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Old 05-06-2013, 08:53 AM   #21
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My dad knows I am loaded because I ERed in 2008 at age 45. We don't go into great details about my finances, though. He retired in 1994 when he was 63, a year before his wife (my mom) passed away. She made sure the finances were set up well for him, as she knew she was going to die from a long-term illness. I only wish she were around to see how I turned out although she knew I was doing well even back then.

My dad is not a financial wiz but he has a paid advisor from Ameriprise overseeing his portfolio (and for a very low, flat fee which is about 0.3% of total assets). She also knows I am a savvy, early retiree and checks out his quarterly statements so she isn't going to do anything underhanded.
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Old 05-06-2013, 09:00 AM   #22
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FIL (the one remaining parent) knows we are solvent and have no debt but other than that, nothing.

So many other family members are living paycheck-to-paycheck that we have found it best to remain very, very quiet about our financials.
I'll bet many, if not most, families are in similar situation.
Finances can be a touchy subject, and people's reactions can be unpredictable.
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Old 05-06-2013, 09:20 AM   #23
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True story. ,When Brother told our mother of his financial success at a certain level in her her direct, beautiful British come back was, "A million isn't what it used to be." That sort of puts a kid in their place. hahahaha. Just when you think you did something she'd be impressed with. Nothing like a Brit! I'm just half, thank goodness.
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Old 05-06-2013, 09:53 AM   #24
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My take is a bit different and I don't mean this to be judgemental. I have some problems with the word "proud". I suppose it's how you share your goals and accomplishments that counts.

What exactly are we looking for from our parents? What if things turned bad and we had lost it all? What would we say to them then? Does reporting net worth in good times make it harder in bad times to discuss declines?

I don't have great answers but am interested in others actions on this. Our parents are not alive so we don't have this issue but DW and I enjoy seeing the accounts going up and to the right.

When our son was out of work I could tell he needed to discuss some money matters and ask for us to help him but sensed he was ashamed of the state of affairs. We always told him things would get better, etc. etc. He's feeling a lot better now after finding a good job. If he announced he had saved $1M some years from now, I'm not sure how I'd feel. Maybe relieved but then a little worried that he would not know the details of managing the money into ER. Parents always worry.
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Old 05-06-2013, 10:01 AM   #25
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I'll bet many, if not most, families are in similar situation.
Finances can be a touchy subject, and people's reactions can be unpredictable.
A big +1. I can so identify with this topic, but with a not so good outcome. Came from a blue collar, good family with a strong work ethic. First one to go to college, etc. It was made very clear to me early on that I was on my own after high school. I worked all thru college with multiple jobs and when I entered my profession, worked insane hours to get ahead. After achieving some success, I wanted to share with my parents what my wife and I had accomplished financially and did so in general terms. My dad (now deceased) was so proud and I know this gave him a great sense of satisfaction. My mom, apparently, was taking notes and years later after going thru significant savings, thought it was time to call in some favors. This has led to a great deal of emotional distress and our relationship will never be the same. I commend you on your hard earned success, but would tread carefully in disclosing specifics. I'm sure they are aware of your success and nothing speaks louder than actions (the responsible way you are conducting your life). My wife also has two ne'er do well siblings that we are very careful to disclose nothing financial. All families are different and this is just my experience.
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Old 05-06-2013, 10:04 AM   #26
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What exactly are we looking for from our parents? What if things turned bad and we had lost it all? What would we say to them then? Does reporting net worth in good times make it harder in bad times to discuss declines?
I'd imagine when we're down, we want to know that they still love us, to help us and guide us, and when we're up, we want them to be proud that they've done well in that guidance and proud of us and happy for us. I've got no qualms with the word proud, and love when my mom says 'Oh honey, I am so proud of youuu!" In her super-mom way.

