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Old 02-21-2021, 06:29 PM   #21
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Are your kids close with one another? Would you prefer they be closer?

I think a non-financial consideration is the impact your gifts might have on their relationship with one another - especially if different or conditionally established that favors one over the other.
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Old 02-21-2021, 06:38 PM   #22
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Presumably a substantial inheritance. What happens then is what scares me since statistics show 70% of Families Lose Their Wealth in the 2nd Generation. If managed correctly it could last for many generations to come.

So I donít know what will happen then. As it stands now I suspect half will be squandered and half will be preserved. But I wonít be around to see it. That sounds easier than having to witness it I guess.
I have been on this train of thought for the last few years. We focused on making sure the family was taken care of, kids through college, and have the ability to launch. We are in the throws of that now with a recent college graduate and one that has two more years of school. They are both doing well and will take some bumps along the way I am sure. We have them reading 3 books that we talk about regularly

1. The Richest Man in Babylon
2. The Millionaire Next Door
3. The Total Money Makeover

One of my goals for 21 into 22 is estate planning. It is clear that our kids today could not handle our estate based on their knowledge nor would I want to deny them of the opportunity to learn how to launch and plan for their financial future or saddle them with having to manage a large portfolio until they are in their 30s. By that time I should have an idea of how they are doing on their own and see if they are taking our advice or not. I am fine with them to taking my advice as its their choice. So

The reality of it is we know our kids and may have the chance to know future grandkids one day. Past that not my circus not my monkey. Hopefully we will have prepared our kids to think about their kids and their grandkids future and prepare for them the way we have prepared for our kids. Again I don't want to deny them this opportunity.

We have decided that we will make sure our kids are well taken care of and provide education for any future grandkids and probably a little more. Beyond that we will be donating the amount above and beyond to the charities, causes, and things that align with our views. Our money our choice.
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Old 02-21-2021, 06:58 PM   #23
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Are your kids close with one another? Would you prefer they be closer?

I think a non-financial consideration is the impact your gifts might have on their relationship with one another - especially if different or conditionally established that favors one over the other.
Yes, they are close and I absolutely agree with what youíve said.

Iíve seen relationships devolve when the bad decision making kid is treated with financial benefits and bailouts. I assume the opposite would be true when good behavior is rewarded as well even though I believe in rewarding good behavior and smart choices. In essence it seems like once again the responsible one is being left out so as not to hurt the poor choice makerís feelings.

But I do believe in equal treatment is very important whether I agree with their personal choices or not.
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Old 02-21-2021, 07:11 PM   #24
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But, but, but, you said

That's very different from what you are saying now. Your original words and tone really implied you are very controlling in the situation. If not, great. I just took you at your word that you were managing the account, not mentoring your daughter managing the account.

Letting go, in all its forms, is the toughest form of parenting..........
Mentoring but I have management permissions because Iíve been granted the authority to jump on opportunities on her behalf when they arise. For instance I was able to jump on an opportunity for her which netted her a 200% return on a particular stock in just a few days. Sheís aware of how I manage my portfolio and didnít want to miss out if I saw an opportunity I thought would benefit her. Although if anything she runs the risk of me being too conservative with her assets because I donít like the thought of her losing due to a recommendation or decision Iíve made. Except for those rare occasions sheís fully involved in all decision making because the most important thing is that she learns.

Wise words you have about letting go....but what Iíve found is that itís very freeing. Iíve done it well (I think) in most areas, but am still struggling with the gifting part because I want to see it grown and not squandered. More like prove to me youíre responsible with your own money and Iíll give you some of mine to be responsible with.
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Old 02-21-2021, 08:23 PM   #25
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Joylush, you might be interested in our own journey with our 2 children who handled financial matters very differently from the get go.

DD, the older by 2 years, spent more than she had coming in for years, from college age on. Credit cards of Mom and Dad came in with surprise bills over agreed upon amounts with regularity while in college. I blame myself entirely for allowing this behavior to take hold and persist. She had a great fondness for fashion, clothing, and all things luxury and in fact has a job in that industry. Add to that the fact that her post college career ended up in NYC, a city unaffordable to all college graduates but a few. We needed or should I say decided to subsidize her living expenses in NYC to make sure that she lived in a safe environment.

