Support Asian Parents Provide Adult-Aged Kids in Bay Area

Nov 11, 2019 24 Comments

Not to bombard everyone with my life story, but my background is relevant to my inquiry.  I was born in rural midwest (Trump land) and raised by a single father on a military income. I have three older sisters so the money was tight.  My community was 100 percent white, and everyone was pretty much low to middle-class. Given our money situation, I received zero financial support from my family, but I received an athletic scholarship to attend an average University in the midwest, which I parlayed into a job in tech and an employer-sponsored masters degree at another mid-level University.  TC is now $500K+.  My wife is Asian (first-generation), and comes from average means, but her parents are overly generous - offering to pay for weddings, houses. Parents funded her education and continue to support her financially despite my telling her not to accept.  Her cousins (who work at FB, Google, LinkedIn) all receive this kind of support from their parents. In our Bay Area neighborhood, I noticed a lot of Asian and Indian households depend on their parents for house downpayments, babysitting, cooking, etc.  Is this level of support standard in Asian families?  I would never think of asking my parents for anything and take pride in being my own man, so being dependant on my parent(s) at 30+ yrs. old is entirely backwards to me. I'm not asking to be a jerk, but rather to gain an understanding of why my wife's parents act as they do. We also have a newborn daughter, and feel her grandparent's generosity will lead her to a very sheltered outlook on life.



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TOP 24 Comments
  • Capital One sell out
    This is how inter-generational wealth transfers happen. Rather than forcing children out of the nest to go fend for themselves, parents take care as much as possible to make it so kids have a leg up on all those things that help them compound their earnings over time.

    And then you have adult kids in great spot career wise, financially, have a great home that you can share with grandparents, your kids get a bigger group of people who love them and can care for them, and you don’t have to pack off your parents to the nursing home because you can’t afford to take care of them yourself and waste all their life savings signing it over to the nursing home.

    Yes it can feel frustrating and awkward when you’ve been raised with a different value system telling you to go be independent rather than interdependent. And it can be a challenge emotionally when you don’t come from a place of self-confidence that you are secure in your place in the family dynamics. If you can make it work, though, you are doing future generations and your parents/in-laws a great service.
    Nov 11, 2019 3
    • Capital One sell out

      “Interdependence is the paradigm of we—we can do it; we can cooperate; we can combine our talents and abilities and create something greater together. Dependent people need others to get what they want. Independent people can get what they want through their own effort. Interdependent people combine their own efforts with the efforts of others to achieve their greatest success.” Quote from good old Steven Covey.

      I literally mean if your self worth is tied up in being a trooper all on your own and it feels threatening to see your wife or yourself accepting money from parents/in-laws because that disrupts your personal feelings about the power in your relationships then you are very far into the independent mindset. Totally normal for someone with your background. I had that too.

      From experience I can tell you that if you can see yourself as the head of the household, as the adults who are going to create a space for your parents and kids to be safe and well cared for in their needy phases, you can literally build massive amounts of wealth and security for yourselves, your kids, their kids. If that’s what you ultimately want for your family, then making your in-laws and parents part of the shared pool of wealth and support is a great way to achieve that, assuming people are all relatively good folks and can get along.
      Nov 11, 2019
    • Samsung vtPX83
      Thanks. I misinterpreted the Covey model. You have good points. Thanks for taking the time to write this.
      Nov 11, 2019
  • It’s standard. It’s just a different way of living.

    You said you have a newborn? You’ll very quickly learn to appreciate your wife’s parents’ support and involvement with the kid. (Or, well, you should already.)

