No one enjoys thinking about this, but most people as they age will need some form of assistance medically or with their living arrangements.
And at some point, decisions will need to be made about our own parents, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Though his parents were currently in good standing, Redditor FinancialCherry9302 listened in while his wife and her siblings discussed the future assisted living plans for his parents-in-law.
When they expected him to pay a significant portion of their expenses because he made more money, however, the Original Poster (OP) suddenly felt more like an ATM than a husband.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my wife we’re not going to pay our fair share for her parents’ assisted living?”
The OP’s wife and siblings-in-law were discussing living arrangements for his parents-in-law.
“This whole situation has gotten way out of hand to the point everyone is yelling at everyone and I’m sleeping in the guest bedroom.”
“My wife’s parents are at the point in their lives where they can no longer live by themselves. Their children decided the best place for them is an assisted living facility.”
“They started to look into different facilities, and admittedly, I didn’t help because I figured the five adult siblings could handle it and I was never close to my in-laws.”
The OP was surprised to hear how much his wife had agreed to pay.
“They found one that was perfect, and my wife was very excited when she told me about it.”
“I was less than thrilled when I found out our contribution will be roughly $3,000 upfront and then $5,000 a month.”
“I immediately questioned why it cost roughly $15,000 upfront fee and $25,000 a month for two people in an assisted living apartment. I admit I sarcastically asked if their apartment is next door to Elon Musk’s parents.”
“She then told me that we’re going to cover the lion’s share of the costs because we make more than her siblings.”
“That was the beginning of a week of texts, phone calls, and in-person arguments.”
The OP also didn’t agree with how the expenses were being divided up.
“She argues that her siblings make less money combined than we do, and some are single, so it would impact them more, so it’s only fair we pay more.”
“She also argues that this facility is not the best or most expensive. It’s a mid-tier one with the best ratings.”
“According to her, anything lower has bad ratings and could put her parents’ safety in jeopardy.”
“My argument is that there are five siblings, so the costs should be divided equally between the five of them. I also argued that if five people can’t afford that place, they need to lower their standards.”
“That started a circular argument for hours between cost and safety.”
The OP had finally heard enough about the plan.
“I couldn’t take it anymore, and in the heat of the moment, I yelled, ‘We don’t make more than your brothers and sisters. I make more than all of you, which is why you all want me to cover the cost for YOUR parents!'”
“That was the beginning of my nights sleeping in the guest bedroom.”
“I know as a married couple, I shouldn’t consider ‘mine’ and ‘yours’ income, but realistically, I do make more than all of them, and I think it’s unfair to make me pay the largest portion.”
“What do you all think? AITA?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some thought being married was reason enough to help his parents-in-law.
“YTA for your reasoning. You’ve made it pretty clear that the issue isn’t the money or lack of communication but the principle. You say you can comfortably afford it but will not, just because. And for that, YTA.”
“I can’t imagine denying my partner’s parents good quality care because their siblings earn less than we do and thus can afford to contribute less. Think back to when you were living paycheck to paycheck or just earning less. How would you feel if your parents needed care but your sibling said that although they can afford to pay most of it, they won’t, because it’s not fair that you can’t match their contribution, thus your parents won’t get said care.”
“If you’re not willing to spend money on her side of the family and her needs and wants, you need to split your finances and just be upfront about it. It’s fine not to want to provide for someone you don’t have a close relationship with, but this is a sensitive topic and needs to be treated as such. Yelling at your partner that it’s your money isn’t the way to go about it, which you obvs know.”
“I guess I’d ask myself what this says about your relationship and how it will affect it going forward. Does your partner respect you, even though you were not included in the decision? Why did they not include you? Did they assume you’d agree with them or think you don’t get a say?”
“Do you respect them and care about how they feel? Is the way they assume your money is joint money an issue? Has it been an issue before, and will it be in the future? If not, what is the main issue, and how can this be addressed?”
“Looking at the big picture, this whole situation is pretty crappy… I hope things work out in a way that everyone is safe and content.” – Lost_in_stories_o
After receiving feedback, the OP shared a conflicted update.
