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Old 05-09-2008, 03:56 PM   #81
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Soooo..... does she just sense that you make a good living? Or did you share financial information? You know, actually show her the add up of your total net worth, your check stubs, etc.

I think most have agreed it's good to discuss finances in general with the kiddies, but OP wants to know if we share our detailed salary and net worth information.
The intent is to show net worth, income levels, consumption levels, investment details, education fund details, etc.. when she is ready to comprehend these things (she's only 9 right now). She knows we make high incomes BUT spend cautiously. We're teaching her the basics of equity investments on top of compounding interest.

So we're easing her in as she becomes more mature and able to better comprehend. In our neighborhood, its way too easy to become a spoiled brat so we're doing our best to instill down to earth values. We're happy at how she's responding.
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Old 05-10-2008, 12:07 AM   #82
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As a child I just knew we couldn't afford anything. March of Dimes wanted us to bring dimes to school for them, I told the teacher I wasn't going to ask, our family didn't have extra money. She told my mom they shouldn't tell us if they were having financial problems. I always heard we couldn't afford things, mom saved dimes but said every time she got ahead one of us needed shoes. I wanted to join a club, they didn't want me to because there was a uniform to buy, I promised not to ask for a uniform. Then I did ask and they bought me one but the shoes were $13 and mom never paid that much for a pair of shoes. I wore the soles out and stuffed the shoes with cardboard so I wouldn't have to tell them, I was on a drill team so it was hard on the soles but the tops were perfectly shined. Mom caught me cutting cardboard and I got new shoes that same day so we could afford them.
Mom is 81 now and selling her house to go live with my brother, she crunched her numbers and said she will save $500 a month and can live in assisted living 12 years if she needs it. I do her taxes and my brother can sign her checks and helps her if needed reconciling or renewing CDs, mom will not invest.
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Old 05-10-2008, 02:00 AM   #83
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That brought back memories... during one of the toughest financial times my family had while I was in grade school, we really needed a pencil sharpener but my single mother couldn't afford one. Yet again we did a pooling of resources, and my mother, myself, and my sister all chipped in to buy a crank style pencil sharpener. My parents tried to keep us insulated from financial issues but it's not something you can sweep under the rug when the electricity company turns off the power, or the phone service gets switched off. I remember coming home from school and finding a foreclosure notice stickered on the front door more than once. Yet my parents always managed some heroic save.

It's easy to complain about how hard it is to live free on only 1.3 million, but it's good to remember where I came from. I like the sig I see here sometimes "you have a good life now".
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Old 05-10-2008, 08:22 AM   #84
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One of the greatest advantages to growing up poor is that we already know all the tricks to LBYM and making ends meet no matter how bad it might get.
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Old 05-10-2008, 11:15 AM   #85
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One of the greatest advantages to growing up poor is that we already know all the tricks to LBYM and making ends meet no matter how bad it might get.
Or it motivates you to not go back to being poor again
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Old 05-29-2015, 04:38 AM   #86
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I know this is an old thread but I just had to bring it up again. Really great discussion.

I'm actually on the other side of the fence. My mom's a great saver and she's taught me the basics back when I started receiving a small allowance in Grade 1. Even back in Grade 6, I already had a general idea of our finances (granted no specifics). While I'm not quite the PAW she is (at least as far as savings to income ratio), she's taught me quite well with regards to the value of education, working hard, budgeting, saving, avoiding debt and LBYM. Alas, she's extremely wary of investing so she's turned over the management of her deferred comp plan (which I moved to a moderately conservative 50/50 AA from the 100% FDIC savings with 0.10% APR she had it on before). I have been well served by and am very grateful for my mom's teachings although I admit I do tend to splurge quite a bit more often than her.

Now that they're pushing 60, I've been given all their log-ins for email, bank and credit card accounts. Same for bills, insurance and important papers. I also prepare their tax return. She's also added me as joint to a couple of savings accounts. Heck, I probably know more about my parents' finances than my dad does (he's the spender between the two of them). In case something ever happens to mom (which I'm praying not), I'll be managing finances for my dad.
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Old 05-29-2015, 07:43 AM   #87
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That brought back memories... during one of the toughest financial times my family had while I was in grade school, we really needed a pencil sharpener but my single mother couldn't afford one. Yet again we did a pooling of resources, and my mother, myself, and my sister all chipped in to buy a crank style pencil sharpener.
The one that's shaped like a little block, less than an inch long, with a cone-shaped hole in it, would have been cheaper. I have a steel one made in Germany and it works every time.

To get back to the OT, when DS was growing up he just knew that sometimes when he wanted something (e.g. another Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figure) he'd get it, and sometimes when I'd already run through the discretionary spending budget he had to wait till I got paid again. He also liked a few of the expensive sweetened cereals but we didn't buy them till I had coupons to bring the price down. Fortunately there was always money for the basics so there was no anxiety. He grew up to be a great saver and fortunately my DIL is on the same page.

