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How much detail to share with (young) adult children?
Old 12-26-2017, 08:40 PM   #1
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How much detail to share with (young) adult children?

DW and I are in early 50’s and I was able to FIRE last year and join her in the small business we own. Our kids are mid-20’s and have good jobs. They know I FIRE’d and we are reasonably “well off” but not the specifics of exactly how much is in the accounts. I am planning on going through the overall state of our finances so they know where the accounts are located, etc. but I was wondering how many folks here disclose all the money details and how many keep it vague?

They obviously need to know enough to take over if something were to happen to DW and me, but that doesn’t necessarily mean knowing how much $$$ is each account.

How do you all handle it?
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Old 12-26-2017, 08:52 PM   #2
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Keep it vague. That way you are worth more alive.
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Old 12-26-2017, 08:55 PM   #3
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In their early 20's my kids are interested in the ideas of FIRE, but not ready to know all the details of my finances. I'm concerned that they need some time to develop their own self-sufficiency. I do have files that can tell them where everything is, in case of an unexpected emergency that they need to know, but I'm hoping they won't need to for many years. They know where to look if they ever do need all the details.
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Old 12-26-2017, 09:22 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by JohnnyBGoode View Post
DW and I are in early 50’s and I was able to FIRE last year and join her in the small business we own. Our kids are mid-20’s and have good jobs. They know I FIRE’d and we are reasonably “well off” but not the specifics of exactly how much is in the accounts. I am planning on going through the overall state of our finances so they know where the accounts are located, etc. but I was wondering how many folks here disclose all the money details and how many keep it vague?

They obviously need to know enough to take over if something were to happen to DW and me, but that doesn’t necessarily mean knowing how much $$$ is each account.

How do you all handle it?
One might suggest increasing the detail as one ages so that by the late 60s more information is available. This is also one reason to not go for the rage of paperless statements etc, as it would take a while to arrange access to accounts, since at least in theory if a person dies the online accounts are supposed to be locked if single accounts until the executor is appointed.
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Old 12-26-2017, 09:34 PM   #5
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Keep it vague. That way you are worth more alive.
Maybe the above was meant a bit tongue-in-cheek, but yes that came to mind.

Parenting 4, my main goal in those terms is that they understand that they are living a reasonably nice life today in financial terms BUT they are expected to fend for themselves after college. Do not rely/expect anything beyond, need to make your own life.
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Old 12-26-2017, 09:42 PM   #6
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Maybe the above was meant a bit tongue-in-cheek, but yes that came to mind.

Parenting 4, my main goal in those terms is that they understand that they are living a reasonably nice life today in financial terms BUT they are expected to fend for themselves after college. Do not rely/expect anything beyond, need to make your own life.
+1

Very well said!

My wife's father retired early 40s. He let it be know his goal was to spend all his money before he passed.

He was a great guy, little sick with bipolar, but he did his best to teach us the value of saving. Smart guy, if you talked to him you might have thought him slow. He was slow, and smart. I wish I'd of listened more to him.😕
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Old 12-26-2017, 09:49 PM   #7
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I'm in the opposite camp.

Full-ish disclosure with my teen kids. They know what has been put aside for their schooling, have found it makes discussion about college choices easier. They have some idea of the total amounts I'm managing. Will share more as their money habits evolve.

My view is that understanding the entirety of the family unit finances is an opportunity to educate them about managing money and the responsibilities that come with having "enough" and making it last. Appears to be working with mine, understand that is not universal.
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Old 12-26-2017, 10:08 PM   #8
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One of my step-father's sons used to call him every Christmas Eve begging for an advance on his inheritance (no, I'm not making this up). Another of my step-brothers tried to hit my mother up for a $1.5M advance on his inheritance (a QTIP trust distribution) (no, I'm not making this up). I doubt that many parents visiting this website want to be in this boat. Just a friendly warning! 😎
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Old 12-26-2017, 10:34 PM   #9
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I have a relative, just waiting for his 96 yr old dad to die, so he can break the trust and get his hands on "his money".
I'm guessing its a couple of million.
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Old 12-27-2017, 12:27 AM   #10
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Our children do not know the details of what we have. However, I have been giving them about half of my RMD every year. I am sure that they have some idea,but they may not care.
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Old 12-27-2017, 01:06 AM   #11
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My elderly father moved in with us recently and has Alzheimers. My sons both told DW and I to not plan on either of us ever moving in with them. Now, I love these boys, their families and they have done well for themselves with one being a dean at a university and has a doctorate and the other who is well placed in a cable sports network, but if they have expressed that they are not interested in being there for us, then they have zero need to know how much we have. And if either ever asks for a dime, I'll let them know we are needing everything we have saved in order to never be the burden on them that they think my dad is for us.

