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Around the Internet => Antimustachian Wall of Shame and Comedy => Topic started by: sirdoug007 on August 16, 2015, 10:28:29 AM

Title: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: sirdoug007 on August 16, 2015, 10:28:29 AM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/plain-old-greed-is-the-root-of-the-financial-favoritism-debate/2015/08/14/3689c7ba-4212-11e5-846d-02792f854297_story.html

This is an interesting article for two reasons:

1. How to spend through $150k/year after-tax while claiming you "don't have a lot to just go crazy."  (and how 10% retirement savings is seen as doing well)

2. The debate over whether parents helping siblings with money trouble and not giving much or anything to those with financial stability is unfair or a perverted jealousy on the part of those who have their ducks in a row.

The person writing in lists all their crazy spending and then states “The point I am trying to make is life is expensive even for the top 5 percent. And when a sibling gets an extra $30,000 or car bought for them from a sympathetic parent, it is frustrating to the kid that is being responsible and that saved five years for the $30,000 car.”

What do you mustachians think?  I tend to agree with Ms. Singletary that this is sour grapes from someone that has it made.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Potterquilter on August 16, 2015, 10:50:16 AM
I like Michelle Singletary. i think she did well not being too critical. I would have been much less kind.

I know many families where one sibling takes ( often through guilting the parents) way more. To me that is sad, and only adds more stress and discontent to your life. Illness, having a disabled child, losing a job seem reasons you might need help, but just to have more stuff or because you can't live within your means?   You will never have enough or know the satisfaction of self earned financial independence.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: forummm on August 16, 2015, 10:51:20 AM
Just how does someone spend $12k on utilities and phones? Insanity.

I generally think that once you're 18, your parents don't owe you anything. Ideally they will continue to provide love and advice, etc. But you're an adult at that point and need to make your own way in the world. If your parents have money, it isn't your money--it's theirs. If they want to spend it or donate it, that's not your business really. The only exception I can see is where the parents are being profligate and there's a legitimate concern that they will run out of cash or are making bad decisions because of declining cognitive ability and you're legitimately trying to take care of them and their wellbeing. But again, that's a situation where the child is caring for the parent.

We don't have enough info to say whether it's "fair" or not to spend on the siblings. But it's their money and they can do what they want with it. The complainer's mistake is thinking that the money was his.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: bsmith on August 16, 2015, 10:53:07 AM
Agreed. I'd tell the jealous sibling that it's not your damn money. Parents can spend their money how ever they like. Where do people get this idea that their parents are just caretakers for the kids' inheritance until they die? Sometimes when I call my mom and ask what she's doing, she says, "spending your inheritance", and we both laugh. Good for her!

I have a very irresponsible sibling, and my parents' solution was to co-sign a mortgage on a small house for her. I don't begrudge them at all for seeing to it that she has a place to live after they're gone. They don't owe me anything, and in fact, they've be quite generous with me and all my siblings throughout their lives. I guess it's a matter of perspective. Some people just feel entitled and therefore aren't satisfied. It makes me want to throw a book about Stoicism at them.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Lyssa on August 16, 2015, 11:56:11 PM
Guess I'm in the minority but absent any special needs (grand)children or circumstanses when e.g. One kid almost single-handedly takes care of the parent(s) in their old age I think anything that parents do not spend on themselves or donate (each a valid choice) should be divided up about equally. There are several studies documenting that anything else creates resentments and estranges siblings. The one getting less or nothing feels punished for his or her success or even starts to remember that mommy did not make it to his but to his sisters school play. And suddenly the money issue is 'proof' of a lack of love or a longstanding unfairness. In some cases this really is the case.

There is a book how to leave money in the way least likely to create conflict. I don't remember the title but they made this point repeatedly and backed it up with data and lots of experiences.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Doubleh on August 17, 2015, 02:41:34 AM
I'm also with Lyssa here - I don't think anyone should feel entitled to anything by way of an inheritance, but o do believe that to provide very unequal support to children is a recipe for resentment and family unrest.

Millionaire Next Door comes down pretty firmly on this too, highlighting many problems caused in families where children are supported unequally. Importantly they point out that many of the negative impacts are actually on the sibling who is supported by what they call "financial outpatient care" as much or more than the sibling, usually the more successful, who gets less support
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Ozapftis on August 17, 2015, 05:21:27 AM
I also have to agree with Lyssa.

An estate/inheritance should never be distributed based on 'need', except maybe for a few cases where need arose for reasons clearly beyond an individual's control (certain health related issues, etc.). Neither should it function as some sort of equalizer to level out different net worths among siblings. Such an 'equal outcome' approach will automatically reward heirs with a history of irresponsible financial behavior while disadvantaging all others.

To make things worse, if the parents' estate is distributed this way during their lifetime, not only do financially responsible heirs get it the worst, but once elder care or similarly expensive topics enter the stage, the disinherited get shafted yet another time: They will be left with all the bills. The wasteful heir, on the other hand, will have likely blown all the money by then, unable to make a contribution.

Furthermore, being cut out of an inheritance also represents a serious social stigma to outsiders. After all, when does that ever happen? Only in cases where a potential heir has grossly violated some of society's most fundamental ethical principles. So, cutting out an heir simply because "he is frugal and thus doesn't need anything" is certain to cause permanent resentment.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: justajane on August 17, 2015, 07:02:02 AM
Over the past decade, my MIL has doled out about 50K my husband's sibling, because he's completely foolish when it comes to money. She's said that she is going to indicate that he should get X amount less in her will, but I don't want her to do that. I don't want our relationship with him to disintegrate after her death over money. I just try to let it slide.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: crispy on August 17, 2015, 07:09:57 AM
I have two siblings who are takers, and I am the kid who never asked for or received anything.  There are two sides of it for me. First, I am thankful in a lot of ways for never receiving help. I have been able to walk away from a lot of the dysfunction in my family because I can take care of myself and don't need anything from them.  It is very empowering.  On the other hand, I watched my parents (my father is now deceased) take care of my sisters financially in big and small ways for years (like giving one sister land for a home and allowing my other sister to live with them rent-free for years when I got kicked out at 18 because I could take care of myself).  Frankly, it is hurtful.  There were days when all the money I had was the change in my wallet, and I had no one who I could ask for help. Even worse, when things are bad (like my dad being diagnosed with terminal cancer), my sisters walked away (literally didn't bother to come to his funeral) while I had to handle everything. Then they were threatening to sue my mom for their share of his non-existent estate.

About four years ago, I just stopped talking to them and have limited contact with my mom. She and my sisters are thick as thieves again, and I am the heartless one who leaves them to their own devices.  Obviously, the financial aspect is a symptom of deeper issues, but I imagine it's that way for a lot of people. 

Like I said, in the end, I am probably a lot healthier and happier because it allowed me to walk away, but the hurt is still there.  It's not really about the money (for me anyway), but it's like being to told repeatedly that you aren't good enough or loved enough unless you need something from them.  My mom told me that she made me the executor of her will, but I flat out told her not to do and to not leave me anything.  It will be a huge mess when she passes, and I want no part of it.


Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: pachnik on August 17, 2015, 07:13:22 AM
Over the past decade, my MIL has doled out about 50K my husband's sibling, because he's completely foolish when it comes to money. She's said that she is going to indicate that he should get X amount less in her will, but I don't want her to do that. I don't want our relationship with him to disintegrate after her death over money. I just try to let it slide.

I have one sibling and a similar situation going on. My brother isn't foolish with money but has made different choices with what he has.  He also has kids and I don't have any.   Parents also said about equalizing things in the will. 
I've really thought about it and came to the conclusion that I would treat my parents the same way if they had money or if they didn't.  Things aren't perfect, but I love them and enjoy their company.  Their money is for them to use however they wish.  So I too let it slide.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: nobody123 on August 17, 2015, 07:41:00 AM
I am a firm believer that you never tell other people how to raise their kids or spend their money.  After you've turned 18, what your parents do with their money is frankly none of your business.  Would the person in this article be upset if their parents spend the $30K for the siblings car on an expensive trip around the world instead?  Either way, they didn't get the benefit of the money.  It would frustrate me if my parents were subsidizing my sibling's poor life choices and letting them live in fantasy land when they really needed to hit rock bottom, but again, its not my money.

When my MIL re-did her will a few years ago, she asked me to come to the lawyer with her since I was the most financially savvy of her children or son-in-laws.  I told her I'd help her, but only if one of her daughters that wasn't my wife was there too, because I didn't want to be accused of any shenanigans.  It was an eye-opening afternoon.  My MIL pretty much slammed one of her spendthrift daughters and explained how she would be a PITA when the time came, how she had constantly begged for money over the years, and she and the lawyer walked through all of the options to have the money pass over that daughter and her husband and go directly to their kids.  My SIL and myself begged her not to do that, since we'd be left to deal with the consequences of some daughters getting something and one not, one set of grandkids getting something and the others nothing, etc.  She ended up just dividing equally among her kids.  My SIL and I were very relieved.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: bsmith on August 17, 2015, 07:53:50 AM
There are two different issues here: what other people did with their money, and what you should do with yours.

You should split it up fairly between children, but "fairly" does not necessarily mean "equitably". Any deviation from an even split should have some kind of logic to it, and it's best to explain that before you die.

What other people do with their own money is their own business, as nobody123 said, and there would be less conflict among siblings after a death if everyone just accepted that. It's not like a will can be changed after the person is dead, anyway.

Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: nobody123 on August 17, 2015, 08:09:23 AM
Any deviation from an even split should have some kind of logic to it, and it's best to explain that before you die.

Actually, the MIL's lawyer told her that too.  He basically said if she did anything other than split it equally, the daughter who got passed over would probably challenge the will and it'd be worse for everyone except him, since he'd get paid to defend the will.  Once my MIL realized she'd have to tell the daughter to her face why the will was the way it was, she figured that said daughter would pretty much estrange themselves from the rest of the family, and she didn't want to destroy her other kids' relationship with that sister.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: gillstone on August 17, 2015, 08:17:55 AM
I watched this in my family, and the expectation of money from relatives is a guaranteed way to make kids lazy, bitter or both.  My father and three of his brothers assumed that a tidy sum was due each of them so they never put real effort into making their own way.  Now as my grandparents use the expected fortune to cover their medical care as they age, their children look on and gripe about how its not fair. 

Actual quote: "They're spending 250,000 a year on their health care and that's money I could be using!"
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Avidconsumer on August 17, 2015, 08:35:55 AM
This is a great thread

I was told that my brother had to be subsidized to meet my standard of living because I was making more money than him and working harder. I don't know how I'm meant to feel about that, but I didn't feel great about it at the time. Now that I see how that worked out, I have no feelings of resentment, more of annoyance that my brother has become useless from constantly being enabled.

One thing that I can be thankful for is that this disproportionate giving has driven me to save so that my hard work gets greater reward than my brothers enabled lifestyle. I actually feel a bit of sympathy towards my brother for how he turned out.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Cpa Cat on August 17, 2015, 08:48:33 AM
I disagree with the author that sibling jealousy about financial favoritism is about the rich wanting to get more and equating it to a distaste for welfare or other government aid. There are many fiscally liberal people who experience sibling jealousy in situations of financial favoritism.

I think the jealousy is born of the fact that generally, families raise their kids in one of two ways:

1. They raise them believing that everyone is equal. You don't grow up getting "extras" - everyone gets the same. Parents generally try quite hard not to show favoritism between their kids while the kids are at home. It can be hard to undo this and let it go as adults - no matter how successful one sibling may be. After all, for a successful sibling who was raised in a "everyone is equal" home, it can be very difficult to have empathy for the sibling who is failing and leeching of their parents - since everyone is equal, all siblings had an equal chance at success.

2. They raise them with inequality throughout their childhood, causing sibling jealousy all the way along that simply continues into adulthood. With one child reaping rewards for seemingly nothing (or bad behavior), and the other working hard and never being "good enough."

Most people feel the same emotions about financial favoritism as if they were 12 years old and their mom came home from work and gave their sibling a bag of candy, then looked at them and said, "Oh. I didn't have enough to get you anything. Besides, Johnny ate all his candy from last time, and you still have some left, so you don't really deserve anything."

Even siblings who are able to overcome this jealousy cite "family peace" as the overwhelming reason for equality. It's not that they believe that sibling should get the favoritism, or deserves an equal share - it's just that they believe the sibling is going to make a fuss or be unpleasant if they don't get it. Their desire to avoid the trouble overcomes any desire for the money or for equality.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: zephyr911 on August 17, 2015, 09:02:35 AM
This thread almost makes me glad my sibs and I won't get anything xD

Then again, it's kind of a shame because we'd all be happy with what we got, and no arguments would ensue.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: EricP on August 17, 2015, 09:29:59 AM
It seems the prevailing opinion is that absent special circumstances (disabilities, etc.) that parents should provide financial gifts to their children evenly and I would agree with that.

