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Old 01-16-2009, 04:25 PM   #21
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landonew,

Wow. What a story. I think other posters have given good advice above.

As far as purchasing a property goes, you might want to consider a duplex. You could live on one side, your parents on the other. If you later decided to move out, you could rent out your side. It might work nicely, especially if you're in a nice area.

Good luck with the rest of it.
Thats a good idea and would fix the current restriction on sleepovers.
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Old 01-16-2009, 04:46 PM   #22
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Thats a good idea and would fix the current restriction on sleepovers.
One part of this that might be the most difficult for all of you is renegotiating boundaries, responsibilities and roles. While you want to help your parents, I think it would be a mistake for you to continue on in the "child" role. Finishing school, starting a job and buying a house are all markers of adulthood. Given your post, you're a particularly thoughtful and caring offspring, which is great. But while you're still their child, they're no longer in a position to dictate your life choices.

I think that if you're the one paying the rent, you're the one who gets to make the rules. But I also think that, as an adult who is paying rent, you should have certain rights and privileges in a house, and for me that would include the right to have a friend (or "friend") stay over. I don't know if you've talked to your parents about this, but it might be good to start that conversation now. There may be other things to discuss -- division of housework, shopping, cooking, etc. -- that would make it more about living together as adults.

I'm not trying to imply that your parents are controlling, or that your relationship with them is unhealthy in any way. We've got multigenerational living arrangements in our family, and I can see many, many advantages, but the reason the ones in our family have worked is that people have been very clear about boundaries, rights and responsibilities within the relationships of parent, child, and grandchild.

Like I said before, good luck. I'm curious as to how it goes for you because it's possible we'll be in the same place at some point in the future. Will you let us know how it turns out? Thanks!
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Old 01-16-2009, 05:43 PM   #23
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You might consider putting the house in your parents name with some sort of document that it comes to you upon their death, depending on property tax. In Texas, your parents would get an over 65 exemption thus lowering taxes. In some counties, i.e. Harris, on a $150,000 house there would be no county tax. You loose the tax write off, but when you figure the standard deduction and the tax with home interest/tax deduction, you may find it is not as much.
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Old 01-16-2009, 06:27 PM   #24
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I'm not going to give you any financial advice, but I'm just gonna give you mad props for being a terrific kid.

You know what you don't know, so you'll be fine. Good luck!
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Old 01-16-2009, 08:02 PM   #25
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One part of this that might be the most difficult for all of you is renegotiating boundaries, responsibilities and roles. While you want to help your parents, I think it would be a mistake for you to continue on in the "child" role. Finishing school, starting a job and buying a house are all markers of adulthood. Given your post, you're a particularly thoughtful and caring offspring, which is great. But while you're still their child, they're no longer in a position to dictate your life choices.

I think that if you're the one paying the rent, you're the one who gets to make the rules. But I also think that, as an adult who is paying rent, you should have certain rights and privileges in a house, and for me that would include the right to have a friend (or "friend") stay over. I don't know if you've talked to your parents about this, but it might be good to start that conversation now. There may be other things to discuss -- division of housework, shopping, cooking, etc. -- that would make it more about living together as adults.

I'm not trying to imply that your parents are controlling, or that your relationship with them is unhealthy in any way. We've got multigenerational living arrangements in our family, and I can see many, many advantages, but the reason the ones in our family have worked is that people have been very clear about boundaries, rights and responsibilities within the relationships of parent, child, and grandchild.

Like I said before, good luck. I'm curious as to how it goes for you because it's possible we'll be in the same place at some point in the future. Will you let us know how it turns out? Thanks!
I completely agree. As of right now, I am studying for the bar and not paying rent.

As far as over-night guests in my parents house (or a house in which we both lived), I would consider that to be pretty disrespectful on my part unless of course the guest was my spouse. Regardless of rent, that is not something that my mother would consider to be "consistent with our values." She is not under any misconceptions about that part of my life (had a live in girl friend for a period during law school), but isn't something we discuss openly. I would feel uncomforatable.

