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View Poll Results: In your family, which sibling is/was the most financially successful?
The oldest sibling 45 31.47%
Not the oldest sibling 80 55.94%
I am an only child 10 6.99%
I think your poll is dumb, but I want to vote anyway. 8 5.59%
Voters: 143. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-08-2010, 05:43 PM   #41
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Financially speaking my older sister married well and my husband married better.
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Old 01-08-2010, 06:15 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by tmm99 View Post
I haven't read the thread so somone else might have mentioned this already, but this poll seems unfair to the eldest, since if you have 10 siblings, the chances of the eldest having the financial success over the others diminish greatly compared to the eldest having only one sibling...

But we're talking about birth order. I think the categories should be oldest, middle or youngest. So the question is, does being in any particular position in the birth order give you an advantage/disadvantage in term of your financial success.

If I had had to make a guess before the poll was taken, it would have been that the oldest would usually be the most successful and the "baby" the least successful.

My oldest brother is definitely the smartest of all of us, but chose a profession that was not extremely high paying because that's what he wanted to do. If he had decided to be an engineer, I'm sure that his net worth would be the highest.

The "babies" are usually more spoiled because the older they get, the more discretionary money the parents are likely to have as their incomes increase over time. Parents are also a little more laid back as you go down the line in terms of strictness, because as they have more kids they just flat out get more "tired".

This was the way it was in my family anyway. The first 3 kids were not allowed to get a driver's license if they did not qualify for the good student discount. The baby not only didn't qualify, but was the only child to be subsidized for a vehicle.

The baby in my family was the one that seemingly got the most "help" but who struggles the most. Personally, I don't think you do your children any favors by helping them too much financially, unless it's education assistance - and even then, I think it's extremely important for them to contribute something - the cost of tuition or the cost of books or something so that they are financially invested in the outcome.
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Old 01-08-2010, 06:22 PM   #43
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hmmm, I think a poll of "success" married vs. divorced would have better correlation.

FWIW all 5 of the sibs have college degrees and are successful in thier own rights. Some financial, some otherwise.
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Old 01-08-2010, 07:54 PM   #44
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hmmm, I think a poll of "success" married vs. divorced would have better correlation.
Or kids vs. no kids. Divorces and kids cost a lot. Fortunately, I only paid for the kids.
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Old 01-08-2010, 08:01 PM   #45
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Statistically this poll does not work. The numbers you come up with are effected by the number in each sample group. What I mean is there is only one 'Oldest' is a multifamily group. There may be 10 or more 'Others'. So for every 1 oldest vote you get, you will get multiple Other. So the fact that Other is leading Oldest is not surprising.
No, not surprising at all. There are probably a dozen ways in which this poll is defective as a matter of social science research. Your example is just one. But it is an interesting topic and does get people talking.
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Old 01-08-2010, 08:26 PM   #46
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The "babies" are usually more spoiled because the older they get, the more discretionary money the parents are likely to have as their incomes increase over time. Parents are also a little more laid back as you go down the line in terms of strictness, because as they have more kids they just flat out get more "tired".
That is true in my family. I also had more responsibilities than my younger brothers. I picked them up and dropped them off at schools, tutored them, did house maintenance chores, etc...

On the other hand, my wife's family was a bit different. Being the youngest, she lived with her parents during their financial decline years, and did not enjoy being pampered like her older siblings. She was more responsible, and to this day still takes care of her parents.

Regarding the financial status, I was ahead of my younger brothers, but my current sporadic part-time income is no match for their full-time pays. We do not share salaries nor net worth, but I knew I commanded a higher pay back when I was with megacorps, simply by estimating from the pay scales of the positions and titles. However, they are moving up in their career while I am out to pasture.

About net worth, I had a 7-figure portfolio 10 years ago. Even now, though my brothers are past the age I was then, I do not think they yet break the $1M mark. They simply spend more than I do! The reason I do not think they have a big stash was that during the housing bubble, they got excited when McMansions in their neighborhood were climbing in prices. A gain or loss of $100K or $200K in RE would not excite me, as I gain or lose that much in a week and sometimes even a matter of days, just as many here do.
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Old 01-08-2010, 08:37 PM   #47
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...The "babies" are usually more spoiled because the older they get, the more discretionary money the parents are likely to have as their incomes increase over time...
Or...in families of lesser means, the youngest gets all the hand-me-downs (clothes, worn out bicycles, etc) and money is so tight there is little wiggle room for "extras".
BTDT as the youngest.
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Old 01-08-2010, 10:42 PM   #48
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Or...in families of lesser means, the youngest gets all the hand-me-downs (clothes, worn out bicycles, etc) and money is so tight there is little wiggle room for "extras".
BTDT as the youngest.
That would fit me to a "T".....and "extras" for us was a bowl of popcorn while we sat on the floor in the living room and watched "Saturday Night At The Movies" on TV.....in living black & white! And we were happy with that, and looked forward to it each week!

Life was good....We were poor and didn't know it....and didn't care!
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Old 01-08-2010, 11:30 PM   #49
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3rd born out of five (3 sisters/one brother). Probably the one most financially sound overall (with or without spouse's contribution). Have been married for 30 years, worked non-stop since graduating high school and earned my BA while working full time and always living below means.
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Old 01-09-2010, 07:11 AM   #50
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Our situation goes like this:

Oldest is my brother - he is quite aggressive, always job hopped for higher pay, moved around the country, etc. He always took big risks and seemed to be a "act now, figure out the details later" person if he smelled opportunity.

