What He Had Done
When Alex went to the computer to check what his brother had shown him, he hardly heard his brother's remarks. Several emotions instantly overcame him.
Consequently, he had been secretly hiding his money and utilizing it in this way for years. His face crumpled as tears streamed into his eyes. Soon, everyone will be aware of what his brother commited.
Like many graduates, Missouri resident Alex Burkemper completed his university degree in 2017 and immediately began looking for a job and a place to stay.
With a stack of student debt looming over his head, he knew he couldn’t afford much. But still, he was determined to become independent and move out of his parents’ house.
Turning To Family
Luckily, Alex had a brother who had gone through the same situation. Todd knew that the first few years after graduating can be extremely tough, so he opened his arms to his brother and invited him to stay with him in his home in Wentzville.
From the outside, it looked like a normal situation - a brother just trying to help his sibling out. Little did Alex know, his brother had ulterior motives.
Accepting HIs Brother’s Offer
Alex dreaded the humiliating thought of having to move back into his parents’ house.
After staying on campus for years while he completed his degree, he couldn’t bear the thought of having to abide by his parents’ rules now that he was an adult. He had to stand on his own two feet now. So Alex accepted his brother’s offer. But it came with a catch.
Todd let his younger brother move in with him on one condition: he had to start paying rent after staying for six months.
While this arrangement gave Alex some breathing room to find a job within six months, he had to put paying off his student debt and his dreams on hold. But, it wasn’t like his older brother needed the money.
Todd had been much luckier than his younger brother. Right after completing his studies back in 2011, he had managed to land a good job with excellent pay.
He worked as a software developer and application designer for a large firm. and although he also had student debt, he was able to pay it off and buy himself a house and car in just a few years.
So, after the six months were up, Todd demanded rent money from Alex. Although the brothers were close, he started charging him $350 a month for rent - not too unreasonable considering that he was renting to family.
By that time, Alex had secured himself an entry-level job, but the majority of his money went to rent, student debt, and living expenses. But he had no idea what Todd was really up to.
Keeping A Secret
Alex ended up staying with his brother for years. He wasn’t able to save enough money to move out because of rent and his student loan debt, but if he hadn’t graduated, he probably wouldn’t have gotten a job at all.
It was the same catch-22 situation that many young Americans are faced with. Every month, he diligently paid his brother the rent. But what did Todd need the money for?
Stashing It Away
After two and a half years of paying $350 per month, Alex had paid his brother a total of $10,500 in rent. And every month, Todd secretly stashed it away.
Alex never even suspected, let alone found out, what his brother was actually doing with it. And, it turned out that everyone was in on the secret… everyone except poor Alex.
You see, Todd had a big plan for his brother’s money. Although he could have used it for his own expenses or invested it into something with big returns, he decided to keep every last cent in a secret savings account.
But after two and a half years of living together, a problem arose between the two brothers.
Someone Else’s House
Alex began to get restless. Living as a tenant is difficult, even when you’re living with family. He wanted to strike out on his own - paying rent for so long made him realize just how much money he was throwing away every month instead of investing in a house of his own.
Even though he wasn’t much more financially stable than he had been when he graduated, he decided to move out. Todd tried to talk him out of it. He was thinking about the money.
Now that Alex wanted to move out, everyone in the family tried to discourage him. But why?
“Todd told us he was doing this from the start but asked us to please not let Alex know. It’s very hard for me to keep a secret. So every time Alex mentioned looking for a home, I would talk him down telling him it was not the right time to buy,” their mother, Barbara, confessed.
Enough Is Enough
By May 2020, Alex had reached the end of his tether. He was ready to move out of his brother’s house, and nothing was going to stand in his way.
Todd knew it was finally time to reveal the secret they’d been keeping for almost three years. He invited their parents over to witness the big reveal.
“This time, I knew he was serious, so my husband and I could not wait until Todd told Alex,” said Barbara.
Barbara brought a camera to film Alex’s reaction to the big secret. Todd began by showing Alex his phone’s screen. It was the accumulated balance of all the rent money Alex had paid over the years. “This is yours,” Todd said.
An Amazing Gesture
“So, you know how I started making you pay rent a couple of years ago? I just saved all the money and put it in a savings account,” Todd said.
“That’s for you, for your new house. I didn’t want you to have to struggle like I did.” Alex felt like he was on a rollercoaster of emotions. Then, he burst into tears of gratitude.
On Top Of The World
Alex never would have guessed this. He felt on top of the world. All of a sudden a big wave of relief hit him. He could actually take a breather, thanks to the kindness of his brother.
