‘I’m choosing between my mental health and my disabled mother’

Can you tell me a bit about you and your family?

I’m 29 years old, single and the youngest of four children. I have a relatively low income (a little under 25k) because I had to switch careers after covid massively hit my old industry.

My parents are regular working class immigrants in their 70’s, and have worked very hard to purchase a property which I live in with them in. They would be described as asset rich and cash poor, as they aren’t wealthy by any means but they do have a house in London. They’re both retired now.

The rest of my siblings have moved out and two of them have their own families. The sibling with no kids earns the most money and owns their own place. They’re really driven regarding savings and have achieved a lot. I have around 14k in savings, but after working for over a decade and living at home for most of it, I feel so guilty and useless that I don’t have more than that in terms of buying my own property.

Can you explain what happened with your mother and the move?

My mum is disabled, and wants to rent out the London house we all currently live in to rent a bungalow, which would be easier for her to get around in. She doesn’t want to sell it - as she intends to make sure it goes to me and my siblings so we can make money from it when she dies. We haven’t had the house valued, but I suspect it would likely go for between £350k-£380k.

I think it’s lovely that she’s thinking this way and I want to support her in the decision, but as I live at home and don’t earn a great amount of money, it looks like I’d have to live where my mum decides - which means outside of London.

I’ve actually wanted to move out of London for sometime now, but had dreams of doing it on my own and getting my own place - not still living with my mother into my 30s. I have around 14k in savings, but after working for over a decade and living at home for most of it, I feel so guilty and useless that I don’t have more than that in terms of buying my own property.

My mum needs me and my sibling (the one without kids) to be on the tenancy to get somewhere decent, as she’s retired and wouldn’t be able to get a property on her retirement alone.

How do you feel about it all?

I feel selfish for not wanting to move away with my mum, and she has told me that I am. She’s obviously done a lot for my siblings and I, and deserves to feel comfortable in her later years, but I still feel like I haven’t lived an independent life.

I know that caring responsibilities will likely fall on me and my one other sibling when my parents get older, and so I was hoping my late 20s and early 30s would be the period that my life changed and I could move out and be free, but it doesn’t feel like that’s ever going to happen. Especially if I don’t start earning more money. I feel like a bit of a failure in life. I worked multiple jobs as a teenager and went to uni and worked really hard, and feel like I have nothing to show for it.

What does the future hold, any plans, worries or hopes?

Right now I’m just existing and don’t feel like I’m living. I hope to meet someone and settle down but it feels like living at home is holding me back from that. I also want to earn more money, and have taken courses and applied for jobs in order to do so, but it’s taking a while.

Whilst I feel grateful and blessed for the savings I do have, it’s not a large enough amount for a deposit. Plus my monthly take home pay wouldn’t be enough for me to get a mortgage on my own. Meaning I would have to rent if I moved out anyway so is it better just to rent with my mother? What if I do meet someone and things progress? I don’t want my mum struggling to live in her rented property. I just don’t know what’s the best decision, and feel selfish even thinking of myself whilst my disabled and elderly mother struggles with the stairs everyday.

I’d also like to note that living with parents comes with it’s own struggles, like not having complete freedom, and my mum making comments on my body completely unsolicited. So moving out would be beneficial to my mental health, but I’d still worry about her. I just don’t know what to do.