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Old 05-05-2008, 11:22 AM   #21
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(slow day here so I'm having fun on the boards )

You say (my bolding):

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What I would like to tell him is that I am financially independent in my 40's, work only because I want to, and could purchase five lake houses and still and still have enought left over to live on at my current standard of living.
This is not going to happen, because I have a very strong principle that no one is allowed to know our financial status, as I see only negatives and no positives to this situation.
but you also say

Quote:
I constantly remind my son that we are rich, he is not, and if he wants to maintain his current standard of living once he leaves home at 18 to go to college, he needs to consider the career path that he is going to follow.
I'm going to bet your son and his friend have discussed their families' financial status with each other ("my dad says we're rich," "hey, my dad says we're rich too!" "cool!"). So his friend probably does wonder why you don't act as rich as his parents do....
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Old 05-05-2008, 11:22 AM   #22
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A story my father told me changed the way I looked at life. I was younger than your son's friend but you might tell him this story you heard from a friend. It might change the way he looks at people and you are not talking about yourself. Feel free to use my father's story. I asked him who was the richest person he worked with. He told me that it was his fellow co workers. I asked what he made, he said about the same as himself. I said he is richer than his boss. He said several times richer than his boss. The boss made more per hour but this guy was richer. He paid cash for every thing even houses. The story is set in the 60's the boss had about 2500 in the bank(My father asked him) and the co worker of my father had 30,000 in the bank. My father was very good too he had 5,000 in the bank he was also richer than the boss. He told me it is not what you make it is how you manage your money. All three people had union jobs that they had worked many years. A better job does not always mean more money in the bank.
How about telling him some facts from the millionare next door. Stressing to him you can not tell what people are worth by just looking at them it's not that easy. Someone asked what present they could get for John Paul Getty I think the servent responded he could use some new shirts his are worn. John Paul Getty could buy shirt factories with his spare change. But it just go to show things are not always like they look. Or you might tell him of Hetty Green. Hetty Green - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 05-05-2008, 11:29 AM   #23
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Another angle of this is that your neighbors may not be candid with you or your husband (and their child) about their finances. I certainly wouldn’t be, neither would my parents, and most importantly here, you say YOU are not!! My parents went so far as to put an inheritance through a bank in another town and used many other techniques over the years to appear even poorer than they were. Maybe the wife wants to w*rk, can’t stand staying home (to deal with a young teenager!, whoa, I live that one vicariously with friends).

My mom spent the last few years of her life in a senior apt. complex. The joke there was that on the first day of the month, everyone would express relief that they were able to pay one more month’s rent, when in truth, many of them could cover the rent indefinitely.

Isn’t that why some of us come to this forum; we can’t be up-front in real life?

It may be ok to say to your son’s friend that finances are not open to discussion as you are already modeling that behavior.
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Old 05-05-2008, 11:30 AM   #24
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Ooh, this hits home. We live in a fairly blah middle class neighborhood, although some are better off and others are worse off. Mostly, we fit in with our lifestyle/spending. But In the past year or so we have remodeled the kitchen and a bathroom, had the landscaping redone, and recently bought a travel trailer (which sits conspicuously in our driveway). Don't imagine this has escaped the notice of our neighbors or the local kids, and I imagine that as our girls get older we will have lots of explaining to do. Haven't figured that out yet, though.
It sounds like that from the outside you and your family appear to be "spenders" brewer. Is that what you'll need to explain....... that even though you appear as spenders you're actually LBYMers?
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Old 05-05-2008, 11:37 AM   #25
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Your description of your family financial situation compared with his family's situation reminds me of the book "The Millionaire Next Door" by Thomas Stanley -
Amazon.com: The Millionaire Next Door: Thomas J. Stanley,William D. Danko: Books

