My parents feel unhappy because I’m unable to alleviate my brother’s predicament

By Quang Hai   April 20, 2024 | 03:33 pm PT
I can discern my parents’ displeasure due to my wife’s and my inability to financially support my elder brother, who has disclosed their struggles with business setbacks and debt.

I am the youngest sibling, with two older sisters and one older brother, all of whom are married with families of their own. Currently, I reside with my retired parents, who were public servants, in a home that was originally theirs but has recently been transferred to my name.

My parents had previously allocated funds to each of us for purchasing our own homes. Therefore, besides the home we inhabit, we possess another property that we rent out.

My eldest sister’s family has relocated overseas. My second eldest sister and her family, benefiting from substantial financial backing from her affluent in-laws, now live in considerable comfort and own a significant amount of real estate. Despite their wealth, she and her husband display a noticeable reluctance to spend.

In contrast, my elder brother and his spouse generate remarkably high earnings, surpassing VND100 million (US$3,930) monthly. They have invested in a house, a vehicle, and a land plot valued at VND3 billion. They enjoy luxurious foods, stylish attire, and consequently, tend to expend excessively in their daily life.

Compared to them, my family’s lifestyle is markedly modest. My wife’s and my combined income does not exceed VND30 million, and my in-laws lack the financial means to offer us additional support. We embarked on our marriage journey with minimal resources.

My parents have designated the house we share with them as the future site for ancestral veneration after their demise. They have explicitly instructed that this property is solely for residential purposes and should be preserved for successive generations without the option of being sold, a decision unanimously respected by our family.

Life, however, is unpredictable. My brother’s household abruptly encountered business failure, compelling him and his spouse to liquidate their assets and land to settle their debts, as they have informed us. They said they were fortunate to retain their residential property, but now owe my eldest sister VND5 billion and my second eldest sister an additional VND3 billion.

This development left my parents heartbroken. In response, they depleted their savings to provide him support. They also appealed to us, the siblings, to contribute towards aiding him. My sisters have consented to reduce VND500 million each from the debt owed by my brother.

Nevertheless, my family is not in a position to assist my brother in the manner our siblings have. The home we occupy is not for sale, and we can’t sell the other property we lease out either since it is crucial for covering our two children’s educational expenses. Residing in a major city, the cost of living for our family of four is substantial, with our collective income barely sufficient for our basic needs and leaving minimal surplus. Our savings, intended for emergencies, amount to roughly VND100 million only.

Despite these constraints, we have committed to allocating a portion of our future savings to support my brother when feasible.

I also proposed to my parents the idea of selling our present home to purchase a smaller one, sufficient for both our family and them, thereby freeing up funds to alleviate my brother’s debt. My parents, however, opposed this suggestion.

Moreover, despite their ongoing debt to my sisters, my brother’s family has not modified their lavish lifestyle or expenditure patterns. They persist in living opulently, with their lifestyle and indulgences remaining unchanged. They assert that their investment was unsuccessful, yet their considerable monthly income persists, which also leaves me deeply conflicted about the entire scenario.

Is my stance on this matter justified?

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