Buying a car for the kid who is "struggling," but giving nothing to the frugal child is moronic and could create bad blood even with the most level-headed people.  No, my parents aren't babysitting my inheritance until they die, it's their money, but when they are giving money to a "struggling child," it's not a rational decision.  It's a guilt-based desire to help them that is less their choosing and more them being pressured into it.

And that's why it is acceptable for the other siblings to get upset about it. 

This isn't always as cut and dry, though.  Take college, for instance, if Kid 1 gets college totally paid for by the parents and then Kid 2 is promised the same, but gets a full ride, should Kid 2 be entitled to that money?  I would say no, as the deal was for college to be paid for.

As for my own personal situation, my parents have done the exact opposite and rewarded kids who are doing financially well.  I bought a house two years back and my parents gave me 3 grand gift. They'll likely do the same once my siblings get around to purchasing a house.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Kaspian on August 17, 2015, 09:42:23 AM

2. The debate over whether parents helping siblings with money trouble and not giving much or anything to those with financial stability is unfair or a perverted jealousy on the part of those who have their ducks in a row.

My parents "subsidize" my two brothers who are fairly inept with money (one lives high on the hog) while my sister and I get nothing because they know we're responsible.  My sis and me aren't jealous and don't need the money but we'd like our two brothers to get their shit together and stop leeching.  (Kidults.)
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Bill76 on August 17, 2015, 09:49:25 AM
My brother got a good bit of financial assistance from my parents over the years (well into 5 figures), despite making salary similar to my own and living in a LCOL area.  He and his wife had some seriously messed up spending habits for a while (they still might, but I gave up caring a long time ago), and I'm pretty sure my SIL's parents also provided cash to help get them out of debt.  Last time I heard about them asking for a large cash gift, my parents refused, but I'm pretty sure my SIL's parents handed them $20k+ with no questions asked.  My brother's kids also got contributions to their 529 accounts for several years.

I never got much financial assistance after my first year of college, except for a small gift to help with the down payment on my first house.  And my kids haven't gotten a dime for their college funds.  We haven't really needed the help, because my wife and I both mastered basic adulting at a relatively early age.  Based on my mother's crazy spending since Dad's death and her refusal to speak to me for the last couple of years, I'm guessing there won't be any inheritance, fairly divided or otherwise.

Am I bitter about it occasionally?  Sure, but more for my kids than for myself.  Do we actually NEED the money?  Not really.  I'd rather my children have a meaningful relationship with my parents, but unfortunately, that's never going to happen.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Ashyukun on August 17, 2015, 09:53:39 AM
It can definite lead to some annoyance, but at least in the case of SWMBO and I and our respective siblings, it's more head-shaking and eye-rolling from us than outright jealousy. Both of us have siblings who have gotten a LOT more help from parents and extended family, largely due to very poor decisions in life whereas we've both held our own- and interestingly we're solidly better off in most all respects than any of them.

My mom's parents had a similar issue with her brother- they've supported him in one way or another for most of his adult life while she was pretty much on her own from when she finished college and married my dad. My grandfather however worked in finance and was VERY meticulous about finances- and he apparently kept track of all of what they spent on my uncle and had it built into their will that my uncle's portion of any inheritance would be knocked down by that amount relative to what my mom will get, and made this quite clear to the uncle. Hasn't really come into play yet since though he's passed my grandmother is (thankfully) still around. To his credit though he has largely gotten his life together now (albeit because he was able to get on full disability from the VA...) and I don't believe is getting any support from my grandmother any more so it likely won't be an issue when she passes. I can only hope my brother gets his ass in order similarly and much sooner than my uncle did- my parents aren't in as good of a position to float him indefinitely like their parents were...
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: irishbear99 on August 17, 2015, 10:07:10 AM
My situation is the opposite: I receive no economic outpatient care by choice. I cut myself off in my very early 20s as I watched my parents' "help" turn my siblings into dependents whose lives and every decision were inter-meshed with my parents. It was my first lesson of adulthood: nothing is free. Sure, there are times when I feel sad for the loss of that safety net, but what I've gained is priceless. There are no strings on me.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Candace on August 17, 2015, 10:24:16 AM
I am definitely the one sibling out of three who has not gotten any cash infusions over the years, either due to my parents doing things for my one sibling with money problems or helping out with kid expenses such as college, cars etc. to help my siblings out (I don't have kids).

From that perspective, my quarrel with the article is that it's not simply greed that fosters the slight resentment I do feel. It's that I still have a childish desire to be treated equally by our parents. Yes, there is a little greed there, I admit it. But truthfully, I can recognize in myself that when my brother or sister get big gifts to use for their kids or get bailed out of hardship caused by bad judgement, that I feel sort of like they are getting attention and care from our parents that I'm not getting. The irrational part of my brain sees that and starts to wonder whether Mommy and Daddy love me as much as them. Of course it doesn't make any sense, and I know they love me just as much.

Second, it's their money. They can do what they want with it.

Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Avidconsumer on August 17, 2015, 10:36:03 AM
I pose this question to you guys of this forum. Is each sibling born equal? Maybe if each sibling works hard, but there is a massive disparity in income and the less compensated sibling receives money from their parents. Is this fair? Maybe it's not always fair to distribute the wealth equally among siblings. I think this is rarely the case however.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Blonde Lawyer on August 17, 2015, 10:40:17 AM
I like to quote our local divorce law.  Equitable does not always mean equal.  There are always a variety of facts and circumstances in play.  I think luck also plays a big role.  My brother was always smarter than me and a higher achiever.  Yet, I graduated law school and landed a good job.  My brother dropped out of law school when he wasn't cutting it (very smart choice for him) and struggled to find work in a down economy besides his very best efforts.  I would have expected some assistance from my parents getting on my feet but I landed very quickly.  He is taking longer and I have no resentment that my parents are helping him - so long as he doesn't become a lazy bum.  He didn't, found a new path, and should be really successful in a few years.  I also married young and he didn't.  Dual income meant I needed less assistance if any.  It's not his fault he hasn't yet found "the one." I'm not sure how this should all play out in the inheritance scenario but I don't think we are all equal and as long as things are distributed fairly (which does not necessarily mean equal) then I am happy.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: frugalecon on August 17, 2015, 10:47:30 AM
My parents have definitely showered $$ on my sisters in a way they never did for me (though they did help me out in college). A lot of it has subsidized bad behavior (one sis has been married three times, divorced twice, had to be bailed out of legal trouble a couple of times, tax problems, and she and current hubby make about $300k a year and still have had to "borrow" from my parents who have about $60k/year in income).

I really don't want more for me, I just wish that my parents had expected more of my sisters. It will be hard for them when the parents are gone and there is no backstop. And, of course, if mom and dad run out of $$, it will be up to me to help them out.

For me, this issue was hard for a long time b/c it continued a pattern from childhood. As a kid, the grandparents and aunts and uncles showered gifts and special treatment on the sisters, as did the parents. Looking back it is a little comical how lopsided the gifts were at Xmas and at visits. Sister got piano lessons, I was told there was no $$ for violin lessons. At age 9 I started a door-to-door vegetable business with surplus from the garden (where I had daily chores), and the parents taxed me to redistribute to the sisters so it would be "fair," even though they didn't help. At least I got to keep the $$ when I started mowing lawns.

I was bitter for a long time, mostly b/c none of them seemed to think about how that would affect a small kid, to constantly get the message "We prefer your sisters over you." Dad eventually figured it out, and years later, in my 30s, he said "I know it has all been unequal, and I'm going to do something big for you someday." He never did, but at least he wanted to.

But the upshot is that I have a wonderful life, a great spouse, very ample financial resources, and no cause for complaint. And now I am the steward of my parents' finances as they age, since they granted me POA status and put me on their accounts. They certainly made a lot of bad decisions, but they got that one right.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: EricP on August 17, 2015, 10:49:07 AM
I pose this question to you guys of this forum. Is each sibling born equal? Maybe if each sibling works hard, but there is a massive disparity in income and the less compensated sibling receives money from their parents. Is this fair? Maybe it's not always fair to distribute the wealth equally among siblings. I think this is rarely the case however.

In all these stories, it's not that the parents are trying to make it fair between the siblings.  IE: Kid 1 can afford a $20k car, Kid 2 can afford a $30k car, they give Kid 1 $10k to get him up to Kid 2's level.  This is not what's happening.  Kid 1 is living outside their means and is "struggling" and the parents give them money to "help them out" meanwhile Kid 2 has their shit together and may or may not be making more money than Kid 1 and gets nothing.

But generally, siblings will start from the same-ish position, where they go from there is up to them and if one kid is making $80k/yr as an engineer and another is making $40k/yr as a teacher, then that's the kids choices in life and not that something the parent's should be "fairing up."
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Cookie78 on August 17, 2015, 10:56:38 AM
I'm glad my mother helped my brothers out so much when they needed it. I have no idea what the numbers are, I just know it was "A LOT". I'm also glad I was never in a situation where I needed her help (though she did contribute a bunch towards my student loans when I graduated). It's her money to decide what she wants to do with it, and my brothers are very hard working people with jobs and families. They didn't abuse her help, and as far as I know it's not an ongoing thing.

My mom, however, recently expressed to me that she felt guilty that I didn't get as much. I told her I neither need it nor particularly want it, though it would certainly be appreciated if she chose to help fund my early retirement. She's also retiring this month, so perhaps she wants to fund her own retirement instead. Anything I get from her would be a bonus, I certainly have zero expectations. I just want her to go out and enjoy her well deserved retirement as much as she can.

If my brothers were deadbeats and abused her help I may feel a lot differently, but only because she would be taken advantage of, not because I wasn't getting my share.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: CheapskateWife on August 17, 2015, 10:59:58 AM
My parents provide financial life support for my younger sister, and it pisses me off, but I never really understood why.  Yes, it is completely unreasonable for me to feel jealous, as they never HAD to help me like that; but its how I feel.  There is no sign of the support ending any time soon.  The thing is that my relationship with my parents is very different than my sister's.  They still have to parent her; we have the luxury of something deeper.

I don't act on my feelings, but they are there; I resent her being a burden to them, and I resent her raising her daughters to count on Grandma and Grandpa for support.  When my parents pass and I am asked to handle their estate, I will have to turn a blind eye to all the previous support given to younger sis and split whatever is left over 50/50.

In the end though, my life is pretty damn good, and hers is pretty damn hard.  I need to focus on the part that reminds me that my life is pretty damn good. 
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Gin1984 on August 17, 2015, 11:03:52 AM
It seems the prevailing opinion is that absent special circumstances (disabilities, etc.) that parents should provide financial gifts to their children evenly and I would agree with that.

Buying a car for the kid who is "struggling," but giving nothing to the frugal child is moronic and could create bad blood even with the most level-headed people.  No, my parents aren't babysitting my inheritance until they die, it's their money, but when they are giving money to a "struggling child," it's not a rational decision.  It's a guilt-based desire to help them that is less their choosing and more them being pressured into it.

And that's why it is acceptable for the other siblings to get upset about it. 

This isn't always as cut and dry, though.  Take college, for instance, if Kid 1 gets college totally paid for by the parents and then Kid 2 is promised the same, but gets a full ride, should Kid 2 be entitled to that money?  I would say no, as the deal was for college to be paid for.

As for my own personal situation, my parents have done the exact opposite and rewarded kids who are doing financially well.  I bought a house two years back and my parents gave me 3 grand gift. They'll likely do the same once my siblings get around to purchasing a house.
I plan to reward my kids, fiscally, for any scholarships they get.  And high will have the chance for them.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: EricP on August 17, 2015, 11:11:55 AM
It seems the prevailing opinion is that absent special circumstances (disabilities, etc.) that parents should provide financial gifts to their children evenly and I would agree with that.

Buying a car for the kid who is "struggling," but giving nothing to the frugal child is moronic and could create bad blood even with the most level-headed people.  No, my parents aren't babysitting my inheritance until they die, it's their money, but when they are giving money to a "struggling child," it's not a rational decision.  It's a guilt-based desire to help them that is less their choosing and more them being pressured into it.

And that's why it is acceptable for the other siblings to get upset about it. 

This isn't always as cut and dry, though.  Take college, for instance, if Kid 1 gets college totally paid for by the parents and then Kid 2 is promised the same, but gets a full ride, should Kid 2 be entitled to that money?  I would say no, as the deal was for college to be paid for.