As far as rights and privliges, my parents don't exert any control over me in that regard. I come and go as I please (and as i should at 24). The division of chores is not an issue currently, we are all pretty clean. As far as grocery shopping, I am a bit of a health nut (they have nick-named me the "food nazi") so I tend to do my own grocery shopping as well as food preperation.

Of course, it has only been a month or so. I am sure issues will come about and boundries will need to be set.

Thanks for your advice, and I will certainly tell yall how it works it out.
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Old 01-16-2009, 11:33 PM   #26
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The role confusion can be a bigger issue than the actual finances. Ever since my net worth exceeded that of my parents, I've had this feeling that I should be helping them financially to pay back some of what they gave me in raising me. But they have always lived larger than myself. It feels like their spending as a couple is almost 4 times greater than what I spend individually.

For a while I had the idea that I wasn't really ready to retire until I could do so and also save my parents. I'd nudge them towards spending less, and they would resent that, and it just felt awkward all around.

It didn't set right for me to save and live on a low budget when they are living higher on the hog. So my resolution is that I'm just not going to worry about it unless they ask for help. Maybe they have more resources than they are letting on and they will magically be fine. Or they may go back to work. Or I may eventually have to bail them out and I go back to work. But nothing will change the fact that they are my parents and deserving of respect. At least until they blow it :-)
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Old 01-17-2009, 11:57 AM   #27
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Landonew,

Sounds like you all have it pretty well dialed in. That's fantastic! Sorry if my previous post came across as patronizing or preachy -- that wasn't my intent at all.

Good luck with your goals, and with the bar. If the rest of your life is as pulled-together as your posts indicate, you'll do great!
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Old 01-21-2009, 07:12 PM   #28
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I would say the idea above should definitely be your first priority. If you can provide them with a roof over their head at no cost (and the three of you can peacefully co-exist) then that will go a long way towards improving their retirement prospects.

Although it isn't the way things are done in the US today, having parents and grandparents living under one roof has thousands of years of history behind it. Assuming they never save another cent towards retirement, they should be able to eventually support themselves on SS alone if they can continue to live with you.
I could be wrong here, but I didn't get the impression he planned to live with them. Read it again. He just said he wanted to buy them a house. He never said he planned to live in it with them.

Personally, I think that's being outrageously too generous, but to each his own. I just though that point might warrant some clarification.
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Old 01-21-2009, 07:38 PM   #29
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I agree, once I have a family of my own, they will take priority.
This is the part that concerns me. If you establish this pattern of dependency, and your parents are used to the income, then 5 years down the road you have your own family to worry about, will you be able to cut them off? Will they be able to adjust their lifestyle once they must live off the lower income?
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Old 01-21-2009, 10:32 PM   #30
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Landonew,

Nowadays, it is rare to find someone who is willing to help his/her parents the way you do. Looking through your posts, I have a feeling that despite your father's terrible financial mistake, he is a good father. Apparently, you love your parents and your love is reciprocated.

I have a 23-yr old daughter and a 19-yr old son still living with me; they are still in college. The fact that they live at home and not in a dorm is not common, but we do not have any problem. I'd rather myself or themselves not go into debt for college. I learn to gradually treat them as adults, though they are still dependent on me. Of course, when they graduate, I expect them to move out, for their own sake, so they can really live their life.

I have no advice to give you, as many others have already made many good points. I only want to add that your concern about your parents, particularly your mother, is commendable. With love and understanding, you will find the right thing to do.

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Old 01-22-2009, 04:18 PM   #31
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I could be wrong here, but I didn't get the impression he planned to live with them. Read it again. He just said he wanted to buy them a house. He never said he planned to live in it with them.

Personally, I think that's being outrageously too generous, but to each his own. I just though that point might warrant some clarification.
This is true. I don't plan to live with my parents for too long, maybe 2-3 years.

