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Old 07-05-2007, 05:28 PM   #81
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Placing my tongue firmly.... Man proposes, God disposes....
Thanks, Calmloki, my sentiments exactly.

Also regarding the very first post on this thread: Iím totally from another planet. I would remain in the financial/retirement "closet" until after-the-fact, not come out TEN(!) years in advance. Iím 60 (maybe about your parentís age), and would be worried about you needing help. Your retirement interests (sailing and hiking) strike me as so dangerous you could wind up ill or injured and possibly return to your kin. What comes to mind is the time in my early 30s on a short-term-retirement stint when I found myself scrambling up a vertical cliff to escape a rapidly rising high tide; my favorite hiking trail has a steep drop-off into the ocean where many people have disappeared.

Also, obviously, you might change jobs once or so over the next TEN (!) years. God help you if you are like me, and find the job of your dreams at age 39 and work massive overtime until you come to your senses.

There is an odd tradition in my family to let the kids think their parents are penniless; I sent a little cash to my mom only to be told to stop that, she is spending down. If your folks have anything to spend down, would they tell you? A sadder possibly would be that they might have a reason to spend down or to live as if there is no tomorrow.
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Old 07-05-2007, 07:15 PM   #82
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For some reason, real estate brings out the Worst in People.
Very true, as you proved. After my MIL passed, one of the SIL's held up the will because she thought the house should have been valued at 25K instead of $20K (yes, twenty, not two hundred).
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Old 07-05-2007, 09:03 PM   #83
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One Thai lady I met earned $175 per month and dutifuly gave her not so nice father a $25 monthly stipend (14% of her gross salary.)

After she told me a bit of her father's misconduct (drunkeness, physical abuse, etc) I asked why she would help support him now. My question shocked her and she answered me as if she were talking to a five year old.

"Because he is my father..."
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Old 07-05-2007, 09:27 PM   #84
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Anyway, point being that although we're retiring, we don't have the cash to support anyone. I want to make this point clear to both sets of families, on the chance that they're keeping "The kids will help us in an emergency" in the back of their minds.
HobbyDave, have you ever financially (and significantly) helped them in the past?
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Old 07-05-2007, 09:31 PM   #85
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If your parents were good people (forget the money handling issue)... call them and tell them how important they are and how they helped you to be the person you are today. Someday soon they will be gone. All you will be left with are the feeling of guilt that you gave them a stern warning about how they spend their money.
My parents were unable to rear their 5 children. I was 11 yrs old when I was put in an orphanage in CA. Luckily, our family in PA, went through the courts and arranged for us to live with them. My older sister and I went to live with an aunt and uncle and my 2 younger brothers and my younger sister went to live with our grandparents. Both of my parents had to drop out of school and go to work to help support their families. Then they married and had 5 children and had a hard time accepting the responsibility that goes along with having that many children and little education, so not the best jobs. I believe that those pressures are what led them to drinking and becoming alcoholics. Fortunately, they became sober in their later lives and we developed a pretty good relationship. Neither one had a great deal of money, but they made due with pretty much what they had and never asked their children for any money. Dad came to live with me at the end of his life. He was single and had some pretty serious health problems and could no longer live on his own. Luckily, I was on maternity leave and could be here with him. My parents had their problems, but they were good people. Would I trade some of my money to be able to see them again-in a heartbeat! None of us are perfect and we all make mistakes. I am sure that there are probably people who disagree with some of the things that I spend my money on and I am sure that there are people who disagree with some of the things that everyone on this forum spends their money on. People have different priorities for their own money and some people don't worry as much as others. Maybe they will run out of money and have to change their standard of living. They might do that and never ask you for a dime. I would not send them a letter or anything else at this point. I would tell them that I love them and enjoy the time that you have left with them. Life is short.
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Old 07-05-2007, 10:41 PM   #86
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I even offered to pay for him to go see a retirement consultant for a few hours, and I would pay for all of it. That offer was declined. If someone chooses to purposely deny reality, then there is very little you can do about it. Some may think it is cold, but in the years ahead, I do not intend to sacrifce my life to people that certainly DID know better, and did nothing about it.
i had a neighbor in our condo complex who did not know how to swim. i offered to teach him but he refused. we had three swimming pools in our complex. also a series of canals ran between the buildings. water water everywhere. he enjoyed walking alongside & looking at the water but he was afraid to go in. he was so afraid to go in that he was even afraid to learn how to swim. anyway, one night he fell into the pool. i happened to be just coming home from a night of partying and on my way from the car to my apartment i heard him splashing and yelling for help. but i just let him drown. the water was too cold.
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Old 07-05-2007, 10:48 PM   #87
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LG4N, I read your post 4 times and can not believe what I am reading. You are just joking or being sarcastic, aren't you? Please tell me yes.
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Old 07-06-2007, 12:17 AM   #88
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i had a neighbor in our condo complex who did not know how to swim. i offered to teach him but he refused. we had three swimming pools in our complex. also a series of canals ran between the buildings. water water everywhere. he enjoyed walking alongside & looking at the water but he was afraid to go in. he was so afraid to go in that he was even afraid to learn how to swim. anyway, one night he fell into the pool. i happened to be just coming home from a night of partying and on my way from the car to my apartment i heard him splashing and yelling for help. but i just let him drown. the water was too cold.
LOL
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Old 07-06-2007, 01:34 AM   #89
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she was coming over one day a week to do our laundry, she ironed my underwear, folded everything neatly and put it away. Afterwards, she thanked us profusely for the opportunity to help out!
My mom in her seventies had offered to come by and wash our windows!

