OP (Original Poster) knows how badly his family handled money. So, when he retired with millions in savings, he refused to let them know because he was sure they’d start asking for a cut!
Millions in Savings
OP and his wife are in their early 50s and recently retired with $4,000,000 in savings, $1,000,000 of which is their current home.
He shared, “I am a systems engineer, and my wife was a registered nurse.”
He still worked part-time or on contract but only for around 20 hours weekly. His wife, on the other hand, is fully retired.
OP and his wife are “very frugal people” and “try to save where they can.”
However, unlike OP, his family could improve on how they handled their finances. So, he made it clear to his wife never to tell his family they had money.
They even pretended to be “dead broke!” OP wrote, “Her family knows we do well, but they never ask for money. My family won’t stop asking for money.”
OP’s dad and brother worked in the oil and gas industry, which resulted in “a few fat years of tons of money,” but layoffs eventually followed. He said the layoffs weren’t their fault, but the problem was they never saved, so they “ran up credit cards to pay for everything.”
OP added, “My parents have borrowed against their house so many times they effectively haven’t paid anything toward the principal, and they have had that house for 35 years.”
Unlike OP, his dad couldn’t retire even if he should. He had to return to work as a school bus driver because “they have so much debt and no money.”
On the flip side, OP’s brother inherited their parents’ spending issues and is battling his problems with alcohol. Plus, he’s going through his second divorce.
Their Son’s Slip-up
Although OP and his wife were careful not to let anyone on OP’s side of the family know about their financial situation, they didn’t explicitly tell their son to keep things a secret from his grandparents.
So, OP’s parents recently found out and were livid because they pretended to be broke for years!
It turns out OP’s son told OP’s parents about their retirement. OP wrote, “Clearly if we can retire, we have savings.”
OP, however, really didn’t want them to know. He said that if he told his parents, they’d constantly ask him for money, just as he expected.
For example, whenever they went on a vacation, and his parents found out about it on Facebook, they would come “knocking for money.” After several incidents, they learned not to post anything on social media.
Whenever his parents came for money, OP lied and told them they had won some but had already spent everything on vacation.
But now that they know OP’s retired, he’s not confident about keeping up appearances.
Am I Obligated To?
OP questions whether his obligation was to give his parents part of his retirement.
However, he said, “I don’t feel so because both my parents and brother made lots over their careers, but my dad is in his 70s and still working.”
Do I Continue With the Ruse?
Until now, OP doesn’t want to come clean with his parents. But he’s asking, “Am I the a**hole if I continue to pretend I have none?”
What the Community Thinks
For users, OP’s not the a**hole for wanting to keep the money for himself. However, he should just be honest and stop lying.
“Not the a**hole, but grow a pair. Tell your family you worked hard for your money and you’ll choose how it’s spent. I also hope your wife is actually as frugal as you are and isn’t trapped in this bizarre game you’re playing. She deserves to be able to enjoy the fruits of her labor instead of hiding her financial status from her in-laws,” wrote one woman.
People also noted how wrong it was to be in his 50s and still hide a part of his life from the world. How can he even live fully that way?
This Redditor said, “That’s why you create boundaries. If they want him in their life, they won’t ask him for money. If money is more important than their relationship with him, then there you go. This man is in his 50s and hiding a huge part of his life from his family and forcing people in his life to lie because he can’t be an adult.”
While most Redditors agree with OP being open, this person disagreed with OP’s parents being able to respect boundaries and said, “Spoken like someone without toxic family members. OP knows that his parents would not respect boundaries, and he would have to go no contact. He doesn’t want to do that, so he has found a system that lets him pretend his parents love him more than they love spending money. It’s sad, but it doesn’t make OP an a**hole.”
Do you think OP should be a man and be honest? What would you do if you were in his shoes?
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This post first appeared as He Pretended to Be “Dead Broke” for Years So His Family Won’t Know of His $4,000,000 in Savings. They’re Livid, Asking for a Cut, but He Refused to Do So! on Quote Ambition.