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Old 07-03-2007, 12:04 AM   #21
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DW and I hope to never need any money from our kids. If either of them told me they wouldn't help us if needed that would be the end of any money for them. I would leave our money to a dog pound and that would be that. After what we did for our kids, college, cars, help with houses, one wedding and everything else they could think of I would be one unhappy camper if they had the nerve to tell us we were on our own.
Amen to that. But the selfish brats who have posted in this thread about off-loading their parents should they be in need may have actually done a sevice to our young parents on the board. Just be sure you don't raise kids like this.

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Old 07-03-2007, 12:35 AM   #22
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Like Martha, I believe in helping family when in need but to a certain extent. I will never let my parents go hungry or without medecine. But the costs could be daunting and could easily derail one's plan to retire early or to retire period in certain cases when one's parents live to a very old age. Let's imagine: a couple needs to give family members about $1,000 a month (which is not that much if you consider the cost of healthcare nowadays). That would require an extra $300,000 in the retirement kitty which may take many years of work to accumulate. In other words early retirement could be off the table completely. Or it could take a drastic cut in your retirement expenses which may mean a much leaner retirement lifestyle than what you had anticipated (and that may not be to your spouse's taste). In other words, wanting to help family members in need may be noble, but it would require major sacrifices on your part and could have a major impact on your own life (on your health, on your marriage, on your sanity, on your happiness...). In our case we don't have kids, so who will be looking after us if after helping family members for years our own finances fail to cover rising expenses? My parents at least know that no matter what happens they will be able to count on SS to put food on the table. They also have small pensions. In all probabilities, I won't have the luxury of either. That's why I think it is important for me to be taken care of financially before I could even consider helping others. My wife and I will have no safety net and we can't make mistakes when it comes to prividing for ourselves in retirement.
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Old 07-03-2007, 12:54 AM   #23
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My wife is Chinese, and among the Chinese in our generation it is very common to support the parents. Most of the Chinese I know give their parents a monthly allowance or big sums when needed. Maybe it is because there is such a gap between the income of the two generations, but also, I believe, because of the "respect the older" custom in the Chinese culture.
Like others before me posted, we don't chose our parents, and we do own them something. On the other hand, I agree with you, that we also need to take care of our selves and our children. Maybe you can talk with them and explain that although you are willing to support them in case of emergency, you are not willing to finance their lavish spending habits. And you may not be rich enough to do so.
Try to convince them to save by showing them that they can't support them self if they continue like that. Maybe even offer to help them with investing their money, and by that forcing them to put money aside.

I was always against giving allowances to my PIL. They have a modest but reasonable pension. However we did help them (twice) to buy a nicer apartment, we took them to a nice trip to Israel, and in case they need nursing, or any medical care, I will be happy to help. I think it is all about balance.
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Old 07-03-2007, 04:34 AM   #24
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Ceberon, I have learned... through the school of hard knocks that you will have a difficult time achieving what you think you will achieve by warning your parents and wife's parents about their spending habits. They are very unlikely to listen. Their habits are probably lifelong and will be difficult for them to adjust until they are forced to.

You can take the stealth approach and try to educate them on the general subject. You can do this by discussing your plans. Tell them that since they are retired, you want their advice. Then tell them how much money it takes to ER. Describe the uncertainty and situations that could upset your plans and require you to go back to work to support yourself.


As a side note: Don't worry about having to pony up a few $k/year to help them out... start worrying (and planning) about ponying up $k/year and being a full-time nursing home to take care of them. That is much more likely! Chances are high that you will be faced with this for at least 1 of the 4.
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Old 07-03-2007, 07:26 AM   #25
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I don't think that the posters not willing to support their parents should be bashed as much as a few have been... each situation and family is different.

My parents couldn't wait to get me out of the house, and they haven't done much for me since, except call me when they want something from me. Yes, they supported me for 20 years as they brought me up. For the last 20, they call on me when they want something... never to actually do anything for me. After the next 20, do you really think I am still indebted to them? I dont think so.

Further, when you watch them blow all their money away to live in the now, and you try to guide them about saving and being responsible for their future, it is frustrating to see them not care about their future.

If they don't care about their future, why should I be expected to? Why should I have to work my ass off at my own expense and at the expense of my own family, because they have failed to act responsibly for themselves? That is not fair to EXPECT someone else to look after you, regardless of who that someone else is - family or otherwise.

