Author Topic: ethical/moral questions!  (Read 6031 times)

clezm

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ethical/moral questions!
« on: February 16, 2017, 03:42:14 PM »
Topic Title:
This is more an ethical/moral question than a nuts & bolts practical finances question.

Life Situation:
I don't have any debts, or dependents. I'm 24, female, in the United Kingdom, currently single. Here's the basic thing. My parents are very wealthy, due to their careers (that they are both still high level at (law & medicine), with no plans for retirement - ever. My grandfather worked hard till he was 95). They have a house now worth about £5 million, and at some point in the next 5 years they will sell this, buy another with half the money and divide the remainder between my self and 3 siblings to spend on 'bricks and mortar investment' - ie a house/flat. As this money is earmarked, we can access now, or they will hold onto it until we want it - but we have to justify what we want it for. One of my siblings has already taken some of this money to buy a place for her family. In addition to that, when they die (10-40 years time), there will most likely be an inheritance - there is a big house in France, a car, and money in bank accounts and invested. They never talk about money, so, I donít know the full details.

Gross Salary/Wages: Before any deductions
I work 26 hours (3 days) a week, plus extra one-off earnings (Task Rabbit and babysitting) so I earn about £1100-1300 per month. My next set of taxes (due in Jan), works out to about £85 per month. I'm studying 2 days a week (post-grad diploma in children's counselling)

Individual amounts of each Pre-tax deductions 401k, HSA, FSA, IRA, insurance, etc. - whatever you have
I'm self employed. The above figure of £85 includes national insurance contributions

Adjusted Gross Income: This should equal the additions and subtractions above.
October to Feb (current job) the monthly average is £1275 so minus £85 for tax is £1190 per month.

Current expenses:
Monthly averages - I use YNAB software
Rent - £300 (40% of total spending)
Therapy (required for my postgraduate course) - £180
Travel - £100 (London is insanely expensive and I canít always cycle)
Eating Out - £27 (hot drinks, snacks and meals)
Groceries - tricky - I get a £200 bulk food order so the average is off, but works out to about £100 per month all in. Iím a vegan
Entertainment - cinema tickets, alcoholic drinks, Sunday Assembly, workshops, classes, shows) - £25
Clothing - £20 (I am trying very hard to cut this average down!!)
Contact lenses & fluid - £23
Phone Bill - £7.50
Spotify - £4.99
Stationary & Toiletries - £12
Dentist (twice a year) - works out to £4.80 per month
Charity - £10 budgeted on an ongoing basis, but Iím working through donating a Ďpotí of £130 that I got in December from taking peopleís spare change to the coin sorter machine! So it's more like £35 monthly.
Health - (Buddhist retreat in September, swimming, meditation classes) - hard to assess on a monthly basis.. I budget £38 per month and it saves up
Presents for people - £15
Visiting friends and family, usually by train, and socially unavoidable eating costs whilst there - £50

My average spending is about £1150, but it depends which month you average from, as I donít have enough stable months of data to know! I started a new job in August, and I ended an expensive relationship in November (and wonít be doing that again, ever). Usually I manage to save money each month - Oct £222, Nov £217, Dec £835, Jan £-69 (didnít properly budget for my taxes and deposit for the retreat), Feb (should be about £400)

Obviously I can cut a lot of these down, if thatís the route Iím going to take - the hardcore saving-to-invest route. Stop eating out with friends, stop visiting friends, stop giving money at buddhist centre, stop charitable donation.. I dunno. That sounds like a crap life. Ha.

Assets: Amount & description - include current asset allocation plan if you have one
Definition of assets: Any item of economic value owned by an individual or corporation, especially that which could be converted to cash. Examples are cash, securities, accounts receivable, inventory, office equipment, real estate, a car, and other property.

I own a bike that cost £550, should be worth about £450 when I sell. No other assets really, just belongings - which are pretty minimised.
Old MacBook Pro - limited resale value now
Old iPad - as above
Old iPhone 5
Currently all the money I have - £1326.75
I had a car for a few years that my parents bought me but I gave it to my sister as she has 4 kids in a rural location and needed a second car, and I didnít pay for it originally anyway (just upkeep & costs).