You could get a copy and give it to him, or if that's too direct for dealing with a teen, let your son read it and then pass it onto him.
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Old 05-05-2008, 11:40 AM   #26
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When my son was growing up, he socialized with kids from familiies with more "things" and with less "things" than we provided my son. I always tried very hard to point out to him that "things" were not the way to measure his friends and that to judge them by how loyal and trustworthy they were to him. I also pointed out that how many things we gave him was not the way to judge us as parents either. I think he learned that people choose to spend their money in different ways and having a lot of "things" wasn't an indicator of wealth. It seems to have worked although my son doesn't always spend his money the same way I would have. But he always has a plan and does not spend irresponsibly so I can't complain.
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Old 05-05-2008, 11:45 AM   #27
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You know, you are probably correct that LBYM types are just as willing to discuss finical issues, but I think that type of information that the two groups want to talk about are very different.
Well yeah.... We LBYMers need lots and lots of consensual validation that we're doing the right thing, lots and lots of ego building and a generous dallop of recognition. It's tough having your wealth hoarded in the bank where people can't see it instead of in conspicuous possessions.

I think what's really bothering you is the fact that your son's friend can't see your money in the bank and it's socially unexceptable to tell him about it but your son can see the toys and goodies at his friends house. Let it go...... It's OK. You're doing well and your son and his friend will learn more from your silence on the subject than any plan you create to "educate" your son's friend.

It's gona be OK Culture. You're rich, you're wonderful and everyone here knows it. Don't sweat the social unacceptability of telling your son's friend all about it!
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Old 05-05-2008, 11:58 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Bestwifeever View Post
I'm going to bet your son and his friend have discussed their families' financial status with each other ("my dad says we're rich," "hey, my dad says we're rich too!" "cool!"). So his friend probably does wonder why you don't act as rich as his parents do....
Good point. We did not discuss our financial information with my son until last year. At that time we shared enough that he knows the important parts, i.e. generally what we make and generally what we are worth. I worry we shared too much, and you might be correct that he has shared it with others. However, we would not have given him the information if we did not think he could keep a secret.
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Old 05-05-2008, 12:00 PM   #29
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A story my father told me changed the way I looked at life.
I had one friend growing up whose father was wealthy. He told me when I was a teen that it did not matter what you made, it only mattered what you saved. Similar story.
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Old 05-05-2008, 12:03 PM   #30
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It's gona be OK Culture. You're rich, you're wonderful and everyone here knows it.
Thanks Stewart, I needed that validation

Stuart Smalley - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 05-05-2008, 12:06 PM   #31
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Well yeah.... We LBYMers need lots and lots of consensual validation that we're doing the right thing, lots and lots of ego building and a generous dallop of recognition. It's tough having your wealth hoarded in the bank where people can't see it instead of in conspicuous possessions.
Seriously, you are probably correct that LBYMers need validation from somewhere such as this board. Society validates those who spend everything constantly all day long. Even our president has indicated that spending is our patriotic duty. Those of us who save are given the message that something is wrong with us. It is a little uncomfortable.
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Old 05-05-2008, 12:11 PM   #32
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It sounds like that from the outside you and your family appear to be "spenders" brewer. Is that what you'll need to explain....... that even though you appear as spenders you're actually LBYMers?
Its a little more complicated than that. We specifically chose not to be in a more upscale neighborhood, preferring to remain in a "normal" middle class area. It fits us better and takes a lot of conspicuous consumption pressure off us and (eventually) the kids. DW's recent experiences with some county park system classes in the nearby expensive areas affirm our choice. We appreciate being in a "normal" neighborhood even though we easily outstrip all our neighbors except one in terms of earnings, and I suspect we are in the top 5 in net worth.