So of course I will try to be there for her to the extent she allows it (she is stubbornly independent). Money is not an object since she has given us everything.

Whereas parents might have a special position in our lives, it gets pretty complicated when wayward siblings and in-laws come into the picture and drain resources, too. I 'get' LG4NB's analogy but it goes a little far. someone's having to restrict spending from $72k a year to $30k is not in the same category as death! If you have a drug-addled sibling preying on mom, the "open wallet" approach will not help matters.
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Old 07-06-2007, 01:36 AM   #90
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HobbyDave, have you ever financially (and significantly) helped them in the past?
No. Loaned a few thousand to my parents for some tuition payment for a sibling (was paid back quickly), but nothing significant.
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Old 07-06-2007, 05:32 AM   #91
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i had a neighbor in our condo complex who did not know how to swim. i offered to teach him but he refused. we had three swimming pools in our complex. also a series of canals ran between the buildings. water water everywhere. he enjoyed walking alongside & looking at the water but he was afraid to go in. he was so afraid to go in that he was even afraid to learn how to swim. anyway, one night he fell into the pool. i happened to be just coming home from a night of partying and on my way from the car to my apartment i heard him splashing and yelling for help. but i just let him drown. the water was too cold.
Precisely. This is a good statement of how life actually occurs. As I said, you do what you do in these cases. Money, past history, etc. might have absolutely nothing to do with it. Sometimes the only good solution is one you think you would never consider. But, I suppose that some people would let the man drown but not many.
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Old 07-06-2007, 09:47 AM   #92
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I can still be very naive at times! Glad to hear that it was just an analogy!
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Old 07-06-2007, 10:07 AM   #93
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I've read most (but not all) of the responses so far, and I agree with the folks who will help when needed, but won't enable spendthrift parents.

An example is the kid who wants to quit high school or college to go on the road with his rock 'n roll band.
Younger son is 18 & just finished high school. He is a Mohawk haired rock drummer. He wanted to major in music at college but I convinced him that is a good minor. But no threat, if he needed to do music I would support him, he is quite serious about it. He is in 2 school bands, his own rock band and played at the Music Center in LA. I don't know how good he is but he is serious & dilligent, pratices for hours and wakes up or pulls off the road to write music.

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I've read most (but not all) of the responses so far, and I agree with the folks who will help when needed, but won't enable spendthrift parents.


Why can't a similar threat to "if you keep doing that you're cut off" be acceptable for parents who REFUSE to change their spending habits or plan for their retirement?
Maybe it needs its own thread and maybe there is one, but one issue with aging parents is Alzheimers. Once that hits a lot of help may be necessary and without a lot of cooperation.
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Old 07-06-2007, 10:21 AM   #94
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...but i just let him drown. the water was too cold.

That is the way I feel about people refusing to save and always trying to keep ahead of the Jonses. After a while, giving up and ignoring them is the most sane course of action.

