Author Topic: Children and RE  (Read 3669 times)

Yankuba

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Children and RE
« on: March 08, 2016, 01:14:10 PM »
This post got me thinking:

http://www.humansofnewyork.com/post/140533284066/we-had-five-or-six-miscarriages-before-we-had-our

We had five or six miscarriages before we had our daughter. She was a twin, but the other one miscarried. So we call her our miracle baby. I was forty when she was born. We were close in every way. Wed always go camping and hiking together. Shes always loved animals and creatures. When she was little, shed always pick up snakes and frogs and insects. She begged us for a dog, and when we finally got her one, she called it her sister. Now shes in vet school in Ohio. She sends me pictures all the time. She delivered twin goats last week. Im getting to the point where Id like to retire, but Im going to keep working until shes in a place where she feels secure. Then I can finally relax. We paid for her undergrad already. She took out loans for vet school, and weve agreed shes going to pay them back herself. But you know, just in case, Im going to keep working until she feels secure. Then I can relax.

What an awesome father. I'm scared I won't ever be able to switch careers or RE because I have this fear that my kids will fail to launch and will need my support. I worked with a guy who stayed on the job past 70 because he had a grandchild with special needs he was supporting and he also helped out his other kids because he didn't think it was fair to only help on child/grandchild.

How much do we owe our kids? How can we pull the plug on earning when our kids aren't yet established or secure? At what point do we stop worrying about our kids? This is what I don't understand about RE.

chemistk

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Re: Children and RE
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2016, 02:16:40 PM »
I've started to realize lately that Early Retirement means something a little bit different to a lot of people. Of the multitude of opinions I have seen, none are more different than the differences between parents and non-parents. It doesn't matter how much you like kids, how many siblings you had growing up, or how many pets you care for now - non-parents won't ever truly understand what life as a parent is like. On paper, children are wildly unpredictable and will change who you are as a person (I think I read an article about how being a good parent will physiologically destroy you over the course of your life compared to non-parents) - yet we love them more than anyone could realize. Obviously, there are unfortunate exceptions out there but for the most part, the parents in this community seem to be great people who care deeply about their children.

My wife's 3 youngest siblings all have autism - the youngest two are pretty far on the spectrum and will need lifelong care. For that reason, my FIL has remarked on more than one occasion that he will never, ever be able to retire because even when they're not at home anymore, they're still going to need to be in a home with constant care. It's stressful on them, but they have never given up on them even if it means they're going to watch their friends all retire and live a life they won't be able to. It's impossible to understand why they do for them what they do unless you have kids of your own.

The same goes with my family - I want to try and guide my son (and other future children) to be the best they can be but if something happens in their lives, my wife and I will always be there for them. Think about being 20 and having any number of bad things happen - wouldn't you turn to your parents? I would be heartbroken if my son decided to be homeless after losing a job than to come home to us. The only caveat is if my children were to try and use us for money - that would be a different story.

Our path to RE isn't going to change drastically because we have kids - they're cheaper than many think and it's pretty easy to help plan for their future when they're young but if in 25 years something happens to them, I would be willing to go back to work if that's what it took.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Children and RE
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2016, 02:45:13 PM »
I am torn with this myself.  I could FIRE now if not for some of the added optional expenses that we have accepted as parents primarily for various activities and experiences. All of which are temporary and go away as they grow into adults.

Aside from that, I do bounce between feeling guilty about choosing FIRE instead of building a bigger stash and being able to fully cover an college, help with housing in the future, travel experiences.....none of which I had and isn't necessary for them either.  But then I also feel guilty about not FIREing and spending as much time with them now in the formative years.   

It's real burden having such worries in life after years of being financially prudent.

Mongoose

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Re: Children and RE
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2016, 02:57:00 PM »
I'm not sure most parents I know ever stop worrying about their kids. And most add in grandkids as well. Maybe not financially supporting them but definitely fussy about their welfare.

We plan to try for FI but probably won't worry about RE. We might cut back but we figure our oldest may need some help especially early on affording specialty food. On paper, I'm not a fan of economic outpatient care but I know we would have had no chance if the cheaper foods weren't available, especially during college. My parents put us through college and we would like to do the same.

Part of the equation though is that we both like to work. Although we do want flexible schedules and are working our way into jobs where that should be possible. We're trying to create work situations where we can balance time benefits now while preserving the financial security of a continuing income. Neither one will be as complete (a bit less time now than if we were RE and a bit less money later than if we worked at maximal rat race speed). We are nowhere near FI though so we have accepted reduced current income to have time with our kids in their formative years.

