You can’t take it with you. At least as far as we know.
Any wealth or possessions will remain after you’re gone. But does that make a person obligated to leave the fruits of their earthly labors to their descendants?
Or do offspring need to be judged worthy? And who does the judging?
A father examining these questions had a frank discussion with his children.
It didn’t go well.
So he turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.
The Redditor asked:
“AITA for telling my children that if they don’t grow up and get real jobs, they aren’t getting a penny from me when I die, and then giving them a reality check?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“I’m not dying. My kids thought they’d get my savings when I die. I told them no, then lectured them.”
“I (57M) have two kids, N (30 Male) and A (27 Female). N works part-time flipping burgers, but insists his real job is as a gaming streamer. A claims she’s a ‘professional’ influencer, her livelihood supported by her boyfriend.”
“My kids are adults, what they do with their lives is their choice. We’ve had several arguments about it, but ultimately, as adults, the responsibility for their lives is their own.”
“Over Christmas, we were talking about their mother (on Zoom) when A brought up the subject of her will, wondering if she’d left anything to them.”
“I confessed that she passed before ever writing one, and the money she did have was used up the year she passed.”
“We were a dual-income family in a time when neither of us were making a lot. It was a hard time.”
“Eventually, I joined a friend in the private sector and my fortune changed. I’m not ‘rich’, but I’ll never be uncomfortable again.”
“Well, N then decided to ‘lighten the mood’ by implying that I’ll make up for it when I pass. I asked him what he meant, and the conversation went as follows:”
“Me: What do you mean?”
“N: Well, you have a lot of money, right? It’ll go to us.”
“Me: And who told you that?”
“A: What do you mean?”
“Me: I’ve made it very clear that I don’t approve of the way you both live. You both chose not to get an education or real jobs.”
“You have no way of supporting yourself. (I often buy them groceries).”
“You refuse to help yourselves, so why would I enable your ‘lifestyles’ by leaving you my savings when I die? You want my money, then grow up and get real jobs, but the bank of dad will be forever closed when dad is forever closed.”
“What followed was a heated argument where both N and A accused me of being manipulative and unsupportive, so I got real with them.”
“Me: You both refuse to grow up. Flipping burgers is an honourable job, but it’s not going to keep a roof over your head.”
“What if you have kids? What if you get fired?”
“And (A), what will you do if your boyfriend breaks up with you because all you do is sit on your a** all day and take photos of yourself? You want to do that, find a modeling agency.”
“A real job. You both speak of chasing your dreams, but neither one of you are in any position to do that because neither of you wants to take responsibility for yourselves right now.”
“I’ve said it a million times. You’re adults.”
“What you do with your lives is your choice and your responsibility. Dreams take money, and neither of you have that.”
“Grow up. Get a job. A real job. Then chase your dreams.”
“I’m not going to leave a penny to either of you if your life plan is to ‘get by’ until I die, then coast through the rest of your lives off the earnings of my hard work.”
“N ended the call after a prolonged silence. A called me an a**hole then did the same. I haven’t heard from either since, and neither will take my calls.”
“So, AITA here? I think I might be because I was unnecessarily harsh on Christmas.”
The OP added:
“Some of the feedback coming at me is because I’m critical of their ‘jobs’. To be clear, a job is something that you make money from.”
“Neither earn any money as a streamer or ‘influencer’. And I defend my opinion of flipping burgers.”
“It’s an honourable job, but not a career if you’re doing it part-time like my son, thus making him ineligible for promotion. If he were working it full time, I would be worried, but I’d know he’s taking responsibility for his life.”
“This conversation has come up a lot during the pandemic.”
“My son was laid off, and my daughter isn’t working, but both have been speaking a lot about their jobs as a streamer and influencer while bringing in no money to show for it.”
“We’ve argued about it a lot and it just came to a head when they brought up my will.”
Redditors weighed in on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided the OP was not the a**hole.
“You are only 57. Jesus. You could potentially live for 30 to 40 more years.”
“What was their plan? To live in poverty until their 60’s or 70’s?”
“And what if you need expensive medical care later on or care services in your old age that wipes out your retirement money?”
“Not only are they entitled as hell, but they have no idea how the world works or how to realistically plan for the future. NTA.” ~ MiddlingMe
“My partner’s brother is in his late 30’s and has been floating through life, refusing to hold down work and endlessly being enrolled in university without earning degrees. His plan, for years, has been to live off of his inheritance.”
“He’s only just realised in the last year or so that their parents are pretty healthy and will probably live for at least another 10 years, more likely 20+ and he’s starting to freak out.”
“There’s a good possibility OP’s kids never thought about how long it might be until the payday, they just imagined the payday.” ~ PurrPrinThom
“NTA. It’s troubling that their current savings plan is your demise.” ~ gay_flatulent
“NTA. And I like you. Because you didn’t say something like ‘flipping burgers isn’t a real job’ but you did point out the reality that flipping burgers doesn’t get the bills paid, especially for a family and especially part time.”
“You also pointed out to your daughter that if she wants to make a job as an influencer, then work towards a more realistic job as a model.”
“You’re not knocking what they like in life, you’re showing them that how they are going about it isn’t sustainable and that relying on your death isn’t going to solve their money problems late.”
“Also, that’s morbid and terrible.”
“Reality is harsh. You gave them a hard check.”
“Doesn’t matter that it was on Christmas. If anything, your kids are the a**holes for assuming your money is theirs and asking if their mother left them money (on Christmas?).” ~ cass_92SS
The OP responded:
“I worked as a dishwasher for nearly ten years. It paid my way through college.”
“I have a lot of respect for line cooks and servers. But it’s because I did that that I also saw a lot of them living paycheck to paycheck.”
“Full time, it’s doable. Not encouraged, but doable.”
“But at part-time, you’re heading nowhere fast and it’s only a matter of time before you hit a dead end. I don’t want that for my son, but he won’t make the change.”
“He says his place doesn’t have an opening for full time and he refuses to look elsewhere.”
“The truth, as it’s obvious to me anyway, is he enjoys the status quo and sees no issue with it because his foreseeable future as he sees it is that he’ll make it big as a streamer and won’t ever have to worry about money.”
In the end, you may not be able to take it with you, but Redditors decided you can decide where it goes.
And you really don’t need to justify or explain your decision to anyone.