I have no problem being charitable towards someone / family who genuinely runs into trouble not of their own doing or by accident. But in some cases, some people (including parents) are the engineers of their own demise. They need to be accountable and take responsibility for their actions. To load that responsibility on someone else (even if it is your own child) is not right.
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Old 07-03-2007, 07:28 AM   #26
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Selling a house does not make one homeless. There are great senior apartment complexes out there in many places for seniors who do not have a lot of money in the bank. We have one around the corner from our house for about $500 per month. YES, they may have to take a hit on standard of living and live in an apartment. BUT, it will be of their own making.

Best thing is no letter!!! During every visit insert a general comment about retirement planning in the conversation. May not get very far but for us it got parents to do the wills, durable powers of attorney and think about it. Gently let them know they have to "keep planning" for the day they have less stamina and ability to recover. I have the same issue with them listening.

Kind of like not springing it on kids what your college finance expectations really are. If you always expected them to save 50%, make that clear while they are growing up. Dont just drop them into it without warning. Tell them about consequences. You will probably get sick of repeating yourself. And it may help to find some books from advisors that are their generation for them to read and leave the books with them.

We bought my inlaws a little house 30 years ago and to this day, provide the taxes and insurance. We also provide pharmacy cards to Walmart so they can get their medicine. However, I have also told my husband for the last 20+ years that he only married me to be his nurse. Therefore, he is not expecting me to nurse relatives in any way and at any time. And I also gently remind him of this when we are talking about the health of his parents.

We have scouted out a variety of living arrangements for them but in our house is not going to be one of them.
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Old 07-03-2007, 07:31 AM   #27
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"Been there, done that". My Mother worked all of her life (from 15 to 64), never made much money -- lost a daughter to a car accident when I was less that a year old -- led to divorce from my Father, who NEVER paid child support or any other support to my Mother. When she retired on SS and a very small not-cola'd pension she was moving every year within Chicago to try to stay ahead of the rent rates. Apartments got smaller and smaller in worse and worse neighborhoods. I purchased a Condo for her, of her choice, in Chicago. I worked three jobs and my DW worked one job to feed family (4 kids) to buy that thing. Later on we moved her to Florida (after we retired) to her own new house down the street from us (she was "independent"). Only had to hustle a couple of jobs to swing that home for her. She died happy that her only living kid could and would step in to help in her last 14 or so years of life. Personally, I hope and pray my kids NEVER have to do it for me and/or my DW but I also know they would -- something about trying to set the example. For family you do what you can.

To tell your Parents or IL's "I got enough for me and mine but not for you, so don't even ask" is just sad. Remember what "goes around" has a way of "coming around".
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Old 07-03-2007, 07:32 AM   #28
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Just to clarify, I think we should support our families when they step on a rake.

I dont think the family members should plan their lives and spend their funds presuming that they'll get bailed out when they run out of money.
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Old 07-03-2007, 07:33 AM   #29
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i tend to be with martha on this. i couldn't imagine my parents not supporting me when i needed it. i couldn't imagine not helping mom when she needed it. life is hard enough. but then, i don't know what it is like to have family who spends beyond their means (outside of one cousin who i am not responsible for but who i've already invited to live with me if need be). and i certainly don't know what it is like to have family who are not appreciative of each other.

my bro & sil are going through something like this now with her mom who has another daughter & grandchild living off her. she is in 70s, in ill health and still works. wants to tap $150k from $450k house to pay off $cc debt and, i don't know, to have some cash around? brother & sil know if that happens they'll be supporting the inlaws within two years.

sil told her mom they won't offer support later if her money runs out. i looked at her and said "of course you will; that's what we do." my brother's youngest is 10 so he'll be working until he's dead anyway, what's an extra five years.

bro & sil are trying to structure the mother's life so she can live well on what she's got without working so sil threatened no future help to try to get mom to understand what she is jeopardizing.

i don't know why but for some reason it seems more appropriate that they do this now that they are in their 50s and her mom is in her 70s. yet it seems out of place for you to do this in your 30s. i don't have a good reason why i think there is a difference. maybe you can think of one.

ps, just read r wood's post. yer a good son.
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Old 07-03-2007, 08:13 AM   #30
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[quote=FIREdreamer;531699]. . In other words early retirement could be off the table completely. Or it could take a drastic cut in your retirement expenses which may mean a much leaner retirement lifestyle than what you had anticipated (and that may not be to your spouse's taste). In other words, wanting to help family members in need may be noble, but it would require major sacrifices on your part and could have a major impact on your own life (on your health, on your marriage, on your sanity, on your happiness...).

Sometimes s--- happens .My Mom did not plan to live to 91 and need help physically and financially and I know she didn't mean to change my retirement plans but she's my mother and after all she did for me how could I not be there for her.
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Old 07-03-2007, 08:57 AM   #31
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Amen to that. But the selfish brats who have posted in this thread about off-loading their parents should they be in need may have actually done a sevice to our young parents on the board. Just be sure you don't raise kids like this.