Kid's potential needs though are a big feature in our disinterest in RE. And we can always donate excess to our favorite charities.

little_brown_dog

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Re: Children and RE
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2016, 03:01:10 PM »
I think its important to remember that FIRE can also benefit children. It isnt a completely selfish desire. Many forum members want to achieve ER so they have more time to spend with their kids. They dont want to be those parents who are only ever around for a rushed dinner and bed. Most of us also view our own retirement security as a way of helping our kids. If we are FI then the kids dont have to worry about their parents ever being a financial burden. Or ER parents can be available to help their adult kids with their own children if they desire.

Thats how I tend to look at our financial goals....they arent in opposition to our kids needs, they are a way of meeting those needs. When we have to balance things we trynto find thr path that benefits everyone. So we save a generous amount for our baby's college in a 529 but we also make sure we will be able to max our roths. The roths can be used for us or her so it makes sense to max those instead of overdoing it on the 529. At first glance it may seem like we are prioritizing our iras over her college but thats not really the case.

I hope that my daughter will have the ability and tools to not need us financially by the time she is in her early 20s. But as a mom I am fully ready to help my baby no matter her age. I think most parents feel similarly.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2016, 03:05:05 PM by little_brown_dog »

Cannot Wait!

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Re: Children and RE
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2016, 07:31:36 PM »
I think the best thing we can do for our kids is to be happy ourselves.
I don't think we do them any favours by always being there to bail them out.  If it makes *you* happy to keep working so you can provide for your young adult children, then fill your boots.  But if you are in a soul-destroying job, it is better to teach them frugal tricks and anticonsumeristic ways so they can provide for themselves.

tobitonic

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Re: Children and RE
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2016, 07:52:49 PM »
Everyone's got a different take. Our plan is 4 kids (halfway there) and to fund their college educations to the greatest extent possible; ideally to the full ride point. We're more interested in FI than RE.

okits

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Re: Children and RE
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2016, 09:41:40 PM »
What an awesome father. I'm scared I won't ever be able to switch careers or RE because I have this fear that my kids will fail to launch and will need my support. I worked with a guy who stayed on the job past 70 because he had a grandchild with special needs he was supporting and he also helped out his other kids because he didn't think it was fair to only help on child/grandchild.

How much do we owe our kids? How can we pull the plug on earning when our kids aren't yet established or secure? At what point do we stop worrying about our kids? This is what I don't understand about RE.

Well, I assume you won't ER or switch careers without having your own financial bases covered, so even if you do those things you'll have a place to live and food to eat.  So your theoretical kids in dire straits won't be starving or homeless, at the very least, they can crash on your couch/floor and eat a few meals with you. 

So is the worry that your kids won't be able to establish themselves in a certain standard of career or achieve security of a certain level for themselves, and your preferred remedy for that is just to give them money?  On a regular, long-term basis? 
 
If your kid doesn't have a disability that brings unavoidable dependency, you're probably of more help to them, in an ongoing and sustainable way, having the time and energy to emotionally support them through school or skills training, getting and moving beyond entry level roles, navigating domestic/family challenges they may be having, learning how to manage their finances, etc. (anything that falls under the category "adulting".)  You can be present and helpful on their journey to becoming established and secure through their own efforts.  What they achieve for themselves may not be as nice as what you could hand them via economic outpatient care, but it has the virtue of being something they can maintain for themselves, through abilities they've built or experience they've earned, rather than their standard of living being dependent on you.

For children/grandchildren who are dependent due to disability, that's a bit more situation dependent.  In some cases money may be the answer, in other cases, your being involved in caregiving could be more valuable in boosting that loved one's quality of life.  (There is also the question of if the child/grandchild should be getting "the best money can buy" for everything, or if what is standard and provided by the government and medical system is perfectly adequate for some things.) I would certainly not be providing equal cash assistance to healthy, able children/grandchildren (they already got their unearned jackpot by being free of disability).

The father in the story certainly seems loving, but perhaps he's taking his support of his daughter too far.  There's no mention of why his daughter is dependent on him for security.  With a graduate degree and a professional job, isn't she in prime position to achieve that security for herself?  She can work hard for a few years to establish a practice, pay off SL, and invest.  Perhaps knowing her future security is up to her (mom and dad aren't waiting in the wings to help) will motivate her to achieve it on her own.

madamwitty

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Re: Children and RE
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2016, 09:56:36 PM »
I agree with okits. I am where I am today because of the time my parents spent with me, not because of the money they spent on me.

