Is it important that when l save money for retirement, that I also should save to leave money for my children?
It’s permissible to save for yourself. You have to have money to live on. However, when it comes to saving for your children, it depends. If you can save without sacrificing the purpose of your life, that’s all right. Why not? But people who give away the time that they should be devoting for their own betterment, time they should be spending making something out of themselves, and instead they give that time towards saving for their children, then it’s a hundred percent waste. Because your first job in this world is to make something from yourself, to achieve shleimus. And your child, when he comes into the world, he brings along an allowance, that he takes with him from heaven. Everybody is born with an allowance. My parents didn’t set me up in business, they didn’t leave me any money. And yet, boruch Hashem, I never had to borrow any money all my life.
And so, if you won’t save up for your children – instead of working to save for them, you’ll take off your evenings to study Torah, you’ll do tzedaka, you’ll give money to charity; so you’ll be a success. Don’t try to leave wealth for your children. Of course, if you want to leave them Torah wealth, and it costs money to send them to yeshivos; it costs money to keep even your married children in kollel – so that’s yours – whatever you do for them is for you. It’s an investment for your own self to a certain extent.
But even that, you have to know what and when and how much. Suppose you’re a capable of sitting in a kollel and learning, but your son would like you to keep on slaving away to keep him in a Kollel. So you should tell him, “If you wish, if you like this idea so much, then you can do it for me. I’ll let you slave and support me in kollel.” Why not? The father has a right to be in a kollel.
Sometimes the father has a better head than the son has. The gemara says, הוא ללמוד ובנו ללמוד הוא קודם לבנו – If there’s a question who should learn him or his son, so he goes first (Kiddushin 29b). So you don’t give away your soul for your children. But, if you can do it without any big sacrifices of your time, you’ll be able to make something out of yourself, but at the same time leave a little bit for them, there’s nothing wrong with that. Why not?
TAPE # 112 (February 1976)