7. “My parents keep expecting us to pay for them”
Play • 43 min

Barry is a first-generation Pakistani immigrant. His wife, Maria, is also Pakistani and was born and raised in the United States. Cultural expectations are making it difficult to get aligned on their joint finances.

Barry has grown up living under a set of unwritten cultural rules whereby the son is expected to take care of his parents financially. They’re paying for family dinners and charity donations right now, but Barry strongly suspects his parents are anticipating moving in with them after they retire. 

Maria has been biting her lip so far. She wants financial freedom, but knows she cannot change Barry. He must acknowledge – and possibly reprogram – the dialog around money between him and his family. 

Some of this episode will sound confusing if you’re listening to it from a Western perspective, but these cultural scripts that Barry grew up with are very real. (Imagine if I told you that it “might not make financial sense to purchase a house” – that rattles the Western cultural code many people grew up with, which is why they get so angry when I point it out!). 

It’s unsettling and uncomfortable to challenge. I know because I’ve been in the same situation as Barry, juggling different expectations from Indian parents.

Barry needs to move from “convincing” his parents to fully owning his financial decisions and vocalizing that with love and firm boundaries. Listen to our conversation to hear what that looks like for them and how they plan to compromise between their financial goals and family expectations.

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Produced by Crate Media.

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