At that point however, we fortunately recognized that we had helped to create the situation and structured our subsidy to force her to fund not only an IRA and 401K but also build an emergency fund. We realized that we had done her no favors by enabling this lifestyle. The subsidy lasted for several years, but during that time she gradually became accustomed to transferring a portion of her paycheck to retirement savings and emergency fund and over time, as we reduced our subsidy eventually to zero as her salary increased, she never changed the habit of saving. At her request we managed her Roth and helped her to select her 401K funds. She is now rigidly committed to funding not only her Roth and 401K but also a taxable brokerage and CD ladder. Her investment assets just crossed $700K and she's quite focused on her Asset Allocation. If we had it to do over again, we would absolutely have done it differently, but we are thrilled at her progress and success.

Our son has had a very different experience with personal finance. He has never valued things. He values experiences, versus the brand of jeans he wears, not that there isn't also a cost to experiences. One of my favorite stories about DS is the class trip he took to DC in 8th grade. We sent him off with $50 in spending money for the 4 day trip. He came back with $58. When asked how that happened, he explained that all the trinkets he saw that his friends spent their money on were junk. He also sold his pizza slices from orders to his classmates.

He spent his high school and college years carefully watching his funds. He traveled extensively, spent a year in Paris while in college and while there moved to the remote 19th Arrondisemont to save rent money. By comparison, DD when she spent a semester in Paris chose a rental on the Left bank across the street from the Musee D'Orsay. DS spent a summer traveling in Central and South America staying in youth hostels, a summer traveling through Mongolia, across Russia on the Orient Express and then through Europe, all at no cost to us. He's never needed a penny in assistance from us since graduating from college and self funded his graduate degree. His assets now exceed 1MM.

All this to say that both children traveled a very different path and ended up being responsible adults with successful careers and now have surprisingly similar approaches to personal finance.

Our approach to gifting to them has been to keep a mental tally on how much we have funded, but the details have varied significantly. They both know however that we intend for their inheritance to be equal. I don't think it would be good for their relationship with each other if they thought they would not be treated equally.
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Old 02-21-2021, 09:36 PM   #26
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Interesting thread as we have three adult children, all with very different incomes, spending and saving habits. Iím never really sure where the line is between being supportive vs enabling. What we do to assure equity is I keep a tracking spreadsheet and log anything over $1K.

When one was falling behind the other two, we gifted him $ towards his new truck to catch him up. Thereís always something we can fund or contribute to to keep things in balance.

They all know about the tracker, they all have a copy of our will and job action sheet in the event we are disabled. It has very specific instructions about who should do what and when. If there is a concern weíll resolve it now.

Main goal is to do all I can to assure their relationship isnít adversely affected by our gifting decisions and/or actions.
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Old 02-21-2021, 09:46 PM   #27
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Golden sunsets,
That’s a great approach. Thanks for sharing. I’ve done similar mental note taking and balancing to keep things fair. For example, a few years ago I went with my daughter to negotiate the purchase of a new car. She was fully prepared to pay cash for it. On the spot I stopped her from writing the check and insisted on paying for half of it, 10K. She never asked or expected it and I knew she’d worked hard to save the 20K to pay for it without borrowing. So mental note made.

A few years later purchased a 35k nice new truck as a second vehicle for myself. Decided I probably didn’t need it but my son, coming home from a deployment needed a vehicle. Mine was not even a year old but I offered to sell it to him. His choice was I’d sell it to him for $20,000 and gift him $10,000 like I’d done for his sister if he paid $10,000 cash. Or I’d still sell it to him at the very good price of $20,000 and he could pay nothing down and get a loan. He opted to pitch in $10,000 and got a really nice new truck with less than 5,000 miles on it. So both were rewarded equally by showing me they could save their own money.

Likewise I financed my daughter’s home purchase, after she showed she could put down 20% and had reserves enough to cover unforeseen future maintenance needs on the home. This saved her around 5k in closing costs.

