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Taking Care of Two Household

October 29, 2023

Taking care of two households can be challenging and tiring, especially when one of those homes is in a different country. We love our family members, and we want to help as much as we can but sometimes, we do so to our detriment.

Be realistic in the way you can help. Do not portray a picture that is not reality. Be honest about your financial situation. Outline how you will provide support and communicate it to family members:

Set boundaries.

One of the biggest challenge I see within my family and other immigrant family is the thought that we have to be the savior for everyone. Let me tell you, you are not, and you are not able to be even if you tried. However, that does not stop us, does it. This is very emotional and if we are not able to be there physically, we want to make sure everyone is ok. That is simply called love, but you must remember that you must live, eat and keep a roof over your head as well.

Actional steps to set you up for success:

  • Be specific about the kind of help you will be providing (i.e., medical help for aging parents, food on a quarterly basis, etc.)

  • Let it be known that you are not a money tree. Do not call or request things they can do on their own. Meaning that everyone must pull their own weight by obtaining a job or working in some form and not sitting down waiting for you to take care of them.

Create an action plan for life’s major events.

My dad always says, “it is appointed to man once to die” meaning that death is sure and so are births, weddings, sickness, etc. It is important that we think of these life events when we are creating our financial plans. Depending on where you migrated from it can be costly to return home when a life event occurs. So here are some actionable steps to set you up for success.

  • Set up a specific savings account for family events and deposit money into the account on a schedule that fits your lifestyle and will not derail your financial stability here. It could be from each paycheck or at the beginning or end of each month. Look at your bills and financial responsibility and decide. Automate the deposit so that you are not adding one more thing to your “to do” list.

  • Put a framework of how often you will return home or would like to return home and for what life events. Think about the cost and set aside the appropriate funds in the savings account to allow you to do as desire.

  • If income is not sufficient to set aside enough money needed still put something aside. It is better to have some of the money than none. This will take you from a state of desperation when something arise.

Also think about whether it is better to send money or go in person. It is a hard decision to make especially if you are dealing with a death. But will your family benefit more from the money (COLD! I know but it is a reality that some of us face). I too face this decision when I do not have enough money to return home and help with the funeral. I ended up going and explained to my family that my financial contribution would be minimal, but it was a very difficult decision for me.

  • If you have siblings, ask how they will contribute so all the responsibility is not on you and if it is, it is good to know if you are alone instead of waiting for help that is not coming.

How do you deal with challenges that require financial support outside of your immediate household? Leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.

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