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Old 07-07-2014, 07:26 AM   #21
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I agree with the others, you need to look out for yourself. Since your Dad has a suspicion that their spending is unsustainable, suggest that he run their situation through Quicken Lifetime Planner or Firecalc to assess sustainability, and share the results with Mom. Similarly, explain to sister how she is jeopardizing your parents financial future.

While I see where you need to try, but remember that while you can lead a horse to water, you can't make him drink.
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Old 07-07-2014, 08:04 AM   #22
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My youngest brother was supported by my father for decades before he passed away. If he hadn't there might have been a more significant inheritance for the other 4 kids but there was only a small one from selling his paid for condo and cashing out a variable annuity he had bought decades before. He was basically living off his pension and SS with the "excess" going to my brother. It's not that I needed the money but none of the other siblings had their college paid for, had a car bought for them or a boat purchased.

Now that my father is gone, my brother is somehow getting by on his own. It's amazing how these things can work out.

There are always people willing to take whatever others are willing to give them.
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Old 07-07-2014, 08:56 AM   #23
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Now that my father is gone, my brother is somehow getting by on his own. It's amazing how these things can work out.

There are always people willing to take whatever others are willing to give them.

+1

It's amazing how many people in the world have nothing and yet they always get by. I went through this with my sibling and I've seen this in other places many times over. People who have nothing have learned how to get by day to day and they always take advantage of the easiest targets first (parents, siblings, friends, etc). I think this is a skill many here haven't developed, since overall we are a group of planners. But don't underestimate it's usefulness.

In the OPs case, the sister most likely will be fine. She'll find someway to get by. Right now it's based on your parents, but when that well runs dry, she'll figure out something else. Keep in mind, you'll always wonder how she gets by and cringe at the thought of her lifestyle, but that's just how you're wired, not her.

As for your parents, that's harder, but they are still young and can go back to work until SS. I would avoid trying to give advice directly, never say you should or shouldn't do something. From the sound of it, it looks like your dad is already thinking about money, so when the opportunity arrives, I would ask a lot of leading questions to make him realize his situation. Such as, you spent 70k last year and you only have 400k. At that rate, you're good for 6 years. What are you planning to do after that?

Maybe that will help them realize they need to be careful with their savings.
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Old 07-07-2014, 09:40 AM   #24
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It always amazes me how some parents will spend tons of money on one child while ignoring the others. Why is it that one kid can make stupid, selfish decisions and consistently get rewarded with bailouts while other children who act responsibly get the shaft?

(Can you tell I have a sibling who gets subsidized by my parents?)
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Old 07-07-2014, 10:17 AM   #25
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Your sister?


She's hot.


Sucks having relatives to worry about. Almost as much as not having to worry about anyone at all. I don't think there are any acceptable answers for you, but its just part of the human condition. Isn't there some story from a few thousand years ago about a grasshopper/ant prodigal son/you never even gave me a goat/he got the fatted calf?
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Old 07-07-2014, 10:17 AM   #26
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It always amazes me how some parents will spend tons of money on one child while ignoring the others. Why is it that one kid can make stupid, selfish decisions and consistently get rewarded with bailouts while other children who act responsibly get the shaft?
Sibling views of inequality are universal: "My Brother Was an Only Child".

We have two (grown, married with children) daughters and have been very careful to treat each equally when it involves financial matters. Example: When the second daughter was married her wedding cost 50% more than her sister's. We gave first daughter a 'delayed wedding gift' in the amount of the difference.

Financial equality is much easier to accomplish than fair and balanced treatment on the non-financial side of things. One lives seven miles away, the other 300. No surprise, we have far more daily interaction with the seven mile grandkids than the 300 mile ones - and this does cause friction.
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Old 07-07-2014, 10:28 AM   #27
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We have two (grown, married with children) daughters and have been very careful to treat each equally when it involves financial matters. Example: When the second daughter was married her wedding cost 50% more than her sister's. We gave first daughter a 'delayed wedding gift' in the amount of the difference.

Very cool.
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Old 07-07-2014, 10:58 AM   #28
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It's not really the situation that my parents neglected me or anything like that. They paid most (more than half - I had a few scholarships and I put maybe 13K or 14K of my own into it) of my tuition and my dad gave me his old car which runs good and is worth about $6500. When I was 21 I was still in school, living at home, and my parents were paying for my food and stuff, though I spent less and because I was living at home just general expenses were less. They bought my sister the condo because they planned to sell the house and move out of state but then they changed their minds so now they just have a house built for 4-5 with 2 people in it. And I'm not dependent on the inheritance (planning on retiring before they die anyway - if everything goes well) so it's not a "this is unfair!" kind of a thing.