As for my own personal situation, my parents have done the exact opposite and rewarded kids who are doing financially well.  I bought a house two years back and my parents gave me 3 grand gift. They'll likely do the same once my siblings get around to purchasing a house.
I plan to reward my kids, fiscally, for any scholarships they get.  And high will have the chance for them.

I'd just be sure to make this very clear up front or you could still end up with resentment between your children.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: zephyr911 on August 17, 2015, 11:24:17 AM
I plan to reward my kids, fiscally, for any scholarships they get.  And high will have the chance for them.
I honestly can't figure out what that second sentence means.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: jenniecountspennies on August 17, 2015, 11:31:29 AM
First, I am thankful in a lot of ways for never receiving help. I have been able to walk away from a lot of the dysfunction in my family because I can take care of myself and don't need anything from them.  It is very empowering. 

+1000

I think this is so critical - sometimes the money isn't about parental guilt or a desire to help, but distributed out of an attempt to control (openly or passively). Being out of that loop has certainly changed my life dynamic, and while I'm sad by how it plays out in my sisters' lives, I'm grateful to have the freedom to have a non-dependent relationship with my parents.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: EricP on August 17, 2015, 11:34:00 AM
I plan to reward my kids, fiscally, for any scholarships they get.  And high will have the chance for them.
I honestly can't figure out what that second sentence means.

Yeah, I looked at it for awhile and settled with something along the lines of "And the chances of them getting scholarships is high."
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: nobody123 on August 17, 2015, 11:36:15 AM
This isn't always as cut and dry, though.  Take college, for instance, if Kid 1 gets college totally paid for by the parents and then Kid 2 is promised the same, but gets a full ride, should Kid 2 be entitled to that money?  I would say no, as the deal was for college to be paid for.
I plan to reward my kids, fiscally, for any scholarships they get.  And high will have the chance for them.

Me too.  My wife and I have decided that we will give each child the same $ amount for college.  If they choose to go to a cheaper school or they get scholarships, etc., they can keep whatever of my money they don't have to spend.  I'm not going to give one kid more cash than the other just because they happened to choose a more expensive school, or because the other one received some scholarships.  I just think it's a parent's responsibility to offer all of their children the same opportunities if at all possible.

We've also decided that any significant financial gift (money towards a wedding, house, etc.) will have an equal amount given to the other child at the appropriate time.  I don't want either of them to worry about 'keeping score' to figure out who mommy and daddy love more.  If there is money left over when my wife and I are dead, it will be split 50/50 between them.  The only way I could see that changing would be in the case where one becomes disabled and truly needs more than the other one, or in the case where one ruins the family name due to criminal activity.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: mm1970 on August 17, 2015, 11:52:10 AM
It seems the prevailing opinion is that absent special circumstances (disabilities, etc.) that parents should provide financial gifts to their children evenly and I would agree with that.

Buying a car for the kid who is "struggling," but giving nothing to the frugal child is moronic and could create bad blood even with the most level-headed people.  No, my parents aren't babysitting my inheritance until they die, it's their money, but when they are giving money to a "struggling child," it's not a rational decision.  It's a guilt-based desire to help them that is less their choosing and more them being pressured into it.

And that's why it is acceptable for the other siblings to get upset about it. 

This isn't always as cut and dry, though.  Take college, for instance, if Kid 1 gets college totally paid for by the parents and then Kid 2 is promised the same, but gets a full ride, should Kid 2 be entitled to that money?  I would say no, as the deal was for college to be paid for.

As for my own personal situation, my parents have done the exact opposite and rewarded kids who are doing financially well.  I bought a house two years back and my parents gave me 3 grand gift. They'll likely do the same once my siblings get around to purchasing a house.
I plan to reward my kids, fiscally, for any scholarships they get.  And high will have the chance for them.
This is an interesting point.

When my spouse went to college, his parents told him that they couldn't really afford the Ivy school he got into, unless he went ROTC.  Which he didn't really want to do.  But he did it anyway, and they were able to afford room and board.

His sister is a few years younger.  She went to a similarly expensive private school, that they paid for, with a 2nd mortgage.  Hmmm...

My husband wasn't bothered by that at all.  Funny thing though.  He got his first apartment, and his parents bought him a sofa bed so they could stay with him when they visited (as opposed to a regular couch).  Well, they paid for half of it (he lied to them about the cost, and told them it was half the total cost).  When his sister finished college, got married, and bought her first house, she asked her parents to buy her a sofabed like they had done for my husband.  They said "nope".  Why not, she asked?  Because you live 1/2 mile from our house.  It's not like we are going to sleep on it!

My sister and brother got a lot of aid from my mom and step dad.  I didn't.  It never bothered me, but it did bother my sister.  My mom set up college funds for her 3 grandchildren, but didn't when my son was born (and she died before I had my second kid).  We have college funds already, I'm not bothered.

My brother was getting constant help, but the fact of the matter is - he and his wife are SPENDERS.  "We cannot afford braces." etc etc.  They put their foot down when he asked for $5k for central AC.  My mom said "if I had $5k for central AC, I'd put it in my own house!"  (They had the money and chose not to spend it.)

I understand the desire for fairness, but I guess I'm over that.  My mom used to talk about how she paid the same amount towards my wedding as my sister's.  In reality, she bought my invitations ($100), and then she paid for my sister's and my brother's hotel rooms at my wedding.  Not quite the same, and I didn't care, but she wanted to FEEL like she was being fair.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: MayDay on August 17, 2015, 11:53:29 AM
Re. the college example, my sister and I each got a new car upon graduation since we had full rides.  My brother was given my dad's old beater and got some help with tuition.  I think we all felt that was 100% fair. 

My SIL is on semi-permanent economic life support, and probably will be until MIL dies.  I don't care about that.  You couldn't pay me enough to live with my MIL and have no rent/mortgage, lol.  I would much rather be able to pay for my own dental care than have to beg my MIL.  And I feel sorry for SIL that this is what her life is.  But if the inheritances were uneven, that would hurt, not going to lie.  Not because of the money itself (it won't be a ton, and whatever it is will be a nice bonus but not life changing) but because of the FEELINGS.  Sibling equality and all that. 

I think the hard part is drawing the line between favoritism because of a truly disabled sibling, and that grey area.  If SIL had Down Syndrome or a cognitive disability or something where she was going to need ongoing care her entire life, she should absolutely get 100% of MIL's estate.  Hands down.  And if it ran out, we would be happy to support her.  But when it is mostly poor life choices and/or laziness and/or just not being the brightest bulb, then it comes off as unfair.  And maybe that is more jealousy of the high earning sibling, but it feels more like "we love her more".
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: MgoSam on August 17, 2015, 11:55:41 AM
All I can say is that the world isn't fair, and I became much happier once I realized that was the case.

Yeah, it absolutely sucks when one sibling is given more support than another, but shit happens. Our parents aren't perfect, and neither are we.

There are so many other ways to think about this. Is it "fair" that I"m born in the US where I have so much freedom, while many others are born in places in North Korea? We can play this game for a long time, but I instead prefer to spend such time on things that I can change.

Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Avidconsumer on August 17, 2015, 12:01:01 PM
I pose this question to you guys of this forum. Is each sibling born equal? Maybe if each sibling works hard, but there is a massive disparity in income and the less compensated sibling receives money from their parents. Is this fair? Maybe it's not always fair to distribute the wealth equally among siblings. I think this is rarely the case however.

In all these stories, it's not that the parents are trying to make it fair between the siblings.  IE: Kid 1 can afford a $20k car, Kid 2 can afford a $30k car, they give Kid 1 $10k to get him up to Kid 2's level.  This is not what's happening.  Kid 1 is living outside their means and is "struggling" and the parents give them money to "help them out" meanwhile Kid 2 has their shit together and may or may not be making more money than Kid 1 and gets nothing.

But generally, siblings will start from the same-ish position, where they go from there is up to them and if one kid is making $80k/yr as an engineer and another is making $40k/yr as a teacher, then that's the kids choices in life and not that something the parent's should be "fairing up."

This is where I disagree somewhat. Given that both siblings work hard, the engineer and teacher. Would it be so bad that the parents "faired up" a little bit?
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: K-ice on August 17, 2015, 12:35:03 PM
A one time emergency for job loss or health bills would be perfectly fine with me. Or agreeing to support a disabled grandchild.

But constant, year after year, enabling one sibling to live beyond their means, send their kids to private school, paying off thousands in Cc debt etc. get Grand Parents help or threaten bankruptcy is very frustrating.

It also depends if the parent is very financially stable or if they have been spending & postponing their retirement for the spendthrift child.

Saying it will get balanced later in the will is a recipie for disaster if the money was not given as a formal loan callable upon death.

It is better to just write it off and be happy you do not spend yourself into such a financially desperate situation.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Abe on August 17, 2015, 12:47:26 PM
I have no idea how much money my parents give my sister, other than it's probably more than they give me (currently $0 because I don't cash their checks!), mostly because she only recently got her act together. How did you all find out about your siblings' financial aid. Did your parents tell you? If so, why do you think that is?

My sister is significantly less financially (and otherwise) successful than I am for various reasons that are not all her fault. I used to be upset at my parents for giving her support after multiple poor decisions on principle (even though it was probably chump change for them). With age and my own financial success, I've come to realize it's their decision to make. Though I can advise them with a more objective viewpoint, I can't judge their decisions as a parent-child relationship is so different from a sibling relationship.

My wife and I will probably be tougher on any future children who are screw-ups, because of our similar experiences with sibling bail-outs, but one can only know once put in that position. 
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Evgenia on August 17, 2015, 12:49:07 PM

I generally think that once you're 18, your parents don't owe you anything. Ideally they will continue to provide love and advice, etc. But you're an adult at that point and need to make your own way in the world. If your parents have money, it isn't your money--it's theirs. If they want to spend it or donate it, that's not your business really.

This is how my mind worked at 18. I never once expected that my parents would pay for my college education (not that they could have afforded it, even if they'd wanted to) or anything else. They raised me with the expectation that, come 18 years of age, you were out in the world on your own, and I was, and have been ever since (even if it meant living with four other people in a truly ghetto house in Detroit for $160/month, with abandoned houses all around). I was STUNNED -- stunned -- when I met people at college whose parents were paying for tuition and/or everything else: books, whatever they put on their credit cards. I feel stupid for saying so, but it had literally never occurred to me that this was possible.
 
Which is why I was so surprised to see how different my younger brother's experience was. He'd always had a "thing" for wanting more. When he was seven or eight, for instance, he stole cash out of my father's dresser drawer and blamed it on me, until my father caught my brother handing out baseball cards and candy to other kids and knew my brother had taken it. And, later, he got all kinds of assistance I never had: help with tuition, my parents paid for his car insurance when they wouldn't pay mine, and he'd ask my grandparents for money too. (I don't even know how destitute I'd have to be to ask my grandparents for anything.)

But it didn't help my brother any. Despite having all of this help and working during college, he still lived way beyond his means, charging up his credit card on stupid wheel stuff for his Camaro, travel to Australia, other ridiculousness. He is 36, his credit is wrecked, and has only started to get his s**t together in the past few years by making more frugal decisions.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Pooperman on August 17, 2015, 12:52:23 PM
I've had help, but I also don't have siblings*. Mother and step-father paid for school and gave me a car. SO's mother took us in after I lost my job almost 2 years ago while we got back on our feet (4 months). SO's brother has had a lot of help, but that's coming to an end as her mother is retiring soon and will stop helping when she does. We don't ask for help or monetary gifts or any of that. I know it comes with riders and I like my independence. I still get occasional gifts from my parents for big life events (big birthday, graduation, marriage, etc), but that all just gets invested and they know this.

At some point I will be the recipient of a stupid amount of money from my parents when they pass. I won't need it, but I'll invest it for future generations.

*I do actually have two, but they're half-siblings and I don't speak with my father... plus they're still kids
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: shelivesthedream on August 17, 2015, 01:00:45 PM
I think it's important to distinguish between whether what your parents have done for you and your siblings is fair, and what you will/would do for your own children. In my family there is an understanding that fair means equal. If my parents bought my brother a car, I would expect something equivalent. This is the way they brought us up, so if I were 'short changed' I would feel jealous, but in a petty, childish way, so I would most likely take a big adult breath a and let it go.

As for my own (future) children... The thing that disgusts me about so many of these stories is that the parents are supporting one child WAY beyond what is reasonable. If I, god forbid, ended up with a deadbeat child, then I would probably buy a cheap bedsit and let them live in it rent free and give them food (either dinner at ours or send them a basic grocery delivery). They can't afford a winter coat? Charity shop time! You don't like the colour? Tough! I would unequally give one child enough to keep them alive, not to artificially boost their lifestyle up to the level of their siblings because it's "not fair" that they don't have an iPad and their responsible sibling does.

