I'm a rising junior and I need advice on a specific life situation

I currently live with my parents and elder brother. We all came to the US about 5 yrs ago. My dad still works at a convenience shop in his 60s. My parents don’t have anything saved up for retirement. It’s in our culture to look after our parents when they get older. I’m okay with taking on new responsibilities, but my brother has no sense of responsibility. He says he goes to college but he hasn’t done anything in his college career to show for it. He’s been going to college for over 5 yrs now and still going. So I can’t really expect anything good from him in the future. All he does is drink, smoke, and hang out with his friends. He works part-time sometimes and doesn’t contribute much to the family. He has made so many financial mistakes in his short life.

While I have high goals and ambitions for myself, I feel that being with my family is somewhat holding me back. No one in my family except me has any high ambitions for their future (yes I asked each of them). My parents in particular want to rely on us as they get older. My brother is a complete douche who only likes to get angry and threatens me with violence whenever I try to point out that he needs to be more responsible and look after the family. I’m a rising junior at a super non-target school here in NYC with a 4.0 GPA. I have managed to break into one of BB’s IB roles think ER or S&T. I hope to come back as a full-time A1 after my internship. I feel stuck, angry, and utter sadness whenever I try to envision my future with them. I have planned many times to move out but there’s a part of me that wants to be with my parents and not ditch them. I would really appreciate any advice or criticism. Thanks!

Most Helpful

Move out. You can help your parents in retirement and also not live with them. You also seem very resentful and I think some space would help.

On that note, it's not your job to be your brother's parent. I get it comes from a good place, but it isn't on you to tell him to be more responsible - he's just not going to be. If he shapes up, awesome, if not then he will have to find a way to support himself at a low wage like many other people out there. 

It's great you're ambitious but I wouldn't be so resentful of your parents because they "aren't ambitious"... most people are not, welcome to adult life. really think some space and perspective will help you even if that's living in the dorms for a bit.

I would keep doing what you are doing. You come from a crappy school but made it into IB, so you clearly have hustle. When you graduate and start your job, move out and send your parents money to help them.

But make sure you structure the money in such a way that only they can benefit and your brother can’t steal it.

Like don’t send cash, maybe directly pay their rent.

This is America, and while there are still some cultural obligations to parents here, they’re a lot weaker than in other countries. The cultural orthodoxy here is that if you’re parents are bringing you down and you can do better on your own, that you should go on your own and leave them to their own devices. Realistically, you have one of three main options:

1. Stay with your parents and abandon the BB. Not really worth entertaining, but it exists. The benefits would be you would be with them the most. The expenses would be not pursuing a lucrative career in financial services that you have lined up.

2. Take the job and remit money to your parents. If you feel some kind of obligation to your parents for how they’ve raised you, money could be a way to bridge that without having to give up on your dreams.

3. The American Way: Take the job and let your parents fend for themselves. This is your likely choice, at least at first. This approach has the advantage of giving you the most money, and you can wait and see if there are ways you can help your parents later on. Your brother is a ne’er-do-well, but at least your parents can vicariously bask in your success if they have the capacity to do so, and your brother can see your example. Your parents are not that unusual by the way. Most American people are by nature poor budgeters who live paycheck to paycheck buying consumer goods they don’t need. They get by, and your parents likely will too. Play it by ear and pursue greatness.

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