Barbara watched her boys embrace. She thanked God for such lovely children. Alex was still speechless. His big brother watched him and knew that his feelings were sincere. He knew that he was always a responsible big brother.
The Bet Big Brother
Alex always respected him and knew that he was a strict person. He obeyed his brother’s rules while he lived under his roof. “I can’t believe you man,” Alex said, “I never would have suspected that you were actually saving my rent money all these years.”
Todd grinned at his baby brother. His heart was truly happy.
A Proud Family
Alex turned to his mother, “Did you know mom?” “Yes my dear, we all supported your brother. We are so proud that you managed to work hard and maintain a humble attitude while paying off your student loans” the smiling mother replied.
“You have proved that you are a responsible young man and you deserve your own home” his father beamed. Alex was ecstatic. He felt so grateful to have such a caring family.
He thought of all the times he had felt angry toward them for not helping, and realized how childish he was.
He vowed to change his attitude for the better. If he was going to be a homeowner, then he had to be responsible and grow up. “Thank you all so much,” Alex said. “I can’t thank you all enough. You know what this means to me and how long I have waited to move out on my own.”
Growing Up Wiser
Todd put his arms around his brother and said “You know our parents raised us to be smart with money, and I wanted to help you learn the value of hard work. It can be a dangerous and scary world out there if you don’t know the right people.”
Alex looked at his brother with admiration. He thought of all the times he had been angry at his brother.
A Different Thought
All the times he wanted to go out partying or buy expensive things, he would always stop me and, make me check myself. Barbara interrupted their thoughts with a surprise cake. ”Come everyone” she cooed, let’s eat.”
The happy family sat down to cake and tea. Alex spoke about dreams he had for his first home. “We will definitely be there to help you choose son don’t worry,” his dad said with a wink
While the family sat and laughed about Alex’s future plans. Alex’s mind was secretly off somewhere else. He was already thinking about all the doors that would be opening for him now.
He would have his independence and most importantly freedom. It was so important for him to move out because he felt that he was also cramping his brother’s style.
My Own Man
Even though his brother never made him feel uncomfortable, he was almost 30 years old and had a stable girlfriend. Sometimes when she would come over he felt like a third wheel.
It wasn’t that there was anything wrong with her, they got on well. it was just that he was growing up too, and he needed some space.
He Had Met Someone
His parents didn’t know that while he was working, he had met someone. Her name was Samantha and she worked in the same building as him. Although they saw each other often, their relationship was also growing to the next level and they wanted to become exclusive.
Samantha was more wealthy than Alex so he wanted to have some things in his own life in place before introducing her to his family.
Always Brushed It Off
His brother had suspected that he had a girlfriend but he always brushed him off saying that it wasn’t anything serious. Soon he would be able to tell his parents the truth about his girlfriend.
“What do you think of this one?” Barbara asked Alex. She showed him a picture of a cute Two- bedroom home. It’s okay Alex replied “An extra room for your mom to come crash in, just joking ” she laughed. Alex smiled at his mother, he knew she wasn’t really joking.
His family had always been overprotective f him. He appreciated it and knew that he had much to be grateful for but sometimes he wished that he had his own life where he could make all his own decisions. Todd nudged his brother. “So what area are you thinking about?”
Alex let out a sigh. Well, I don’t know yet, hopefully something close too work. “That’s a bit far out son,” his dad said. “But how long are you going to stay at that job honey?” his mother said.
Alex felt a tight sharp pain across his forehead. There were always too many questions with his parents. He had only just found out about his brother’s saintly secret.
The way that they were behaving was like he was a puppet. He felt like his whole life had just been manipulated. Was this game really worth it?
Alex felt disgusted in himself. He should be more grateful. Life is really difficult, If it wasn’t for his family's practical thinking, he would have been in a much worse condition.
The young man excused himself and went outside for a breath of fresh air. He looked at the street and the trees. He would be moving soon. Starting a new life.
He decided to put his insecurities away and focus on the positive. He had a lot to look forward to.
Alex thought about an appropriate thank you gift for his brother. Nobody would have suspected that it was also a lesson in tough love.
The Road Ahead
He was going to be turning 26 years old soon. He was a man and he had to prove to his brother that he could handle his life on his own terms.
If he was going to buy his own house he was going to have to learn how to maintain it. He almost had everything. A house, a wife, a good job. Next, he needed to think about a set of wheels. He needed to get to his new house in style.
To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author's imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.