My dad was essentially an internal consultant. He's a spreadsheet kind of guy, me telling him to plug numbers into a calculator or spreadsheet won't do much, because I'm sure he's already doing that. He's just not taking any action on it. And both of my parents have college degrees so they're not dumb either. They're just not doing anything to ensure their financial security. The other problem I think is that my dad's focus is off a bit. He went on a 2 week European vacation (probably several thousand? I don't know how much it costs), and bitches to me because my mom bought an iPad or spent $100 on music from iTunes or my sister spent $200 or whatever on new clothes or makeup. And he's planning on going on a cruise in a few months or something (I don't know any details about this). He complains about my mom's and sister's stupid expenses which are relatively small but still makes these big purchases for himself and my mom (who probably couldn't care less about going on a vacation).

I'm not as worried about my sister's spending as her potential income. She spends a lot, but not incredibly outrageous. With a decent income she's not going to retire young but she's not going to be super indebted either. And if in 2 years she's done and has a good job too then my parents will be fine I think (eventually when they sell the house and move somewhere cheaper - it's pretty expensive where they live). I'm much more worried that she won't get a good job, and that my parents will need to support her for several years, which won't be fine for them. Or that she will need to support herself, which she won't be able to do, and thus go into debt. I'd much rather try to get her to see the income problem that she's going to have because I think that's a better problem to solve than the spending one.

I guess, as many of you are saying, there's plenty possibility that when my sister sees her income and her expenses, she'll get it and she'll figure out a way to increase income or decrease expenses. I guess I'm just worried that won't happen.

I'll try something like the bit about "so I'm planning on setting aside some money for you guys" next time I talk to my parents. But I'll probably have to phrase it very differently than that.
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Old 07-07-2014, 11:10 AM   #29
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Sibling views of inequality are universal: "My Brother Was an Only Child".
That's what my older brother says about himself. He says he was never consulted or agreed to siblings so he does not recognize us.
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Old 07-07-2014, 11:17 AM   #30
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I'm not as worried about my sister's spending as her potential income. She spends a lot, but not incredibly outrageous. With a decent income she's not going to retire young but she's not going to be super indebted either. And if in 2 years she's done and has a good job too then my parents will be fine I think (eventually when they sell the house and move somewhere cheaper - it's pretty expensive where they live). I'm much more worried that she won't get a good job, and that my parents will need to support her for several years, which won't be fine for them. Or that she will need to support herself, which she won't be able to do, and thus go into debt. I'd much rather try to get her to see the income problem that she's going to have because I think that's a better problem to solve than the spending one.

I guess, as many of you are saying, there's plenty possibility that when my sister sees her income and her expenses, she'll get it and she'll figure out a way to increase income or decrease expenses. I guess I'm just worried that won't happen.
I suspect your sister will never change. For some people money is like water flowing down a river. It just keeps coming and going. None of it ever stays....

Your best hope is that she marries well.

I have BIL/SIL in their 60's that appear to have spent most of their money and have two mortgaged houses. When FIL finally passed, they bought a new vacation home for almost twice of what the inheritance was about two months after disbursement. BIL recently lost his job and is in a major, aggressive job search. They appear to be living a lifestyle safely beyond what I suspect they can afford.
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Old 07-07-2014, 11:27 AM   #31
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I have a similar situation. DW's older Brother is an educated man with a decent living and an exaggerated requirement for the best in food, wine and general lifestyle. Has some retirement package due to university teaching and equity in property. But at age 63 all the chickens have come home to roost and his balance sheet is problematic heading for oh oh. To her credit, DW agreed with me some years ago that when the ship sank not one $ would be offered. We would take him in off the street if he had no home but nothing else.

So while not yet sunk the Plimsoll line is below water and the other siblings are "meeting to discuss how to help". We did not attend.

So to the OP, decide now that you can't fix it and prepare to repel boarders.
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Old 07-07-2014, 12:42 PM   #32
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I tried asking my parents what they thought and they basically said it's not my business (which they're right, but I'm just worried about them).
Your parents say it's none of your business, and the consensus answer from this thread is that there's nothing you can do about your relatives' overspending. What more do you need? You should stay out of this and limit yourself to deciding how much, if any, financial support you will be willing to provide when the money runs out. If I were you, the amount of support I would offer to provide would be extremely limited.
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Old 07-07-2014, 01:04 PM   #33
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If the OP's father mentions their finances in any way I would suggest that he and mom develop a 5-year SPENDING plan. Sounds better than a budget and will help them see what is happening to them financially.