Specific Question(s): Providing a detailed breakdown is important, so is asking for specific information so we know what kind of help/advice you are looking for.
So, my question really is what do I do long term, what is sensible? With my life.
I donít want to accept the fourth of the house money - if they do let me have it I will donate it to charity.
I donít accept money from them. I do however let them pay for dinner, and flights twice a year.
If thatís true, then I could work really hard (5/6 days per week) now and invest the money and Ďretireí - the MMM way, I think. But, *should* I accept some money? I just donít deserve it, as all I did to Ďearní it was be born. I could take the money and use it for good, or take a set amount and charitably use the rest.
I currently think that I donít enjoy working (as a nanny) more than 3 days per week, there are way more important things to life - having a balance. I love volunteering, etc. Plus, Iím still studying but that will end in July and I have the opportunity to sort of do whatever i want. I want to move city (scrap transport costs - go everywhere by bike), because I really want to live by myself basically, and be closer to nature. I currently keep my costs as low as I can because I donít want to work any more hours, but obviously I could. I imagine I will likely continue in this way. Because thereís no point planning longer term about my life when I have this huge sum of money waiting for me, it seems. It makes me working my ass off now sort of Ö ridiculous and inconsequential, compared - apart from the personal feeling of success obviously. Apart from if I really am going to not take the money from them, then I should definitely work really hard. But if I have children by that point, (the point of inheritance - from the house sale or from their death) how can I possibly refuse money for moral and independency reasons, if it would help my child/ren in some way? But obviously I have no idea how much I could actually get. I could take the property chunk now, and buy a flat - and use the saved rent costs to volunteer 2 days per week (which would be my ideal!), maybe choose my own flatmate after a bit of time by myself. Or set up my dream childrenís centre/kid club, just do something I want to do. I can just stop objecting to and punishing myself for being born into my circumstances and accept it, just go with it. But how can I possibly do that, keep that money for myself, that I didnít earn at all, given the amount of suffering in the world? I am aware that Iím going to get a lot of flac for being rich and whining about it. Iím not whining! Iím aware of how incredible unfair it is that I have access to this, and I have no idea how to operate my life because of it. I sometimes wonder if I'd have preferred if my parents said they wouldnít give us any money. Or only a certain amount, or until a certain age but theyíve just said they are offering us the money and itís up to us to work out the morals and ethics of it. If I do go the investment route, I donít want to invest in anything unethical, so Iím going to have to do a lot of research and picking and choosing, to get options Iím happy with - and will probably not make as much money as I could.
So, chuck your opinions at me - should I refuse the money and earn my own money - i.e. 5 days a week, save 50% or more, then stop after however many years it takes to have 25 x my yearly outgoings. But obviously, my yearly outgoings if I have children or cohabitate will change - I canít predict what will happen in my life. If I became disabled and couldnít do my work, then would I really refuse my parents help? How much help should a parent give, and should their child accept? Iím not saying anything new now, so Iím going to stop. Help!

pbkmaine

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2017, 03:53:02 PM »
Take the money and buy a flat. This will set you up for the rest of your life and make your parents happy. Donate excess $ from work to charity.

CmFtns

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2017, 04:14:36 PM »
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what do I do long term, what is sensible?
Long term you could retire if you accepted the money right now OR you could work like you currently do and save small amounts of money OR you could work more full time and retire the MMM way

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But, *should* I accept some money?
I think you should accept all of the money

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how can I possibly refuse money for moral and independency reasons, if it would help my child/ren in some way?
You don't have children yet and you probably morally shouldn't have children unless you can financially support them. How you get to that financially stable place isn't the moral question here...

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But how can I possibly do that, keep that money for myself, that I didnít earn at all, given the amount of suffering in the world?
Some people are lucky... as long as you don't turn into an entitled ass, live a down to earth humble life, and try to be a good person it doesn't matter

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If I became disabled and couldnít do my work, then would I really refuse my parents help?
I doubt you would refuse help if you were in need.

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How much help should a parent give, and should their child accept?
If I were a parent and I had a lot of extra money I would give generously to my children if they were not entitled brats and I believed they would use the money wisely. If I were a child I would accept the money.
"the only efficient way to get there is on the front of the wave" -MMM

Hargrove

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2017, 04:31:24 PM »
I was once asked by a friend of mine who found a bank envelope with cash in it what the ethical thing to do with it was. He asked if he should turn it in to the police station, many miles away.