I would also give equal gifts for life events. E.g. £X when they matriculate,  no matter how much it cost. £X for their wedding,  no matter what percentage is. You can't reward people for stupid choices.

ETA. I think a hugely important thing is how parents set expectations and therefore how children perceive it. I they know from day one that any lifestyle differences are going to be 'evened up', they can't cry unfair when their sibling gets more, because they know it could have been them. It's not associated with the parents loving one child more. I think it's bloody unfair, but if the parent sets the rules that way no one can be upset when they follow through.

Also, I have wrangle before about the horrific possibility that I might be the 'favourite'. Trust me, it ain't no bed of roses for anyone with a conscience. http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/my-grandmother-keeps-sending-me-large-cheques-can-i-do-anything-about-it/
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Goldielocks on August 17, 2015, 01:18:42 PM
I understand the desire for fairness, but I guess I'm over that.  My mom used to talk about how she paid the same amount towards my wedding as my sister's.  In reality, she bought my invitations ($100), and then she paid for my sister's and my brother's hotel rooms at my wedding.  Not quite the same, and I didn't care, but she wanted to FEEL like she was being fair.
[/b]

This!

Yes, I will admit to a small portion of jealously, especially when we were younger and did not have much money to spend on the things I felt were important for my kids (like lessons AND braces, instead of just braces...)

But what gets  / used to get / to me was how the parent will convince herself that she is being fair / equal... and then state that.  I finally had to tell her to stop bringing up money and finances as it made me feel bad after those discussions, and I did not really care how she spent her money, as long as sister never asked ME for money.

e.g., of what is "equal" in her mind:  (This is MIL who we are pretty close to, so most of my angst is on behalf of my husband)

1.  In highschool, DH received the (used) family stereo when his dad upgraded, as his Christmas / Birthday present.   Sister received a brand new stereo at the same age, because it was "fair".

2.  DH sold the family car and was allowed to keep the $$ above dealership trade in offer.  It was a lot of work, and then used that $$ plus savings from jobs / allowance / etc to buy a used Acura (very nice in those days).   SIL received a NEW Acura (same model / different year) purchased by dad because "it was fair".

3.  Our wedding was $12k including honeymoon.  They gifted us $5k for it, spread across alcohol and other expenses (the other parents gave us about $7k too).   SIL's wedding was ( I guess) $25k was fully paid for because it was the "equivalent" of our wedding and she had no personal savings or other in-laws to help pay for it.

4.  They gave SIL $150k or more towards her home purchase, and put us in their current will so that we will get $150k in oh, say, 40 years after, because that is fair.   (I really won't need more money then, but I could have used it previously, that's for sure)

5.  Fully paying for my neices' multiple ballet classes, because SIL can't afford them and we have our kids in classes (um,,, we had swimming classes, and only $80 per month cost at the time, I would have LOVED to afford other lessons for my kids).

Of course at some point, the pretense disappeared and they ended up paying for SIL utilities, car insurance, property taxes, and being the full time care provided for my nieces for several years...  all because SIL earned less than we do.   By this time, they had stopped discussing money "fairness" with us (at my request), and it was SOOO much better.   

This left the "normal" jealousy that grandma favors my nieces over my kids..  in terms of time and attention anyway, but as they all grow older it is less important.

But you know what?  DH is so amazing, he doesn't even notice or mind.  He just, like, never thinks about it and if I point it out, is very happy that his sis gets help, and grateful for whatever time or money/gifts he receives.

Here's a funny tidbit -- at one time I was struggling to get our grocery bill down (like many of you at one point), so that we could pay for those braces and other life events, and get back on track with retirement savings...and I mentioned it to SIL.  She was confused at why our bill was so high, as hers was only $150/mo for a family of 4 (in BC). A very tight budget would be closer to $600 at that time.   LOL  it was pretty clear to me then that all the packaged food, meat, yogurt, bread and fruit was bought by grandma who needed food in the house when she babysat all week!  SIL had no idea.


I must say that although jealousy is there (I am human), just writing to a forum thread, or to a author in an email is all most of us need to have it disappear for a year.  What those people wrote is likely not how they act most times.  Just venting.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Blonde Lawyer on August 17, 2015, 01:19:26 PM
I think it is also important to keep in mind that our parents financial situations change over time.  My brother and I are 7 years apart.  He got fancier name brand clothes in high school than I did because my parents could afford it then and they couldn't when I was a kid.  I don't resent that.  Just because they were cash strapped w/ me doesn't mean they have to impose the same standard of living on him when their situation improved.

They paid for all of my undergrad that wasn't covered by scholarships.  They couldn't do that for my brother because the price of an undergrad education had really sky rocketed and dad got laid off that year.  They still contributed a lot; just not 100%.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Cassie on August 17, 2015, 01:22:35 PM
My parents helped the 3 of us when we needed it & not for doing stupid stuff. When 1 was helped the other 2 were not handed the same amount because we all knew if we needed it -it would be there. I am talking in small ways/amounts -not a lot because they couldn't afford it.   This happened when we were young & we were all grateful. I have done the same with my 3 & it has worked out fine. I am following my parents example also & would not reward bad behavior. People never learn if you do.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: justajane on August 17, 2015, 01:23:01 PM
I'm pretty sure at least one of my siblings holds a grudge because I went to a fancy-pants private university, while they both went to a state school (in state). I am the youngest. On the one hand, I can see their point. I'm sure because I was the youngest, what was communicated to me in high school was different than what was subtly (or not so subtly) communicated to them. But my parents swear that private school would have been in the cards for them as well, but they didn't ask or pursue it. But they would say that they didn't feel like they could pursue it.

I know another family of three that went the other direction. The first two kids went to a semi-expensive private school for high school, while the youngest had to "settle" for public school.

I should keep these struggles in mind with my three kids as well.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Dollar Slice on August 17, 2015, 01:27:30 PM
Interesting to think about. I've seen both sides of the coin in my family. My mom and her sisters - two are very successful and two are very unsuccessful (one has a chronic illness, the other has drug issues and probably some undiagnosed psych/mental something-or-other going on). Fairness is great, but it would be ludicrous for my grandmother to give money to the two successful daughters, who both have far more money than her. I think what happens is that the successful daughters give her money (often in the form of very generous gifts, like $3k hearing aids) and then she helps out the other two daughters because it makes her happy to feel that she can take care of her kids when they need help. I think she is leaving everything to the disabled daughter in her will, including the house which is paid off. Makes sense to me.

My immediate family, OTOH... my brother got college paid for; I did too, but I earned a large scholarship and I think they shelled out about 25% of what they did for him. They bought him a car, and I didn't want a car. They gave him a down payment for a home, I haven't purchased a home. He and his wife both make more money than I do (and her parents are wealthy and also gave them a down payment for the house, etc. so they have had a TON of help). So it's kind of outrageously unfair if you look at it a certain way. They've helped me in other ways but probably a tenth or less of what they gave him. But if you look at it in a vacuum they've still been incredibly generous with me. It never really bothered me. There were a lot of other things that bothered me because I thought they treated him like their favorite for a long time. But the money wasn't one of those things.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: choppingwood on August 17, 2015, 01:42:54 PM
My father told me how his will would divide things up. He was leaving more to my sister, because she had lived with and done a considerable amount to help my mother and father through my mother's dementia and my father's old age. She was there because she had been fired and run out of money. She lived with them with free room and board for many years. She took his car when he couldn't drive anymore and got the balance of a large joint bank account without it having to go through probate. She stayed rent-free in the house for two years after both parents died, getting it ready for sale.

What I told my dad is what I believe:  it was his money, and he should do exactly what he thought he should do with it. He said thank you.

My sister, on the other hand, objected to him leaving any money to the daughters of my late sister, since they would get money from other people.

Eight years later, none of us has tons of money, but all of have enough. Which is what my father wanted for us.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: EricP on August 17, 2015, 02:05:04 PM
I pose this question to you guys of this forum. Is each sibling born equal? Maybe if each sibling works hard, but there is a massive disparity in income and the less compensated sibling receives money from their parents. Is this fair? Maybe it's not always fair to distribute the wealth equally among siblings. I think this is rarely the case however.

In all these stories, it's not that the parents are trying to make it fair between the siblings.  IE: Kid 1 can afford a $20k car, Kid 2 can afford a $30k car, they give Kid 1 $10k to get him up to Kid 2's level.  This is not what's happening.  Kid 1 is living outside their means and is "struggling" and the parents give them money to "help them out" meanwhile Kid 2 has their shit together and may or may not be making more money than Kid 1 and gets nothing.

But generally, siblings will start from the same-ish position, where they go from there is up to them and if one kid is making $80k/yr as an engineer and another is making $40k/yr as a teacher, then that's the kids choices in life and not that something the parent's should be "fairing up."

This is where I disagree somewhat. Given that both siblings work hard, the engineer and teacher. Would it be so bad that the parents "faired up" a little bit?

Yeah it would.  It would create a large feeling of resentment.  Read the posts here.  There's a whole lot of people pretending like they aren't upset about their siblings getting more from their parents, but most of them have a big "BUT" on the end of it.

Here's some samples of what I'm talking about.

Quote
After you've turned 18, what your parents do with their money is frankly none of your business.  Would the person in this article be upset if their parents spend the $30K for the siblings car on an expensive trip around the world instead?  Either way, they didn't get the benefit of the money.  It would frustrate me if my parents were subsidizing my sibling's poor life choices and letting them live in fantasy land when they really needed to hit rock bottom, but again, its not my money.

Quote
Now that I see how that worked out, I have no feelings of resentment, more of annoyance that my brother has become useless from constantly being enabled.

Quote
My parents "subsidize" my two brothers who are fairly inept with money (one lives high on the hog) while my sister and I get nothing because they know we're responsible.  My sis and me aren't jealous and don't need the money but we'd like our two brothers to get their shit together and stop leeching.  (Kidults.)

So the engineer will inevitably feel resentment against the teacher.  If Kid A is making more than Kid B then they worked harder to get there.  Between two siblings, this country very much is a meritocracy, so having the parents even it up will just serve to reward the person who didn't work as hard.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Fuzzy Buttons on August 17, 2015, 02:33:40 PM
So the engineer will inevitably feel resentment against the teacher.  If Kid A is making more than Kid B then they worked harder to get there.  Between two siblings, this country very much is a meritocracy, so having the parents even it up will just serve to reward the person who didn't work as hard.

Sometimes you make less because what you do isn't a lucrative career, despite how hard you work at it.  My gf is a teacher and I'm an engineer - I promise she works harder than me.  I wouldn't do that job in a million years.  More examples would be charity, non-profit, or other such work.  I can totally see a parent being proud of a child who chose to a live a simpler life doing work they felt would be worthwhile, and deciding to reward that. 

But it's always touchy.  Good communication is the key.  My parents were always clear to my sister and I that they would get us through state college with no debts, but that we should not count on any inheritance.  Seemed like a great deal to me, and I was never disappointed because I was never let down by an unreasonable expectation.  Now, my sister did more graduate school than I did - and she and her husband have kids, one of whom has Ausbergers and has required special schooling.  Mom gives her financial help from time to time and tells me she's keeping count and it will all be reflected in the will.  I just remind her that there's not supposed to be anything left, and shouldn't she be out spending money on herself right now? 

Because honestly, I can't think of anything I could buy that would give me more pleasure than seeing my mom happy.  That's the real reward of being financially responsible - the ability to just let it go.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: K-ice on August 17, 2015, 02:34:55 PM
^^^^

I would be scared to say engineers work harder than teachers.

The resentment would come if either of them spend beyond their means then expect a parent subsidy to make up for that.

Grandkids also factor in. Should a family with 4 kids get more presents & help then a DINK couple?


Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Candace on August 17, 2015, 02:44:25 PM
I think it is also important to keep in mind that our parents financial situations change over time.  My brother and I are 7 years apart.  He got fancier name brand clothes in high school than I did because my parents could afford it then and they couldn't when I was a kid.  I don't resent that.  Just because they were cash strapped w/ me doesn't mean they have to impose the same standard of living on him when their situation improved.

They paid for all of my undergrad that wasn't covered by scholarships.  They couldn't do that for my brother because the price of an undergrad education had really sky rocketed and dad got laid off that year.  They still contributed a lot; just not 100%.

This is definitely true. My sister is four years younger than I am. When I was a junior in college and needed a car to commute to a co-op job, they shopped with me for a modest used car, gave me half the cost and lent me the other half. I worked nights after my co-op job to have enough to pay them back and still have enough money to last the school year.