I respect your opinion, but "Outrageously too generous" is a little bit of an overstatment IMO. My folks sent me to a private high-school (30K/year) and paid for my undergraduate degree.

Moreover, I have seen so many of my friends waste their late-teens/early-20s away and now have nothing to show for it. My father, on the other hand, gave me the guidence and helped me choose a career that should serve me well throughout my adult life. When I was 17 years old and about to graduate highschool, he sat me down and discussed career options. Intially, I wanted to pursue a business degree. He pulled out salary surveys and showed me what I could expect with respect to compensation with various degrees (ranging from education to medicine). Over the next several months we discussed my strengths (math and science) and reviewed other options. Eventually (took a while), he convinced me to pursue an electrical engineering degree w/ the plan to attend law school immediately following graduation. It wasn't until years later that I found that he worked with several patent attorneys while working for Texas Instruments and had intended for some time to steer me in that direction.

I don't feel that I "owe" my parents anything for this (although I am very grateful). I do, however, feel that some reciprocation (now that I am in position to do so) is not uncalled for. At the end of the day, you only get one set of parents, and I want to see mine happy.


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This is the part that concerns me. If you establish this pattern of dependency, and your parents are used to the income, then 5 years down the road you have your own family to worry about, will you be able to cut them off? Will they be able to adjust their lifestyle once they must live off the lower income?
Excellent point. That is why I am hestitent to undertake "structuralized expenses" such as bills or monthly stipens. I fear that a monthly "parent Bill" could cause some animosity between myself and my future spouse (whomever she may be).

However, if my "gifts" are limited to one time lump sums (i.e. buying them a modest house) occuring prior starting a family of my own, then they could adjust their living style accordingly without the expectation of continued support.

To address your concern, I believe that decreasing my own children's SOL, in any significant respect, in order to support my parents would be a disservice to my them as well as to my spouse. Consequently, I don't believe that I will be able to offer them much once I start a family of my own. However, I don't see that happening till I am in my early-mid 30s.

I appreciate your post. Your points are excellent. I will certainly be careful to watchout for long-term financial entanglements concerning my parents.
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Old 01-22-2009, 05:07 PM   #32
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I respect your opinion, but "Outrageously too generous" is a little bit of an overstatment IMO. My folks sent me to a private high-school (30K/year) and paid for my undergraduate degree.
No wonder your parents are broke!

Seriously, I have to ask. Are you of asian descent, by chance? Emphasis on taking care of parents seems to be a cultural thing among many of asian descent. Inquiring minds want to know.
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Old 01-22-2009, 05:14 PM   #33
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A couple of thoughts.

If you rescue too soon, (even with the provision of a house) it negates some of the "natural consequences" and some of the "make-up work" that your dad needs to do with your mother. They need to revisit expectations concerning open communication and money management (and hopefully come out the other side of a tough situation being more connected in their relationship).

Of course you should pay a fair rent if you're living with them in their living quarters, but not so much that it hurts too bad when you move out.

Paying for them to have some marriage counseling might be a good investment, however. But then, I don't know your folks. It's just my general opinion that just about everyone could benefit from (good) marriage counseling. Even people with really good marriages probably have areas where things could be improved.

And pre-marital counseling is an exceptionally good buy for those "in contemplation of" marriage.

Just my opinion.

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Old 01-22-2009, 05:16 PM   #34
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I have read this thread but have not commented. I purchased two homes for my parent. One was a Condo in the city she had lived in all of her life. Then, when she got to the point it was not safe there, I moved her to another part of the country where we were living and purchased her a home down the street from my home. I think even tho you may want to do this now IMO you should wait a several years to embark on this. After you are secure (i.e., have started your own family) and have a spouse that is comfortable with "doing something for YOUR parents" then go ahead. Of course your spouse may have a need to "do something for HER parents". Hopefully, at that point in your life you will be able to do both. Remember children, assuming you want them, are VERY expensive. I think your FATHER has the responsibility to provide for himself and your Mother and he probably knows it. Your Mother is a very strong person to take on a responsibility that should not be hers. IMHO, at this point you should back off a bit and see how the next several years develop.

