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$1M can sneak up on you
Old 10-07-2017, 11:18 PM   #1
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$1M can sneak up on you

So I thought I'd share, not my story, but my mothers .. ie that she just found out today that she is a millionaire.


My parents always struggled with money, we never had much and my dad worked up to his death this summer at 82. My mom is 10 years younger and we worried that she would have to sell the property to get by on just her social security. My dad had a business but it was mostly old equipment and his partners took care of the books and our impression their salaries was most of the business.

So I had my mom get some appraisals and we went through my dads assets, he was great about $2k in this account, $12k over here, oh and $5k in this bank, etc etc etc. I knew they wouldn't have much as what dad did invest, he invested in govt bonds, as safe as you can get because he had no risk tolerance.

Well you add up all those small accounts, you throw in some bank stock and 20 acre woods his parents left them, and a 40 acre farm with house and outbuildings, and (oh wait his partners are like well we have this "slush fund" of like $.5M which 1/3 is yours.) WHAT??

What I learned is land went way up the last decade even in the middle of nowhere. Farmland is at a massive premium. 1/2 the property increase was luck, but the other 1/2 was sweat equity.

So after going through it all and getting the last of the appraisals, I got to tell mom she was a millionaire. I don't think dad ever knew or understood how much he really had which makes me sad.

A good example is they had JPM stock, they had no idea, just that great grandpa use to work for some bank that got bought like 10 times over and eventually became JPM. They were like I dont' know, we got these papers (paper stock certificates) and were told to go to the bank one day (ie turn them in to convert to JPM and be electric stocks) and now we get a check in the mail from somewhere (ie some clearing house in Texas). They were sitting on $35K of JPM with no clue other than it was nice, you know, they send us a check every quarter.

The moral of the story for me is, my dad never made more than $35k/year. He worked hard, he worked extra years, both my parents always had side jobs to make ends meet, plus my dads business, plus the farm so they always had multiple streams of income which they needed to raise 5 kids. Even with so little income and no real idea about investments, they still managed to accumulate $1M, I guess it just proves it can be done.
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Old 10-07-2017, 11:45 PM   #2
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Interesting read...

And yes, your dad probably never knew he was a millionaire.... asset rich, cash poor... and since people do not spend assets he was 'not rich'....
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Old 10-07-2017, 11:49 PM   #3
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What a lovely life lesson.

Glad to hear your DM will be fine financially, and that you are helping her figure it out.
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Old 10-08-2017, 02:28 AM   #4
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Great read. It just proves once again that LBYM is always a great way to build wealth.
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Old 10-08-2017, 02:56 AM   #5
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Nice. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 10-08-2017, 06:38 AM   #6
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Thanks for sharing your family story. There are a lot of good life lessons included.

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$1M can sneak up on you
Old 10-08-2017, 06:51 AM   #7
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$1M can sneak up on you

I have a excel spreadsheet... click the button and it goes out to Yahoo finance and it brings back all stock and mutual fund prices. I then adjust it for cash balances in the brokerage (dividends accumulate). Bam in five minutes i know where i am. I am a programmer and I couldn't help myself.

Over the years with all those market up and downs I just don't run it that often. Life is for living, no good can come from counting those gold coins more then occasionally. Just enough to get a sense if you are on track -Sounds like your parents lived what call 'I the good life'.

I cant help but this of a Chinese expression "Have you eaten today" I heard young Asian lady greet some friends with it. Your Parents probably understood that your morning a roll and a hot cup of coffee are not taken for granted.

Money is just means to an end.. living simply and below your means is often the way to get there. The real question is were they happy?
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Old 10-08-2017, 07:12 AM   #8
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I cant help but this of a Chinese expression "Have you eaten today" I heard young Asian lady greet some friends with it. Your Parents probably understood that your morning a roll and a hot cup of coffee are not taken for granted.

Money is just means to an end.. living simply and below your means is often the way to get there.
Great story (as usual) and the extra story I highlighted takes me back to my grandma who used these exact words directed to family, friends, and even neighbors she barely knew. It meant "Maybe I can't offer a lot of help, but I can offer you a meal".
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Old 10-08-2017, 07:16 AM   #9
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nice read, but questions. When they got these checks from heaven... were taxes filed correctly? Do you have a clue on stock basis?

But it is nice when things work out.
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Old 10-08-2017, 08:43 AM   #10
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Interesting read...

And yes, your dad probably never knew he was a millionaire.... asset rich, cash poor... and since people do not spend assets he was 'not rich'....
Agree, all of the assets add up to the $1M, but not having the cash hid the value. However, land and other assets are also more difficult to actually turn into cash.
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Old 10-08-2017, 09:56 AM   #11
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Agree, all of the assets add up to the $1M, but not having the cash hid the value. However, land and other assets are also more difficult to actually turn into cash.
Yes, this is the biggest discussions i've had with my parents over the last 10 years as I have concerns over liability, diversification, cash flow, and just the amount of time it takes to care for and eventually sell these things.

Though maybe its a good thing? I have a few siblings that are very leachy and would have worked to get as much money from my parents as possible, so it being tied up has protected them from that.
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Old 10-08-2017, 10:37 AM   #12
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nice read, but questions. When they got these checks from heaven... were taxes filed correctly? Do you have a clue on stock basis?

.....
Good point on the stock basis, hopefully OP knows that the basis changes to the value on the date of death. Meaning much less capital gain (less taxes) whenever the stocks are sold.
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Old 10-08-2017, 01:54 PM   #13
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A wonderful story. Thanks for sharing.

I hope you encourage your mother to do or buy the things that she dreamed of, but didn't think she could afford.
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Old 10-08-2017, 02:08 PM   #14
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I liked it and thanks for sharing.
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Old 10-08-2017, 02:10 PM   #15
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Great story. I hope that your father was working, because he liked what he did. It is sad that he probably did not know how much they owned. I am happy for your mother and hope that she uses some of it.
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Old 10-08-2017, 02:37 PM   #16
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Thank you for sharing. Just goes to prove it doesn't take a high paying job to accumulate wealth. There are many routes you can take to get there.
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Old 10-08-2017, 04:06 PM   #17
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Good point on the stock basis, hopefully OP knows that the basis changes to the value on the date of death. Meaning much less capital gain (less taxes) whenever the stocks are sold.
Yes and one of the reasons I had to have appraisals done on the properties to ensure we had appropriate documentation for the new cost basis. The only thing I don't understand is how the LLC works. I know they each put $25K into the business in 1974. Its an LLC with just the 3 private shares...how that gets resolved I assume will be up to the LLC to take care of as they close the business.
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Old 10-08-2017, 04:14 PM   #18
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Yes and one of the reasons I had to have appraisals done on the properties to ensure we had appropriate documentation for the new cost basis. The only thing I don't understand is how the LLC works. I know they each put $25K into the business in 1974. Its an LLC with just the 3 private shares...how that gets resolved I assume will be up to the LLC to take care of as they close the business.


Itís the value of those three shares on the date of his death.
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Old 10-08-2017, 04:45 PM   #19
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Great story!
I have a feeling that your father would not have changed his lifestyle had
he known the depth of his wealth.
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Old 10-08-2017, 07:04 PM   #20
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Love that story and fact is more amazing than fiction! It made me think of a single lady who lived in Lake Forest, IL (very wealthy area). She lived alone and worked...oh wait I found the actual article from the Chicago Tribune. Amazing story.

Secret millionaire donates fortune to Lake Forest College - tribunedigital-chicagotribune
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