When my sister got out of college (no co-op job, so no need for a car till then), my parents GAVE her a NEW car. I definitely resented the difference at the time. Again, I didn't need the money, I just felt with the little teeny part of my brain that it meant she was more important to them than I was. I KNOW that's not the case though. My parents and I have a great relationship and they love all of their kids. It was just that in the interim, my mom's earnings increased by a lot, so they felt flush when she graduated.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: EricP on August 17, 2015, 02:46:45 PM
^^^^

I would be scared to say engineers work harder than teachers.

The resentment would come if either of them spend beyond their means then expect a parent subsidy to make up for that.

Grandkids also factor in. Should a family with 4 kids get more presents & help then a DINK couple?

Presents are a different story.  You want to give some toys to the grandkids, I don't think a sibling would get upset about it.  But you give a new van to the family with 4 kids and nothing to the DINK, then the DINK family would get upset.

"Fairing it up" between two siblings will lead to resentment, I don't think that's hard to see and I've shown throughout the thread that there are plenty of people here who show some levels of resentment.  Keeping it even regardless of circumstances (in regards to big money purchases) is an easy one shoe foots all approach that gets past all of this himming and hawing about circumstances and how hard someone works and other nonsense.

@Fuzzy Buttons, rewarding a child for their charity work while not giving the kids who does a job that pays well seems like a surefire way to resentment.  "Well your sister just does such great work helping out those puppies so we wanted to give her a down payment to her house."  That's sure to piss off the brother who is making more.  And that's the point I'm getting after, unless you give the same amount to both people then there will be feelings of resentment even if the goal is just to "fair it up."
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: mm1970 on August 17, 2015, 02:47:48 PM
More interesting stuff!

My spouse's family has a seasonal vacation cabin.  Bought cheap long ago.  It's now worth, oh, $150,000 to $200,000 would be my guess, and it's in FIL, SIL, and spouse's names.

I just assume that when FIL goes, we gift the other half to SIL.  I mean, the only reason we have it now is that the in-laws divorced, and MIL wanted to make sure the kids had "access" to it.  I mentioned that casually on vacation recently and got the death stare from MIL.  She most certainly does NOT want that to happen, she considers it to be equally my spouse's.

But we are a continent away and my SIL and her husband have been the ones to do ALL the work, and upgrades, and upkeep on it.  Well, in-laws did some, but all of the recent work.  We only visit every other year anyway.

It's interesting because my MIL is REALLY into fairness.  But as far as I'm concerned, it's theirs.  As long as we can stay when we visit!
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Jakejake on August 17, 2015, 03:07:23 PM
My sister (in her 50s) is a chronic recipient of economic outpatient care. My parents have bailed her out with mortgage payments multiple times. If she had been in a low paying full time job all this time I wouldn't have minded as much, but what actually happened was I enlisted, then worked full time plus did reserve duty as a single mom and made it work, while she just had herself to support but wouldn't get a full time job because it would "interfere with her hobbies."

We all get along fine, but it definitely bothers me that my parents made sure she never had to deal with the consequences of her decisions.  I am not concerned about how much inheritance I get; I'll be fine living off my own savings. What concerns me is that I know she will blow all of her inheritance within a few years, and then I will have to decide if I am going to support her when we're both in our 70's to keep her from living in extreme poverty - vs. keeping my own savings safe for my daughter to inherit. I resent that I'm going to have to make that decision with my money when the time comes, because of how my parents have enabled her through the years.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Potterquilter on August 17, 2015, 03:27:18 PM
Each birthday and Christmas we put money into the 529's of our grandkids. We give the other married son nice presents but invariably give more to the one with three kids when it comes down to it. Should we try to even it out?  Everyone makes a good salary in both families. There are no crazy extenuating circumstances. We don't do cars or large cash stuff, except for the college funds.

We tried to give them the approx. same amount for college, they each got a used car to drive when they were seniors in college to help them get started but they have made it on their own.  Should we even bring it up? 
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Ozapftis on August 17, 2015, 03:59:06 PM
Each birthday and Christmas we put money into the 529's of our grandkids. We give the other married son nice presents but invariably give more to the one with three kids when it comes down to it. Should we try to even it out?  Everyone makes a good salary in both families. There are no crazy extenuating circumstances. We don't do cars or large cash stuff, except for the college funds.

We tried to give them the approx. same amount for college, they each got a used car to drive when they were seniors in college to help them get started but they have made it on their own.  Should we even bring it up?

I don't see much of a problem here, if any. The extra money you give is really given for and to the grandkids, not your son himself. If he acts financially responsible on top then it cannot be misinterpreted as subsidizing negative behavior either.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: K-ice on August 17, 2015, 04:41:29 PM
Is this a crazy idea? Open a joint account to balance.

My mom gives a lot to my sis & it is stressful for her. Most of the stress is that Sis needs never ending help, year after year, for bad spending choices. Part of the stress is she wants to be fair. She says she will balance it later somehow.

I thought of suggesting she open a joint account for her and I. Every time she gives to Sis she puts the same in the joint account with me.

If mom needs the money in the future it is hers.
She can spend gifts for me from that account. (She is generous to me too and I often refuse because I don't need consumer stuff.)
If I need some of the money I will ask but then take from that pool.
If she passes the joint account goes directly to me. No probate.
If I pass the money goes back to her to decide if it is for her son or my children.

One of my reasons is that I think she is being taken advantage of and has hardly any idea what the total she has spent is.

Am I just being nosy & greedy, or is this a good way to help her make things fair?
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Jakejake on August 17, 2015, 05:02:43 PM
I wouldn't try suggesting that my parents open a joint account with me. That's sort of implying I feel entitled to their money. What my parents have told me is that they're keeping a running tally of debts my sister owes, because each time they bail her out it's technically a loan, even though she never pays it back. And that amount is to be deducted from her portion of the inheritance.

I have no idea how that will actually play out. They put me as executor of their will even though I'm the younger sibling, and I haven't got a clue where I'd find that information (or how I'd find their will or their lawyer) when the time comes; I don't know if they've been reporting that info to the lawyer or what. I'm not really worried about it, but anyway, that seems like a better option than the joint account to me.

I'd answer differently if your mom was the one who suggested it. But for you to suggest it seems weird.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: music lover on August 17, 2015, 05:29:18 PM
I'm executor for my parents. My mother (she handles all the finances) has told me that us 3 kids will be getting the same amount. They have already made some adjustments to balance out the help she has provided over the years. I got a bit to help buy out the ex's share of the house during a divorce and pay off a credit card she racked up, my brother got some help with a down payment on a house, and my sis got a lump sum just to even things up.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: mm1970 on August 17, 2015, 06:30:56 PM
Each birthday and Christmas we put money into the 529's of our grandkids. We give the other married son nice presents but invariably give more to the one with three kids when it comes down to it. Should we try to even it out?  Everyone makes a good salary in both families. There are no crazy extenuating circumstances. We don't do cars or large cash stuff, except for the college funds.

We tried to give them the approx. same amount for college, they each got a used car to drive when they were seniors in college to help them get started but they have made it on their own.  Should we even bring it up?
Well, if the other married son has children, then put money into college funds then?
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Making Cookies on August 17, 2015, 08:04:22 PM
I was bitter for a long time, mostly b/c none of them seemed to think about how that would affect a small kid, to constantly get the message "We prefer your sisters over you." Dad eventually figured it out, and years later, in my 30s, he said "I know it has all been unequal, and I'm going to do something big for you someday." He never did, but at least he wanted to.

But the upshot is that I have a wonderful life, a great spouse, very ample financial resources, and no cause for complaint. And now I am the steward of my parents' finances as they age, since they granted me POA status and put me on their accounts. They certainly made a lot of bad decisions, but they got that one right.

Amazing thread. SO glad we're not alone out there. I too got a version of "the girl child is more important than the boy child" treatment.

Funny how much of how our family functioned and why didn't become clearer until my wife and I had kids. My mother felt short changed b/c in her family the boys got the freedoms and attention. Then again it was the 50s in a small southern town where the conservative religious folks ruled the place. Of course Mom was going to get short changed. So did most of the other women. When my sister and I came along, Mom made up for it or so it seems. 

Don't know how much the money equation has been slanted in the girl child's favor but she did get a 100% free college education including apartment and living expenses. I had to pay for 99.9% of my education and living expenses and did so working multiple jobs and giving the US military six years of my life. I think the parents bought my books one semester. I did rent a house from my parents at full market value for a while until they started getting intrusive on several topics in my new (and only, and current) marriage...

There were matching funds when my sister bought cars while I got access to my father's tools to fix up my junker that I both paid for and insured. I did get a rebuilt engine for my HS grad gift b/c my ancient rusting junker was falling apart. There a few $ gifts along the way - but they supposedly kept the gifts equal. Maybe they did. I want to believe they did. Sort of continued a period when I was little. I'd mow the grass or wash a car and my grandfather would give me $15 for the effort and then give my sister who did nothing the same $15. -eye rolling- For her there was help, for me it was opportunities to earn my way in life. Maybe they raised me to support a family and her to be a good wife. I don't know.

The parents have given her hours and hours of childcare, child taxi duty, and home renovation assistance including many long trips across town to the home improvement store. I think they would help me if I asked but they mostly never offer. LOTS of assumptions at work here. We are pretty frugal, they assume that we are poor b/c we aren't Type -A personalities and we certainly aren't poor. They assume we spend wildly but we don't - we just don't spend our money on the same things everyone else - car payments, cable TV and expensive commutes for three examples. So if we choose to go to the pub for a dark beer - we're not spending frivolously.

All in all it hasn't been a bad time with my parents - just strained at times. I only called them out on all this once and it broke things for a long, long time. I can't fix it. I decided to do what a favorite Admiral said to us once - "lead by example". I've adapted it to say "lead quietly by example". Let the people around us figure us out. I'm not explaining our choices nor am I seeking opportunity to openly preach at anyone. It has taken a long time but my parents see now (I think) that our choices were different from theirs' but still quite valid. We found success despite "doing it all wrong". All it took was for my peers to return home bankrupt and divorced with multiple children in tow, or a few DUIs or folks my age that can't seem to settle down.

I was once frequently compared to my do-nothing uncle with whom I shared NO similarities. That always hurts. A lifetime of marital and career mistakes for him, I've taken a longer path than my sibling but never got into the trouble that uncle did.

I never wanted my parents' money but a little bit of the ease that they've provided my sibling with might have been nice at different times. These days I don't even want that. I'm proud of the hard work we've done to get where we are now.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Travis on August 17, 2015, 08:34:20 PM
I'm with the poster earlier who said it was a major point of pride that they had no financial connection to their parents.  I've never needed financial help and I don't fault my sister for getting it.  There's 6 years between my older sister and I.  I have a graduate degree with a successful career since I stepped out of college while my sister took well into her 30s to finish college and get into a stable financial situation.  She started a family much earlier than me and had a number of financial hardships (young adult bad money decisions and a major medical situation).  My parents helped out with childcare and groceries, but it created a huge rift between them.  Mom would constantly remind my sister of the help whenever they had disagreements, and my mom's substance abuse issues made those arguments frequent.  When my BIL was well again and working his way up in his career and my sister finished school and went back to full time it was a major shift in the whole family that they were no longer financially attached to my parents.  The whole dynamic fed the growing rift between my sister and I because I never needed financial help (though parents paid for half of my undergrad) and I didn't have to be around for the drama with mom.  She thought I was the favored child and my lack of ever needing help created animosity.  I'm glad I was never in my sister's position, but she was jealous of me for never being in hers.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Making Cookies on August 17, 2015, 08:43:47 PM
Strangely though, I really do believe that our 2 sets of parents prefer the kids who need the money. It makes parents feel needed and they have an "in" to be involved in adult kids' lives.

Whoa! Never thought of it that way...
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: LeRainDrop on August 17, 2015, 09:08:51 PM
My sister (in her 50s) is a chronic recipient of economic outpatient care. My parents have bailed her out with mortgage payments multiple times. If she had been in a low paying full time job all this time I wouldn't have minded as much, but what actually happened was I enlisted, then worked full time plus did reserve duty as a single mom and made it work, while she just had herself to support but wouldn't get a full time job because it would "interfere with her hobbies."

We all get along fine, but it definitely bothers me that my parents made sure she never had to deal with the consequences of her decisions.  I am not concerned about how much inheritance I get; I'll be fine living off my own savings. What concerns me is that I know she will blow all of her inheritance within a few years, and then I will have to decide if I am going to support her when we're both in our 70's to keep her from living in extreme poverty - vs. keeping my own savings safe for my daughter to inherit. I resent that I'm going to have to make that decision with my money when the time comes, because of how my parents have enabled her through the years.