During the real estate craze, he levered up big time (even used his graduate student loans towards real estate) and bought as many properties as he could in a old industrial town in the rust belt. He had ideas that the real estate boom would continue and his properties/rental income would be big winners. Ended up with like 4-5 houses and even did some big renovations in the one he lived in thinking he could sell for a big profit.

Now he can't sell, lives several states away and the debt piled up. Added 2 kids and to me, he is one job loss away from a real bad situation.

Middle is my sister - extremely conservative approach to life, has had the same employer all of her working years. Great saver, good income but very risk adverse. She has been the winner thus far.

Me the youngest - a mix between the two, good saver, take on some risk with certain aspects in life and investments. More of a calculated risk person. Not as aggressive of a person as my brother but not as passive as my sister. I am 2nd to my sister due to a few down years in my late 20s and my income has not been as high. However, for a while I was the winner (if you call it that) prior to those down years because I took on some "good" risk.

Lastly, the thing that seems to be the most important to each sibling's success is whom they married. My brother and his wife don't seem to be on the same page when it comes to financial management. Even if his real estate bets paid off that doesn't mean he would be in great financial shape. My sister and her husband are for the most part on the same page - good savers (she is really the tight one), good income, good financial management, etc. Huge impact and will continue to be in the future.

I'm still single but IMO there are some advantages to watching older siblings and learning what to do or what not to do in life.
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Old 01-09-2010, 10:24 AM   #51
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Wow...it looks like I'm the only child so far.
So far? BB, I'm guessing that if you don't have any siblings by now, you can stop holding your breath.
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Old 01-09-2010, 10:53 AM   #52
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I am 5 years older than my only sibling, a brother.

He was the more driven, outgoing jock (but still smart and savvy as he did skip a grade in elementary school) while I was the nerd who was a star in the Math and Chess clubs. I never wanted kids and remained single and parlayed that into retiring in 2008 having accumulated close to $1M. He has his own business and makes a lot of money but lives in a McMansion with his wife (who works from home) and 6-year-old boy. I don't know much about his personal finances as he lives out of state and we are not that close. But we have surely achieved our own personal financial successes, just not the same types of successes.
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Old 01-09-2010, 12:20 PM   #53
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So far? BB, I'm guessing that if you don't have any siblings by now, you can stop holding your breath.


It would be pretty strange having a brother or sister 52 years younger than me...and I think mom would be more than a little miffed....
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Old 01-09-2010, 01:58 PM   #54
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My brothers and I are 15 months apart each so now 60,61,62. I am middle child. Oldest is a loser. I am divorced with a net worth about 600K. Little bro is married 61 years to same girl she is 58 now. I don't know net worth but they both have pensions, he retired at 58 she will in a year or two. They own a business in the garage. The house is 5 bedrooms 3 bath with a 5 car garage but they have a mortgage. They didn't have a mortgage on the former house so may not be huge. Mom gives them 1,500 a month for room and board. They seem well off.

So not the oldest and probably the youngest. His kids the oldest is clearly the worst off.
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Old 01-09-2010, 02:46 PM   #55
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I am the second of four children, and all of us are college graduates. My older brother by four years is a typical firstborn—straight A's, college grad, M.D., 2 high-achieving daughters. Though I've never actually asked him, I am sure he is the highest in both annual income and net worth. His wife is in the upper echelons of a large non-profit and I am sure is nothing to sneeze at either in the earnings department. I think she is also a firstborn. They might well be able to buy the other three of us lock, stock and barrel.

I'm not sure which of the other three of us comes next, and it's an apples to oranges comparison anyway. My sister (not quite a year younger than I am) married, had two daughters, then was divorced/single mom for more than ten years, and has recently remarried, acquiring two teenaged step-children in the process. One of her daughters is a college grad and teaches elementary school. The other is studying nursing (following in Mom's footsteps). Our other brother, the youngest of us four, has had serious health challenges the last several years which I'm sure have drastically affected his finances and future job outlook. His wife is a college professor (also a firstborn), and they have three daughters, one currently in college, one in high school and one in elementary school.

I'm pretty sure that both my sister's and younger brother's household annual income is higher than mine, but I have never married and have no children, so I've probably been able to save a larger proportion of my income than any of my siblings. It wouldn't surprise me if I am putting more money into retirement savings than either my sister or my younger brother. My-brother-the-doctor is probably ahead of me on actual dollars, if not by percentage. OTOH it also wouldn't surprise me if they are all wondering why I took me so long to get a clue, because I've only been saving at that level for two years.
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Old 01-09-2010, 03:09 PM   #56
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Thanks for doing the poll Gumby.

I'm the oldest and most financially successful in my family of 4. I have a brother 3 years younger, a sister 7 years younger and a sister 16 years younger.

I happen to be the first ever person in my extended family to go to university. My brother also went to university and has also done very well financially - owns his own house etc. My older sister left school at 16 and went into the clothing industry and is now a warehouse/inventory manager. My younger sister left school at 16 and went to vocational college for 2 years and attained qualifications to help her get a job at an electronics firm where she started on an assembly line and worked her way up into purchasing.
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Old 01-09-2010, 11:24 PM   #57
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I am the oldest (sister is 4 yrs younger). We both have university degrees and married men with University degrees (although my DH has an MBA and my BIL doesn't).

In terms of financial success, I would have to say it's a draw. Although DS always made more than me, she also spent more and lived beyond her means until she met my BIL who is still trying to get her to LBYM. She has a bad habit of comparing herself to the Jones' and justifying large purchases (i.e. bigger house, etc.) because hey, they are both professionals and can afford it, right?

Btw, I taught myself to read because both mom and dad are immigrants and couldn't speak a word of English when they landed in Canada in the early '70's.
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