Ha
Hey Ha, do you feel as I do that there's a few posters on the thread that need their mouths washed out with soap?
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Old 07-03-2007, 09:07 AM   #32
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Moemg, I did not say one should not make sacrifices to help their parents when in need. I probably would. I was just saying it is too easy for people to say, well no matter what I will step in and help the folks because I am a good (selfrighteous) person. I think most people just don't realize the level of commitment required in such situation which could have far reaching consequences for themselves, consequences that they might not be prepared to deal with. Perhaps their own marriage will end in divorce because of it (their husband or wife may not be on board with them helping the folks financially because they had envisioned using the money differently in retirement). Are they ready for that level of sacrifice?
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Old 07-03-2007, 09:25 AM   #33
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A couple of years ago, my dad asked about how much $$ he should have to be able to retire. I told him I could sum up the research quickly, and just told him to multiply the income he wanted by 25 and save that amount. I got a weird look and could tell he (1) didn't have that much yet, and (2) didn't really believe me. So I gave him a copy of the Trinity Study, and then Bernstein's Retirement Calculator From Hell Part 1 and Part 2. Next thing I now he's saving like mad and asking questions about retirement investing, asset allocation, withdrawal strategies, etc. My own little scared straight program.

- Alec
Not to get off point, but I hope you also mentioned that that 25x number has no SS or pension built in and he adjusted that BIG number for his expected SS.

job
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Old 07-03-2007, 09:33 AM   #34
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R. Wood,

For what its worth I think you have your priorities straight regarding helping your parents. I lost both of mine at ages 48 and 64. I wish they were here today so I would view their support as a good problem to have.

2soon
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Old 07-03-2007, 09:37 AM   #35
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My experience (and I have a lot of it) is that trying to talk rationally to irrational people is like pouring hot molting lead into your own eye. It will be very painful and get you absolutely nowhere.

I have supported my mother and mentally handicaped brother for as long as I can remember even as a kid with my first jobs. The only thing that changed over the years was the amount, until I was responsible for most of their living expences. How many conversations I had with my mother to try and get her to be more careful with money, I could not begin to tell you.

Then came the warnings in the later years that my income would soon be coming to an end and would not have the income to support them as before. All fell of deft ears. I have three other brothers and sisters who have contributed zero to my mother and brothers keep dispite my many pleas. So, at the late age of 65, I have my house on the market, bought a small inexpensive home in Mexico, and when my house sells, my son and I are out of here, and someone else will just HAVE to pick up the ball.

My point is... This is not the way I would have liked to see it go in my mother's final years, but all my efforts to make changes over the years failed miserably. I don't know when the time comes, if I will really be able to walk away. That part remains to be seen.

So talk all you want to irresponsible, irrational and in some cases selfish people, and what you will gain is a bad case of "odjada" (haven't a clue how to spell that) and nothing more.
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Old 07-03-2007, 09:44 AM   #36
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I think someone should start a thread "How to politely tell your kids you won't pay for summer camp ,braces ,cars ,college and dont even think about weddings "
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Old 07-03-2007, 10:25 AM   #37
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Both of my parents have passed away. In the last 5 years of my mothers life, she lived on SS and needed additional funds to fix her house. She cried because she had to ask her kids for help. I told her she had given me more than I could ever repay. Did my parents not save properly for their retirement... don't know... they did raise 5 kids, lived through the great depression, 4 or the 5 have degrees, two advanced degrees.

I never looked at it as somethng I owed them. If I had needed the money, I believe they would have hocked their house to get it for me. Most parents never stop being parents. Some kids never stop being kids.
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Old 07-03-2007, 10:33 AM   #38
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I do not think anyone is saying they wouldn't feed someone in their family that is starving.

I also think people look at this through, possibly how their own parents were. Some parents are great, and some are not.

I think what the Op is saying, is not "your on your own do not expect me to pull you over a cliff if you are hanging off".

I think what he is saying is " Do not expect my to buy you a new Lexus every year, and do not base your own future on 'well billy bob is rich, why should I save'"
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Old 07-03-2007, 10:36 AM   #39
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Twenty years ago I offered to take over investment management for my Dad's portfolio. He was in government bonds and I knew I could generate better returns. He declined saying he valued his independence.

About the only thing he ever let me do for him was regular meals and the odd car ride after he lost his license.

My kids are the same way. Independence is a deeply ingrained family trait.
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Old 07-03-2007, 10:43 AM   #40
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Modhatter, such a sad story. Some things just have no good or easy solutions.
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