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Old 10-31-2010, 01:41 PM   #41
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It's so much harder to see our children shortchanged than ourselves, without a doubt.

It sounds like the nieces live closer to their grandfather than your son does? And interesting that their father didn't help them out. I wonder if they went crying to grandpa boohooing about how they needed help and grandpa caved in. Maybe grandpa feels guilty and embarrassed by his doting on them but turns hostile about it when someone else brings it up. Maybe the nieces continue to be a bigger part of his life than your children do (for whatever reason) so grandpa is sort of paying for their love.

If it's any comfort, your son will most likely be a stronger person than those two loser nieces. And your relationship with your own children is the most important thing. It would be very hard for me to maintain a cordial relationship with my father, too--I completely understand not wanting to talk with him. It might not be healthy and you might regret it, but I understand it.
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Old 10-31-2010, 02:02 PM   #42
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My sister lives in the same town with our parents. I live 12 hours away. So she has to do more to help them than I can due to her proximity. I often think its unfair to her that I don't help more.

So when they pass away if she gets more than me is it unfair?
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Old 10-31-2010, 03:35 PM   #43
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You can't change what he has done. You may be able to change your feelings about it by accepting that you can't change him.

You don't really expect him to suddenly start sending your son help for his rent so that he doesn't need to have roommates. The fact that he helps support the nieces to such a degree is strange and uncomfortable.

Here's what you can change -
Quote:
I was at my parent’s house wrapping up a landscape project I had done for them
That's where my change would come. I would be feeling stung that I spent my time, money and effort in doing favors for someone who was treating another branch of the family differently than my own.

That's where you can make a change.
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Old 10-31-2010, 03:49 PM   #44
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My father-in-law constantly gave money (over $400k) to his son (my brother-in-law) over the years. My brother-in-law would always get in trouble ($$ wise). b-in-law & his DW (she probably was the biggest spender) spent like there was no tomorrow. They constantly boasted about their expensive vacations, cars, clothes, and eating out every night.

A couple of years ago, just as the housing market was crashing, b-in-law and his DW wanted f-in-law's last $100k of savings to buy a lot and build house to sell for profit (he's a builder). My father-in-law came to us and asked if we needed any money and we said no you should hold on to it (in case he would need it). He also asked my DW's 2 other siblings if they needed money and they also told him to hang on to it. He was getting older and had some health issues and might need it for his care, it was his last savings but he did have a pension that covered his expenses. My brother-in-law took all the money. My father-in-law told the siblings that they would get 1/3 each once b-in-law was done with the $100k. I told my DW we should have kept the money he offered, and put it away for f-in-law, the 2 other siblings said the same thing. I had told b-in-law not to buy a lot since the market was slowing, prices had just doubled & could not go up any more and rates were going up etc, that they should wait for a better deal in a couple of years. b-in-law said it was different where he lived, that he should be able to sell at good profit. My wife always said that the money was f-in-law's and he could do what ever he wanted with it. But, b-in-law was always asking for money, the other siblings never did.

My father-in-law started having more health issues and needed someone to look after him so my sister-in-law kept him at home and took care of him. She realized that he would need to build him a separate room and larger bathroom. So she went to her brother and said to either build something or give the $$ back by selling the lot. He said it was worth less than he paid for it. They wonder if he even bought a lot, he probably spent it. He was able to build most of the spare room, but his sister got upset at him since he wasn't doing a good job and taking too long. So she got mad and did not have anything to do with him any more and had to finish the project with her own $$.

A year later b-in-law's DW came to us and sis-in-law and wanted $$ since things are slow or if we could buy their $1mill house for 650k, "it was a good deal" she said. We all said no we could not afford it (we are ER and do not want to risk our future!). She said they had drained their kids college $$ and retirement $$ just to make it. I heard later b-in-law was still spending like there's no tomorrow at the time.

His DW left him for someone else, now he is with his kids and he is living in a friends house for free since b-in-law lost his home since he took out a huge mortgage, $550k (probably spent it all).

