one day soon, it’ll reach tens of thousands.

If that sounds extreme to you, allow me to explain why.

Here are three personal reasons why I give my parents money.

 

Because It’s The Asian Thing To Do

When I was growing up, my mom would occasionally mention that working people should give money to their parents.

But my parents have never asked me for money — even after I started working. A total contradiction.

Perhaps it’s because I’ve always given money to them since I started earning — which they graciously accept. But I suspect it’s because my parents are very old-school-gracious Asian — the type who will trade “Pai seh… you didn’t have to…” three times with other old people before accepting any gifts.

If I didn’t give them money, they wouldn’t say anything — or heaven forbid, directly ask me for it.

Even if I went to them and said, “Mom, Dad, I need to buy a new car. I can’t afford to give you anything” — they would say OK.

But I know in their hearts they would be slightly disappointed.

And I know that in my heart I would be very ashamed.

We’re Asians.

 

Because It Builds Financial Muscle

But I hear some of you saying already, “It’s fine for you to give, Mr. Stingy, because you’re rich. But we’re not. So don’t judge us.”

I’m not. I’m just sharing my story.

And the story is, while I’m not a millionaire, I’ve come a far way from being a broke guy in debt with no savings.

But even back in those days — when my salary was RM 2,510 ($ 717) — I always gave money to my parents. It was a miserably small amount, but it was consistent.

How did I still give money to my parents, when I didn’t earn much and had no financial discipline?

Simple. I always paid them first.

Those of you who are acquainted with personal finance probably know the saying “Pay yourself first”, which means that you should save and invest portions of your salary before you start spending on other things. I did the same thing — except I gave money to them first. And then I blew everything else I had.

Thankfully, I’m a lot more disciplined with my spending nowadays. But because I learned to give to my parents early — applying that principle to saving and investing was easy. I was already training myself when I started giving.

When you learn to live on 50% of your salary, it protects you — in case you suddenly lose your job, or suddenly hit the lottery. Whatever the situation — less money or more money — you’ll have discipline to handle it well.

And as we know, discipline is a muscle. Every time I work that muscle and give to my parents, I become stronger financially.

 

Because They Don’t Need It

I’m a very blessed person.

My parents are both highly educated people. They make a good income — but don’t spend very much. Not on themselves anyway.

They don’t need my money.

All the money I’ve given them over the years — I know it’s sitting in a bank somewhere. For a family emergency perhaps. But more likely, Mom (the saver) has already figured how to distribute it back among her kids when she leaves someday.

Not that I’m keeping track though. I wish Mom would spend more of it. Buy herself some nice things, travel, and enjoy life a bit more as she enters her twilight years.

I’ve sometimes thought over the years, “If they don’t need it, why did Mom teach me to give when I was young?” She’s pretty good at financial planning, so she probably knew she’d have enough money into old age. So it’s not a question of necessity. It’s not about the amount either.

The only thing I can think of — she wanted me to learn how to give lovingly. To experience the blessings that come from giving from the heart. And to understand that to love is to sacrifice.

Okay, honestly — she probably had a selfish reason too — to feel like the proudest mother in the world when I give.

But that’s OK. I cheat too. The biggest reason why I give money to my parents is really a selfish one:

It makes me happy.

 

The original version of this article first appeared at Emmagem.

Pic Credit: Pixabay

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18 comments

  • Got to know about your site when you came to BFM for an interview. Enjoyed reading this article. My mom asked for a fraction of my salary when I got my first job, it was hard then because I was on a RM1300 basic, I didn’t understand why back then. Years later I finally understood why.

    • Thanks for writing in Grace!

      Yes, there are deeper meanings behind the request for salary, that our wiser parents knew about way before us!

  • I get to know you through BFM 89.9 during the interviews. And then I google it up, here I am.

    This is the first article I read from your site and it’s resonate so much. Thumbs up and legs up agree with your view.
    Great articles, keep it up! I’m coming back for more!

    Mike

  • Just found your site (directed by Suraya of Ringgit Oh Ringgit). It’s awesome and I’m slowly going through all the posts. This one resonates so much.

    Your mum sounds a lot like mine. I too wish mum would spend the money I give her on herself but rather, she gives it back by buying yummy food for me or stashing it away for us in the future. By the way, the buying food for me … that’s also a damned Asian thing haha! That’s how Asian parents demonstrate their love. “Nah! Eat la!”

    And the last line in your post? That’s me exactly.

    Looking forward to your future posts.

    • Thank you Isabel!

      Wishing the best to you and your family. And please let me know if you have any suggestions for improvement yeah?

  • This article just resonates for me.
    I share the same feeling of shame (and sadness) of not able to give them money that I used to give them in the past.
    Which could have make their lives easier.

    Striving and hoping for a better 2017.

  • It is more blessed to give than to receive. Well-written article. While most finance blogs teach on how to gain more (which is a good thing), I’m glad that you have highlighted the importance of giving all the time! Keep it up Aaron!

    • Giving is great. No amount of BMWs, houses, or luxury items can beat the happiness that comes from giving.

  • i agree with you. even though you call yourself mr stingy but you only are stingy with yourself and not your parents

    • Thanks rajie. That’s the whole idea really. To give more resources to things that’ll make us happy (like giving to family), and taking away resources from less meaningful things.

  • Hi there,

    I agree with your view. Like a 110%. Personally; when my parents had very little budget ; they still didn’t show the difficult and continued to provide even during the worst time when I was studying.

    It’s all about prioritising. The process teaches us how we should prioritise experience expenditure and family comes FIRST. It’s definitely an Asian thing that we should be proud of.

    I really hope more of us do that. It’s all about the taught and never about the amount. That’s parents.

    Regards,

    Rameson

  • A great sharing. I already read the salary contribution post and yes, giving should be part of our salary. As a Muslim, we believe, when we give more, God will gives us back more. My mum taught me to have a portion to give to needy people because she said, part of the salary belongs to those who are less fortunate. Thus, giving back is no harm at all but taught us to love each other and have empathy than sympathy. Thank you for your sharing. Really enjoy it. 🙂

    • Thank you Fiqa,

      I’m not a Muslim, but I also truly believe that when we give, God blesses us back even more. Best wishes to you!

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