In other words, I'm saying that you better really know your kids. If you EVER are in a situation where financial responsibility is handed off to your progeny, what you imagine your kids would do may just be that; imagination and not reality. I have a trust fund and I spoke to my estate planner to set up all the arrangements so that our money will be used to take care of us if we can't make financial decisions any more.
Money ruins more relationships than everything else combined. I'm not going to let that happen with our family by spelling out what I'm worth. All I'll tell 'em is that I'll have enough to be financially independent so they don't need to worry about taking care of us.
They know how to contact the estate planning attorney if and when they need to.
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Old 12-27-2017, 01:24 AM   #12
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We handled it with a trust. The documents there provide account information. Teaching is more valuable than disclosing in my opinion.
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Old 12-27-2017, 01:53 AM   #13
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Really depends on your kids. My daughter (33) has a pretty good idea of our total position. But I haven’t spelled it out in detail. We have helped her extensively over the years and she has been very responsible financially. As we age (I’m 67) I plan on bringing her into our finances more. Too much discussion at this point would seem a little unwise, I think. It might skew our relationship too much towards finances.
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Old 12-27-2017, 05:39 AM   #14
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My situation is similar, except that we are all about 5 years older, the kids did not finish college, and they have lousy jobs. DW and I have not discussed our details with them, but we are obviously FI and RE. I would not want them to be demotivated to improve their situation.
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Old 12-27-2017, 06:37 AM   #15
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If they understand the basic concepts of FIRE and the 4% rule it wouldn't be that difficult to walk backwards to a rough estimate number...
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Old 12-27-2017, 07:43 AM   #16
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If they understand the basic concepts of FIRE and the 4% rule it wouldn't be that difficult to walk backwards to a rough estimate number...
Agree, as long as they know how much money you are spending.
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Old 12-27-2017, 07:53 AM   #17
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Our kids don't know the details of what we have but they do know the details of how we amassed it and are replicating that in their own lives. I have a detailed document to guide them or DW through our finances if I suddenly die. At some point, probably in about 10 years we will share the details with the kids and probably give them POA to manage our assets if we become incapacitated.
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Old 12-27-2017, 08:11 AM   #18
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I don't share details with my boys. They each received $50k 9 years ago and every year they get $5k. Each of their kids gets $10k a year for their college, so that is $40k for all 5 of them. I am considering additional annual bequests after they graduate.

But I have never shared how large the pile is. I do talk of LBYM and saving so that they only need to draw 3% but I readily tell them that I am hoping to go through my whole pile.
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Old 12-27-2017, 08:15 AM   #19
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I have shared little to nothing with my daughters - both in their 30's. Reading this and other threads on the subject make me realize that I need to handle my estate much better than I currently am. My overriding thought about my estate is the RIP means, I won't have to deal with it. However, I'm sure I need to get my documents in order and share them with my daughters. What I would share with them is how to figure out my finances and wishes in my absence. I am not inclined to share specific amounts with them.
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Old 12-27-2017, 08:28 AM   #20
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I have a list of accounts, addresses, phone numbers, etc.--in with my will. And I have noted how the estate should be handled For now, that is all anyone needs to know.

We have one completely irresponsible daughter and will be setting up a special needs trust to protect her 6 year old granddaughter we are raising. Right now, the daughter gets nothing and will not know anything about our future plans. All real estate and assets will be sold and held in the trust.

One daughter is an accountant and she will be the executor. The son spends all he makes and is needy. Both are secondary beneficiaries on a sizable IRA Rollover account and they will have to withdraw RMDs.
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