I wouldn't bother discussing this with sister. That is their job and it may lead to life-long hard feelings on her part.
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Old 07-07-2014, 01:04 PM   #34
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As you can see from the comments here what you are experiencing is not uncommon. I had a somewhat similar situation with my mother when I was about your age. My mother was living on a little VA and SS after my father died, and every month was spending a little more than she took in. I was putting myself through college on some various scholarships, working, and living on very little. But every month I found I had to give her money to make ends meet. Nothing I could do or say to make her live within her means. Finally I just couldn't do it anymore, just barely making it myself. I had to decide, she was an adult, and had to live with what she did. I stopped making up the difference and lo and behold somehow she managed to survive without my input and got things together herself. Maybe some of my scolding helped, and the knowledge that she was on her own made her get it together.

At any rate there is only so much you can do, as others have said, you can take a horse to water... I guess I would just have a frank discussion with your father and politely ask him what he is doing and tell him what you think. Also tell him that this is the last time you will talk to him about it. After all your parents ARE adults. You have done what you could. Get on with YOUR life. You fill find that you are going to make plenty of mistakes yourself and have plenty of problems of your own. None of us here got to where we are without a lot of stupid mistakes along the way, and you won't avoid them just like your parents didn't. Like they say, we avoid the mistakes of our parents, and repeat the mistakes of our grandparents. Only so much you can do for your family, do what you can then enjoy your life.
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Old 07-07-2014, 01:23 PM   #35
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Like they say, we avoid the mistakes of our parents, and repeat the mistakes of our grandparents. Only so much you can do for your family, do what you can then enjoy your life.
I don't know anyone in my ancestry that didn't live paycheck to paycheck and die close to broke. Three of my siblings are living that way and will probably die close to broke. One is barely ok but he still has time. I'm the "rich" one that if they knew how much I had a line would form with heart rendering stories of their depravations. I'm planning my story for when I finally retire at the end of the year. I think I'll become a struggling consultant after losing my current job but they just won't know I never look for any work.
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Old 07-07-2014, 01:27 PM   #36
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I'm planning my story for when I finally retire at the end of the year. I think I'll become a struggling consultant after losing my current job but they just won't know I never look for any work.

That's a good idea to have a plan ready. Sounds very likely that they would assume you were a piggy bank they could crack open if they wanted.
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Old 07-07-2014, 01:36 PM   #37
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You've been told it's none of your business, so that pretty much ends it. I'd somehow bring it up one more time, and say something to the effect of, "I know it's none of my business, but just know that when you are gone, I won't be helping her out. Likewise if you run out of money. That part is my business."

You may or may not choose to let them all go hungry later, but that's your best chance to make a point, I think. Maybe that will wake your dad up.
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Old 07-07-2014, 01:49 PM   #38
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You may or may not choose to let them all go hungry later, but that's your best chance to make a point, I think. Maybe that will wake your dad up.
You can't fix "stupid." It's obvious the OP's father knows what's happening and isn't stopping it. He's also contributing to it with what the OP describes as expensive vacations.

My biggest expense is also expensive vacations but I'm not supporting a child's lifestyle they can't afford. I also know that within normal bounds I have more than enough money for retirement.

When things go bad, the worst thing to do is to step in and maintain their prior lifestyle. That is enabling and nothing will change. Let them become bankrupt and lose it all. There's a chance they will reform. If they are out on the street, rent them a real cheap apartment and provide some food money if necessary. Never give them enough so their desire to do better is stifled. They won't be cold, wet or hungry but they may not like it. The sad part of this is many people will be happy to even have this covered and not care about improving themselves. So, any help should also not be open ended. An end date needs to be put there.
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Old 07-07-2014, 01:55 PM   #39
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This is going to sound harsh, but it is none of your business how your parents choose to spend their money.

If you feel that you're being short-changed that's a fair discussion to have with them, but don't be surprised if it hurts your relationship. Money is a very touchy subject.

The second part of the conversation re: you're not going to have enough to live on if you keep it up isn't your business. They have decades more experience than you and have managed to save a tidy sum. And I haven't fully read all of these posts, but you may not really know what all they have or how they plan to fund their lives.

Have you considered that some people just like to complain and that sounds like what your dad is doing?

If you insist on "helping" the next time your dad complains about spending take advantage of the open door to casually mention that when he vents it makes you worry that they won't have enough for their old age... See where that goes but please don't be a bull in a china shop.
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Old 07-07-2014, 02:07 PM   #40
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This same sad story plays out in peoples lives all over the world. As has been said you didn't cause it, it's not yours to fix.

A while back my oldest sister and I had a dream/fantasy to get ourselves involved fixing some dysfuntional family members. We came to the realization there were thousands of dysfunctional families we would pass on our journey. All of them needed fixing too! That's when we remembered we were powerless. Once you realize you have no power, great things can happen.
I wish you and your family all the best.
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