BTW I am German, Scotch and English by descent.
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Old 01-22-2009, 05:19 PM   #35
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No wonder your parents are broke!

Seriously, I have to ask. Are you of asian descent, by chance? Emphasis on taking care of parents seems to be a cultural thing among many of asian descent. Inquiring minds want to know.
Nope, about as white as they come.
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Old 01-22-2009, 07:33 PM   #36
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So you are going to be a patent lawyer?

Odds are you will do quite well.

One possibility to help your parents is to provide money each year to fund their retirement plans. Then there won't be the issue of them becoming dependent upon you for day to day needs.
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Old 01-22-2009, 07:40 PM   #37
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Nope, about as white as they come.
Defying stereotypes! Wow!
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Old 01-22-2009, 08:36 PM   #38
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As a side observation, I saw that landonew's father is a thoughtful and caring man. Yet, you can be doing many things right your life, and never be a gambling man, and in just a year or two of bad investment endeavors, wipe out your life savings. Who knows how many cases like this in the real world?

I will think of this often as I manage my portfolio in the future.


PS. I'd like to add here that the solution for landonew to buy a home for his parents may not be a bad idea. As long as it is a modest place, the timing is not bad, given the current housing market. As landonew keeps the title in his name, he can look at it as a real-estate investment. With the mortgage taken care of, his parents only need a modest income to live on, until they qualify for SS. Remember that he will get the house back eventually. It is money he will get back.
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:41 PM   #39
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So you are going to be a patent lawyer?

Odds are you will do quite well.

One possibility to help your parents is to provide money each year to fund their retirement plans. Then there won't be the issue of them becoming dependent upon you for day to day needs.
Yes, I will be a full fledged patent Attorney once I pass the Texas State bar next month (knock on wood). I am currently a patent agent, I passed the USPTO registration exam (aka federal "patent bar") last November.

Good idea about funding their retirements. I will give that some consideration. Only problem is that it does not have the tax benits of property ownership.

Thanks for your post
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:54 PM   #40
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As a side observation, I saw that landonew's father is a thoughtful and caring man. Yet, you can be doing many things right your life, and never be a gambling man, and in just a year or two of bad investment endeavors, wipe out your life savings. Who knows how many cases like this in the real world?

I will think of this often as I manage my portfolio in the future.


PS. I'd like to add here that the solution for landonew to buy a home for his parents may not be a bad idea. As long as it is a modest place, the timing is not bad, given the current housing market. As landonew keeps the title in his name, he can look at it as a real-estate investment. With the mortgage taken care of, his parents only need a modest income to live on, until they qualify for SS. Remember that he will get the house back eventually. It is money he will get back.
This is a good point. Although it is not a great investment (i.e. pure property ownership w/o rent has a relatively low return), it is not a complete wash.

Thanks for the kind words about my father. He is a good man that made a costly mistake. Through time I believe my mother and I will forgive him. However, regaining our trust is unlikely at this point. Nonetheless, our family is a loving one.

If nothing else, it certainly tought me a valuable life lesson. Life is about alot more than having nice things (we have few of those now, lol). However, financial security, or lack thereof, can put alot of stress on relationships. I didn't speak to my father for 6 months, and my parents seperated for a short period of time. All is better now, however. My father's skills as a salesman are improving, and if the next 12 months are as good as the last six, my father will make $48,000 this year. That puts the folks Gross income at about $90,000. Of course, they have a pretty signficant tax debt (IRS charges a pretty penny to withdraw $$ out of 401k). Nonetheless, there is light at the end of the tunnel. With a little help, I think my mother can retire comforatably and enjoy a happy (yet modest) SOL during her golden years.
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