In Generational wealth – part 1, we discussed gifting money to your kids. We looked at it from the giver/parent perspective. Today, in part 2, I want to discuss receiving gifts from family (usually parents). In this post, we will look at it from the perspective of the person receiving gifts.
Our trip to Israel
The Lazy FI family just came back from two weeks in Israel.
On one hand, it was a bit hectic. Loads of friends and family to meet and we wanted to see some of them more than once. Every visit to Israel is hectic for us.
On the other hand, it was great to see everyone. I love spending time with my siblings. Our daughter also really blossomed and opened up to people and we realised how much she needs to be exposed to new people more often than she does now. OK, back to today’s topic.
As we had a son, we were once again in the position of receiving gifts from family, monetary gifts*. I understand this, it’s a way for people to say “congratulations”. It was the same with our wedding as the most common gift (by a mile) in Israeli weddings is money.
Even when we bought our (shared ownership) flat, our parents gifted us money to help us pay the downpayment. It felt a bit weird to me as we could have afforded it anyway.
Our latest trip to Israel, just like our wedding and our flat purchase, made me think once again about how I feel about receiving gifts.
Lazy FI Dad’s perspective on receiving gifts
Is receiving gifts cheating?
I love the journey of pursuing FI. I love checking our progress each month, I love the sense of accomplishment and I love the sense of purpose it gives me.
No, I’m not pursuing FI just for the sake of it, my “Why to FI” is my family. Pursuing FI gives me the warm and fuzzy feeling of making a good decision.
Receiving gifts (sometimes large monetary amounts) just feels like cheating. It’s like playing a computer game with cheat codes. I still remember my friends typing “rosebud” in the original “The Sims” game or typing “IDDQD” and “IDKFA” in the original “Doom” game**, which I hated. It took part of the fun out of it.
If a big part of the fun in pursuing FI is “making it on your own”, it makes sense that receiving gifts would take away some of the fun and even feel like cheating, doesn’t it?
I hate people paying for me
It’s not just receiving gifts, I also hate when people pay for me in restaurants. When we were kids, our parents paid for us when we went out to eat. Of course they did, we didn’t have money, we relied on our parents, and we were not independent. Every time someone tries to pay for me when we go out (especially my parents), this is how I feel.
Don’t worry, I’m fully aware that when people try to pay for me, they don’t mean to say “you can’t afford it, you’re not independent, you’re still a kid”. I know they mean well, at least I hope they do haha.
However, that doesn’t make me feel any better about it.
I like giving gifts and paying for other people
I like paying for other people and giving gifts. In case you’re wondering- when I give gifts, I don’t think that the other side is not independent or anything like that.
I especially like paying for my parents when we go out. I feel like an adult and that it’s my turn to pay for things. it’s also a way to thank them for taking care of me when I was a child.
If I have no issue with paying for people or giving gifts, why do I have an issue with being on the other side of that “transaction”?
In Israel, when you give money to charity, they will usually say “may you always be the giver, not the receiver”. I think this pretty much sums up my perspective. I want to be the giver, not the receiver.
The logical side- what will I do as a dad?
As I explained in part 1, giving monetary gifts to your children makes sense, it really does.
As parents, Lazy Fi Mum and I plan on giving our kids monetary gifts throughout their young adulthood. We want to see them enjoy the money while we’re still here (rather than leaving it as an inheritance).
I am also aware that the money will make a much bigger impact on their lives as young adults. I’m sure my kids won’t even need our money when they’re in their 50s or 60s or however old they will be when I pass away. However, when they will be in their 20s and 30s, this money can really catapult them forward in their (financial) journey.
So again, if I am aware of all of this, why do I still have an issue with receiving gifts?
Does it even matter?
Back to FI and “making it on your own”.
What am I trying to prove? Who am I trying to convince? I guess I’m only trying to convince myself. Lazy FI Mum is happy either way. My kids are happy as long as we spend time together (especially at Nando’s), the only one left to convince is me.
Also, if FI and time with my family is the main goal, does it really matter how I get there***? Will I enjoy the time with my family any less if it is due to receiving gifts rather than my (/our) own money?
Of course not.
Lazy FI Mum’s perspective on receiving gifts
Although this is “Lazy FI Mum’s perspective on receiving gifts”, I (Lazy FI Dad) will be writing this part as I perceive it. Don’t worry, if you’re reading this, that means she already read (and approved) this section.
Lazy FI Mum is VERY different from me in her approach towards gifts. Her parents still pay every time they go out. They also gift her**** monetary gifts pretty often.
I look at it from the side and feel/think two things at once:
- It feels a bit like a kid who is still a bit dependent on their parents. That’s my initial feeling/thought.
- I will undoubtedly be the same with my kids.
I’m aware of the contradiction here but you already know that I’m OK with giving gifts and not receiving them. Will I let my kids pay for me when we go out and they are adults? very unlikely.
I also think that when our kids are older and we have reached FI, one of the best uses of our money is to gift it to our kids and help them on their own journey.
What sounds like a better use of your money? Which option will make you (the giver) the happiest?
- A fancy meal out
- A nice car
- Another holiday
- Helping your child advance in (their financial) life
For me, this is an easy question. Of course, I’ll pick number 4. It doesn’t mean you can have options 1-3. What I’m trying to say is that option number 4 will probably give me the most joy.
I guess this is something I’ll have to learn to deal with and work on. Especially as, most times, I have no say about receiving these gifts. I am also aware that these gifts come with 100% good intentions.
Will writing this post and going through the rational side of the gift-giving process help me? Perhaps, I’ll let you know.
How do you feel about receiving gifts and giving gifts? I wonder if I’m the only one who feels that way. I also wonder if I’m the only one who remembers cheat codes to old computer games but that’s a bit off-topic.
* This is a bit of a spoiler ahead of our April 2022 results post.
** Wow, I feel old.
*** As long as it’s legal and you’re still enjoying the journey
**** More like “us” as we have joint finances.