Him of Make Love Not Debt just recently wrote about Asian Culture and Finances  and the concept of children supporting their parents and asked that I share my own thoughts on the subject.
I don’t feel compelled to “pay my parents back for raising me” nor do my parents feel as though they should be “paid back for raising me,” however, I do whatever they ask because they’re my parents – not because I feel obligated because they raised me. At the moment I don’t send money home not because I’m a derelict son but because my parents didn’t ask me to, if they did I would certainly send money home. If my parents did need money, I’d send it in a heartbeat; I very much believe in the concept that everything is the family’s money. What I make goes into a pot that can be used for anyone else in the family, it just happens to be in an account with my name on it (or in an account with someone else’s name on it).
The thing is, every family dynamic in every culture is different. Take for example the story of Mai, who was laid off and still spent $6,000 on his parents for a vacation package to China. In my family, if I was laid off, the last thing my parents would want me to do is spend $6k so they could go on a trip to China. I don’t know if that out of responsibility or what, but in my family it wouldn’t be something that made sense. No job and you spend $6k on anything (let alone a vacation for anyone, you can always wait until next year after a job has been secured)? That just wouldn’t fly. (Of course, that story might be a little overblown just to get in the papers but whatever)
How does this work with my fiancee, who isn’t Asian? It better jive just fine because that’s the way it is.
Just kidding. 🙂 She’s fine with it because her sense of family is just as strong as mine, though the basic ground rules are slightly different as one would expect from a different family and a different culture. She’s a very caring and generous person, even to strangers, and so if you ask for her opinion of caring for someone who is actually related to you, it’s a no-brainer. I don’t think I could marry someone who wasn’t. 🙂 (Crowd: Awww…)