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Old 07-03-2007, 10:52 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by Moemg View Post
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 "
It would be a pretty short thread. Let me summarize: "No"
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Old 07-03-2007, 10:56 AM   #42
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I think the original poster's concern was that the spend-thrift parent who is living beyond her means would put their savings in her budget.

There is nothing wrong with not sharing the extent of their savings with others, particularly if that might inspire another family member to save for their own needs.

Should the time come that the spend-thrift is in need of financial support the couple can determine what is appropriate at that time. It is not that they won't help then, just that they want to change parental behavior now.

My DIL has a mother with a similar behavior pattern. DIL said that her mother believes that she will die early. She is gregarious and generous with her time, much loved. She is also very adaptive. DIL said that she doesn't anticipate needing assistance but they anticipate helping her out if the need arises.
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Old 07-03-2007, 11:27 AM   #43
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"Life" comes at us in all shapes and sizes. The quality of family members and parents run the full range of the spectrum from smart, inquisitive, hard working, supportive and helpful... to foolish, close minded, lazy, guilt mongering and mean.

Thus there's a huge difference in what it takes out of a person to deal with those on the "downhill" side, compared to those on the "sweet" side. On the downhill side, the blood relationship creates the ingrained obligation. Yet nothing provided is ever enough. This is a formula for permanent guilt and dysfunction.

Unless you've been there, you might want to rethink whether these obligations should be stated as absolutes.
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Old 07-03-2007, 11:34 AM   #44
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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.
Thanks, that's exactly what I was getting at. I am perfectly willing to come to the rescue of my family members if disaster strikes. They won't be left homeless while I bask at our beach house.

I just want to make certain no one includes our non-existent wealth in their retirement plans. One of my big concerns that plenty of people have mentioned in the past, is that as soon as I mention we're looking at retiring young, everyone assumes that we struck it big with a startup. Their thoughts of retiring early seem to always involve millions in stock options.
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Old 07-03-2007, 11:47 AM   #45
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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?
I just thought I'd add that it's rude to be insulting people when you have no idea what their personal situations are. Saying you disagree is fine, saying that I shouldn't selfishly retire until I've bought my parents houses, hey, go for it.

But saying people are selfish, should have their mouths washed out with soap, is really counter productive to say the least.
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Old 07-03-2007, 11:58 AM   #46
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I have had three false starts to this post, so clearly I don't quite know what I want to say. So I'll be brief.

1. Whatever you think you need to do, I wouldn't do it in a letter.

2. Why do you want to retire so early with such a tight budget? Sometimes I worry about the extra early retirees who partly because they are so young they need very little. In my early 30s I would have had no idea of what I find I need in my 50s.
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Old 07-03-2007, 12:12 PM   #47
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1. Whatever you think you need to do, I wouldn't do it in a letter.
I think I agree with you on that. In the past we've had financial conversations with the parents, and we've told them about our plans. I think I just need to be a bit more transparent when talking finances, so they'll be aware of how much (or how little) we will have. That will probably do exactly what I need, which is to make certain everyone is aware we're not rich

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2. Why do you want to retire so early with such a tight budget? Sometimes I worry about the extra early retirees who partly because they are so young they need very little. In my early 30s I would have had no idea of what I find I need in my 50s.
Because we don't like working Lets say we retire at age 40. We live on 20k per year (sailing in Asia for example, easily fits within suggested budgets), but that might only be 2% of our funds. We let our funds grow for 10-15 years as we sail around, and then when we come to land, our bank account should have grown enough that we could increase our spending to something more reasonable for land living.
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Old 07-03-2007, 12:18 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by Moemg View Post
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 "
My parents didn't pay for any of that; though they did buy a bus ticket so I could go to my first after college job.

They loaned me $400 to buy a car and I paid it back 18 months later.
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Old 07-03-2007, 12:51 PM   #49
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DW and I would not hesitate to bail out a family member, assuming we were able. We have bailed out her younger sister a couple of times for what amounts (to us) to peanuts, and we would do it for larger sums if need be. But I recognize that that's not the way everyone's family is.

The more I think about it, the more I am convenced that DW is right: I will need a plausible cover sory when I retire. Most likely it will be a small business that takes very little time. That way people's expectations will be reasonable.
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Old 07-03-2007, 01:00 PM   #50
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My parents didn't pay for my university education, wedding, car, house, or anything else. They also live above their means and even today live higher on the hog than my wife and I even though we make probably 5x what they make. And their financial situation is a mess despite my attempts to educate them and get them to change their behavior.

I will not delay my plans for FIRE to pay for my parents to continue the lifestyle that they enjoy now.

But I will open my home to them and welcome them to live with us for as long as they want/need to - we'll make space, and the extra food/utilities cost will be minimal. We'll find a way to make it work. And if they have some major healthcare costs that make it unavoidable for me to go back to work, I will.

They raised me in their home for 18 years and that counts for a lot.
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Old 07-03-2007, 01:08 PM   #51
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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".
Your karma will be good, Mr. Wood.

Incidentally, I have a completely adequate nest egg, and I have 2 sons with good jobs and wives with good jobs. One son has net worth at least 8 times mine. Yet both of us know I will hustle whatever before I would ask for help.We also all know that I would get help if really bad things happened to me.

We also all know that should some terrible thing happen to either of them I'll be there with money and service.

IMO if we have a society in the US where children will not back stop their family members' needs, not wants, then we shouldn't properly be called a civilization.

