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Wife gets inheiritance
Old 05-14-2009, 04:52 AM   #1
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Wife gets inheiritance

Not sure what to think on this one maybe just sour grapes but about a year ago my wife of 32 years recieved $500,000 in inheiritance, she paid off our $20k in debt and bought a new $18k Toyota to replace our aging other car and that was the end of her generosity.We both have company pensions so we arent hurting for money but i had hoped she would loosen the purse strings a bit and let me buy a second car as there are 3 drivers in the family,she keeps the money in a seperate account and refuses to part with any of it as i have known this inheiritance was coming sooner or later for the past 3 decades i always thought it would enhance our lives to some extent,i'm not a spendthrift and the idea of wasting the inheiritance on frivolities would not be respecting her parents accumulations from hard work over their lives,but to just leave it in a bank and ultimately leave it to the kids who havent really done anything to earn it while i've busted my butt working in a factory for 45 years just irks me..As this issue is causing some heated debate in our relationship i was wondering how others would handle it.thanks
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Old 05-14-2009, 06:12 AM   #2
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Patience, patience. Pent up desires are a powerful force to be reckoned with.
DH inherited a considerable amount of money also. It is what financed our FIRE. While we did some things right a way. Debt elimination, new kitchen, a trip. On the advice of our attorney we put the breaks of spending until we adjusted to having this money. We are glad we listened to him.

We knew this money was coming sooner or later also. That really does not prepare you for the reality of having it and you have to make an adjustment or it slips through your fingers. When it is an inheritance you have to deal with the loss of the person who left it to you and you have to now look long term as to what you do with this legacy and your place being a good steward of the money. That hits just after the initial "rush" of getting the money. You really look at the effect this money has on yourself and your relationships at this time so it is best to tread carefully.

In our case we could have bankrolled a really fancy lifestyle. We did not because we found we loved our life and home the was it was. ( Given what happened to the economy a couple of years after we inherited we are soooo glad we stayed put.)
We also had to deal with what other people's expectation of us were. Lots of advice as to what do with the funds, lots of help out there with advice on how to spend it from well meaning friends and family. We have relatives who think we are fools for not "living larger" than we are. We had to really look at relationships with kids and step- kids and their relationship with us and their expectations. Really dicey stuff that. You have to negotiate all of that BS before you can move forward. Just give it time and be supportive this is a fragile time for the both of you.
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Old 05-14-2009, 06:23 AM   #3
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Its been since March of 07 since her Dad passed away so we are over the initial feelings of loss.Cattusbabe it sounds like you and your spouse are at least on the same page and are handling the issue as a team,unfortunately in my case after 32yrs of an amicable marriage i have no say whatever on any aspect of the DW's windfall.
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Old 05-14-2009, 07:55 AM   #4
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Jambo, she probably just wants to have a bigger nestegg for old age. Women often live longer than their husbands, and I think her actions in saving most of her inheritance is a very sensible and intelligent approach. I have not spent a penny of mine, though I did loosen up a little in how much I was saving from my salary. I guess I have saved $5K-$10K less than I had planned in the past 15 months, but I haven't had to dip into my inheritance. The only decrease it has seen is due to the effects of the economy on my portfolio.

Her parents probably worked hard for that money all their lives. She is smart to not want to go out and blow it all.

Maybe at some point she will want to invest it, though I understand her reluctance with the way the market has been.
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Old 05-14-2009, 08:00 AM   #5
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This article may be useful for both of you to read.
Handling Sudden Wealth

Try to keep the communication lines open.
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Old 05-14-2009, 08:14 AM   #6
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Counseling, either financial or marital (or both) would be a good idea for y'all. The experience you are having is not at all unique. You really need a third party to allow both of you to air the feelings you have about this money and the effect it is having on your relationship. Otherwise that 32 year marriage could be in trouble.

I wish you the best--a good bit of training for CFPs is in understanding how money (especially inheritances) can negatively affect a family.
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Old 05-14-2009, 08:15 AM   #7
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My late husband inherited $300,000 from his Dad . He invested most of it but he did use some of it for some nice trips for us and he upgraded our life style slightly . I think if you are married or in a committed relationship you can keep the money separate but it is nice to share some of the perks of the inheritance .
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Old 05-14-2009, 08:43 AM   #8
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I have been the recipient of 2 inheritances, a very small one from my mom and the entirety of our joint holdings from LH.
I will tell you there can be powerful emotions attached to these windfalls.
I felt my mom should have spent her money on herself and wished she hadn't placed so much important on leaving us kids something.
In the case of my LH, well, use your imagination to consider what emotions fly when something good (ability to FIRE) comes out of something horrible.
My best advice is to let DW w*rk through her father's passing at her own rate. 2 years is not a long time to grieve a parent. DW may be emulating her parents' frugality as a tribute to their memory.
I also heartily concur with want2retire's asessment that DW may be concerned about her future and is saving that for a stormy day. Grim stuff to talk about, but I am living the reality of surviving a husband. It is what it is.
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Old 05-14-2009, 08:46 AM   #9
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My DW has a separate checking account aside from our joint account which she really doesn't use. Whatever money she has is hers, and she does have at least 100K in her savings. Being an old fashioned gent that I am, all our expenses are from our joint account, and whatever she fancies she can buy from her account, whether trips or baubles. So basics, plus some extras are mine. Oh yes, we have older cars, but they are still good, and I bought all of them myself. We are retired. I don't actually resent her money... I have my own.
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Old 05-14-2009, 09:01 AM   #10
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Like my DW always says: "what's yours is mine, and what's mine is mine!" She is always joking though...

