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.
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