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When our son was out of work I could tell he needed to discuss some money matters and ask for us to help him but sensed he was ashamed of the state of affairs. We always told him things would get better, etc. etc. He's feeling a lot better now after finding a good job. If he announced he had saved $1M some years from now, I'm not sure how I'd feel. Maybe relieved but then a little worried that he would not know the details of managing the money into ER. Parents always worry.
That's true. I'm pretty educated when it comes to credit and finance, and my mom knows this, and knows why I wanted a credit card to get cash back, pay every month, and build credit for when mortgage time comes.

But of course when I let her know I finally got approved after trying for the last couple of years to no avail, her first reaction was to panic :P
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Old 05-06-2013, 10:08 AM   #27
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We haven't shared the Number with my parents - I feel humble about it because Mom is on her encore career in her early 60s after more than a decade of catch-as-catch-can employment, and Dad took SS at 63 after 18 months of UI. My financial acumen and the majority of our accumulation come from my staying (happily) married to a savvy guy with tech skills, and being part of his family, who understand investing. My parents came from working-class backgrounds and divorced when I was 11. I was on the YMOYL path when I met DH but it would have taken me a lot longer to accumulate with my liberal arts B.A. Mostly I knew that I should eat pasta e fagioli instead of steak, and get a government job with a pension.

IDK how much my in-laws know about our Number, but they are impressed by our frugal practices as well as our calculated spending, and still continue to send us a nice check at birthdays and Christmas.
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Old 05-06-2013, 10:16 AM   #28
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I never really talked about money with my parents, until my mother was around 95-97 or so and expressed some worry about my situation to me. She was a very loving person and wanted to know that we three kids would be OK after she was gone. So, I told her that my house would be paid off later that year, how much my nestegg was, and that I would be able to retire in 2009 and support a lifestyle similar to the lifestyle my grandparents had in retirement. At her age, the lifestyle description meant more than the literal size of my nestegg, because of inflation and because of cost of living differences between Honolulu (where she lived) and New Orleans.

She asked if I would have a pension, and I told her I would but did not tell her that it would be so tiny.

She asked me about my investments, and how did I know what to invest in. I told her that I was running my ideas past my very sensible big brother, which was true, and that I might even get a fee-only financial planner to look at my portfolio just before retiring, which I never did.

Then, she said I should marry Frank. Oh well. I know she was just doing the "mother hen" thing but I have no plans to ever marry again.
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Old 05-06-2013, 10:25 AM   #29
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I did have a little conversation with my Mom last summer, kind of a "I'll show you mine if you show me yours" type thing. As it turns out, I was a lot better off than she thought I was. And, she and my stepdad were a lot better off than I thought they were, which made me breath a sigh of relief. I always knew they were okay financially, plus they're retired now and have a decent pension. But, I do have this recurring dream, where they run out of money and have to move in with me, and drive me crazy!

I also know how much my uncle has saved up, mainly because I handle his finances for him. But, he's never asked me how much I have saved. He just jokes that if I botch things up and lose his retirement money, he's going to come live with me in his old age!

I also have a pretty good idea of how much Grandmom (Mom and uncle's Mom) has saved up. But, we don't talk finances with her anymore, because then she starts getting worried. She always thinks she's running out of money, even though at the age of 89, she's still accumulating, rather than burning through it!

On my Dad's side of the family though, we don't talk about it. For some reason, it just always seemed awkward. All I know is that my Dad had enough money in his checking account in 2003 to write a $13,000 check for a used Buick. And, he did pay for roughly 1/2 of my college education back in the 1989-93 timeframe. His employment history was really spotty in his younger years, though, so I doubt he's getting much SS. And he wasn't in the federal gov't all that long, so I dunno if he's getting much from that.

Granddad was a railroad worker, retired in 1974 at the age of 60. He gets a nice pension. When I was a little kid, I thought they were rich because their house has three bathrooms, they almost always went out to eat (or at least they did when us Grandkids were over), and always had a fairly new car. However, "eating out" usually meant Bob's Big Boy or the Hot Shoppes. And the cars were usually something like a Dart Swinger or Granada, and they only had one car at a time. So even though they seemed "rich" to my young eyes, they lived relatively modestly.
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Old 05-06-2013, 10:27 AM   #30
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...(snip)...
She asked if I would have a pension, and I told her I would but did not tell her that it would be so tiny.

