We care. Love from your family x
Dear Dad, You always told me never to go to bed leaving words unsaid. So I didn’t sleep well last night. I’m sorry if you felt I was telling you how to live. You’re an important part of my life, of who we all are - and we want you around for a good while longer, happy and healthy.
We’ve faced some really tough times together, and we’ve always got through them. I often catch myself thinking “this too will pass” at those times when life feels too heavy, just like you taught me. You’ve given us so much. Its our turn to give back. We care deeply about you. Maybe its selfish of us, but we want to enjoy time with you. I know it feels like we’re always too crazy busy with our ridiculous self-inflicted schedules - but we learnt it from the best of the high achievers, you.
I feel your frustration. I guess it feels a little like the parent-child relationship is tipping the other way. But we’re adults now. We only want what’s best for you. I know you think its too early to think about selling up, and moving. We don’t want to say goodbye, it’s our home too. But Dad, you’re not 40. Those stairs might be “good exercise” as you mentioned, but they’ll need some work soon. The whole house needs work. You tell us that you can’t afford to sell up and move, but have you thought about what the house is costing you anyway, to keep it from falling apart?
In 15 years time, how are you going to drag groceries up those stairs? Stay on top of maintaining that massive yard? Of course we’ll help where we can. But we’d like to enjoy spending time with you, not feeling frustrated about helping you stay on top of a property too big for you. I’d rather share a round of golf with you, than mowing your lawn and cleaning out gutters. Your grandchildren would love to spend more time with you doing ‘Poppy’ stuff. They loved fishing with you last weekend. And they love Poppy’s picnics! Your best mate complains that he never sees you because you’re always fixing something on the property.
Sure, you could stay put and get some home help in when ‘it gets to that stage’. That’s not going to take away feeling lonely. Or unsafe. Or that you feel like a stranger in your own neighbourhood.
You said the street has changed so much you don’t recognise anyone - “a stranger in my own backyard”, you said.
Imagine living somewhere where you feel part of a community again? Where we can come and visit and spend quality time with you. Dad, you’ve worked so hard, for so long. We’d love to see you get back into your golf, enjoy a chat with a neighbour, head off on holidays without worrying about the security of the house.
You don’t want to be forced into selling up because your health suddenly lets you down. Then you’re left with no control over making decisions on how you want to live. Imagine if you could get to know your neighbours over a happy hour drink, or a game of bowls while you’re still fit and healthy - and can still hear them! Mum tried to talk you into it years ago. She would have loved it, and she knew you would too. I miss her so much. I know its been tough for you. But Dad, she would want you to be happy, not rattling around in the old house on your own.
I know its hard. I know you think that moving will leave you without a financial legacy to pass on, but that’s not true. We need to look into it. Do some research before we jump to conclusions. And to be completely honest, we couldn’t care less about an inheritance from you. Thanks to you and Mum and the strong work ethic you passed on to us, we’re all doing well. Our generation doesn’t give inheritances much thought like yours once did. We’ll be too old to benefit from an inheritance anyway! We don’t need your money. We’d rather have a full file of happy memories, that’s worth more than any money you could leave behind.
We’re here to help. We’ll support your decisions, but please promise that you’ll stay open to at least having a look at a few places together. Residential choices have changed a lot since Grandma and Papa’s days.
We just want to be able to talk about it with you. Can we just agree to at least look into it? We really do care.
Lots of love from all of us x
Tips and tools for starting family conversations on retirement planning