Well paid but not wealthy - providing for my family

Posted , 6 users are following.

I'm an executive with a world leading organisation. I work roughly 16 hours a day and live away from my family during the week as work is 200 miles from the family home. I am thrust or thrust myself into complex situations and problems and lead us out. I find the pressure I put myself under dreadful. Anything less that wholly positive comments about my success in leading these projects makes me sick with worry and drives me low.

I have a very modest mortgage on an expensive house that is in very good condition and unlikely to need work for the next 20 years, pension savings are around £300k and I am 45. I have no savings yet for childrens college fees or deposits for their first houses.  I earn around £300k pa and of that around £170k comes in an annual bonus. I obviously pay quite a lot of tax on that bonus so the net cash receipt from the annual bonus is more like £80kish. To provide for my family in a manner in which I dont think they will struggle I need them to have an income of (say) £30k pa after tax for the next 20 years (family allowance will add to that) plus £100k each for the children for college fees plus (say) £100k each for deposits for houses. I am less concerned about spouse pension as her parents are wealthy and the inheritance will be £600k or so in due course although that will come in 30 years or so.

My wife was a teacher but never enjoyed work and gave up work to plan for a family. She never earned enough to have savings. My children are 4 and 6.  My wife is what I might describe as old school british stiff upper lip. Negtive discussions about feelings (mine or hers) are met with anger and aggression.

If I admitted how much pressure I felt at work , my employer would be very supportive and steps would be taken to manage my workload down but the bonuses would fall to pretty much £nil as well. That means I could save around £30k after tax per annum after paying all bills but would only be able to accumulate £450k (in real terms) by my organisations retirement date of 60 after making some measure of pension saving and that would still mean living away from home in a bedsit for the next 15 years.

However, if I died in the next year or so the payment that comes into my estate from "Death in Service" because I have very enhanced benefits is roughly £1.0m. If I died the family would have the money I think they need (30k x 20 = 600 + college fees of 100 x 2 + house deposits of 100k x 2) is £1m.

If I died my family would of course would not see me but I don't see them now anyway. I will be relieved from living in a bedsit with intense pressure and work for the next 15 years.

I is not clear if death in service pays on suicide. It appears to be a matter looked at on a case by case basis. Moreover, if I had a handgun that would be simple (grab gun and shoot at a very low moment) but I don't, and clambering out onto a ledge or bridge has too much drama and risk. I once tried overdosing but was just very very sick; lots of retching so no one knows about that and I am now worried about the death in service not coming through if the cornoner concluded suicide.

I have therefore adopted an alternative strategy of accelerating my death to the maximum extent and have kept it up for 3 - 4 yrs now. During the week I eat 4 mars bars (or similar) per day and drink only strong coffee but take nothing else unless I am at a business lunch etc. Obviously no one sees me tucking into 3 or choc bars for an evening meal. I do not exercise. I wash my hands and arms in brake fluid every evening when I get in as its hugely cancerous (I keep a bucket of it under the sink in the bedsit bathroom). I cut the filters short on malborough and smoke 30 a day (smoking more than 30 is really hard). I am supposed to have an annual medical but I have dodged them for the last few years.  I get 4 hours sleep a night and have that as an engrained pattern.

While I am not fat or look really ill, I am starting to notice some signicant physiological changes. I don't feel well in myself at all. Terminal illness will result in the big payout at the end and after fathering two children and providing for them fully I will have fulfilled most of my role as a parent. I am very confident my wife will do a super job bringing them up - she is a good mother.

I cannot see a downside in my plan though and, after pursuing it for years now I am still comfortable with it. I have obviously got some psycological issues but seeking treatment will  remove work pressure but also reduce family wealth and not see me meet my objectives for them. I love my family but I think circumstances make them remote to me and I am, as I say, comfortable with my plan. One could say not pursuing this strategy would be very selfish in my precise circumstances. 

However, I am a very well developed business executive and understand the power of team. Can you be my team and comment if you see a downside to the plan above I may have missed. Obviously there are downsides but they relate to me, not others and I am indifferent to me.

Thanks and apologies for the length of this briefing.


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9 Replies

  • Posted

    Addenum - noticed an error in my note insofar the £1m does not come into my estate - death in service is paid to people named in the policy. It does not form part of the estate of the deceased and does not suffer inheritance tax.

    I am also aware that if my wife died subsequently my children would be left orphans. However, my wife's family typically make it to 100 years old and my wife is 7 years younger than I so that risk is tiny. If it did happen my inlaws would do a good job I cannot cover all the bases.

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  • Posted

    Yep, you deserve much better for all your years of hard work for you and your family.  Talk to your wife, she can support you and how your feeling.  It looks like you do have options, wife back to work, down size house, cut back on your own work.  Your a good business man so brain storm an alternative strategy.  Your family and friends want you around, so stratagise a plan for this and throttle back from the rat race to a more managable pace.  I'm also a professional, I'm currently burned out and suffering from clinical depression, recognise the early symptoms and go find some help, I promise you therapy (CBT and such) realy does help.