F-in-law passed away and left life insurance $$ for all the siblings, no one is sure how much $$ so they are just waiting. It's probably not much. b-in-law claims to be at wits end and needs money. DW was thinking about giving her share the LI to him, but I said we would have to pay gift taxes on it. I said we could put in a bond fund and give him the interest. She agreed that he can't deal with $$. Probably shouldn't bail him out since he will just take on more risk and will never learn about living below his means. He's in a bad way since he's starting from scratch only a few years away from retirement age and 4 kids to put through college. Who knows if he's been contributing to SS since he's self employed. Only the one s-in-law is upset at him for basically squandering f-in-law $$ all those years and not helping out when it was needed. Everyone else seems to have forgotten about it but still not willing to help him with $$ since they have their own expenses to deal with. Being frugal, I think it's a shame that he squandered all the money. Oh well.
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Old 10-31-2010, 04:23 PM   #45
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DW was thinking about giving her share the LI to him, but I said we would have to pay gift taxes on it. I said we could put in a bond fund and give him the interest. She agreed that he can't deal with $$. Probably shouldn't bail him out since he will just take on more risk and will never learn about living below his means. He's in a bad way since he's starting from scratch only a few years away from retirement age and 4 kids to put through college.
timekeepr, one other option for sharing your FIL's insurance legacy would be to skip the BIL. DW could set up 529 accounts for each of the 4 kids and retain control. No need to immediately tell anyone that's her plan, either.

For the original poster, I can only offer sympathy. The other posters have provided plenty of good advise and counsel.
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Old 10-31-2010, 04:34 PM   #46
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I disagree. Money speaks louder than words, and JayC has been shouted at. If I had children with different financial situations and saw a need to help one more than another, I would talk very frankly to the one I was thinking of shorting. My plans would not be a done deal; I would be trying to find out his/her feelings about the situation.

Ha
+1 I don't understand why anyone would dick around with their kids like this. Sending a message? Controlling? Tell him how this makes you feel.
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Old 10-31-2010, 05:21 PM   #47
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Jayc--I can certainly understand your feelings on this matter. As you describe it, what your father is doing is very unfair and hurtful. I don't know what I would do if I were in your shoes, but I think one never regrets taking the high road.

The only experience I have in this regard is with my own father who outlived my mother by 6 years even though he was 10 years older than she. My parents paid for my sister's and my education in full and made it clear that we could go anywhere we wanted to go for college and they would also pay for grad school. They were big on education. I didn't expect anything beyond that, but Dad would help each of us as he saw fit as the occasion arose. He gave my sister and her husband the down payment for a home because they needed it, and my husband and I did not (although he offered). He bought us a new car and gave us an old car of his at one point in addition to furniture from his home that he was not using and also bought us some new furniture for our first new home. He tried to be very even handed. His will read that my sister and I were to split everything 50/50, which we did very amicably. I was the executrix but did not take any remuneration as I did not want any hard feelings with my sister and her husband.
I would never have asked Dad for anything or inquired into his resources or his intentions. My husband suggested to me at one point that I tell Dad he should do a trust and some estate planning due to his age and poor health, and I told him that he should suggest this to his own well-to-do parents first, and I would consider it. This subject was never raised again.
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Old 10-31-2010, 06:19 PM   #48
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From the outside of the aquarium, it looks like a poor decision at best.
Bottom line? Possession is 9/10. His money, his decision.

I saw this type of inequality in my late husband's family's matters. It created a lot of problems that carry through to this day.

Tough as it is to comprehend the decision to use 1/3 of savings for this arrangement, "let it go" as gracefully as possible.
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Old 10-31-2010, 06:50 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haha View Post
If I had children with different financial situations and saw a need to help one more than another, I would talk very frankly to the one I was thinking of shorting. My plans would not be a done deal; I would be trying to find out his/her feelings about the situation.

Ha
+1 I don't understand why anyone would dick around with their kids like this. Sending a message? Controlling? Tell him how this makes you feel.
donheff, thanks for referencing back to haha's post. I realize I didn't read it as carefully as I should have the first time - it's really quite profound. I cut it a bit and bolded some for emphasis. It really nails it - there is more than one party affected. And if asked, the affected party might very well say "yes, those people need some help, if you can afford it and you want to do it, you should, don't worry about me, I'm OK".