I wasn’t willing to get into a loan situation with my son because I didn’t want any potential negative dynamic between us. He wasn’t ready to buy a house and was purchasing one in a depressed area where I will bet he will lose on when it’s time for him to sell. But I supported his decision regardless of not thinking it was the best choice and contributed to his down payment to keep his payments lower. He didn’t have adequate reserves saved and will not be located in the area long enough for the home to appreciate enough to sell at a profit. And although I spoke to him about setting aside funds for home maintenance he spends foolishly. So when his AC broke down last summer he had to either finance a new one at a high rate or go without. I guess the positive news is he’s not gotten it replaced and is doing without as opposed to going into debt. I know his salary and his mortgage payment amount and there is no way he shouldn’t have enough saved to replace his air conditioner but for wasteful spending. He has no health insurance concerns or car payments or student loans and gets additional income from having roommates. My gut reaction was to try to solve his problem for him but I stayed out of it. It’s best to let him figure it out for himself.
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Old 02-22-2021, 07:46 AM   #28
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Golden sunsets,
Thatís a great approach. Thanks for sharing. Iíve done similar mental note taking and balancing to keep things fair. For example, a few years ago I went with my daughter to negotiate the purchase of a new car. She was fully prepared to pay cash for it. On the spot I stopped her from writing the check and insisted on paying for half of it, 10K. She never asked or expected it and I knew sheíd worked hard to save the 20K to pay for it without borrowing. So mental note made.

A few years later purchased a 35k nice new truck as a second vehicle for myself. Decided I probably didnít need it but my son, coming home from a deployment needed a vehicle. Mine was not even a year old but I offered to sell it to him. His choice was Iíd sell it to him for $20,000 and gift him $10,000 like Iíd done for his sister if he paid $10,000 cash. Or Iíd still sell it to him at the very good price of $20,000 and he could pay nothing down and get a loan. He opted to pitch in $10,000 and got a really nice new truck with less than 5,000 miles on it. So both were rewarded equally by showing me they could save their own money.

Likewise I financed my daughterís home purchase, after she showed she could put down 20% and had reserves enough to cover unforeseen future maintenance needs on the home. This saved her around 5k in closing costs.

I wasnít willing to get into a loan situation with my son because I didnít want any potential negative dynamic between us. He wasnít ready to buy a house and was purchasing one in a depressed area where I will bet he will lose on when itís time for him to sell. But I supported his decision regardless of not thinking it was the best choice and contributed to his down payment to keep his payments lower. He didnít have adequate reserves saved and will not be located in the area long enough for the home to appreciate enough to sell at a profit. And although I spoke to him about setting aside funds for home maintenance he spends foolishly. So when his AC broke down last summer he had to either finance a new one at a high rate or go without. I guess the positive news is heís not gotten it replaced and is doing without as opposed to going into debt. I know his salary and his mortgage payment amount and there is no way he shouldnít have enough saved to replace his air conditioner but for wasteful spending. He has no health insurance concerns or car payments or student loans and gets additional income from having roommates. My gut reaction was to try to solve his problem for him but I stayed out of it. Itís best to let him figure it out for himself.
I agree. Your approach seems to be very adaptable, so I think you'll figure out the best way to handle your original question on gifting. We evened the scales by contributing to DS's home down-payment. DD doesn't own a home yet. She recently relocated back to our area from NYC and needed a car for the first time. She wanted our help in guiding her through the car buying process. We were prepared to gift her some of the needed funds, which she was unaware of, but in the end she was so thrilled to put down 20K of her own hard earned cash and take out a 0% loan for the remaining 20K cost, that we didn't give her anything toward it. She's never actually had any debt( pays off her cc bills every month). I think having credit history will be good for her credit rating and she has rearranged her finances to provide not only for the small monthly car loan of $333/mo but also reserving funds for car repairs, insurance, excise tax and auto replacement. These are good practices to master.

In case you can't tell I'm a bit of a spread sheet nerd and I flatter myself that I know a good bit about personal finance Both kids consider their father and I to be their free financial advisors.

We are giving quite a bit of thought ourselves to systematic gifting, rather than sporadic occasion based transfers of wealth. The only thing stopping us at this point is the grandchildren haven't arrived yet and we likely have another wedding and house down-payment to absorb. Contributing to 529 accounts can absorb a lot of $$.