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Old 07-03-2007, 01:09 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by Moemg View Post
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 "
In my house we have a saying we occassionally use (in jest!) on my young daughters: Small weddings are nice. Eloping is even better.
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Old 07-03-2007, 01:13 PM   #53
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IMO if we have a society in the US where children will not back stop their family members' needs, not wants, then we shouldn't properly be called a civilization.
I think this is the key point. I am willing to backstop my mom/siblings needs to
keep them off the street and healthy, but if they wanted help living a lifestyle they
cannot afford (new cars, plasma TVs, etc) I will not be opening my checkbook
(well, maybe my mom, a bit).
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Old 07-03-2007, 01:29 PM   #54
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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.
It sure is LG4NB. Being part of an extended family that's commited to one another has it's pros and cons as all situations of responsibility and love do. And whether you wind up on the giving or receiving end of help and assistance is seldom completely under your control. Based on reading many of your posts in which you've shared family stories with us, I'd conclude your family is a great thing to be a part of!

In our case, our first grandson arrived in this world with cerebral palsey. I drive him to therapies at Easter Seals two days a week which keeps us in town, unless we're able to make other arrangements, at a time in our lives when we always assumed we'd be totally free. And we kick in the equivalent of two deluxe cruises a year towards expenses due to his condition. We still get along fine financially although ocassionally, when friends are talking about their travel/vacation plans, DW and I just smile at one another...........

Ceberon....... I appreciate your concern that your parents/in-laws are not adequately preparing for their own retirements and that you fear they may have pencilled in a portion of your stash as their retirement fund. But, I disagree strongly with making a statement of non-support at this time. The chances that it will change their ways are very slim but it is likely to be taken as hurtful. Why not just share your RE intentions with them? Tell them you are aiming at a lifestyle you think will be exciting and fulfilling but will be a little edgy financially. Don't mention their financial situation in relation to yours. If later, it turns out their retirement is more of a struggle than you are comfortable with, you can decide what you want to do, or are able to do, then.
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Old 07-03-2007, 02:30 PM   #55
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What would you all say if it was the parents who looked out for themselves first, RE'd before they should have, lived above their means and blew their brains out financially... do you think the child should without question support the parents?

I think each situation is different. Both sides of our family are totally different situations. Spouse's parents we would look after, mine - no way. Talking about what goes around, comes around... you got that right... and for my parents, it will be coming around.

Some of you may think that sounds heartless, and others will agree with me. My parents have done their own thing all of their lives, sometimes at the expense of their own family members... dishonest, selfish, me-first attitude... I will not sacrifice the well-being of my family, so that they can continue on their merry way at my expense.
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Old 07-03-2007, 02:35 PM   #56
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I think this is the key point. I am willing to backstop my mom/siblings needs to keep them off the street and healthy, but if they wanted help living a lifestyle they cannot afford (new cars, plasma TVs, etc) I will not be opening my checkbook (well, maybe my mom, a bit).
Amen to that...
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Old 07-03-2007, 02:54 PM   #57
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gaming the system

I definitely agree that these things are better said verbally a little at a time than in a single letter to end all debate.

For me I make clear to my mom how tight my FIRE budget is, and how I'm denying myself some luxuries to make this work. My mom is currently living fairly large off the dwindling savings of my stepfather, who at 80 years old is probably not going to be around much longer. I think her mentality is to spend it now so it won't be "lost" to inheritance by my step siblings. She's definitely living higher on the hog than I am.

My mom has worked in the social services field, connecting needy people with sources of resources. This and a lot of other life experiences have shown her that the people who get financial assistance are the ones who don't have any savings or resources of their own. Those that look broke. I think this mentality of "spend now to go broke to get assistance later" is leading her to overspend now in hopes of looking more needy and hence getting assistance from me or others later down the line.

My mother knows that I will support her if she really needs it, but that I am not interested in maintaining a high standard of life for her.

Sadly, this may be causing her to live higher on the hog, figuring if she goes broke later that will be her only hope for assistance from me. Things never quite work out like you expect. Especially when you're dealing with someone who likes to game the system.
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Old 07-03-2007, 03:22 PM   #58
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I just thought I'd add that it's rude to be insulting people when you have no idea what their personal situations are. Saying you disagree is fine, saying that I shouldn't selfishly retire until I've bought my parents houses, hey, go for it.

But saying people are selfish, should have their mouths washed out with soap, is really counter productive to say the least.
Ceberon, where did I say that kids should buy parents cars,houses or anything else? Do you make this stuff up as you go along.

As far as the soap, what can I tell you, that's my opinion and I stand by it.
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Old 07-03-2007, 03:44 PM   #59
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I had a long (2h) chat with my mother last night and this very subject came up. I'd say part of the situation is my own fault - I did well last year and everyone knew it. So when I say now that money is tight, they don't believe me.

Anyway, I don't think "sharing your FIRE plans" will work out at all. As soon as you say retire and someone realizes your age, their first thought will be "rich" or "stupid". So start choosing your words carefully and properly set the tone about how modest your lifestyle is and will continue to be. Above all, keep the details of your finance close to the table.

Helping a family member who has fallen in a rut is an honorable thing to do. Helping one who just bought a new plasma tv when you don't own a plasma makes you a sucker.
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Old 07-03-2007, 04:04 PM   #60
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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.

Very interesting point on someone without kids (like me) and who will take care of YOU... well, I started this a LONG time ago with a niece when she was 3 YO.. I used to say that she would have to take care of me when I got old... never thought that it took hold, but last year we were talking about it and she said 'I will have to take care of you when you get old'!!! Wow, it worked... and I picked well, she just graduated and is a lawyer... I will have enough money, so that is not the issue... it is the 'other' things that an aging person might need...
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