But to assume it, or just say "you don't need it, you're not getting it" is a problem. Maybe unintentional/unthinking, but a problem none-the-less.

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Old 10-31-2010, 08:17 PM   #50
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My sister lives in the same town with our parents. I live 12 hours away. So she has to do more to help them than I can due to her proximity. I often think its unfair to her that I don't help more.

So when they pass away if she gets more than me is it unfair?
Knowing no details beyond those you shared, I don't think it would be unfair if your sister received more than you in inheritance. In fact, your opinion that it's unfortunate that your inability to provide 50% of the parent care effort in order to ease the burden on your sister is very commendable.

Some of the worse cases of parent to child wealth transfer unfairness I've seen involve an adult child who provided extensive care to an aging parent being left out or short-changed in a will. You know..... Sib A takes in aging mom and cares for her for years. Mom leaves everything to Sib B who she thinks needs it more.
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Old 10-31-2010, 09:54 PM   #51
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OP- how long since you've talked to dad?
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Old 10-31-2010, 11:25 PM   #52
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Jayc,

I'm sorry for the hurt you feel for yourself and more importantly for your son. (I have experienced this hurt on a much, more minor scale where we "received much less babysitting help than other family members", which I thought was unfair). Other posters have made a number of good contributions for you to consider.

However, I thought it may help you to consider a possible motivation from your Dad's point of view... Perhaps he really enjoys the company of nieces and family regularly visiting horses, he talks to them a lot about their lives and he simply wants to help where he sees an opportunity (doesn't have to be a rational definition of need).

On a separate note I prefer my kids not to receive large gifts early in their working lives (from grandparents or us)... until they really understand how to support themselves and live below their earned means.

Wish you well in your relationship with your Dad as it seems this is the most important thing over which you have almost total control.
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Old 11-01-2010, 07:12 AM   #53
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OP- how long since you've talked to dad?
7 months. Thanks everyone for the frank comments, advice, and guidance about possible solutions. I was venting and this is the first and last time I have told this story to anyone.

The help for my son was hypothetical. I had asked why niece2 needed her housing subsidized and was poking holes in his reasons. Niece2’s boyfriend was still married to someone else at this time. They also said they felt sorry for his 6 yr old DD. I just said that if that is the criteria then why you were not concerned about my boy.

My dad gets a pension of $900/month and SS for both parents. This is money inherited from my grandparents. I think it was a case of my dad being an easy touch. Niece1 took advantage of this and now Niece2 saw her chance at the trough. My sons hold no ill will and are in contact with my parents. When I tried to get details of this latest event, I got none of your business. I guess if they had answered with ‘Your boys are next when the time comes’, I would have understood a little. I think it may also be a case of the bee closest to the hive gets the honey.

Niece2’s mom works in HR and I asked if this is the advice she gives people retiring (liquidate assets to help people capable of helping themselves). The answer was: Niece1 did it. I am now estranged from all and will probably continue on this course.
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Old 11-01-2010, 07:56 AM   #54
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If you and your family really aren't in need at all, then it is up to your dad whether or not he wants to split his money evenly, or give to those in need. It is a shame when you sacrifice so as not to be needy while others don't and get bailed out. If that's all it was than I'd say "Get over it", but if he's really told you that you and yours aren't getting any help at all, then I understand your position.

Does you dad understand that this is the reason why you are estranged? Since he views the whole situation very differently he may not understand how much this is driving a wedge between you, even though you think he must. Which means he has no idea how to resolve the situation between you. If he knew, maybe he'd look once again and understand how unfair it is from your eyes and agree to change.
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Old 11-02-2010, 03:31 AM   #55
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I am an only child without kids but this is what I see from my neutral perspective in other families (incl. DH's):

Most parents do not treat their kids or grandchildren equal.
They argue about different treatments either by pointing out that one is more needy than the other (often forgetting that needyness might have some reasons and that in some cases they have enabled the needy) or by referring to different life situations (they see one kid more often than the other, thus feel more taken care of by it than by others and want to reward this benefit).
Never ever have I seen a parent realizing that their differentiations were unfair to one of their kids or grandchildren. They always have lots of arguments why they treat their kids fair and equal.