Good luck with your decisions.
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Old 02-22-2021, 08:08 AM   #29
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I agree. Your approach seems to be very adaptable, so I think you'll figure out the best way to handle your original question on gifting. We evened the scales by contributing to DS's home down-payment. DD doesn't own a home yet. She recently relocated back to our area from NYC and needed a car for the first time. She wanted our help in guiding her through the car buying process. We were prepared to gift her some of the needed funds, which she was unaware of, but in the end she was so thrilled to put down 20K of her own hard earned cash and take out a 0% loan for the remaining 20K cost, that we didn't give her anything toward it. She's never actually had any debt( pays off her cc bills every month). I think having credit history will be good for her credit rating and she has rearranged her finances to provide not only for the small monthly car loan of $333/mo but also reserving funds for car repairs, insurance, excise tax and auto replacement. These are good practices to master.

In case you can't tell I'm a bit of a spread sheet nerd and I flatter myself that I know a good bit about personal finance Both kids consider their father and I to be their free financial advisors.

We are giving quite a bit of thought ourselves to systematic gifting, rather than sporadic occasion based transfers of wealth. The only thing stopping us at this point is the grandchildren haven't arrived yet and we likely have another wedding and house down-payment to absorb. Contributing to 529 accounts can absorb a lot of $$.

Good luck with your decisions.
I keep spreadsheets too. Lucky kids to have qualified free financial advisors, if theyíre smart enough to recognize it. I think being open an honest with them about what weíre doing for each and why is key in keeping good relationships with them. Itís secrecy that causes rifts in relationships.
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Old 02-22-2021, 08:41 AM   #30
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I thought I'd mention what I do with my offspring in case it is helpful. I'm 51M, with DS25, DS20, and DD19.

I do all of my larger gifting at Christmas time. Part of my motivation is to just give them money because I like them (and I have too much and they could use more and I'd like to see them practice money handling). Part of my motivation is to teach them good habits, mostly in terms of saving and giving.

So each year I give each of them a check. They each get the same amount, and I try to increase it yearly. This addresses my first motivation.

Each year I also give them a coupon. This coupon is good for matching dollars to either their Roth contribution or a charity of their choice. I used to hound them to use the coupon, but for the past two years I haven't - if they use it, great, if not, well, I know a bit more about where they're at.

Over time, it is interesting to me that they have changed in unexpected ways. The one kid who didn't use the coupon last year was the first one to use it this year. One kid split their coupon between Roth and charity, which was a surprise but a pleasant one. One kid hasn't used it this year, and that kid would have been the last one I would have guessed to not use it.

...

The other general idea I have is that I'm going to start giving my kids larger chunks of money early on to practice with and probably fail with but hopefully learn from.

When the graduated from high school, they each got a $ gift of money from me. When they graduate from college, they got or will get a $ gift of leftover college funds. My Dad may start gifting them $ to help with his estate planning (this is still TBD). When he passes, depending on the situation, I may disclaim $ to each of them. When I pass, there may be $ left over for each of them.

If I just delayed all that until I died, then they'd get one big chunk of money and, not having practiced, may have blown it all. And I wouldn't be around to advise them.

This way, they'll probably mess up some, but it will be with graduated amounts. Each of those $ in the paragraph above are actually about an order of magnitude larger with each subsequent chunk. As each chunk drops, I hope they will learn from their practice and their mistakes and will be more likely to hang on to it and manage it well. And I'll be around to answer questions or point out things or give advice if they ask.

In either case, my Dad has enough money and I and my sisters have enough money, so it won't matter to us. And since I can't imagine any scenario where I would not divide my estate equally among my children, "my money" will become "their money" eventually. My focus has been on helping the next generation with the knowledge and wisdom to manage and use the money wisely. It dawned on me fairly recently that an unwise child could manage to go through it completely no matter how much I piled up. So the solution to me was to focus less piling up more and to focus more on educating and advising and mentoring the next generation.

My kids are all making really very good money decisions already, but there's always more to learn, and with what's coming their way there will be some fairly advanced money lessons coming as well. I'm trying to dole out those lessons already so they have the chance to absorb them and come back with more questions as they have them, since I'm still around to answer them for now. And actually, there's a very decent chance that they'll have to face more challenging money questions than I did because, properly played, they'll be able to retire a decade earlier than I did and/or have ten times the money I do.
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Old 02-22-2021, 08:58 AM   #31
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We gave cash gifts this past Christmas to each of our boys and their wives. One does well with investments and I just need to teach him a few things now and then. The other we know have struggled over the years financially. I was so pleased yesterday to find out they are now debt free except for DDILís student loans. They opened a Roth IRA and a brokerage account, and bought a slice of Amazon and Moderna. Itís a start! They didnít realize they could each open a Roth, so now theyíll open a second one. I recommended a broad market low fee ETF to them and explained the difference between stocks, ETFs and mutual funds. Theyíre listening and asking questions!!!!! Thereís hope!
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Old 02-22-2021, 08:59 AM   #32
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Secondcor521,
Thank you for sharing and the words of wisdom. You gave me an idea. I think I will give them each $5000 plus a coupon to match 100% of any Roth IRA contribution they make up to $3000.