I would absolutely be willing to go back to work after FIRE if my kids' situation demanded it. But, absent a disability situation, I think being able to spend time with them in their childhood, teaching them how to make it in the world and how to be a good human will pay for itself many times over.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Children and RE
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2016, 08:21:28 AM »
I agree with okits. I am where I am today because of the time my parents spent with me, not because of the money they spent on me.

I would absolutely be willing to go back to work after FIRE if my kids' situation demanded it. But, absent a disability situation, I think being able to spend time with them in their childhood, teaching them how to make it in the world and how to be a good human will pay for itself many times over.

And many people can say they are where they are because their parents spent money (invested) on them. 

I really didn't get time or money so what do I know...well I know that my kids will get at least one or possibly both making them better off than I was growing up, but I am cautious (worried) about making them too soft or without drive.

chubbybunny

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Re: Children and RE
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2016, 08:30:42 AM »
I have a child with special needs, and she is one of the main reasons I want to get to FIRE as quickly as possible.  If I am setup in a way that I can live off my savings for a long period of time, then that same investment should cover her lifetime as well.   I am 4 years from FIRE, about the same time as she'll be finishing high school.  I don't know if she is ever going to be able to live on her own (I think so), but if she can get a simple job and my savings can cover her basic expenses, I think she'll do well.  I haven't got to the living trust stage, but I do need to get going on that in the next couple years...

If you have to keep working to support kids/grandkids, I am not sure I understand that logic.  What will  happen to them when you die?

Mr. Green

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Re: Children and RE
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2016, 01:20:45 PM »
This can go both ways. Just like helping a butterfly (or moth) out of its cocoon will leave it too leak to survive, generous financial assistance may leave your children without a realistic understanding of financial responsibility. I'm sure there are children who have been helped and are fine, but it seems like we more often that not hear about how extreme assistance become a detriment to that child's growth in that area of his/her life. I don't believe the is a one size fits all solution, as everyone is different. I only hope that by the time my kids are adults, they'll be displaying signs of fiscal responsibility that will make me less worried about their futures.

Cassie

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Re: Children and RE
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2016, 01:35:24 PM »
I have 3 adult sons and have helped them when they needed it. However, i would not sacrifice my retirement for their needs. I have let them move in with me when it was needed. If a child has a disability they can apply for SSI and other services. Their are ways for them to live either independently or in a group home situation, etc without the parents funding it.  I worked in this area for awhile.  We are semi-retired and I would not go back to f.t. work at 61 to support my kids. I think people need to set healthy boundaries and I certainly would not even consider supporting a grandchild.

gatortator

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Re: Children and RE
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2016, 12:29:19 PM »
Read this book

"Duct Tape Parenting: A Less Is More Approach to Raising Respectful, Responsible, and Resilient Kids" by Vicki Hoefle.

then make your plan, relax and enjoy your kids.  Everyone will be fine.


TabbyCat

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Re: Children and RE
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2016, 02:02:36 PM »
My parents helped me a lot with starting out in a bad economy, but the help was mostly of low financial impact. Letting me live with them and not pay rent when I was just out of school was huge. Many of my friends moved out, went into debt and then had parents start helping with their expenses. I only cost my parents an extra $100-150 a month in extra food and water. When I got a job, I stayed, paid rent and saved up.

arebelspy

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Re: Children and RE
« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2016, 04:23:51 AM »
Read this book

"Duct Tape Parenting: A Less Is More Approach to Raising Respectful, Responsible, and Resilient Kids" by Vicki Hoefle.

then make your plan, relax and enjoy your kids.  Everyone will be fine.

+1.  Phenomenal book/philosophy.

I agree with okits. I am where I am today because of the time my parents spent with me, not because of the money they spent on me.

I would absolutely be willing to go back to work after FIRE if my kids' situation demanded it. But, absent a disability situation, I think being able to spend time with them in their childhood, teaching them how to make it in the world and how to be a good human will pay for itself many times over.

Agreed with all this.

I think the chances of having to go back to work because of the kid(s) are super remote, and definitely not something I'd work longer for on the "in case" scenario, though, like you said, I'd be willing to go back to work if necessary.
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