A man pretending to be broke so his family won’t ask him for money—despite having $4 million in savings—is being supported online.
In a post to the Am I the A******? (AITA) community, a Reddit user—who has since deleted his account—said he was planning to retire early. A former engineer, he said he has drastically reduced his work hours, while his wife has been able to retire altogether. Describing himself as “frugal,” the poster has squirreled away millions of dollars during his working life.
However, he has kept his nest egg a secret from his family, as they are “terrible with money.” Instead, he and his wife pretend to be “dead broke,” so his relatives will not ask them for cash.
“My dad and brother both work oil and gas which results in a few fat years of tons of money coming in followed up with layoffs,” the 51-year-old man wrote.
“They have never [saved] anything so they run up credit cards to pay for everything.”
He said his parents have already borrowed against their home several times, while his dad has come out of retirement to work as a bus driver due to debt.
“My brother inherited their spending issues and has his own alcohol struggles,” he wrote. “He’s currently going through his second divorce.”
The Reddit user didn’t tell his son that their retirement plans were supposed to be a secret. His son accidentally revealed the news to the poster’s parents.
“[They] have been calling me livid because we pretended we were broke for years,” he said.
“Am I obligated to help them? I don’t feel so because both my parents and brother made lots over their careers but my dad is in his 70s and still working.”
Although wanting to help a family member is understandable, Leah Riddell, a licensed clinical mental health counselor based in North Carolina, said you should not support others at a cost to your own financial health.
“This is a tough position to be in,” she told Newsweek. “Often, if we have said ‘yes’ before, we feel obligated to say ‘yes’ again.”
Riddell said the solution is to set boundaries, but that can be easier said than done. For boundaries to be effective, you need to relay your expectations and uphold the consequences if those expectations are not met.
“This is unfortunately where most people get boundaries wrong,” Riddell said. “They give in when it gets uncomfortable, but it lets them know where you stand.”
If you don’t uphold boundaries, then the cycle will just repeat itself, with family members asking for money you cannot—or are not obligated—to provide.
Fellow Redditors backed the poster, voting him “Not the A******” or “NTA” in this instance.
“It is your money. You don’t have to share it with anyone you choose not to,” commented Thowawayforrbn.
“Their poor decision making does not mean you should not get to have this really wonderful early retirement with your wife, which you earned,” wrote gcot802.
“We’re not talking about obscene wealth here,” said MikeDamone. “They have 30+ years of living off a ‘fixed’ income to plan for.”
Lovebeingadad54321 agreed, writing: “You don’t know what kind of medical expenses you’re going to run into in your old age, and there is no more money coming in.”
“Please do not feel guilty and start giving in to their requests,” advised CeanothusOR. “They will bleed you dry and you will be looking for work in your 70s.”
Newsweek reached out to the poster for comment. We could not verify the details of the case.
Newsweek’s “What Should I Do?” offers expert advice to readers. If you have a personal dilemma, let us know via [email protected]. We can ask experts for advice on relationships, family, friends, money and work and your story could be featured on WSID at Newsweek.
The post Millionaire Pretending To Be Poor So Family Won’t Bother Him Applauded appeared first on Newsweek.