So they can choose to use $3000 of the $5000 gift to put in their Roth and get $3000 more for a total of $8000. Or they can opt to use the $5000 for something else and not contribute to their Roth. At least I’m thinking of doing something like that.

Like anyone I’m just wanting to encourage wise decision making and avoid enabling poor decision making.
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Old 02-22-2021, 09:04 AM   #33
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Secondcor521,
Thank you for sharing and the words of wisdom. You gave me an idea. I think I will give them each $5000 plus a coupon to match 100% of any Roth IRA contribution they make up to $3000.

So they can choose to use $3000 of the $5000 gift to put in their Roth and get $3000 more for a total of $8000. Or they can opt to use the $5000 for something else and not contribute to their Roth. At least Iím thinking of doing something like that.

Like anyone Iím just wanting to encourage wise decision making and avoid enabling poor decision making.
Isn't that a great idea! And I like the idea of doing it every year and giving each kid a chance to mature and change. The hard thing will be biting your tongue if someone doesn't take the match. The good thing is giving each child the exact same opportunity to save.
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Old 02-22-2021, 09:33 AM   #34
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Isn't that a great idea! And I like the idea of doing it every year and giving each kid a chance to mature and change. The hard thing will be biting your tongue if someone doesn't take the match. The good thing is giving each child the exact same opportunity to save.
I tell one of my kids to "play the long con". The idea being that it's not this Christmas check that matters, but their character development, increase in knowledge, and general progress over the next twenty or thirty years. Or in that one's case, it's not the having a fun time with his girlfriend for a week when she visits, but having a multiple year and possibly permanent relationship with a woman who is a college graduate in her own right with good career opportunities.

I also remember that the lessons I've learned the best are from my failures. And nearly all failures are not catastrophic.

The other thing I try to do is accept each of my children for where they are and just try to nudge them in the direction I would like to see them grow. ("Just as a twig is bent, the tree's inclined" - A. Pope)

Each of my three kids is wonderful but also very different from each other. So they're all treated equivalently in that I try to impart all of the lessons to each of them, but the actual lessons I focus on with each kid does vary over time and context and what they're working on at the moment.

I think someone else mentioned above about letting go. I want all of my kids to do well, but at some point I can see that it's up to them what they make of the opportunities and resources available to them. And I also have to respect that as adults they have the right to make decisions that are different than ones I would have made, because they're different people. And it's their life, not mine. So I try to think of it in terms of a football analogy - as long as the ball is in bounds, they can run the ball or pass the ball or do a lateral or a trick play. And sometimes there are penalty flags! So if what they're doing is legal and ethical and moving them towards being happy, healthy, safe, and self-sufficient, then I'll help them even if it's not the exact play I would have drawn up.

I'm trying to play for 30 years from now when the tree is fully grown. I'm trying to play the long con.
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Old 02-22-2021, 10:16 AM   #35
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@Secondcor521 you expressed this perfectly, I think it would be every parents dream for their children to grow and mature in that way. The hard thing is to watch, guide and love from enough distance and not to meddle.

Every parent of more then one child knows how different they can be with different strengths and weaknesses. It's not our job as parents to mold them into what we think is the "perfect" person. Easy to say and yet hard to do.
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Old 02-22-2021, 01:47 PM   #36
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I'm late to this thread and have a different question. Does the difference in ages matter with regard to how much you give? My oldest is near 30, my youngest is near 20. If I start gifting now, is it fair to the 30 year old who got nothing for 10 years?
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Old 02-22-2021, 02:01 PM   #37
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I'm late to this thread and have a different question. Does the difference in ages matter with regard to how much you give? My oldest is near 30, my youngest is near 20. If I start gifting now, is it fair to the 30 year old who got nothing for 10 years?
No, because one day you'll stop (for the same reason we all will...) and they might be 60 and 50 by then, and that won't be unfair either. They'll still get the same number of gifts.