“I’m going to answer some questions.”
“I assumed it was $25,000 a month because I assumed it was split five ways between the siblings, and our share was $5,000 a month. It’ll actually be closer to $10,000 a month, and our share is $5,000.”
“Her parents have assets, including a house, so I was told they don’t qualify for government assistance.”
“I brought up the idea of selling their house but was shot down immediately. The siblings want to keep the house in the family because their great-grandfather built it or something.”
“I can afford to pay for it, but I don’t want to based on principle. Their division means I’ll be paying $5,000 a month while the youngest brother will be paying only $300 a month and will be living in the house. Their thinking is that he’ll be paying the insurance and taxes on the house, so he can’t afford more than $300.”
Reddit continued to weigh in.
“YTA, entirely because you couldn’t deal with this incredibly straightforward situation as an adult.”
“You took no interest and offered no help in the research process. You’ve shown zero respect for your wife’s family or understanding that this is an arrangement of care for her parents towards the end of their lives. You’ve created hierarchies within your marriage over money, which is dumb as h**l.” – HogswatchHam
“YTA. You have enough money that after all your bills and current lifestyle, you have an extra 5k a month. It never occurred to you in your original post to complain that you can’t afford it, so that’s very well-off. But even so, you don’t want to pay “on principle?” That’s the part that makes you TA.”
“You want her parents just to go somewhere cheaper, but 10k a month for two people is not abnormally high. Cheaper means less care, worse quality living facilities, and less staffing generally. Would you be okay with your parents going there?”
“Let’s say, parents, you need 10k a month, and you can’t afford that unless you work overtime for a while. Would you not hope your wife would help pick up the slack in that time, like make more dinners or do more errands? What if you had to sell the new car for that money, but your wife says no because she contributed her bonus to it? Do you shrug and tell your parents sorry, you gotta go to the 2-star place now because my wife wants to keep the new Bentley?”
“I’m not saying you should just start paying 5k a month; I don’t think it’s realistic for y’all to start paying that much if her parents seem like they’ll live for many more years and yours will need help soon (that is, if you can’t afford to help pay for theirs and for yours at the same time). But to refuse ‘on principle’ because you want everything to be fair is not an appropriate reaction. The world isn’t fair. Figure out a compromise. It sounds like you’re working on one, and I’m glad.”
“Also: If your wife works, her salary contributes to that 5k payment, so it’s not you solely paying. If she doesn’t but stays at home taking care of the house/kids and does things like cook for you and do your laundry, she is entitled to some of your income, and part of that is going towards that 5k.”
“If she doesn’t work and y’all like, hire full-time nannies/housekeepers or something (which I don’t think is true from what I can tell but totally could be I didn’t try very hard), then that’s different, but maybe your solution then could be your wife taking over those jobs and that money going extra towards her parents.” – misslouisee
“I’m prepared for the consequences of this, but YTA. Unless you feel that her parents don’t deserve proper care (which, if true, is a fair thing to consider), if you can afford to provide that care for them, then you do it.”
“Your wife is also TA for making plans with her siblings and then just springing them on you, though.”
“If I were in your shoes, then I would do it. But my in-laws deserve it. If yours don’t, then that’s another issue to discuss.” – fruitjerky
“YTA. They are your parents by marriage, and you both should be taking care of them. If you couldn’t afford it, that’s one thing. But you can.”
“Is this your wife or your roommate you are talking about? I can’t tell.” – ARJDBJJP
But others thought the OP was being used as an ATM.
“I was YTA until the ‘keep it in the family’ asset was mentioned. Expecting you to bear a larger share of the cost isn’t totally unreasonable, but expecting you to do so in order to preserve an asset to ultimately benefit the heirs is a d**k move.”
“If the parents can’t afford the cost of assisted living, they can’t afford to keep that asset, and you are being asked to make up the difference effectively. If you are expected to contribute more money so the heirs can benefit from the asset, it’s only fair to expect them to secure your investment.”
