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Thread: Talking finances with older parents

  1. #11
    Senior Member RosieTR's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies! I should provide more context. My dad has done their planning, and when they say they are fine, I believe it. But, if they feel they are more than fine and want to give money and pay for things, it can be awkward or it can be heart-warming depending on communication. They paid for my college and I didn't have kids, so if they want to give my sister $ for special things for her family they should do that happily. But some parents, like MIL, feel the need to make sure everyone gets the same amount. So it's happened that one BIL needed a decent sum for some sort of poor planning incident in his life so she gave each son a similar amount to be "fair". Now yes it's her money and if that makes her feel happy, that's fine. But I don't want her, 5 years from now, to regret giving us money so that things were "equal" when we were fine without it, KWIM? And if my parents want to be unequal because their kids are in different circumstances, then I want them to feel ok about that. Not sure how to convey these things, nor how the other siblings feel. This came up in one form or another for both mine and DH's family so it prompted my lament. Doesn't sound like a lot of answers out there.

  2. #12
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RosieTR View Post
    Thanks for the replies! I should provide more context. My dad has done their planning, and when they say they are fine, I believe it. But, if they feel they are more than fine and want to give money and pay for things, it can be awkward or it can be heart-warming depending on communication. They paid for my college and I didn't have kids, so if they want to give my sister $ for special things for her family they should do that happily. But some parents, like MIL, feel the need to make sure everyone gets the same amount. So it's happened that one BIL needed a decent sum for some sort of poor planning incident in his life so she gave each son a similar amount to be "fair". Now yes it's her money and if that makes her feel happy, that's fine. But I don't want her, 5 years from now, to regret giving us money so that things were "equal" when we were fine without it, KWIM? And if my parents want to be unequal because their kids are in different circumstances, then I want them to feel ok about that. Not sure how to convey these things, nor how the other siblings feel. This came up in one form or another for both mine and DH's family so it prompted my lament. Doesn't sound like a lot of answers out there.
    It seems simplest to me to have a conversation with your parents and inlaw to tell them that you don't expect equal financial handouts.

    and if they give you money anyway, and you suspect they might need it in the future, set it aside and give it back when the time comes.
    Last edited by iris lilies; 6-4-15 at 3:21am.

  3. #13
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kib View Post
    I don't know what the OP's concerns were, but I have some about my parents. Dad is 91, Mom is 86. He's done every jot of financial work and planning and bill paying since day 1, and his health is starting to go downhill. Neither one of them wants to look at what that might mean for her future. They're well set up as far as having planned well and having enough money. I don't know what I will inherit and I don't really care, I'm fine too, but I'm concerned about the day to day management of a very complex portfolio by someone who knows nothing about it, and I will literally blow a gasket if she winds up being taken for 20% of her net worth by someone at Morgan Stanley or Edward Jones when I am perfectly capable of helping her. And no, I don't have any advice on a good book, I'd love one.

    Was that Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? Wonderful book, although not exactly a reference.
    yep that book.

  4. #14
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Thanks for the clarification, Rosie. What you are talking about is more complex. I would talk to them and ask straight out about a circumstance where someone was abused because of $$ mismanagement and how it could have been prevented. It is more about raising awareness of your concerns and asking them to deal with 'your' concerns about their well-being. It is not about challenging them in their decision-making about financial matters. As with any conscious raising, it may take a number of situations to give you peace of mind and get your points of concern across.

    Quite frankly, it is none of your business how they share the family's wealth unless they deprive themselves in the future. I make decisions according to 'my' values. Your values may be different and you can apply them in your decisions.

    FWIW, my two children have met my lawyer, my accountant, know my CFP at the credit union where my assets are located and all the details of my financial affairs. Because I am so transparent, they need have no concerns about my financial management.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  5. #15
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ApatheticNoMore View Post
    I'd happily work out a deal, no inheritance in return for not being left to pay other people's debt I can't (ie I don't' care about inheritance just try not to go bankrupt - please .... because I can't save you - I'm not rich and never will be so no I really can't).
    You don't have to pay anyone else's debt. Where is this coming from?

  6. #16
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post
    Finamcial planning is not a complete joke.

    but carry on.
    Very true but if one hasn't updated their plan in 20 years they're getting screwed by the federal reserve and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

  7. #17
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RosieTR View Post
    Thanks for the replies! I should provide more context. My dad has done their planning, and when they say they are fine, I believe it. But, if they feel they are more than fine and want to give money and pay for things, it can be awkward or it can be heart-warming depending on communication. They paid for my college and I didn't have kids, so if they want to give my sister $ for special things for her family they should do that happily. But some parents, like MIL, feel the need to make sure everyone gets the same amount. So it's happened that one BIL needed a decent sum for some sort of poor planning incident in his life so she gave each son a similar amount to be "fair". Now yes it's her money and if that makes her feel happy, that's fine. But I don't want her, 5 years from now, to regret giving us money so that things were "equal" when we were fine without it, KWIM? And if my parents want to be unequal because their kids are in different circumstances, then I want them to feel ok about that. Not sure how to convey these things, nor how the other siblings feel. This came up in one form or another for both mine and DH's family so it prompted my lament. Doesn't sound like a lot of answers out there.
    I appreciate your thoughts on that, and I have no advice to give, unless I give you my top 10 list of "do as I say, not as I do." But I have 4 kids, and I do worry about inequality in funds I disperse while I'm alive (not after I've died, because I'm sure I'll die broke). I don't want my kids to say "you got this, and I only got that" even though NONE of them have ever given me any reason to believe they'd think that way. They are ALWAYS gracious and grateful for whatever we give them.

    As for you, I would just assure them of exactly what you said: that it's FINE with you if BIL gets more because of a certain circumstance. Then let them do as they please.

    We have gotten into a bad situation because of my MIL's intention to make things equal, having to do with leaving her paid-for home to both DH and BIL equally (and BIL lives in the house, and we allow him to do so for free) so I would just say, make sure that there are no joint assets allocated across siblings when they die, because that is a PAIN in the neck.

    edited to fix Freudian slip
    Last edited by catherine; 6-4-15 at 1:15pm.
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  8. #18
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    I don't understand the reluctance to talk about money. I'm 68, DH is almost 72. Our three sons know everything about our finances. I don't want anyone being shocked when we die.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glo View Post
    I don't understand the reluctance to talk about money. I'm 68, DH is almost 72. Our three sons know everything about our finances. I don't want anyone being shocked when we die.
    I am reluctant to talk to DS about money. He is the only heir and think he would not work as hard now if he thought he was going to get a wad when we die. We live very frugally so he really is unsure about our situation. I guess I would prefer if he were more motivated to do things on his own. As it is, all may go to a nursing home... who knows?

  10. #20
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frugal-one View Post
    I am reluctant to talk to DS about money. He is the only heir and think he would not work as hard now if he thought he was going to get a wad when we die. We live very frugally so he really is unsure about our situation. I guess I would prefer if he were more motivated to do things on his own. As it is, all may go to a nursing home... who knows?
    Just to play devil's advocate, DS seems to have found a way to live a life that suits him and has enough income for it. We're here on a simple-living forum because we've found a lifestyle that suits us and most (maybe all) of us have enough income to support it. So long as DS is not imposing on anyone (you and DH, the taxpayers of wherever he lives, etc.), does it matter if his level of motivation does not meet your expectations? At the point where he might get an inheritance, will you care what he does with it?
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

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