Yes!  This is the same issue that I have with the uneven parental spending on children.  Youngest Brother and I were backed into a corner to loan some SERIOUS money to our parents a few years ago (still being repaid as agreed), as well as a good amount to our Middle Brother (surprisingly, repayment is happening).  My parents also divorced in that timeframe and I let my mom live with me "for a few months" (ahem, a year) so she could relocate and get on her feet.  While mom is living with me, both she and my dad continue to "loan" a ton of money to Middle Brother due to his poor decision-making and lack of planning.  So, Youngest Brother and I are giving financial support to the whole family YET simultaneously, each of my parents continue loaning money to Middle Brother.  In this way, parents are kinda NOT loaning their OWN money to Middle Brother, but rather using the terms of the loans Youngest Brother and I made to parents in order to have enough cash to loan Middle Brother.  I think I wouldn't be upset if parents were really giving Middle Brother their own money -- I don't care if I inherit any money from the parents whatsoever -- but the way I see it now, they are literally giving him my money and Youngest Brother's money AND my parents are going to run out of money!  The end result is that Youngest Brother and I will be called upon (again) to support our parents when they run out, and Middle Brother will not know what to do without Bank of Mom and Dad (middlemen to Bank of Older Sister and Youngest Brother).
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Potterquilter on August 17, 2015, 09:27:13 PM
Each birthday and Christmas we put money into the 529's of our grandkids. We give the other married son nice presents but invariably give more to the one with three kids when it comes down to it. Should we try to even it out?  Everyone makes a good salary in both families. There are no crazy extenuating circumstances. We don't do cars or large cash stuff, except for the college funds.

We tried to give them the approx. same amount for college, they each got a used car to drive when they were seniors in college to help them get started but they have made it on their own.  Should we even bring it up?
Well, if the other married son has children, then put money into college funds then?

No kids planned, definite on that one.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Potterquilter on August 17, 2015, 09:31:34 PM
Strangely though, I really do believe that our 2 sets of parents prefer the kids who need the money. It makes parents feel needed and they have an "in" to be involved in adult kids' lives.

Whoa! Never thought of it that way...

Oh yes, some of this behavior is certainly deliberate. Satisfies the needs of the giver and recipient. And it can add more stress for those who thrive on chaos and uncertainty, unlike those who pay their bills, are ready for emergencies and plan for life and retirement.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: gimp on August 17, 2015, 09:40:13 PM
It was my first lesson of adulthood: nothing is free. Sure, there are times when I feel sad for the loss of that safety net, but what I've gained is priceless. There are no strings on me.

Quoted for motherfucking truth, man.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: SunshineAZ on August 17, 2015, 10:53:10 PM
I want to be clear, I don't want money from my parents, I don't care that money is given unequally, what bothers me is when siblings are bad at money management and poor planning and stupidity is subsidized by the parents. Yes, we make more money and save more than our sibs, and most of the sibs have kids, so I have absolutely no problem with giving to grandkids. But what we saw and see still is a lot of bailouts for stupid stuff. Thinking about it more and reading the comments, I'd just like the parents to say to us, "We appreciate that you are independent and never needed anything." Strangely though, I really do believe that our 2 sets of parents prefer the kids who need the money. It makes parents feel needed and they have an "in" to be involved in adult kids' lives.

This!!  It is just me and my brother, who is 7 years younger than me.  Because my parents worked long hours, I ended up being a mother to my brother, but was unable to punish him, and as such, he was held to a completely different standard.  "Boys will be boys." (ugh)  I moved out at 19 and have been self-supporting ever since.  My brother was 12 at that time and, with me being gone had even less oversight, and basically did whatever he wanted.  (I, unfortunately, did not realize my parents would let him do this, they certainly didn't let me do whatever I wanted.)  As a consequence, my brother has only lived apart from my parents less than 3 years since adulthood.  And he just recently moved back in after spending the longest time away, just over a year, he is 42.  My mom continually bails him out of stupid things like unpaid parking tickets, driving on a suspended license, buying him cars when he trashes his current one etc.  He has probably worked less than 6 years total in his life.  (And yes, until a few years ago drugs were an issue, but he appears to be staying clean finally.)  Sadly, he is so crippled by being constantly bailed out by my mother that I don't know if he will ever be self-supporting. 

My family has a history of codependence, my grandfather was a huge alcoholic and my grandmother was a total enabler.  My mom has told me more than once that she hates the fact that I am self-sufficient and don't come running to her all the time to save me.  I have no idea what he is going to do when my parents die because I will probably be RE by then and certainly won't be in a position to support him, and even if I was, I wouldn't.  Even if they left him everything, in a few years he will be in exactly the same position.

My parents don't have a lot, but they do ok.  A few years back mom told me she wanted me to be the executor of her will, since I am the responsible child, and I told her flat out that she better put what she wants him to have because, as far as I am concerned, he has gotten far more than his share.   I have a lot of anger towards my parents because of this situation.  I try not to let it get to me, but it is something that really bothers me.  I live away from my family to distance myself from the drama. 

Oh and my mom's sister and my cousin, her daughter, are another similar mess, stemming from the same codependence cycle.  Her daughter is a lot like my brother and will be in a similar predicament, probably even sooner than my brother since her mother is in poor health.  At which time I am sure my mom will end up supporting her as well.  *sigh*

Anyway, sorry for the long rant.  This is something that I worry about a lot. 
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: College Stash on August 17, 2015, 11:08:35 PM
Threads like these make me so glad I'm an only child. I personally think that, regardless of circumstances, the children should be treated equally.

Example: 2 Kids each given an arbitrary 25k for college.

Kid 1: Uses the entire amount.

Kid 2: Earns a full ride.

Kid 2 should still receive the same amount. They worked hard and earned it and as a result they'll have a great nest egg to start their young adult life.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Trouble on August 18, 2015, 01:01:35 AM
My husband was pretty stupid with money (and kinda continues to be to this day, thank goodness I control the money!) before he met me, and had to be bailed out many times by his parents. I have no idea of the $ figure but tens of thousands sounds probably right (maybe even $100k or more?)
His brother loved it because anytime husband got a bailout the brother would get the same amount. Free money yay! I like that idea, and hope to implement it should I ever need to bailout the kids.

My sister is bailed out a fair bit by our divorced parents, and she's the screwup of the 4 siblings. They pay for things like car insurance, health insurance, medication... But really she's just choosing to spend her money on concerts and trips interstate and not prioritising her bills. It makes me sad as my mum has a big mortgage due to her own bad life choices, and shouldn't be supporting my almost 30 year old sister. I see my sister continue to live beyond her means and my parents just enabling her. But I am so thankful I'm not in her position as her life is not one I would want to live. And our dad lords it over you if he's given you money... Yuck.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: frugalecon on August 18, 2015, 06:53:58 AM
I was bitter for a long time, mostly b/c none of them seemed to think about how that would affect a small kid, to constantly get the message "We prefer your sisters over you." Dad eventually figured it out, and years later, in my 30s, he said "I know it has all been unequal, and I'm going to do something big for you someday." He never did, but at least he wanted to.

But the upshot is that I have a wonderful life, a great spouse, very ample financial resources, and no cause for complaint. And now I am the steward of my parents' finances as they age, since they granted me POA status and put me on their accounts. They certainly made a lot of bad decisions, but they got that one right.

Amazing thread. SO glad I'm not alone out there. I too got a version of "the girl child is more important than the boy child" treatment.

There were matching funds when my sister bought cars while I got access to my father's tools to fix up my junker that I both paid for and insured. I did get a rebuilt engine for my HS grad gift b/c my ancient rusting junker was falling apart. There a few $ gifts along the way - but they supposedly kept the gifts equal. Maybe they did. i want to believe they did. Sort of continued a period when I was little. I'd mow the grass or wash a car and my grandfather would give me $15 for the effort and then give my sister who did nothing the same $15. -eye rolling- For her there was help, for me it was opportunities to earn my way in life. Maybe they raised me to support a family and her to be a good wife. I don't know.


The car stuff was weird in my family, as well. Dad forbade me to buy my own car in high school, telling me that I could use the family cars, which gave him a leash to control me with. Not unusual when I wanted to borrow a car that he would say, "I'll just drop you off and pick you up." Not exactly cool for a 17-year old. Never had a car in college, cuz I couldn't afford it, but then when my sister turned 16 (she's 4 years younger), he decided to buy her an MG convertible. I told him that the repairs would eat him alive, but he didn't listen, and he stuck with it for 18 months before he bought her a Honda CRX to replace it. Ultimately he would buy her a second Honda CRX as well. Meanwhile, he did buy me a car for graduation from college. Toyota Tercel, no AC, no stereo, not even any carpeting (it had vinyl floors). Not really the car of my dreams, but I drove it for 7 years before I sprang for a brand-new, very nice Toyota 4Runner (2wd, though, I realized that 4wd was unnecessary.) The funny thing was that Dad criticized me to no end for buying such an extravagant vehicle, even though I paid for it myself!

What I have realized in retrospect is that parents sometimes live out their own emotional issues with their children, and that leads to different behavior with respect to them b/c they are processing different issues with the different children. With my sister, Dad loved to live vicariously through her wildness, so he was happy to spring for all of the toys. With me, Dad wanted to undermine my independence in the same way my grandfather had tried to do with him. The best thing for me was to establish my autonomy from him, so that he couldn't control me. And I think we actually got beyond all of those issues in a good way, and we became quite close.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Making Cookies on August 18, 2015, 07:08:39 AM
Strangely though, I really do believe that our 2 sets of parents prefer the kids who need the money. It makes parents feel needed and they have an "in" to be involved in adult kids' lives.

Whoa! Never thought of it that way...

Oh yes, some of this behavior is certainly deliberate. Satisfies the needs of the giver and recipient. And it can add more stress for those who thrive on chaos and uncertainty, unlike those who pay their bills, are ready for emergencies and plan for life and retirement.

Oh these little epiphanies are so much fun... ;)

Deliberate stress, projection of fault, setting up one child to breeze into adulthood while the other struggles so. Growing up is so much fun... LOL!

Always good to put a few hundred miles between yourself and dysfunctional family.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Making Cookies on August 18, 2015, 07:29:43 AM
What I have realized in retrospect is that parents sometimes live out their own emotional issues with their children, and that leads to different behavior with respect to them b/c they are processing different issues with the different children. With my sister, Dad loved to live vicariously through her wildness, so he was happy to spring for all of the toys. With me, Dad wanted to undermine my independence in the same way my grandfather had tried to do with him. The best thing for me was to establish my autonomy from him, so that he couldn't control me. And I think we actually got beyond all of those issues in a good way, and we became quite close.

DANG! What a great thread. Where were you people 30 years ago when I was a frustrated teen and needed a sounding board to swap ideas with? ;)

Frugalecon - yeah. You nailed it.

Personally still waiting for the closeness. Every time I experiment getting any closer than phone calls or a three hour visit - things start to get complicated. ;)

I DO see them trying to exert some control over us any time they have a chance. The chances are fewer these days b/c we are very independent. Part of the reason I'd NEVER ask them for money or a place to live again. Hell, we don't even stay with them when we go to that city anymore.

Once upon a time they seemed to look for opportunities to fuss over petty stuff like when we were 15 min late to a picnic / three hour visit (was years ago). Never mind we had to stop for diapers for the baby. And no, a diaper stop wasn't a good enough reason to be late.

We're going to be much better empty nesters someday than my parents have been.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Apples on August 18, 2015, 08:37:17 AM
I'm just chiming in to follow this thread...I'm watching some of these dynamics in my extended family and in my parent's generation, and as a twenty something am fascinated.  I think a lot is based on the relationships of the people involved and personal responsibility of all than actual financial differences.  I wouldn't mind a disabled sibling/cousin or person who is working hard based on their situation in life but not getting ahead inheriting most of the money or getting substantial gifts throughout life while I didn't get any.  Like a single mom working a low-wage day job and freelancing on the side to cover daycare and necessities for her kids and a splurge every now and then, getting a van from her parents as a gift.  But I have a cousin who doesn't do much to improve her situation and has mooched off of relatives for the last year.  Now I would mind her getting a large financial gift from relatives.

My parents were going to pay for college for all of us...I got a full ride scholarship.  They renovated a house I moved into that was owned by the business, and will do a bit of renovation to my brother's future house.  But he and I both know he's getting probably $50k to $100k more from my parents than I did.  But I'm at peace with that b/c they gave both of us substantial help. He's an engineer; I don't expect my parents to "fair it up" through the years as he makes more.