I said no, absolutely not. The odds decrease that the person who lost this money will find it as the distance grows from where it was lost. Further, the more hands it changes, the less likely it will be returned as well. The ethical thing to do is to stick around the area until a worried person shows up looking desperately for a while, and then asks someone if they've seen an envelope. Incidentally, he did, and that is exactly what happened. My friend had conflated keeping his hands clean (I turned it into the police) with helping someone (I waited until the likely unfortunate soul returned).

The difference is between proactive doing good or reactive avoiding blame. He would have been blameless going to the PD, but not really doing good.

So you seem to have an ethical issue with accepting the money, chief among the issues that you didn't deserve it, as you say. Well, you're not alone. You cannot, however, unrig the birthday lottery you won through no device of your own. So it comes down to... so what?

So do you reject the money and anything you could possibly do with it to somehow enhance your own purity (avoid blaming yourself for your undeserved advantage)? Read your own book, starring you - do you hope the title character who would be concerned about doing good things with the money never gets it?

Are you more concerned about keeping your hands clean (I never inherited a massive fortune!) or about doing something good (I don't know how to manage a massive fortune and would have to learn)?

If it's more about doing good things with the money, for crying out loud, the obvious best answer is to take it, learn how to manage it, invest it, make it a trust fund for Good Things to Give Away if you like, put it in a charity's name if you think temptation to use it would somehow harm you.

But don't just run away from it.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2017, 04:36:23 PM by Hargrove »

omachi

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2017, 04:50:04 PM »
A simple question to ask yourself that might change how you feel about accepting the money: Since you were born in the UK, should you refuse to take the amazing advantages that growing up in the industrialized west has brought you? Since not everybody in the world has access to the sort of education and social systems you have, should you have handicapped yourself and not learned to read or not been treated for any illnesses? Is it immoral to do so?

If not, what's so different about the money? You can use it to just be stable and leave a job available for somebody that needs it. You can use it to allow you to pursue some cause that's important to you. It isn't inherently good or bad, it's how you use it.

You sound like you're uncomfortable that you didn't earn it. Good, that shows you aren't entitled. Keep that. Show that you can earn your own way if you must in order to feel at peace. Or show gratitude that you don't have to do what so many dread. You've been given an amazing opportunity. Figure out how to use it to the effect you want to see.

Laura33

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2017, 08:19:22 PM »
Everyone has certain assets in life.  You chose your parents wisely -- good for you.  But you also have intelligence, and skills, and heart, and many other things.  The question that you will need to ask at the end of it all is: how did you use all of those assets that were gifted to you? 

Many - most - people on this earth have to spend their days to sustain themselves and their family.  They don't have the luxury of using their assets to benefit others, because their time and energy and limited funds must go to their own supper.  You do -- you have the option of never having to worry about putting food on the table and a roof over your head.  So what will you do with this luxurious, wonderful gift? 

You can of course donate the money to charity -- you can send your money gift out into the world to do good, and then devote your personal gifts to supporting yourself, like everyone else.  Or you can reverse that equation:  accept the financial gift as the way to support yourself, thus freeing you to use all of your other gifts -- your energy, intelligence, drive, heart, etc. -- to do good.  The former is the easier path to assuage your guilt.  The latter may allow you to do more good, because I suspect your personal talents are a much greater resource than a few hundred thousand pounds.

And, you know, if you try option 2 and it still doesn't make you happy, you can always give the money away then and get a regular job.  Hard to do it the other way around.

Tl;dr:  you are overvaluing the money and undervaluing yourself.  Take the money and throw yourself into something you believe fervently in.
Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

brownstone

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2017, 09:32:37 PM »
it is MORALLY RIGHT to accept EVERYTHING your parents give to you.  Just acccept it, invest it(much better option compared to simply donating it).  Make sure you have enough passive income to have FI.  Then you can be more free to work on thinga that you believe in without worrying so much about finances.

What will you do if you have all the time and the money in the world? >>> this question define you

ATLien_Si

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2017, 12:51:28 AM »
My suggestion is to take the money. You don't seem to care too much about money and possessions, I'm sure you can be responsible with it. Also consider the fact that you can retire at a young age and donate your time, and money... I think you would get more fulfillment donating your time because you would be engaged in the good that you want to achieve, rather than throwing money at it.

clezm

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2017, 02:09:34 AM »

The difference is between proactive doing good or reactive avoiding blame. He would have been blameless going to the PD, but not really doing good.

So you seem to have an ethical issue with accepting the money, chief among the issues that you didn't deserve it, as you say. Well, you're not alone. You cannot, however, unrig the birthday lottery you won through no device of your own. So it comes down to... so what?