Parents have the right to make their own choices with their own money. On the other hand I think that kids have the right to let their parents know when they see "unfair treatment". They just have to be aware that the parent will not appreciate to be seen as unfair....
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Old 11-02-2010, 10:43 AM   #56
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It would irk me too, but I don't know if I would actively cut off relationships with parents or parents in laws that basically pissed away their money (my inheritance! ).

My parents will probably split the money down the middle, because they are frugal and respect that quality in me and my sibling. I know this from talking to my mother who made a smallish 4 figure loan to my brother (as did I) when he was out of work for a while a few years ago and was facing foreclosure on his house. She basically said "WTF? How can he be so irresponsible to not have saved anything to cover contingencies like this?". He had a few young children at the time, and I'm sure the assistance given was mostly concerned with the kids having a roof over their head.

My in-laws are stranger creatures at times. For years, they spent a significant portion of their income on one child (the baby), paying for his car insurance, health insurance, college and books, car payment etc. While he basically piddled his time away partying and living the high life of an unemployed part time community college student (living on his parent's dime).

In the meantime, DW was truly on her own, struggling to pay her way through 4 year university while working all she can and driving the old family beater (if it was available). Fast forward 10 years later, and DW's parents are near destitute and are barely scraping by. Guess who's DW doesn't feel particularly generous to her spendthrift parents? I won't get into how DW's parents life savings were further wasted in the last year (see my "My reason for urgently needing a HELOC" thread for more detail than you want).

Needless to say, DW feels like jayc - ie - the wasteful spendthrifts have received all the wealth transfer from her parents, and the responsible sibling gets nothing because she doesn't need it.

But DW has the added issue (which jayc may face one day in the future) of parents needing more money to live a nicer lifestyle than merely eking by on SS (in a few years) and living in poverty. DW and I still maintain relationships with all the people in her family , because at the end of the day, the trivial (for us) money issues are a small aspect of family relations and don't take away the joy of the family relationships.

But we are certainly planning on concealing (the best we can) our FIRE plans and wealth from the in-laws. Mostly because I think if the truth came out, it would sadly ruin some relationships or cause some resentment and very frequent "well why can't you help out some" requests. It would be impossible to explain that if we "helped out" with a majority of requests, we would have to maintain full time jobs. For the sake of others.
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Old 11-02-2010, 04:41 PM   #57
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My only suggestion is this: please reconsider cutting off ties. My wifes father just passed and there is nothing worse than seeing her go thru this. They had a good relationship, but nonetheless, it's tough.

Yes, it seems lousy of him to do that. Oh well. Life isn't fair, and apparently neither are parents. You'll surely miss him when he's gone, so spend some time with him now
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Old 11-02-2010, 05:13 PM   #58
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All the people who think unfairness should not bother the person being discriminated against might enjoy a perusal of the Old Testament. Almost any book will find you a good example of social wisdom on this topic that hasn't been neutered by modern US bs. A favorite of mine is the story of Joseph (the favored son whose father gave him a coat of many colors). When his brothers saw Joseph's coat, they grabbed him, beat him up and threw him into a pit and left him to die. Later they encountered a slave trader who was willing to buy Joseph, so his brothers fetched him out of the pit and sold him. This is how the Israelites got to Egypt.

If you like more modern, "scientific" information, read Chapter 2, Fairness, in Animal Spirits by Akerloff and Shiller. A large experimental literature exists showing that people will actually hurt their rational position, in order to punish people who are perceived as not playing fair. This is quite a bit less compelling than the Old Testament, but may appeal more to those who are not Old Testament fans

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Old 11-03-2010, 03:18 AM   #59
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Well, if you go to the bible do not forget the story of the prodigal son.
But that son asked for forgiveness before he was welcomed back.
And there is also a jealous brother in it.
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Old 11-03-2010, 04:24 AM   #60
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+1

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Tough as it is to comprehend the decision to use 1/3 of savings for this arrangement, "let it go" as gracefully as possible.
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