If the older even remotely complains because he didn't have gifts in his 20's, you can slap him a little.
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Old 02-22-2021, 02:07 PM   #38
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I'm late to this thread and have a different question. Does the difference in ages matter with regard to how much you give? My oldest is near 30, my youngest is near 20. If I start gifting now, is it fair to the 30 year old who got nothing for 10 years?
Thatís a good question. Sometimes no matter how hard we try to be fair we canít cover everything. Your oldest might live ten years longer than the youngest. Iím fortunate that my two are the same age.

In reality if you gave the same to each one every year it still comes out equally, If you gave each $5000 a year for ten years and then stopped they both will have gotten $50,000. Neither is penalized in any way for being older or younger. That seems pretty fair.
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Old 02-24-2021, 12:05 PM   #39
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Secondcor521,
Thank you for sharing and the words of wisdom. You gave me an idea. I think I will give them each $5000 plus a coupon to match 100% of any Roth IRA contribution they make up to $3000.

So they can choose to use $3000 of the $5000 gift to put in their Roth and get $3000 more for a total of $8000. Or they can opt to use the $5000 for something else and not contribute to their Roth. At least I’m thinking of doing something like that.

Like anyone I’m just wanting to encourage wise decision making and avoid enabling poor decision making.
This sounds like a great idea, and assuming they leave it in the Roth it satisfies your intention. However, contributions can be withdrawn.

I funded both of my kids Roths through college when they had modest earnings. They are now in their 30s with good sized Roths for their age. One of them lives in a HCOL in Southern CA). He has owned a home for almost 7 years, made a decent return and built equity thanks to low interest rates. Downpayment was gifted from us and his inlaws. His DW, who is an artist with no income producing skills, wants him to take out his Roth contributions and invest in more Southern CA real estate. She thinks they will make a killing. I happened to find out by accident, he had no intention of sharing. His DW is a very domineering person who always needs to get her way, so I won't be surprised if it happens even if he doesn't think it's a great idea.

Aside from where the real estate may or may not be going as an investment, I explained that a dollar in a Roth is worth more than a taxable dollar, and to exchange them is not a prudent move. I suggested they save up a downpayment on their own, since they will need to save money for retirement any way. He doesn't even want to manage it, says he can hire someone to manage it and still come out ahead. He's never even cut his own grass. I was cutting my grass and changing oil, generally being frugal in many ways, to have money to put away in my accounts as well as theirs.

I agree with you about trying to encourage good decision making, but he has changed a lot since moving to CA and getting married. They make fun of where I live "flyover country" and I've told them the money that got them in a house came from living in flyover country.

Reading this thread with interest, because I don't want to see my money squandered, and am seriously considering limiting how much I leave as inheritance to my 2 kids. Would like to leave some to my 1 grand kid, but am concerned about when and how much. I've watched my sister go through her mid 6 figure inheritance and arguably create more problems (didn't try to get a job in her mid 50s, thought the money would last forever, substance abuse, now in her early 60s and apparently broke - we don't know for sure because she has cut off contact with family, just know that there are tax liens on her modest paid for house, says her cell phone and computer both died she hasn't gotten around to replacing, so won't take calls or e-mails, doesn't respond to snail mail, sad situation).

Best situation for me would be to live long enough to see my grandson become a young adult and decide how much to leave him at that point. I am fearful for his future being raised in the manner he is. I'd always planned to spend money on vacations/experiences where I would pick up the tab, but the CA boy's wife doesn't show up (which means not seeing the grandson), or if she does she throws tantrums and pretty much ruins the stay for everyone. One trip where I specifically paid extra money for accommodations for them and she wouldn't get on the plane because she didn't sleep well the night before. Very narcissistic.

Not trying to be a negative nelly, but this is where we're at. One thing that has come out of all this is I'm more comfortable spending money on the two of us!
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Old 02-24-2021, 12:32 PM   #40
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My parents gifted me no money, and I have learned not to expect anything I didn't earn myself. I took this to be a good life lesson in self-reliance, tenacious persistence and delayed gratification...understanding any resulting pride can come with it's own flaws.
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