SINGAPORE: A member of a Singaporean family turned to an online forum on Tuesday (April 2), looking to Singaporeans for life advice, after claiming that their parents lost their savings and are now relying on their children to provide.

“The question is, how can we save for our own future when we have to support parents who have no savings?” the writer shared.

“When I finally finish paying off my bank loan, I am expected to contribute even more to the household expenses which is fair, yes, but this puts a strain on me financially if I am not able to find a higher-paying job.”

“Parents (messed) up and the children are paying for it,” the online user wrote. “How (can I) focus on my own future when I need to pay for their mistakes? Leave them and build my own life or submit to the social responsibility?

I’m at the point in life where I am questioning what I am doing as I approach 30. As much as comparison is bad, I cannot help but see how successful or lucky my peers are.

My parents messed up on their retirement and have no savings whatsoever. Only the father is working as the mother has a bad leg and cannot work.

The house we are staying in is still being paid for by my sister, who is earning 2.5 times my salary. I contribute to the monthly utilities and telecom bills. My brother is still in NS but is gonna ORD soon and enter uni.

For myself, I am still paying off my bank loans for uni.”

Filial piety in Chinese tradition

The writer then touched on filial piety, which, in Chinese tradition, is everyone’s duty.

“As a typical Chinese family in Singapore, we were always taught that we must support our elderly parents. But at this point, I cannot help but feel that their bad choices have put my siblings and me in a bad position.

We were taught financial responsibilities and have been paying off our own transport, school fees and expenses since we started working part-time years ago, and we do our own chores (since childhood).

It’s not an ideal situation and I don’t think it’s fair because other families have parents who have some income or savings at the very least and their children can focus on their own future, be it career or family.

It’s not a typical sandwich generation issue because right now who wants to marry into a family where the spouse has to continue supporting his parents because of bad decisions?

While I am thinking of moving out and even renting just so I can ‘live my own life,’ the typical response would be me being selfish and abandoning my siblings and family.

How then can I have my own future, or what should be the correct steps I should take?”

Singaporeans weigh in on the family matter

Some online users took the side of the writer’s parents, saying that it doesn’t sound like the parents messed up their finances.

“From your story, it’s not really because your parents messed up though?” shared one.

“After reading your post multiple times it looks like the main problem is your father’s income is not enough and he doesn’t have enough retirement fund.

Believe me, no one actually wants to be in that financial situation. Just help as much as you comfortably want to.”

“Dude, a basic room is going for S$800 to S$900 right now and we are not talking central locations, but places like Tengah,” pointed out a second. “I think your mindset is the issue here.”

A third wrote, “Don’t have any advice, just that I commiserate with your situation because it really does suck. Who your parents are is the biggest lottery of life, and unfortunately, you can’t choose good, responsible parents.”

“I really empathise with you,” said a fourth. “Because my parents are also the typical generation where they treat their children as retirement plans. I vowed never to have children if I cannot afford (them).”

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