“Have them sign a promissory note, secured by the house, in an amount that equally distributes the burden of their care among the siblings. This will quickly ferret out the irresponsible and greedy nature of their ‘keep it in the family’ mentality, which is usually an emotional fallacy not based on any kind of financial responsibility.”
“It takes money to keep and maintain a property, and more often than not, the property is lost to creditors within a generation. You might as well be first in line as that creditor.”
“Ask an attorney for advice on this. $60,000 a year is a lot of money. Not counting interest, that is $300,000 in five years. Do the math. How much is that property worth? That obligation could quickly become an untenable liability for you in the event of a major life event.”
“Don’t do it. NTA” – leathermasterkw
“NTA. At first, I started on the YTA train because of my personal beliefs on fairness and equity, especially when it comes to earning more. But after reading the comments, I have completely changed my view. The difference is expectation.”
“I think it is morally right for the bigger earner to pay the bigger share. However, I do not think it should have been the expectation, especially considering you are not the child of these two people. The fact you weren’t consulted but expected to pay the most is ridiculous. If you’re paying more, then your voice should have more sway.”
“If your wife had approached you first and asked and discussed, that would be a lot fairer and more reasonable. The situation that has actually happened reeks of entitlement and misogyny on your wife and her sibling’s part.”
“As others have suggested, I think it’s ultimatum time. Either you’re not part of the discussion and therefore none of your personal funds are put towards it, or you have equal say and therefore put up equal pay, or you pay the most and get the final say where they end up.” – The_Game_Student
“If it came from her wages and not yours, then you’d be the antagonist, but it’s not. It’s from yours.”
“When I first saw the title, I thought YTA but then saw those astronomical numbers and was like, what the h**l, are you married to a gold digger!?”
“In my family, the two top earners are my husband and my sister’s partner. Unsure who’s more think the numbers are similar; me, my sisters and my parents wouldn’t expect my husband and the other SO to pay extortionate amounts like that.”
“They would sell the house, that’s part of why many people buy houses; it’s security in old age. If they inherited it without paying a dime, then even more reason to have NO EXCUSE for not saving for old age. Extremely privileged from the get-go.”
“The other option is cheaper. 10K a month is extreme. Even 5k would seem insane. NTA” – Eastern-Barracuda390
“NTA purely because it’s unreasonable not to sell the house. If they didn’t own the house, it would be a YTA situation.” – AbsoluteZero410
“NTA. The fact that you were left out of the decision process and then expected to pony up the equivalent of a $700,000 mortgage payment is a really unreasonable ask.”
“The cost should be split evenly. If it can’t be afforded, then they need to find a cheaper place.”
“I would not be part of a family that uses ‘just marry a guy who makes a lot of money and have him pay it’ as their long-term parents’ care plan.” – BurnAfterEating420
The OP explained how complicated the situation was getting in another update.
“I’m the only child to my parents. While they planned out their retirement, they worked their entire lives to put me through school and supported me through several degrees. I will be solely responsible for and will make sure their remaining days will be comfortable.”
“Per your suggestion, I asked my wife if we’re going to contribute this much money to her parents, how are they going to contribute to my parents when their time comes. She answered, ‘Don’t be an id**t, that’s an entirely different situation.'”
“I don’t want ownership of their house because it’s very old and needs major work. I brought up the idea of selling the house again, and it was shot down again. They’re not budging on it.”
“None of us know the laws and regulations when it comes to this, so I finally got her to agree for us to sit down with an estate attorney.”
The OP was exhausted from all of this.
“Unless I feel up to it, this is probably the last update. I feel completely emotionally drained. I always knew my parents would get old, but I never thought about it, and now I know I won’t have any support, apparently even from my wife.”
The subReddit agreed that this was a substantial amount of money, especially over time and because the OP was not particularly close with his parents-in-law, but they were otherwise divided over what the OP should do.
Some cited the fact that he was married and part of a family as reasons enough to assist with the expenses, while others argued that it seemed the OP was being used as an ATM instead of as a husband, especially since his wife did not want to talk about reciprocating efforts for his parents in the future when they needed it.