And there's been interesting conversation on gifts.  I would expect people to spend the same amount of money per adult/kid than per family.  So DINKS vs. a family of 4...the family of 4 would get more gifts at Christmas because of the kids, but both adult couples would approximately the same amount of gifts.  That's how I perceive that my family has always done it, and to me that makes sense.  And my grandparents contributed to the 529 per grandchild, not per family, so people with 3 kids got more money than people with 2, though of course they were also going to have greater expenses.  I has never occurred to me to do it any other way.

Finally, my DH and I quickly strove to be financially independent from his parents when we moved in together because it always comes with guilt tripping strings.  We were paying back a $2450 debt from when they helped him with some medical bills (with a 401k loan, mind you).  They called saying they needed $350 for an emergency so an inspector could see the water damage in their walls and the insurance company would pay to fix it all.  They were wondering if we would make our $800 payment early to them so they could have some cash.  We had some savings, so we just wrote them a check for the balance.  I didn't want the strings attached to the money.  And then we had to do the dance of not acting like that totally wiped us out because it didn't, while also acting like we didn't have a whole pile of savings that then could be leaned on "for emergencies".  So that wasn't fun.  Now we just nod and say mmmhmmm when they tell us why they haven't  had the money to fix their air conditioning for two years.  Oy.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Goldielocks on August 18, 2015, 08:48:27 AM
Strangely though, I really do believe that our 2 sets of parents prefer the kids who need the money. It makes parents feel needed and they have an "in" to be involved in adult kids' lives.

Whoa! Never thought of it that way...

Oh yes, some of this behavior is certainly deliberate. Satisfies the needs of the giver and recipient. And it can add more stress for those who thrive on chaos and uncertainty, unlike those who pay their bills, are ready for emergencies and plan for life and retirement.

Oh these little epiphanies are so much fun... ;)

Deliberate stress, projection of fault, setting up one child to breeze into adulthood while the other struggles so. Growing up is so much fun... LOL!

Always good to put a few hundred miles between yourself and dysfunctional family.
Ha!  This is a typical functional family!
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: nobody123 on August 18, 2015, 09:00:47 AM
Yeah it would.  It would create a large feeling of resentment.  Read the posts here.  There's a whole lot of people pretending like they aren't upset about their siblings getting more from their parents, but most of them have a big "BUT" on the end of it.

Here's some samples of what I'm talking about.

Quote
After you've turned 18, what your parents do with their money is frankly none of your business.  Would the person in this article be upset if their parents spend the $30K for the siblings car on an expensive trip around the world instead?  Either way, they didn't get the benefit of the money.  It would frustrate me if my parents were subsidizing my sibling's poor life choices and letting them live in fantasy land when they really needed to hit rock bottom, but again, its not my money.

My point is that I have no right to care about the money after I was 18, as my parents no longer had a legal obligation to provide me with food / clothing / shelter.  It's their money and they can do what they want with it.  I would care that they were enabling my sibling to continue messing up their life instead of being a parent and teaching them how to get their life straightened out.  I would be frustrated by their lack of parenting, not that my sibling was getting more cash than me.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Avidconsumer on August 18, 2015, 09:19:21 AM
I pose this question to you guys of this forum. Is each sibling born equal? Maybe if each sibling works hard, but there is a massive disparity in income and the less compensated sibling receives money from their parents. Is this fair? Maybe it's not always fair to distribute the wealth equally among siblings. I think this is rarely the case however.

In all these stories, it's not that the parents are trying to make it fair between the siblings.  IE: Kid 1 can afford a $20k car, Kid 2 can afford a $30k car, they give Kid 1 $10k to get him up to Kid 2's level.  This is not what's happening.  Kid 1 is living outside their means and is "struggling" and the parents give them money to "help them out" meanwhile Kid 2 has their shit together and may or may not be making more money than Kid 1 and gets nothing.

But generally, siblings will start from the same-ish position, where they go from there is up to them and if one kid is making $80k/yr as an engineer and another is making $40k/yr as a teacher, then that's the kids choices in life and not that something the parent's should be "fairing up."

This is where I disagree somewhat. Given that both siblings work hard, the engineer and teacher. Would it be so bad that the parents "faired up" a little bit?

Yeah it would.  It would create a large feeling of resentment.  Read the posts here.  There's a whole lot of people pretending like they aren't upset about their siblings getting more from their parents, but most of them have a big "BUT" on the end of it.

Here's some samples of what I'm talking about.

Quote
After you've turned 18, what your parents do with their money is frankly none of your business.  Would the person in this article be upset if their parents spend the $30K for the siblings car on an expensive trip around the world instead?  Either way, they didn't get the benefit of the money.  It would frustrate me if my parents were subsidizing my sibling's poor life choices and letting them live in fantasy land when they really needed to hit rock bottom, but again, its not my money.

Quote
Now that I see how that worked out, I have no feelings of resentment, more of annoyance that my brother has become useless from constantly being enabled.

Quote
My parents "subsidize" my two brothers who are fairly inept with money (one lives high on the hog) while my sister and I get nothing because they know we're responsible.  My sis and me aren't jealous and don't need the money but we'd like our two brothers to get their shit together and stop leeching.  (Kidults.)

So the engineer will inevitably feel resentment against the teacher.  If Kid A is making more than Kid B then they worked harder to get there.  Between two siblings, this country very much is a meritocracy, so having the parents even it up will just serve to reward the person who didn't work as hard.

I know what you're saying but you haven't read exactly what I wrote. I said if they both worked hard to get where they are and continue to work hard at their jobs. If the engineer makes 80k a year and the teacher makes 40k a year and they both work hard. I would not necessarily feel resentment if I was the engineer and my sibling was given a bit extra.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Blonde Lawyer on August 18, 2015, 09:50:57 AM
Threads like these make me so glad I'm an only child. I personally think that, regardless of circumstances, the children should be treated equally.

Example: 2 Kids each given an arbitrary 25k for college.

Kid 1: Uses the entire amount.

Kid 2: Earns a full ride.

Kid 2 should still receive the same amount. They worked hard and earned it and as a result they'll have a great nest egg to start their young adult life.

I think this is so interesting.  My instincts sway the other way.  The parents may want to live a nice retirement but are willing to scrimp so they can make sure their kids can go to college.  Kid gets a scholarship, woo hoo, parents have a little more breathing room in retirement.  I can see both sides though.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Avidconsumer on August 18, 2015, 10:37:40 AM
I was bitter for a long time, mostly b/c none of them seemed to think about how that would affect a small kid, to constantly get the message "We prefer your sisters over you." Dad eventually figured it out, and years later, in my 30s, he said "I know it has all been unequal, and I'm going to do something big for you someday." He never did, but at least he wanted to.

But the upshot is that I have a wonderful life, a great spouse, very ample financial resources, and no cause for complaint. And now I am the steward of my parents' finances as they age, since they granted me POA status and put me on their accounts. They certainly made a lot of bad decisions, but they got that one right.

Amazing thread. SO glad I'm not alone out there. I too got a version of "the girl child is more important than the boy child" treatment.

There were matching funds when my sister bought cars while I got access to my father's tools to fix up my junker that I both paid for and insured. I did get a rebuilt engine for my HS grad gift b/c my ancient rusting junker was falling apart. There a few $ gifts along the way - but they supposedly kept the gifts equal. Maybe they did. i want to believe they did. Sort of continued a period when I was little. I'd mow the grass or wash a car and my grandfather would give me $15 for the effort and then give my sister who did nothing the same $15. -eye rolling- For her there was help, for me it was opportunities to earn my way in life. Maybe they raised me to support a family and her to be a good wife. I don't know.


The car stuff was weird in my family, as well. Dad forbade me to buy my own car in high school, telling me that I could use the family cars, which gave him a leash to control me with. Not unusual when I wanted to borrow a car that he would say, "I'll just drop you off and pick you up." Not exactly cool for a 17-year old. Never had a car in college, cuz I couldn't afford it, but then when my sister turned 16 (she's 4 years younger), he decided to buy her an MG convertible. I told him that the repairs would eat him alive, but he didn't listen, and he stuck with it for 18 months before he bought her a Honda CRX to replace it. Ultimately he would buy her a second Honda CRX as well. Meanwhile, he did buy me a car for graduation from college. Toyota Tercel, no AC, no stereo, not even any carpeting (it had vinyl floors). Not really the car of my dreams, but I drove it for 7 years before I sprang for a brand-new, very nice Toyota 4Runner (2wd, though, I realized that 4wd was unnecessary.) The funny thing was that Dad criticized me to no end for buying such an extravagant vehicle, even though I paid for it myself!

What I have realized in retrospect is that parents sometimes live out their own emotional issues with their children, and that leads to different behavior with respect to them b/c they are processing different issues with the different children. With my sister, Dad loved to live vicariously through her wildness, so he was happy to spring for all of the toys. With me, Dad wanted to undermine my independence in the same way my grandfather had tried to do with him. The best thing for me was to establish my autonomy from him, so that he couldn't control me. And I think we actually got beyond all of those issues in a good way, and we became quite close.

I've noticed this too. They sometimes want you to rely on them for help. They want to have control on you somehow. Maybe it's so you don't run away with their grandkid and never speak to them again, or to undermine you, so they can always hold it against you. I've had threats before and it's hurtful. I'm not sure I can get over it, but in a way it's a good thing as it's given even more reason to never rely on them.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: nobody123 on August 18, 2015, 10:42:56 AM
Threads like these make me so glad I'm an only child. I personally think that, regardless of circumstances, the children should be treated equally.

Example: 2 Kids each given an arbitrary 25k for college.

Kid 1: Uses the entire amount.

Kid 2: Earns a full ride.

Kid 2 should still receive the same amount. They worked hard and earned it and as a result they'll have a great nest egg to start their young adult life.

I think this is so interesting.  My instincts sway the other way.  The parents may want to live a nice retirement but are willing to scrimp so they can make sure their kids can go to college.  Kid gets a scholarship, woo hoo, parents have a little more breathing room in retirement.  I can see both sides though.

It depends on how you look at it.  When I was in high school, it was my responsibility to the family to get good grades, try hard in school, etc.  That effort resulted in a substantial amount of scholarships.  My sister tried as hard, but didn't achieve the level of scholarships that I was able to get.  Since my parents didn't have 2X college money to keep it equal, she received assistance that I didn't want or need.  I did my part as a member of the family to make sure we both got to attend college, and I was proud of my accomplishment.  I have zero expectation that they would ever try to make it even between us and sacrifice any of their modest retirement income to try to even it up now.

Now, barring some unforeseen crisis, my wife and I should be able to save enough to pay for both of our kids to go to college at a reasonably-priced state university.  Since we will theoretically have a big enough pile of money for both, I can't imagine not offering each the same amount of money.  Maybe one will go to a community college, maybe one will want a super-expensive private university, maybe one will go into the military.  Either way, I'll make the same pile of money available to both of them.  How do you say that one kid was "worthy" of Harvard and you spent all of the money for them to go there, then tell the other one that all they can have is community college.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: mm1970 on August 18, 2015, 10:46:47 AM
Strangely though, I really do believe that our 2 sets of parents prefer the kids who need the money. It makes parents feel needed and they have an "in" to be involved in adult kids' lives.

Whoa! Never thought of it that way...
Definitely a 2 way street. It's an invitation to meddle.  When we go home, often we get pulled aside by the parents and the siblings so they can complain about each other.

Whether it be financial help or child care help, it's an invitation to have an opinion.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: ash7962 on August 18, 2015, 11:45:37 AM
Think I'm in the minority here, but my parents have helped my brother out with money more than they have with me and I don't really care.  Brother got a car, new big screen tv, and there has been talk of him getting my parent's older car once they buy a new one.  Also I've been helping my parents pay back a loan they took for my college education while my brother got the full free ride.  I think there are other examples, but I have forgotten them.  I would not be surprised if they allocate a larger amount of their money to my brother when they pass.  I used to have a bit of jealousy, but it was hard to stay that way while I made double my brother's salary right after I graduated college (he graduated two years before me).  It also doesn't bother me because I'm pretty sure I'll be FIRE within 10 years without any parental help.  Other than for FIRE, money doesn't really mean anything to me, so I don't care if he receives, spends, or has more of it.  As far as parental favoritism, I think their motivation is more likely trying to help him become as successful as I was.  They have helped me in non-monetary ways too, so I see it as more they are helping with what each of us specifically needs at the time.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: crispy on August 18, 2015, 12:08:52 PM
My sister (in her 50s) is a chronic recipient of economic outpatient care. My parents have bailed her out with mortgage payments multiple times. If she had been in a low paying full time job all this time I wouldn't have minded as much, but what actually happened was I enlisted, then worked full time plus did reserve duty as a single mom and made it work, while she just had herself to support but wouldn't get a full time job because it would "interfere with her hobbies."