So do you reject the money and anything you could possibly do with it to somehow enhance your own purity (avoid blaming yourself for your undeserved advantage)? Read your own book, starring you - do you hope the title character who would be concerned about doing good things with the money never gets it?

Are you more concerned about keeping your hands clean (I never inherited a massive fortune!) or about doing something good (I don't know how to manage a massive fortune and would have to learn)?

If it's more about doing good things with the money, for crying out loud, the obvious best answer is to take it, learn how to manage it, invest it, make it a trust fund for Good Things to Give Away if you like, put it in a charity's name if you think temptation to use it would somehow harm you.

But don't just run away from it.

Thank you - this was really helpful way of looking at it. I sometimes definitely have a 'hands clean' approach to it - running away, as you say. That way of looking at it is about how I am perceived by others ('Look, I refused the money! I'm not a spoilt rich kid! Please don't group me in with all the dicks running the country!'), not about my actual values and inherent view of myself. Because I am 'rich kid'; I had all the advantages of it, whether I 'accept' the money or not. I don't want to run - learning to manage and do the most good with it is the way forward.

clezm

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2017, 02:10:24 AM »
Take the money and buy a flat. This will set you up for the rest of your life and make your parents happy. Donate excess $ from work to charity.

You're right that it would make them happy - that's an important consideration for me actually. I could then use the security of that to do things I enjoy and that help others.

clezm

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2017, 02:59:06 AM »
Since you were born in the UK, should you refuse to take the amazing advantages that growing up in the industrialized west has brought you? Since not everybody in the world has access to the sort of education and social systems you have, should you have handicapped yourself and not learned to read or not been treated for any illnesses? Is it immoral to do so?

Thank you for this, it was helpful! I can't undo or refuse the advantages I already have had and still have, I can't make it 'fair', so why refuse this aspect - when it could be used to help others etc..

clezm

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2017, 03:05:38 AM »


You can of course donate the money to charity -- you can send your money gift out into the world to do good, and then devote your personal gifts to supporting yourself, like everyone else.  Or you can reverse that equation:  accept the financial gift as the way to support yourself, thus freeing you to use all of your other gifts -- your energy, intelligence, drive, heart, etc. -- to do good.  The former is the easier path to assuage your guilt.  The latter may allow you to do more good, because I suspect your personal talents are a much greater resource than a few hundred thousand pounds.

Tl;dr:  you are overvaluing the money and undervaluing yourself.  Take the money and throw yourself into something you believe fervently in.

Thank you so much - this was really helpful way of looking at it. I'm going to keep thinking about it all!

omachi

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2017, 08:49:38 AM »
That way of looking at it is about how I am perceived by others ('Look, I refused the money! I'm not a spoilt rich kid! Please don't group me in with all the dicks running the country!'), not about my actual values and inherent view of myself. Because I am 'rich kid'; I had all the advantages of it, whether I 'accept' the money or not. I don't want to run - learning to manage and do the most good with it is the way forward.

A thicker skin would serve you well. People are going to have all sorts of feelings that you have no control over. Give all the money away and you're the naive rich kid. Keep it and you're the spoiled rich kid. Use it for good and you're the bleeding heart rich kid. Figure out what you want and do it, for yourself, not for what others think of you. (Obviously try not to become a super-villain, but if you do, get a sweet volcano lair.)

Roland of Gilead

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2017, 08:58:32 AM »
I see no problem accepting the money.  It is something you were born into.  You didn't choose to be born to wealthy parents just like a kid with MS didn't choose to be born that way.

What you do after accepting the money is what defines you.  Don't be a British version of what Americans call a douche.

clezm

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2017, 09:22:55 AM »

A thicker skin would serve you well. People are going to have all sorts of feelings that you have no control over. Give all the money away and you're the naive rich kid. Keep it and you're the spoiled rich kid. Use it for good and you're the bleeding heart rich kid. Figure out what you want and do it, for yourself, not for what others think of you. (Obviously try not to become a super-villain, but if you do, get a sweet volcano lair.)