When he was on his own and working I told him our net worth, and recently updated him after we set up a revocable trust and updated our wills. Aside from one joke he made about cutting my brake lines, he hasn't said much, but he and DIL, bless them, are the kind who probably wouldn't change the way they lived if they won the lottery. (They don't buy lottery tickets, either.)
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Old 05-29-2015, 08:43 AM   #88
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Personnally I think informing children, even young adult children of one's net worth is a bad idea. They will look at that net worth through a different prism and it may spark anomosity when the child thinks mom and pop are too styngy and can afford more for college, weddings etc. It creates a potential for needless drama. Having an estate plan with detailed instructions is separate matter and does not require the amount of one's estate to be disclosed. Too much room here for differences of opinion, hurt feelings and drama.
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Old 05-29-2015, 08:59 AM   #89
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While DH was in surgery last week, I told DD, my little ant who is 36, what I think she can expect when both of us are gone--not that much but at the very least it will soften the cost of her kids' college considerably if not completely. She started crying and said she wanted us to spend it all on ourselves. We both agreed it would not be a good idea to tell her brother, a born grasshopper, anything .

I can see that at some point in life, all of us, parents or not, might need help handling our financial affairs, but for us there was no reason to be explicit about finances with our kids.
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Old 05-29-2015, 11:19 AM   #90
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Now that they're pushing 60, I've been given all their log-ins for email, bank and credit card accounts. Same for bills, insurance and important papers. I also prepare their tax return. She's also added me as joint to a couple of savings accounts. Heck, I probably know more about my parents' finances than my dad does (he's the spender between the two of them). In case something ever happens to mom (which I'm praying not), I'll be managing finances for my dad.
Wow, and they're only in their late 50's? I hope they are not having serious health problems at such a young age.
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Old 05-29-2015, 11:21 AM   #91
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Raised on another thread: At what age is it appropriate to let your kids know 1) how much you earn and 2) how much you are worth.
I still don't know how much my dad made or how much money he has. He's been retired for 23 years.

Personally, we don't have any kids, can't afford them.
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Old 05-29-2015, 11:24 AM   #92
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Our kids never knew how much I earned. Even though we lived beneath our income they had a very comfortable life.

Now in their late 20's they have absolutely no idea of how financially independent we are. They will at some point, just not now. There is really no reason for them to know. They only know where the paperwork is and have emergency access to our safe deposit box where it is kept.
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Old 05-29-2015, 11:24 AM   #93
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This is a good topic and an important one, I agree. I think one thing to communicate is information about how to locate your assets should the time come. Apart from that, whether to say anything about amounts is a private choice. But saving the time/effort involved in locating assets is a big favor.
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Old 05-29-2015, 11:51 AM   #94
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This doesn't have to be an "all or nothing" matter. I began getting involved with my mother's finances before she retired, because she wanted to talk about what she was doing and my father was financially hopeless.

When he passed away she asked me to help her with her taxes, then investing. A few years later, budgeting, and then some spending. Over the years my involvement went from very little to managing her day to day finances. When she began to suffer from cognitive decline it was very easy to go to the next level. I'm not sure this would have been possible if we had not worked on it for so long. It sure made a difference with the siblings - there has been resentment but efforts to intercede have been pointless.

I'm beginning to do this with my children. There is no need for full financial disclosure at this point, but I would like them to be able to help DW the same way when I'm no longer around or able to do so.
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Old 05-29-2015, 11:59 AM   #95
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My FIL tried to make sure we were aware of all of his assets so it would be easy for my wife to execute the will. Oh, we knew where all the assets were, problem is, he filled out his beneficiary forms wrong for most of his financial assets.


Most were made out to "trust" or "estate" of FIL. Since there is no trust, DW has had to spend countless hours on the phone with insurance company plebs trying to convince them that there is just an estate - what a huge PITA.


Do your kids a favor - leave financial assets directly to them so it doesn't have to go through probate - I'm sure most posters here are aware of this but we've experienced the pain first hand. He even left his 401K to the estate.


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Old 05-29-2015, 12:15 PM   #96
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We do not share the details of our money with them but they could easily open a spreadsheet and see everything.

If all goes to plan we will spend our last dollar the day we die. Otherwise everything will automatically flow to them as beneficiaries on the accounts.
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Old 05-29-2015, 12:21 PM   #97
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We have only given the general "we're comfortable" response.
As for my parents, they never said anything.

That is, they never said anything until I was about to start college and I had to do a lot of paperwork for financial aid. Then there just was no hiding it anymore.
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Old 05-29-2015, 12:27 PM   #98
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My parents took the family aside at a reunion during the heart of the recession and said "Two things you should know. 1. Dad is being checked out for a spot on his lung. 2. We've taken a financial hit with the recession, but we're fine . We still have $xxxxx."


Mixing the two tidbits together made for an odd and slightly uncomfortable conversation. They haven't said anything finance wise since. And the number was high enough that I was relieved of any need to worry about them.
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Old 05-29-2015, 12:27 PM   #99
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While my Dad was alive, I had a good idea of what he had stashed away because I did his tax return and he showed me a notebook of his investment statements. He was justifiably proud that with hard work and street smarts that he had accumulated a seven-figure net worth even though he didn't graduate from high school. When he passed, I took over managing the assets for Mom since she has little interest in such things. I keep her informed and get her blessing with any big decision, but she pretty much follows my lead.

We have told our kids that any inheritance is estimating error on my part so there is no particular expectation on their part. They are aware that we live well and retired early and have no debt other than our mortgage which is by choice so there are a couple clues for them there. However, the reality is that it is highly likely that there will be something there. Like my Mom, DW has little interest in our investments but if I pass before her she can takeover with DD's help. DD is vaguely aware of what we have but not how much we have since I have shared our investment policy statement with her which outlines our accounts and AA but in percentages rather than amounts.
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Old 05-29-2015, 12:53 PM   #100
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Great story, JoeWras! Things went similarly with my parents. Soon we'll start the process with our kids.
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