The recent purchases don't entirely fit our surroundings, although they were well within our budget. I don't want the kids to end up in a competitive consumpion race and I also prefer to continue living what passes for "normal life" in the burbs where we are.
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Old 05-05-2008, 12:22 PM   #33
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I am not sure you can do anything about it without laying out your bank and brokerage account statements. He will not believe it due to your lifestyle. It will sound too much like sour grapes.
I have found that trying to make a 'horse' drink is a futile effort.
You intentions are good, but you can't tell others how to live their lives without causing some alienation.
Good luck to you. Let us know what you decide and how it comes out.
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Old 05-05-2008, 12:24 PM   #34
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I would personally refrain from lecturing the kid about finances. After all his parents might have a hard time understanding why you, a person seemingly less successful than they are, have the nerves to lecture their kid about how to handle money. They probably think of themselves as successful professionals who are doing well financially (they make a lot of money after all!). They probably would not take it kindly if you proceeded to tell their kid that the way they handle money is wrong!
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Old 05-05-2008, 12:29 PM   #35
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Good point. We did not discuss our financial information with my son until last year. At that time we shared enough that he knows the important parts, i.e. generally what we make and generally what we are worth. I worry we shared too much, and you might be correct that he has shared it with others. However, we would not have given him the information if we did not think he could keep a secret.
I'm sure your son is being discreet, Culture--he sounds like a great kid.

To this day I have no idea what my late parents' income was. My kids did not know ours until they were in college (although son had a good idea as he revealed). Money like s*x just not discussed on a personal level .
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Old 05-05-2008, 12:30 PM   #36
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I say talk to him or at least throw him some hints about being frugal because if you don't who will. Even if you fail at least you will have tried. I don't think you telling him that not everyone spends a large percent of thier income would cause a rift between the two boys. You remembered what your friend's father told you many years ago.
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Old 05-05-2008, 12:45 PM   #37
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i inherited from mom generational wealth of information passed down from her parents.

for as far back as i can remember, i've always known where my money goes. i never just spent frivolously. what i didn't know until just a few weeks ago was that this was a lesson passed down from my grandparents to mom to me.

when i was a kid, before i got my allowance or any extra money during the week, mom never let go of a dollar before i could account for every previous dollar i spent. "what happened to the money i gave you last week?" i used to have to write up a list of everything i spent each dollar on. (obviously training for my future creative writing.)

it never came across to me as a lesson. it was simply the way we lived. and i never even considered it until recently when an old friend of mom's was remembering mom. she used to think my mom was a bit of a jap simply because she came from a family that lived better than most of their friends. it wasn't until later in life that mom's friend realized that my mom was not at all a jap and that, in fact, even though her family lived well, they were actually tighter with money with mom than her poorer friends' parents were with their kids.

mom's friend told me that mom used to have to account to her parents for every penny she spent. i was stunned when my friend told me this because this was just how mom raised me. not that we ever discussed it. not that it was overtly a lesson in life. it was simply the way we lived.

sometimes people learn best when we don't teach. sometimes we teach best while just living our lives.
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Old 05-05-2008, 12:47 PM   #38
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Seems like there must be a way to talk about some of the general principles with your son's friend without sharing any specific numbers or disparaging his family.

"It's too bad you guys can't afford a lake house. It would be really fun to be able to have you next door during the summer."

"We would have plenty of money to buy a lake house if we wanted to. But I want to quit working in a couple of years, and that takes a lot more money than buying a lake house."

or

"Lake houses just aren't very important to us. We'd rather spend our money on traveling around the world/having a longer retirement/a down payment on Jimmy Jr.'s first house."

You can emphasizing saving towards a goal; don't have to tell him that you've already achieved that goal if you don't want to.

Using the right wording and tone, this doesn't have to imply that lake houses are a less worthy goal, simply that you've chosen different goals than his parents have. He can make the leap to realizing that toys and lake houses aren't as attractive as the other goals himself.

And if he really is like an adopted son to you, you might consider sharing more with him than you would with most friends/acquaintances.
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Old 05-05-2008, 12:49 PM   #39
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We did not discuss our financial information with my son until last year. At that time we shared enough that he knows the important parts, i.e. generally what we make and generally what we are worth. I worry we shared too much.
I think you probably did. There's no obvious reason for sharing such details with "a young teenager".
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Old 05-05-2008, 01:02 PM   #40
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sometimes people learn best when we don't teach. sometimes we teach best while just living our lives.
Well put........
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