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Old 05-14-2009, 09:10 AM   #11
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There is a lot of baggage that goes with an inheritance. Let her work through it herself, and live as though it wasn't there. What would your life be like if the inheritance had never happened? Just be happy that the $20k in debt is gone.
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Old 05-14-2009, 09:18 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by jambo101 View Post
Not sure what to think on this one maybe just sour grapes but about a year ago my wife of 32 years recieved $500,000 in inheiritance, she paid off our $20k in debt and bought a new $18k Toyota to replace our aging other car and that was the end of her generosity.We both have company pensions so we arent hurting for money but i had hoped she would loosen the purse strings a bit and let me buy a second car as there are 3 drivers in the family,she keeps the money in a seperate account and refuses to part with any of it as i have known this inheiritance was coming sooner or later for the past 3 decades i always thought it would enhance our lives to some extent,i'm not a spendthrift and the idea of wasting the inheiritance on frivolities would not be respecting her parents accumulations from hard work over their lives,but to just leave it in a bank and ultimately leave it to the kids who havent really done anything to earn it while i've busted my butt working in a factory for 45 years just irks me..As this issue is causing some heated debate in our relationship i was wondering how others would handle it.thanks
The money your wife got has a huge emotional attachment tied to it. I have a number of clients that feel that way. Some of them refuse to spend the money even though the kids tell them they don't want it. I think therapy is a good idea. Arguing over money is one of the leading factors in divorces. Looks like money has changed your perception of your wife in some ways. Sometimes money does that, it is powerful in many ways..........
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Old 05-14-2009, 09:26 AM   #13
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My thoughts are what if the tables were turned and you inherited the money? How would she feel if you didn't spend a little of the money on things she desired?
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Old 05-14-2009, 09:45 AM   #14
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When it all comes down to....it is HER money and she can do whatever she wants to with it. In many ways, it is not your business.
Maybe you should look at why you feel that she needs to spend that money on enhancing you life. She has already used some of the money to eradicate the debt and replace a car for the family. If she wants to let it sit in the bank for the kids, that is her choice!
I am more concerned with your resentment rather than her not parting with the wealth.
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Old 05-14-2009, 09:58 AM   #15
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I can understand your wife's position. I will probably receive a large inheritance one day and I will keep the money in a separate account too. While I may not share the principal with my wife, I will share all interests and dividends generated by the money which will enhance both our lives. The principal might be "sacred" (given its provenance), but I will have no problem enjoying, sharing and spending the earnings.
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Old 05-14-2009, 10:11 AM   #16
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What does she say about it?
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Old 05-14-2009, 10:12 AM   #17
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The last three posts of the ones that I agree with the most...

What would you do if it was your money? Maybe this is an unfair question because you might spend it on the family since you have been the provider your whole life and you want to do it again...

What happens if you die? Is there enough money for her to live on? Remember that your pension might not be there... Not sure about your social security rules up there... but my sister lost a good chunck of income when her husband died...

Also, what does she want to do with it? Maybe SHE wants to leave it to YOUR kids... what is wrong with that? It is her money... And it seems you do not care that much about your kids because you said they did nothing to 'earn' it.... well, neither did you... Yes, you busted your hump.. but that WAS your job.. it was not to get an inheritance...


Finally, what would you think IF her parents had left the whole amount to charity? Would you be upset at them because you had busted your hump for 32 years and those charities did nothing to earn the money?

Just my view....


Opps... Martha got in before I finished... so the three above her
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Old 05-14-2009, 10:27 AM   #18
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When it all comes down to....it is HER money and she can do whatever she wants to with it. In many ways, it is not your business.
Maybe you should look at why you feel that she needs to spend that money on enhancing you life. She has already used some of the money to eradicate the debt and replace a car for the family. If she wants to let it sit in the bank for the kids, that is her choice!
I am more concerned with your resentment rather than her not parting with the wealth.
Everything i've ever earned since we've been together has gone into the joint accounts no arguements no questions,when she lost her job some years ago i told her to take time off and be a stay at home mom while the kids go through their younger years i took care of all expenses gladly then put her back through school to become a teacher which she has now retired after 15yrs.Its not like i want to spend all her money its just that now the older daughter is also driving and rather than make payments on a second car it would be nice if she loosened the purse strings and bought the family a second car as now i'm not working and relying on a fixed income i dont have the finacial freedom to pay for all the bills and buy a second car. If she doesnt lighten up one of my 401k's will have to bite the dust.
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Old 05-14-2009, 10:32 AM   #19
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When it all comes down to....it is HER money and she can do whatever she wants to with it. In many ways, it is not your business.
Well, he is married to her for 32 years, so it is his business in some ways.......

I agree that OP's DW thinks she has done her part,paying off joint debt and replacing a worn out car. Pretty logical and frugal. Seems to me there is more info that is missing here..........
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Old 05-14-2009, 10:35 AM   #20
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Everything i've ever earned since we've been together has gone into the joint accounts no arguements no questions,when she lost her job some years ago i told her to take time off and be a stay at home mom while the kids go through their younger years i took care of all expenses gladly then put her back through school to become a teacher which she has now retired after 15yrs.Its not like i want to spend all her money its just that now the older daughter is also driving and rather than make payments on a second car it would be nice if she loosened the purse strings and bought the family a second car as now i'm not working and relying on a fixed income i dont have the finacial freedom to pay for all the bills and buy a second car.
That clarifies a lot for me. I would have a calm talk with her and tell her your feelings. Sounds to me like you haven't had that talk yet.
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