Yes. I need to work on that thicker skin for sure :). It's useful to be reminded that I will often be pre-judged or labelled - and people who actually care about me and want to know me (so, not my fairly emotionally abusive ex-boyfriend..) will be able to have a more nuanced view of me! It's just one the things that come alongside the money I guess, so it's not so bad if you look at it that way. (It's still painful sometimes though..!)

omachi

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2017, 09:33:24 AM »

A thicker skin would serve you well. People are going to have all sorts of feelings that you have no control over. Give all the money away and you're the naive rich kid. Keep it and you're the spoiled rich kid. Use it for good and you're the bleeding heart rich kid. Figure out what you want and do it, for yourself, not for what others think of you. (Obviously try not to become a super-villain, but if you do, get a sweet volcano lair.)

Yes. I need to work on that thicker skin for sure :). It's useful to be reminded that I will often be pre-judged or labelled - and people who actually care about me and want to know me (so, not my fairly emotionally abusive ex-boyfriend..) will be able to have a more nuanced view of me! It's just one the things that come alongside the money I guess, so it's not so bad if you look at it that way. (It's still painful sometimes though..!)

If it makes you feel any better, everybody is constantly judging everybody else. It isn't just a rich person problem. There will be people that can set it aside and enjoy you for you. Treasure those people.

PJ

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2017, 09:39:21 AM »
A thicker skin would serve you well. People are going to have all sorts of feelings that you have no control over. Give all the money away and you're the naive rich kid. Keep it and you're the spoiled rich kid. Use it for good and you're the bleeding heart rich kid. Figure out what you want and do it, for yourself, not for what others think of you. (Obviously try not to become a super-villain, but if you do, get a sweet volcano lair.)

LOL!

And if she (he?) uses the money to do good, does that mean getting a bat cave?  (And a butler, of course!)
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GrandioseMustachio

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2017, 10:00:14 AM »
I would note that at a fundamental level, money is a claim on society's future production of goods and services. The fact that you have money means that someone has earned that claim (perhaps that someone is actually yourself!), somehow, and given it to you, but that you have not taken advantage of it yet. If you do not spend the money, you are not a burden to society in any way.

In fact, you gross burden for society, at the moment, is quite low. 1150$/month, including housing. And you actually contribute more, from a paid-work point of view (notwithstanding your volunteer work).

My point here is that your net contribution (or cost) to society (from a "gdp" point of view) is independent from the choice of accepting the money or not. It depends on your choices in regards to work and spending.

The inheritance, however, does provide for a nice safety net. Peace of mind. And could also help you jump-start a future project. Also, that unused claim on society's output will likely be reinvested so to increase society's future potential output.

MoneyMage

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2017, 01:36:52 AM »
It is okay to accept the money, it would honor your parents and make them happy. Upon accepting the money (which you did not personally earn) you could consider yourself a steward of the funds. Now, if you were to invest in real estate and buy a place to live, then that money is staying with you, and will likely be still there through your life, meaning it can be something that you one day pass down to your own children, or to whatever person or charity you put in your will. Earmarking that money for your home and future inheritance to pass on would further honor the work of your parents by creating an ongoing legacy.

And that would free up all of the money that you earn for yourself to be spent as you wish without hesitation, on charities or whatever, without needing to consider your parents' approval.

August

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2017, 06:30:35 PM »
My suggestion is to tell your family that you'll accept your share after the house sells.  From now until they sell it, work to support yourself.  Prove to yourself that you can make it on your own.

former player

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #20 on: February 20, 2017, 07:17:51 AM »
Housing in the UK is a major barrier for many people: either buying or renting at market rates is difficult or impossible in large parts of the country, depending on your income.  What your parents are essentially offering you is access to affordable housing, without your having to take up that option from the public sector.  If you take them up on their offer, you can choose to live in a high cost of living area while taking lower-paid public sector or charity work, and volunteering, in locations where there will be a diminishing pool of people available to do that.  That could be a good way to assuage your conscience.  If you got a two bedroom property you could further use it to provide subsidized accommodation for someone else who is doing similar low-paid but valuable work: that's two people doing socially valuable work in an area which wouldn't otherwise have access to those people's input.  Obviously don't buy unless and until you have found a location that you will want to stay in for a number of years.

In due course, if you were unhappy at inheriting more wealth, you could direct some or all of it towards appropriate public goods.  But please don't tie yourself up in unnecessary knots about that before the time comes.
Be frugal and industrious, and you will be free (Ben Franklin)

Fred2004

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #21 on: February 20, 2017, 07:52:52 AM »
So you spend less than $400USD (300 GBP is ~$375 USD) on rent a month?  That figure seems staggeringly low to me.