    Now that being said, if you make plenty of money and your wife’s parents insist on supporting her financially, I would not be ok with that. (Unless I were miserly and stingy with the wife, in which case she has to get help from her parents.)
    Nov 11, 2019 0
  • Schonfeld / Eng

    Schonfeld Eng

    Intel, morganstanley, citadel, etrade
    coding monkey
    @vtPX83 They want their young adult kids to have easier life and focus on career advancement, also do they expect their kids to take care of them when they are older. The better their kids do, the more likely they will be taken good care of. Many of them see going to nursing home as a disaster.
    Nov 11, 2019 0
  • Zillow Group vcgr
    The parents sacrificed everything to plant roots here in the US, so they will do what it takes to set their children up for success. Try seeing it from the parents’ point of view and not your wife’s. It’s not your wife taking, it’s her parents giving and feeling proud of their achievements (her success).
    Nov 11, 2019 0
  • Amazon gzeg
    My husband and I are both white, with a 2 year old at home. You can bet your ass if we had family in the area I'd take full advantage of grandparents babysitting.
    Nov 11, 2019 2
    • Samsung vtPX83
      Who says they're in the area? I know you mentioned this jokingly, but if your parents were indeed Asian they'd take a 1.5hr flight to help your spouse every time you take a business trip. This is actually how it works with her family - they're not rich either.
      Nov 11, 2019
    • Amazon gzeg
      Then Yahtzee! Look, I totally get not wanting to take your in laws money but take the free child care for the gift that it is.
      Nov 11, 2019
  • E*Trade / Finance cbEV72
    I don’t think it’s necessarily an Asian thing. It’s just you and your in-laws have money. It would be strange to pretend that your newborn is poor when in fact she’s in affluent environment. She’s sheltered from a lot of stuff you had to go through but she’ll be exposed to challenges you didn’t have. Her life will be difficult as anyone else’s.

    Also you have no choice. You can’t reject the support if your wife is accepting it. Even if you did in hopes of later refusing to support her parents on the grounds that you didn’t take their help it’s not going to work. She’ll support her parents and you’ll have to support them too. You can put your own old man into retirement home but this won’t fly with her parents. SO you might as well accept the gifts and make best if it for your children
    Nov 11, 2019 0
  • Axtria BabyKoala
    Yes, it's standard - for parents to provide support to kids and for kids to take care of them.

    1. It helps everyone involved, especially if you have kids or are going through tough times.
    2. There's little to no "pride" factor involved because parents are considered a part of the family. Does your wife's pride take a hit if she needs money from you, or do you feel pride in giving her money? I hope the answer is no. It's the same case with parents in most Asian cultures. If you consider them a part of the family, there is no reason for calling yourself dependent/being a 'man' etc.
    3. It's not a one way street. Asian kids helps them parents too during their old age, by offering time, money, etc.
    4. I grew up with grandparents while both my parents were off to work. I have a lot of memories with them, and of course they cared for me more than any daycare would. My parents were able to focus on their careers, and they always took great care of my grandparents. It was a sheltered upbringing for sure, but why is that a bad thing? I grew up just fine, like most Asians.
    Nov 11, 2019 0
  • Cadence Mariposa
    The rich families do I suppose. Not all of us are born with a silver spoon.

    I am Indian and I don't rely on family for anything; it's actually the other way round. I am the one helping others. Your kid will definitely have a sheltered outlook. This is a typical clash of working class vs rich. I am surprised you haven't seen this with your wife already?

    I have definitely seen cases where kids gets gifted homes and cars; help with downpayment. And then I look at myself and feel miserable, some people would never understand the struggle and appreciation for hard earned money.

    When I hear stuff like - "it's super cheap, just a few hundred bucks" I think to myself where that statement is coming from; despite the fact that I earn more than that other person.
    Nov 11, 2019 0
  • Quora WalU80
    Inside reason: East asia culture vs european based culture. East asian culture is based on collectivism, while european culture on individualism. On politics, east asian country is centrolization, but europe not.
    Your wife parents treat you and your kids as their family. Based on collectivism, they think it is also their responsibility and mostly, considering their fanacial ability, they won't ask you to pay back and they only wanna see you have a sucessful and happy life. Besides, your wife parents eventually wanna their daughter living well and what they did good to you is just want you to treat their daughter well. It is universal common.
    Nov 11, 2019 0
  • Intuit what!
    Asian families are more tightly knit. It’s common for parents to be involved in child’s life in many ways. Financial support generally goes the other way where children support parents. But I would not be okay with accepting any financial assistance from my wife’s family and its not a norm.

    But having grandparents close to kids is not a bad thing. In fact its amazing, take their support (not financial) and help in raising the kid. Kid will have great memories of his grandparents.
    Nov 11, 2019 0


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