Then, she said I should marry Frank. Oh well. I know she was just doing the "mother hen" thing but I have no plans to ever marry again.
LOL, that mother hen thing (and father rooster thing) is so hard to resist.
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Old 05-06-2013, 10:28 AM   #31
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When DH lost his job and chose early retirement my Mom kept asking if he found a job yet, she just didn't get that he wasn't looking and that we'd be fine. My Dad knows that I'm like him and that we will always live below our means. I have not discussed dollar amounts with him, just that we have enough and can continue to save. That's enough info for him. He knows he does not have to worry about me.

The only time we talked specifics was when DH was in grad school and we were saving for a down payment on our first house. My Dad had said that he'd like to match what we had to give us a larger down payment. He didn't give me a dollar amount and he didn't know how much we had. So I told him that we had been looking at houses (just practicing) and planned to get serious when DH graduated and found a job. I wanted him to know where we stood and I needed to know if he had a limit on his match. We had a great conversation where he was surprised by how much we had and he was able to tell me that yes, it was over his limit!

Proud moment for both of us.
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Old 05-06-2013, 10:33 AM   #32
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LOL, that mother hen thing (and father rooster thing) is so hard to resist.
So true! I have to bite my lip to keep from advising my daughter and her husband on personal finance issues. This despite the fact that they are adults who are doing fine, and living a more lavish lifestyle than I have ever had, and can afford to do so.
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Old 05-06-2013, 11:23 AM   #33
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I've occasionally had the urge to tell my parents my net worth, but I've never come right out and done it. I think everyone in my immediate family knows I've done very well, but I don't really see any good coming from anyone knowing the detailed numbers. I know my parents are already very proud of my accomplishments, and I highly doubt knowing my exact net worth would increase that pride in any consequential way, so what would be the point?

In my experience, there is a fundamental difference between "Johnny is doing really well for himself and seems financially secure" and "Johnny is worth #.# million dollars." Knowing the actual number can induce a change in attitude towards shared expenses or other financial matters that can sometimes result in resentments. For example, no matter how close the relationship (be it friend or family), someone could feel a tinge of resentment if the known multimillionaire doesn't give an appropriate sized Christmas gift one year or inadvertently pays a bit less for a shared meal on occasion. And who knows, in some very subtle, subconscious way it might even end up affecting things like inheritances. In my opinion, it's best to avoid all of that -- even if you think it's extremely unlikely. In the end, you never really know how it might affect your relationship with someone, even a parent, so why take the chance.
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Old 05-06-2013, 11:26 AM   #34
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We haven't shared anything about our finances with my parents or DW's parents or anyone in either family. On my side, my parents are doing well financially and mom is in line for a government pension and they also have a decent portfolio. My mom was excited recently and shared they they "were millionaires". She said they have a million dollars in their investments, but neither me nor my mom really knows if that means $1MM in brokerage account or including all 401ks and 457s, IRAs, etc. Dad manages the investments.

When my mom disclosed that exciting news, I decided not to reveal that DW and I are similarly situated financially and on track to FIRE within a few years (around age 35). I haven't exactly nailed down my disclosure strategy yet. I don't want them to worry that DW and I are unemployed when we are in fact retired. But I guess we can do that by saying "we have a lot saved up and it should last us for many years and we don't financially need to work right now".

The one thing I would be afraid of if I told my parents would be they let the secret out. Even my relatively responsible brother might resent us if we were to ever turn him down for requests to borrow money (he's working on an entrepreneurial project right now). So some things might be best left vague.