AND you are looking at getting over $1M from this house sale ($5M GBP divided 4 ways = $1.25M GBP)

Housing in CA/NYC/SF is a huge barrier, doesn't seem like this is the case in this scenario based on stated rent.


At least you recognize the windfall and are conscious of it.  Not accepting it doesn't make you a saint, and accepting it doesn't make you a horrible person.

Not sure why your family doesn't set a trust up.  That way you can't blow it all, even if you wanted to...

As far as donation to charity or buying a house.  Do whatever you want.  weeeeeeeeeee

You are 24, not a bad situation!!

soccerluvof4

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #22 on: February 20, 2017, 10:04:12 AM »
I see no problem accepting the money.  It is something you were born into.  You didn't choose to be born to wealthy parents just like a kid with MS didn't choose to be born that way.

What you do after accepting the money is what defines you.  Don't be a British version of what Americans call a douche.





^+5....Don't know what I picked 5 but in any case exactly what i was thinking as I was reading and scrolling down. Prove to be morally responsible with the $ and all is good!
" In life you don't get what you deserve you get what you negotiate"

clezm

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #23 on: February 27, 2017, 02:02:36 PM »
So you spend less than $400USD (300 GBP is ~$375 USD) on rent a month?  That figure seems staggeringly low to me.

AND you are looking at getting over $1M from this house sale ($5M GBP divided 4 ways = $1.25M GBP)


Thank you for replying!

Just to explain for anyone else confused by this, I didn't make it clear - I live with a friend who was orphaned as a kid so she owns the house, outright. I just pay her rent so it feels kind of normalised, but that is proportional to my income. I will be leaving here in the summer!

The first inheritance sum will be half of the value of the house, divided 4 ways - still a huge sum but more like £625 - 875 thousand (depending on the market, and how much they need to buy a smaller place for them to live in).

lhamo

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #24 on: February 27, 2017, 02:13:09 PM »
This organization is US based, and grew out of Peter Singer's book The Life You Can Save:

https://www.thelifeyoucansave.org/

It might help you think about where you want to direct your giving once you have access to the resources your parents have accumulated.

Wherever you go, there you are

Guide2003

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #25 on: February 27, 2017, 04:04:22 PM »
Tl;dr:  you are overvaluing the money and undervaluing yourself.  Take the money and throw yourself into something you believe fervently in.
This is such a great point. People who care are in much higher demand than money, and there are many of us working for early retirement so we can throw our lives into the causes that matter rather than grinding out a 9-5 so we can sip mai thai's on the beach ASAP. Honor your parents' hard work by living a life that matters, funded by their hard work. You're going to help more people with your work than with their dollars. If you give all the money away at first, you still have the ethical dilemma of how to live generously post-gift. That shouldn't absolve you from giving ever again, so there's always going to be some element of "can I/should I be giving/doing/caring more." Spending all of your time working on the issues that matter to you is a great way to live.
ďWe think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.Ē Mother Teresa

Frugally-raised

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #26 on: March 05, 2017, 11:19:44 AM »
Kudos to you for thinking about these issues, and especially when you're still young and have many options.

I recommend The Wise Inheritor by Ann Perry. I found it to be a good guide to thinking about the different aspects of inheriting (including the effects of different types of inheritances).

clezm

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #27 on: March 24, 2017, 03:05:17 PM »
Kudos to you for thinking about these issues, and especially when you're still young and have many options.

I recommend The Wise Inheritor by Ann Perry. I found it to be a good guide to thinking about the different aspects of inheriting (including the effects of different types of inheritances).

Thank you! I will check that out asap.

ethereality

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #28 on: March 24, 2017, 03:22:16 PM »
Good for you for thinking through these questions for yourself before accepting the money. Another resource I would highly recommend is Peter Singer:

https://www.thelifeyoucansave.org/Blog/ID/170/The-Most-Good-You-Can-Do

He talks a lot about money's role in altruism and moral good.

SweetLife

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #29 on: March 26, 2017, 05:51:32 AM »
I'll chime in from across the water having recently received inheritance money.

I only wish my Mom was alive to see how I used the money to pay down debt and help create a secure future for myself, her grandson and her son-in-law (who, I am grateful, she got to know and loved very much)... She worked her entire life to "make a difference" her comfort in palliative care weeks before she died was a judge (she was a lawyer) she respected called and told her that she had indeed "made a difference"...and that her 5 children were all at her side during the 5 weeks she was in hospital. 