    Take care


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  • Posted

    I'm not sure everyone does win. Are you sure your children won't suffer in later life from never having known or connected with their father? How will that affect the way they interact with their own families or future partners. While I respect how much thought you have put into supporting your children financially in the future, you seem to have sacrificed any notion of quality of life or happiness in the equation (for them as well as yourself). Nobody knows what the future holds. Your wife could be hit by a bus tomorrow. Is a high powered job. expensive house and highly privaledged children really worth your own, and others, future misery? You say 'not pursuing this strategy would be very selfish in my precise circumstances.' Why do you see wanting a happier life as selfish? I think it would be braver to be selfish in this case.
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  • Posted

    Do you actually place any value on the simplicity that nature shows us like the birds taking food to their young , time of year , the joy and love that your two young children must give you when you see them . Stop wallowing in material wealth and start realising what is actually around you for  free. Get a grip sit down with your wife and tell her what is going on , you need professional help and support and gp is first contact . You have made me a bit angry as for 30 plus yrs I have fought tooth and nail to be properly assessed by a psychiatrist because I knew I didn't have depression and finally 2 wks ago got a bipolar diagnosis . Now 49 I am on right medication and I have to go back to work as a frontline . Please speak or show this post to someone you trust ,get help now because those children need their dad  they do not need money for bloody school fees . Best wishes  L 
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  • Posted

    Wow, that is a LOT of thinking you have done!! You are putting far too much pressure on yourself. It is your job to raise your children as best you can, with the support and input of your wife. It is not your job to run yourself into the ground and try to kill yourself for the sake of your childrens' future! 

    You ask for flaws in your plan, as rs93556 says, what about your childrens' wellbeing from losing a father/not being able to spend time with you? Also, what if you just spend all this time trying to get ill and treating yourself miserably and you never get ill? That is no way to spend your life. 

    I don't think you should feel that you have to pay for your children's college fees and deposits for their first homes. My parents worked hard all their lives and are on a much lower income than you. I get a grant to go to college and my fees are paid but I still worked part-time to pay for college books, clothes, going out etc.. and I am fine. (I also have a very good academic record.) I never resented my parents for not being able to give me money. In fact, I hate having to take money from them now that I am once again financially dependent on them! I would never expect them to pay for the deposit on my first house. I will move out when I get a permanent job and work my way paying rent first and then when I have enough money I'll buy a house. That is how everyone I know is planning to do it and in fact, I look forward to providing for myself. 

    I know you said you are indifferent to yourself but I think you need to start thinking of yourself for a while. And for your kids. Work to live, don't live to work. Your kids and wife, will appreciate habing memories of good times spent with you much more than they will a bit  of extra money. I am quite sure of that. Life is not just about work, money, material issues.  

    If you feel you can't talk to your wife, try and confide in a friend you trust or start going to therapy. Ring a phoneline like Samaritan's if you think therapy is too big a leap. But please ask for help. You do not need to feel so trapped in your life by your own expectations. It's your life. Not your kids' lives. Not your wife's life. Your life. And it is worth just as much as each other member in your family. You need to start looking after yourself more so that you can look after the other members of your family. 

    Please seek help and remember we are here for you. It is clear that you are extremely hard-working and a loving and caring father and husband. I admire your drive, your generosity and your complete ability to put others before yourself. You deserve a better life so please get some help so you do not feel so trapped. 


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  • Posted

    I'm sorry but you are being a very, very selfish man. Are you really happy that you will be putting your whole family into pain and grief for many years? This will mark your children for the rest of their lives. I speak from experience here. You are an idiot! Forget the bloody money and seek to reestablish yourself in your family. I earn about £15,000 a year and have no money for anything. But I have the love of my wife and son and we are all very close. We sustain and keep each other happy with love. You are capable of doing the same! Money really isnt everything you know! By slowly killing yourself you are betraying your family. Your responsibity to them is not just a financial one, you also owe them your prescence and love as a father. Someone once told me that the three qualities of the father archetype are: Order, Creativity and Blessing. You obviously have no problem with Order but your children also need your Blessing to sustain them in their lives, and your Creativity which you seem to have. You do not sound as if you are at all in touch with your emotions. Get out of your Head and go into your Heart. All my love and hoping you make the right decision for your families sake. (which is NOT to kill yourself). SEEK HELP IMMEDIATELY. Go to A&E or GP and take a copy of what you have written on this forum. Give it to them and then listen to what they advise.  Listen to what everyone has said on this forum. We can't all be wrong in our opinion. You are on a false heroic quest. Stop fantasising for a moment and think about what the REAL effect your death will have on other people who you profess to love.

    Good luck!

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  • Posted

    Mate I am going to be blunt. This is a cold way to live and think. Clearly you have been successful in business, but if that was all that mattered to you, then you would not be writing in. You will destroy your children if you proceed as planned, I have seen it. Stop stop stop.
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  • Posted

    1) I know a lady whose husband did this to them. He killed himself leaving his wife and children to cope without him. They also had a big house and plenty of surplus income. She was a professional woman, well capable of supporting her children. Five years on, she is still in a private psychiatric hospital (which is where all her money has gone) and her children are a mess.

    My point is that you can never know the future or how people will cope (or not). You may contract some illness or disease from your behaviour which results in you living in a coma for twenty years. She would have to look after you. You wouldn't get a big payout. Medical expenses would be high. Your wife and children would be stressed. If you really are a hot shot executive then you should be able to think it through properly. You cannot know the future!


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  • Posted

    Hi everyone wins, 

    I just wanted to say I hope you are doing OK and hopefully you have considered maybe seeing a therapist or doctor. 

    Best wishes always, 

    Agirl xxx

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