DW's family is a bit different financially. I think we will be much more guarded with them about our situation and maybe just say I'm working on a few projects to scratch up some money when we aren't working any longer (which probably won't be a complete lie). I think if they knew we had $10,000 in the bank let alone the true amount we would be the target of lending requests by some family, and possibly a target of robbery/theft by extended family or their associates (with these people operating on the assumption "we can take what they have and insurance will cover most of it so no biggie"). We definitely live a frugal lifestyle and don't appear wealthy by any means (millionaires next door style). So I don't think it will be hard to keep up the mirage (and the fact that we don't associate with the ruffians that would possibly target us). As for DW's immediate family, I couldn't simply explain the 3% rule, tax penalties for early withdrawal, etc as a constraint on what appears to be massive wealth. The majority of her family would probably cash out all funds and buy lottery tickets or something with similar chances of financial success, maybe a get rich quick scheme or two. Or just live lavishly for a few years and then be broke. So for the time being, we would like to keep our money as our money.

When I talk to my parents, I can tell they don't have any inkling we are planning on ER. My mom just suggested I stick it out with the current employer, because in only 28 more years I can get guaranteed health insurance as a retiree and a decent pension to boot. I just responded "I hope I won't be working in 28 more years, let alone at the current employer." I guess I could start easing into the "we may retire early" responses. DW is a little more loose lipped and occasionally mentions we may quit working and travel around the world for a while in the not too distant future. Coming from 30-somethings it sounds like pipe dreams unless you know our true financial status.
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Old 05-06-2013, 11:43 AM   #35
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It is touchy what family will do when they know who has what seems to be large amounts of money. When my father passed away, he left enough assets that it came to one million dollars. It was all hard work by my dad that did that, as his father was an autoworker and her father was a postal worker. So my mom had to tell all her widow friends how she was a millionaire, blah blah blah. But now she's not, as my oldest brother has 'borrowed' significant sums from her. She would have been much better off has she kept it quiet what she had in the bank.
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Old 05-06-2013, 12:02 PM   #36
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When my mom expressed concern after I quit my job, I told her my financial details to set her mind at ease. I've been doing my parents tax returns for several years, so I already knew all of their financial details.
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Old 05-06-2013, 12:15 PM   #37
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sure...share it! It'll only make your parents PROUD.
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Old 05-06-2013, 12:23 PM   #38
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In your shoes, yes, I think I'd tell my parents. Not sure I'd make a formal dinner/announcement thing... I'd be more inclined to just drop it in casual conversation when an appropriate subject arose. That's just me though. If you are comfy telling them in a pre-arranged setting then go for it. And good for you - as a parent I'm proud of all my kids' accomplishments and I'm guessing they will be too.

Hopefully your dad isn't a helicopter parent like me, with no boundaries, and he doesn't ask you if you comprehend what fees can do to your balances.
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Old 05-06-2013, 12:33 PM   #39
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This depends completely on family dynamics, and every family is different.

Telling my mother anything about my finances has always resulted in requests from other family members for money.

Years ago, Mom was worried that I was taking a few months off to travel. I told her not to worry, and mentioned that I had received an unexpected tax refund of $7.3K. A few weeks later, my sister called with an urgent request for exactly $7.3K. More recently, after I ER'd last year, she was worried about how long I would take off work. Reassuring her that I could relax for as long as I wanted, requests from various relatives shortly started coming out of the woodwork, with my mom even calling to encourage me to "lend" to a sibling who "couldn't catch a break like you did". She has never asked for anything herself, but seems to think I should be the family bank for everyone else. If I had to do it again, I would keep my details more closely guarded.
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Old 05-06-2013, 12:44 PM   #40
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Obviously our parents know that we are doing OK, living on our own dime in an expensive city. But I think they would be really shocked if they discovered the true extent of our income and wealth. The in-laws think that our income is in the $120-$150K range (they have been poking around for a while in hope of a definitive answer) and my parents think we make about $70K a year. Both are far off the mark. I am pretty sure that they are equally off the mark regarding our net worth. While the desire to share our number with them is real, we are holding back because we know that our number will be leaked out to the rest of the family in a matter of hours. And I think that it will introduce all kinds of distortions in the family dynamics.
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