Yes giving to charity "makes a difference" (Sometimes - and depending on the charity) ... however my Mom always said "Charity starts at home". I don't believe refusing the bounty of your parents work is a bad thing. But that is me!

Up to you ... either way - it doesn't mean you have to work less - you can always invest the money and sit on it.

Typos will happen, corrections appreciated, or just ignore ;)

Villanelle

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #30 on: March 26, 2017, 06:24:13 AM »
My parents are planning to leave a somewhat significant amount to my sister and me.  It pleases them to do so.  They actually have a goal number in mind, which they hope to leave us.  (I have no idea if they've met it yet.  When it last came up a number of years ago, they were about 80% there.)  The idea of what that can do for us thrills them, and makes them feel good.  It would upset them greatly if I turned down that money.

The logic is not all that different than pretending to love that sweater my mom buys for me at Christmas, even though it's not really me.  It cost her very little (she pretty darn frugal), and yet that money buys far more than a mediocre sweater.  It buys her the joy of doing something for me. It's a form of honoring them, and bringing them happiness.

I would take the money now if it made sense for me to buy a home now, and do with it what my parents intended--in this case it sounds like that is buying a house. If down the road, you have a surplus, you can certainly donate significant amounts to charity. 

handsnhearts

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #31 on: March 26, 2017, 02:31:08 PM »
I think others have stated it quite well and I wanted to offer a slightly different perspective.  I am someone who grew up with very little, and I am now a physician.  It was a grueling journey, and caring for people every day is not easy either.  I also have a young child.  I work every day to help my patients live a healthier and better life, and to make a secure future for my child.  It would be my pleasure to support her in living out her dreams and making the world better in some way as she grows.  This will likely take money, but also love. 

Money itself doesn't do much.  Heart and motivation, and a little space to dream, that is what makes big changes. 

Your parents have worked hard all their lives to give you and your siblings opportunities.  They have gained, but also sacrificed to make that happen.  Don't feel guilty.  This is a sign of their love for you, and their love for society and the world.  They have hopes that you will take this gift and it will ease some of your burden and suffering, so that you may in turn ease that suffering for others. 

There is not only one way that that happens.  Find the way that makes your heart sing, so that others can start to sing along with you. 


Remember that one of the Four Immeasurables is that all beings
May they be free of suffering and the cause of suffering.

You are also one of those beings.  You will be able to help many others, as you yourself are also helped. 

Lastly, I wonder if you are still suffering from that relationship that damaged your sense of self-worth.  Heal that, and then your decisions and choices will come from a place of balance, clarity and happiness. 

Om mani padme hum

Letj

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #32 on: March 26, 2017, 05:28:11 PM »
I think others have stated it quite well and I wanted to offer a slightly different perspective.  I am someone who grew up with very little, and I am now a physician.  It was a grueling journey, and caring for people every day is not easy either.  I also have a young child.  I work every day to help my patients live a healthier and better life, and to make a secure future for my child.  It would be my pleasure to support her in living out her dreams and making the world better in some way as she grows.  This will likely take money, but also love. 

Money itself doesn't do much.  Heart and motivation, and a little space to dream, that is what makes big changes. 

Your parents have worked hard all their lives to give you and your siblings opportunities.  They have gained, but also sacrificed to make that happen.  Don't feel guilty.  This is a sign of their love for you, and their love for society and the world.  They have hopes that you will take this gift and it will ease some of your burden and suffering, so that you may in turn ease that suffering for others. 

There is not only one way that that happens.  Find the way that makes your heart sing, so that others can start to sing along with you. 


Remember that one of the Four Immeasurables is that all beings
May they be free of suffering and the cause of suffering.

You are also one of those beings.  You will be able to help many others, as you yourself are also helped. 

Lastly, I wonder if you are still suffering from that relationship that damaged your sense of self-worth.  Heal that, and then your decisions and choices will come from a place of balance, clarity and happiness. 

Om mani padme hum

Great insight and advice.

Cannot Wait!

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #33 on: March 26, 2017, 06:04:56 PM »
If you'd like, you could give it to me.  😉

MMM's secret agenda is to save the world from it's self.   
You've got a head start,  don't squander it. 
Life is unfair.  The future is unknown.
Start living your life as if you were FIREd.   It wouldn't make any sense to give it away, work for 10 yrs and then start doing the life work that you were meant to do.
806228541398102 is my referral code for Questrade and 48650126S1 for Tangerine.  Hey, why not?