(And the help they want is money not advice...)
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Old 07-06-2007, 10:33 AM   #95
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No. Loaned a few thousand to my parents for some tuition payment for a sibling (was paid back quickly), but nothing significant.
They sound like responsible parents to me. I doubt they will ever ask for your support.
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Old 07-06-2007, 10:58 AM   #96
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Younger son is 18 & just finished high school. He is a Mohawk haired rock drummer. He wanted to major in music at college but I convinced him that is a good minor. But no threat, if he needed to do music I would support him, he is quite serious about it. He is in 2 school bands, his own rock band and played at the Music Center in LA. I don't know how good he is but he is serious & diligent, practices for hours and wakes up or pulls off the road to write music.
I'm sure your son is a good drummer, but even the musical geniuses of our time and centuries past never made much money. Without derailing this thread into a discussion of happiness versus money, I don't agree with your approach, except for dissuading your son from majoring in music. The reality is that professional musicians often have a difficult time with both employment and money. Perhaps he could pursue an undergraduate business degree in management, with a focus on entertainment management. Many performers move to the business side of music after their stint in the limelight is finished, and they often make far more money managing a procession of groups than they ever did or would make while in the limelight.

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Maybe it needs its own thread and maybe there is one, but one issue with aging parents is Alzheimers. Once that hits a lot of help may be necessary and without a lot of cooperation.
I was assuming that one's parents stay reasonably healthy until 5-10 years before passing. Again, not to derail this thread into a debate of the merits of various types of insurance, part of financial planning is purchasing insurance, including long-term care. Some people can accumulate sufficient assets to self-insure, while others would be best served spending the money on insurance premiums. Needless to say, in case of catastrophic illness or long-term care issues, cutting your parents off from "economic outpatient care" is not a humane option.
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Old 07-06-2007, 11:08 AM   #97
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I thought the original question from the poster was "how do I communicate my finances and future intensions to parents who don't seem to be acting or concerning themselves with how they will manage in retirement."

Not a question of whether or not you should contribute to your parents shortfall in retirement. I was glad to be in a position to help my mother and brother. I had only wished it would have been shared with my other brother and sisters who were financially able to contribute, but didn't.

My point was. I believe there are two very distinctly different types of people in the world. Those that are responsible and have rational thinking, and those who are irresponsible, and havn't a rational thought in their entire body. I am unfortunately in a family that consists mostly of type two personality. And my point is that if this is the type of personality you are trying to communicate with and to whatever extent - alter their spending habits, or make them aware of consequences for their current actions, I can almost guarantee you failure.

So now you have said your piece to them, even put it in writing to make an even stronger imprression. Do you feel better now. They have been warned. Well, now what you have are parents who have been warned in writing, and still will continue to do exactly what they want when they want. So now what do you do? Walk away when their time comes and they are in need? That's something only you can answer. If you are looking for life to be fair, you are on the wrong planet.

I do not want to appear harsh in what I am saying. I am only trying to enlighten you and help you understand that it's not going to be that easy.
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Old 07-06-2007, 11:28 AM   #98
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Well I think some parents or in-laws . . . believe that because you were born, and they were responsible and fed you, that you owe them everything.

Then other parents and in-laws, believe that you did not choose to come into this world, they chose to bring you here, and that they owe you.
I haven't read through this thread, but I have to point out there's about 10,000 years of tradition in the first view. What do they say it costs to raise a kid, $300k or so? Write your parents a check and you're square.
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Old 07-06-2007, 12:01 PM   #99
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I 'get' LG4NB's analogy but it goes a little far. someone's having to restrict spending from $72k a year to $30k is not in the same category as death! If you have a drug-addled sibling preying on mom, the "open wallet" approach will not help matters.
helping family for me goes beyond the wallet. it goes to emotional support. it goes to understanding & empathy for others and it goes to helping others understand themselves even if that is all we can do. we all have our talents.

my brother and i used to fight all the time. mom & i were very close. she and my brother had a great love for each other but they tended to fight. yet when mom's deterioration progressed beyond my ability to help her hide it, my brother & i joined forces to help each other help mom through her alzheimer's. we have not had a single fight since.

an interesting balancing act developed. my brother & i played devil's advocate when needed to explore the ramifications of a possible decision and we both supported the other in ways we had never known before. one day i'd think something was a bad idea and he'd show me why it was a good idea. on another day the roles would reverse on the very same idea. we kept each other centered and focused.

family is not just about money. my analogy had nothing to do with comparing life & death to dollars.

"Teach your parents well
their children's hell will slowly go by.
And feed them on your dreams
the one they picked, the one you'll know by.

Don't you ever ask them why; if they told you, you would cry
so just look at them and sigh and know they love you."
~~crosby stills nash & young
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Old 07-06-2007, 01:54 PM   #100
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I spent the fourth at a party with friends in their middle 50"s who spend wildly .They have both filed bankruptcy and haven't learned a thing .Their retirement plan is based on her inheritance from her parents who are 80 and alive and well .Some people just don't get it !
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