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #34 on: March 30, 2017, 07:03:50 AM »
At the moment you are doing babysitting and TaskRabbit for people who can afford to pay for it.

When you take the money from your parents you can do the same work for people who need it the most. Or you can find a more valuable way to pay it forward.

You don't sound spoilt, don't worry about what people think of you. You have the ability to make a big difference, and you'll be more able to do this the fewer fucks you give about what other people are thinking.


hoping2retire35

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #35 on: March 30, 2017, 02:53:00 PM »
So, my question really is what do I do long term, what is sensible? With my life.

You are essentially fired, or at least partially. Congratulations.

Now, make sure you are properly invested, set up to pay future expenses, etc. Take the house money or whatever else they want you to do.

Now you can choose how you become productive. Volunteer, job, child raising for 20 years or whatever. you are relatively youngish, so your interest may change and understanding how giving any money away can maximize it's benefit may be difficult to understand. Perhaps you could decide to give a certain percentage of the total away each year, at least until you find how you really what to distribute it.

ChpBstrd

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #36 on: March 31, 2017, 04:13:38 PM »
I am working to FIRE in my late 40s so that I can pursue my passion as a writer, organizer, activist, and volunteer in a nonprofit sector I care about. I will never get anything from my spendthrift and hand-to-mouth parents, but if that was a possibility, I know exactly how I would use it to execute my mission in life. It eats me up that I cannot yet dive into my nonprofit future full time. Just a few more years!

What is your mission in life, other than to live close to nature as mentioned?

As I read your OP, I hear a lot of values being expressed, but little about how you will take action to promote them. Has this uncertain inheritance become such a distraction that you cannot plan your future or identify your life goals? Your frugality is great, but your light workload suggests that you might have already slipped into a waiting mentality. If so, you are already among the idle rich.

Did that statement disgust you? I know it did. At some level you are aware that your life is already being directed by circumstance, rather than by your sense of identity or values. Who are you, apart from this inheritance? What will you leave behind? What makes you historic? Who are your heroes?

Don't waste another moment asking yourself if the inheritance will affect you. It already has. Your new task is to discover yourself. I failed to do this until I was about 35, so I'm not lecturing here. But I did always have a direction of interest, and that direction eventually became my life's mission.

Start by volunteering, or joining an organization of like-minded people devoted to good. Learn all you can about some problem that bothers you. Talk to the change makers. Passion will come.

Just don't go live in the woods and watch the world go by. It would not only be a waste of financial resources, but of your lifetime as well. The latter would be especially tragic in a world where so many passionate people could make such a difference if they only had enough wealth to quit the rat race.

Feiread1

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Re: ethical/moral questions!
« Reply #37 on: April 14, 2017, 07:09:47 AM »
You know the safety briefing everyone gets on a plane before takeoff?  If the aircraft loses cabin pressure, oxygen masks will be deployed from above your seat. PLEASE PUT THE MASK OVER YOUR FACE FIRST (and make sure you can breathe) AND THEN PUT THE MASK ON THE CHILDREN, BABIES, AND HELPLESS NEARBY...

I think you should consider this advice for your own situation. If you immediately start going around putting masks on every baby nearby (i.e., immediately donating your windfall), you maybe will be able to help a baby before you lose oxygen and pass out. If you put the mask on yourself first (i.e., buying a flat or investing the windfall), you'll be able to breathe and can help many, many, much less fortunate people around you throughout the course of your life.

You're young and in a rush to make a difference. That's great! But you have to play the long game here, no question about it IMHO.  Buy a modest flat that will be comfortable for you long term, and invest the rest in the stock market. Your parents will be happy and you get to live rent-free! Let your investment grow and compound over the many decades left in your life. It will be a bundle far more impactful later than now, no matter how big it seems now. Use your your time, energy, and passion for helping people in a job that does just that, but can also sustain a modest lifestyle without dipping into your investments. You can donate any extra money you make each year in excess of your modest lifestyle if that's what makes you happy.  Just imagine being able to feel the satisfaction of helping people every day through your job, and through money donations every year for the rest of your life!

I haven't even mentioned your other thought, about not accepting your parents money. That helps no one, and should be only a fleeting thought if your goal is to help people or give back.  If you're worried about what other people think, not accepting the money is not as noble as you think. To be frank it's the most selfish move imaginable, and one you would definitely regret after more life experience.