We all get along fine, but it definitely bothers me that my parents made sure she never had to deal with the consequences of her decisions.  I am not concerned about how much inheritance I get; I'll be fine living off my own savings. What concerns me is that I know she will blow all of her inheritance within a few years, and then I will have to decide if I am going to support her when we're both in our 70's to keep her from living in extreme poverty - vs. keeping my own savings safe for my daughter to inherit. I resent that I'm going to have to make that decision with my money when the time comes, because of how my parents have enabled her through the years.

Yes!  This is the same issue that I have with the uneven parental spending on children.  Youngest Brother and I were backed into a corner to loan some SERIOUS money to our parents a few years ago (still being repaid as agreed), as well as a good amount to our Middle Brother (surprisingly, repayment is happening).  My parents also divorced in that timeframe and I let my mom live with me "for a few months" (ahem, a year) so she could relocate and get on her feet.  While mom is living with me, both she and my dad continue to "loan" a ton of money to Middle Brother due to his poor decision-making and lack of planning.  So, Youngest Brother and I are giving financial support to the whole family YET simultaneously, each of my parents continue loaning money to Middle Brother.  In this way, parents are kinda NOT loaning their OWN money to Middle Brother, but rather using the terms of the loans Youngest Brother and I made to parents in order to have enough cash to loan Middle Brother.  I think I wouldn't be upset if parents were really giving Middle Brother their own money -- I don't care if I inherit any money from the parents whatsoever -- but the way I see it now, they are literally giving him my money and Youngest Brother's money AND my parents are going to run out of money!  The end result is that Youngest Brother and I will be called upon (again) to support our parents when they run out, and Middle Brother will not know what to do without Bank of Mom and Dad (middlemen to Bank of Older Sister and Youngest Brother).

DH and I both have siblings who are pretty much mooches and supporting them in the future is not our responsibility.  Just because our parents enabled doesn't mean we will. DH's sister asked to move in with us at one point (and trust me when I say she would still be living with us if we said yes), and we flat out told her no and gave her a copy of Dave Ramsey's book instead.  She hasn't asked us for anything since then.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: DTaggart on August 18, 2015, 12:37:54 PM
I have two older brothers who have, over the years, received a decent amount of financial help from my parents for various things. My brothers both have kids whereas I am happily childfree, so if you count money given to or spent on grandkids the disparity is even greater. Years ago when my dad was retiring and re-doing a lot of financial things, my parents let me know that since his new life insurance didn't allow distributions in even thirds, I'd be the one getting the 34% allocation because they had helped my brothers out so much more than me. I don't know how much the policy is for and I really don't think the extra 1% is really going to be that much money, but I guess its a nice gesture.

To be honest, I am fiercely proud of the fact that I've never had to rely on my parents for money since reaching adulthood. My brothers are both fairly older (6 and 8 years), and I'm the only girl, so growing up I constantly felt the need to prove myself as capable of doing things and not being babied. I also got married and left home much earlier than my brothers did (I was 19, my oldest brother was 27 at the time and still living at home!) and everyone acted like I was making a horrible mistake. So, to me, being the successful one is kind of a big FU and makes up for all the years that I was left out of activities because I was "too little" or a girl.

The bottom line though is its my parents money, they can do whatever they want with it (I've actually told them on more than 1 occasion that I think they should leave all their money to the cat). They've got enough that it isn't endangering their own financial security so its none of my business. I wish my brothers were better at adulting and could take care of themselves because I know they feel bad about being dependent, and I don't think my parents should have to feel responsible for their 40+ year old children, but these are things completely beyond my control.

No, its not fair that my brothers get free money and I don't, but I really think I'm a better person for having done things on my own.

ETA: As far as how this affects my relationship with my brothers.... Honestly we've never been all that close due to the age difference and just not really having much in common, so money hasn't made things any worse. They're not really people I would choose to spend time with if not for familial obligations. Once my parents are gone I'll probably never interact with them outside of Facebook and Christmas cards.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Blonde Lawyer on August 18, 2015, 12:54:12 PM
Threads like these make me so glad I'm an only child. I personally think that, regardless of circumstances, the children should be treated equally.

Example: 2 Kids each given an arbitrary 25k for college.

Kid 1: Uses the entire amount.

Kid 2: Earns a full ride.

Kid 2 should still receive the same amount. They worked hard and earned it and as a result they'll have a great nest egg to start their young adult life.

I think this is so interesting.  My instincts sway the other way.  The parents may want to live a nice retirement but are willing to scrimp so they can make sure their kids can go to college.  Kid gets a scholarship, woo hoo, parents have a little more breathing room in retirement.  I can see both sides though.

It depends on how you look at it.  When I was in high school, it was my responsibility to the family to get good grades, try hard in school, etc.  That effort resulted in a substantial amount of scholarships.  My sister tried as hard, but didn't achieve the level of scholarships that I was able to get.  Since my parents didn't have 2X college money to keep it equal, she received assistance that I didn't want or need.  I did my part as a member of the family to make sure we both got to attend college, and I was proud of my accomplishment.  I have zero expectation that they would ever try to make it even between us and sacrifice any of their modest retirement income to try to even it up now.

Now, barring some unforeseen crisis, my wife and I should be able to save enough to pay for both of our kids to go to college at a reasonably-priced state university.  Since we will theoretically have a big enough pile of money for both, I can't imagine not offering each the same amount of money.  Maybe one will go to a community college, maybe one will want a super-expensive private university, maybe one will go into the military.  Either way, I'll make the same pile of money available to both of them.  How do you say that one kid was "worthy" of Harvard and you spent all of the money for them to go there, then tell the other one that all they can have is community college.

I guess I would see it as funding their children's education and the children decide where they go.  If you wanted to offer the extra money so the child could start learning the value of money and decide private vs. public that way, sure.  But if your kid decides he wants to do a blue collar trade and forego college all together I don't think you have any obligation to give them the saved money.

The more I think about it, this actually has a lot to do with my age I think.  I grew up before 529 plans.  Now I totally see why parents view that savings as their kid's money.  My dad planned to pay for college out his 401k because he would be old enough to withdraw it tax free.  I think that is partly why I view it as my dad's money.  It was in his name, not in an account set aside for me.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: partgypsy on August 18, 2015, 01:23:35 PM
I disagree with the author that sibling jealousy about financial favoritism is about the rich wanting to get more and equating it to a distaste for welfare or other government aid. There are many fiscally liberal people who experience sibling jealousy in situations of financial favoritism.

I think the jealousy is born of the fact that generally, families raise their kids in one of two ways:

1. They raise them believing that everyone is equal. You don't grow up getting "extras" - everyone gets the same. Parents generally try quite hard not to show favoritism between their kids while the kids are at home. It can be hard to undo this and let it go as adults - no matter how successful one sibling may be. After all, for a successful sibling who was raised in a "everyone is equal" home, it can be very difficult to have empathy for the sibling who is failing and leeching of their parents - since everyone is equal, all siblings had an equal chance at success.

2. They raise them with inequality throughout their childhood, causing sibling jealousy all the way along that simply continues into adulthood. With one child reaping rewards for seemingly nothing (or bad behavior), and the other working hard and never being "good enough."

Most people feel the same emotions about financial favoritism as if they were 12 years old and their mom came home from work and gave their sibling a bag of candy, then looked at them and said, "Oh. I didn't have enough to get you anything. Besides, Johnny ate all his candy from last time, and you still have some left, so you don't really deserve anything."

Even siblings who are able to overcome this jealousy cite "family peace" as the overwhelming reason for equality. It's not that they believe that sibling should get the favoritism, or deserves an equal share - it's just that they believe the sibling is going to make a fuss or be unpleasant if they don't get it. Their desire to avoid the trouble overcomes any desire for the money or for equality.

It's not about being greedy, it's about destroying healthy family dynamics. When one sibling to the exclusion of everyone else is getting financial help and not others, it is hard not to feel slighted or hurt. Also since the overwhelming attention they need means they missed important milestones in my life. And it does personally affect me. It affects my parent's quality of life in that they are financially hardly able to take care of themselves let alone this person, so I have worries about what will happen to them. There is also is unspoken expectation once my mother blows it and spends her resources on my sibling, I will be her fallback which is stressful.  There is also requests for expensive gifts for this sibling (which I ignore) and also finding out money or giftcards I give to my mother, end up being spent by him than on the intended recipient. I'll call my father and he will immediately start on the topic of the sibling (his worries, what should we do, etc) so I can't even have a normal father daughter connection without this intruding. So I feel robbed of having a normal parent child relationship with them. BTW my sibling is not handicapped or in a situation not of their own controlling but is an alcoholic and has had a lifetime of manipulating my parents.

It really burns my sister's boat. My father was away for 6 weeks so my sister took care of his apartment, getting his mail, paying a few bills, watering his plants. A letter came from my Dad towards the end of his time away. Was it $50 thank you for watching his place? No it was $100 to be given to Sibling.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: crispy on August 18, 2015, 02:13:02 PM
I disagree with the author that sibling jealousy about financial favoritism is about the rich wanting to get more and equating it to a distaste for welfare or other government aid. There are many fiscally liberal people who experience sibling jealousy in situations of financial favoritism.

I think the jealousy is born of the fact that generally, families raise their kids in one of two ways:

1. They raise them believing that everyone is equal. You don't grow up getting "extras" - everyone gets the same. Parents generally try quite hard not to show favoritism between their kids while the kids are at home. It can be hard to undo this and let it go as adults - no matter how successful one sibling may be. After all, for a successful sibling who was raised in a "everyone is equal" home, it can be very difficult to have empathy for the sibling who is failing and leeching of their parents - since everyone is equal, all siblings had an equal chance at success.

2. They raise them with inequality throughout their childhood, causing sibling jealousy all the way along that simply continues into adulthood. With one child reaping rewards for seemingly nothing (or bad behavior), and the other working hard and never being "good enough."

Most people feel the same emotions about financial favoritism as if they were 12 years old and their mom came home from work and gave their sibling a bag of candy, then looked at them and said, "Oh. I didn't have enough to get you anything. Besides, Johnny ate all his candy from last time, and you still have some left, so you don't really deserve anything."

Even siblings who are able to overcome this jealousy cite "family peace" as the overwhelming reason for equality. It's not that they believe that sibling should get the favoritism, or deserves an equal share - it's just that they believe the sibling is going to make a fuss or be unpleasant if they don't get it. Their desire to avoid the trouble overcomes any desire for the money or for equality.

It's not about being greedy, it's about destroying healthy family dynamics. When one sibling to the exclusion of everyone else is getting financial help and not others, it is hard not to feel slighted or hurt. Also since the overwhelming attention they need means they missed important milestones in my life. And it does personally affect me. It affects my parent's quality of life in that they are financially hardly able to take care of themselves let alone this person, so I have worries about what will happen to them. There is also is unspoken expectation once my mother blows it and spends her resources on my sibling, I will be her fallback which is stressful.  There is also requests for expensive gifts for this sibling (which I ignore) and also finding out money or giftcards I give to my mother, end up being spent by him than on the intended recipient. I'll call my father and he will immediately start on the topic of the sibling (his worries, what should we do, etc) so I can't even have a normal father daughter connection without this intruding. So I feel robbed of having a normal parent child relationship with them. BTW my sibling is not handicapped or in a situation not of their own controlling but is an alcoholic and has had a lifetime of manipulating my parents.

It really burns my sister's boat. My father was away for 6 weeks so my sister took care of his apartment, getting his mail, paying a few bills, watering his plants. A letter came from my Dad towards the end of his time away. Was it $50 thank you for watching his place? No it was $100 to be given to Sibling.

This sounds a lot like my situation.  All attention was focused on my oldest sister and the rest of us were kind of left to our own devices.  Sister did stupid things and made bad decisions so all time, energy, and resources were spent getting sister out of those things. I would be a little more understanding if she were a drug abuser (as stupid as that sounds), but her choices were more along the lines of marrying or living with some dude she barely knew, realizing he was horrible and abusive (her MO - most of the time I suspect she was the abuser), leaving everything she had to "escape," mooching off my parents for a few years, and then starting the cycle over again.  I have seen this same scenario play out multiple times in the last 30 years.  No matter what I did right, their minds were always on sister and how she was screwing up her life this week. My solution was to drop the rope and walk away.  It has been very freeing.  My other sister decided to spend her life being bitter and angry about it and in turn, started manipulating herself.  Now there is double the angst. 

The thing that I realized that my sisters are the way they are because my parents (mom especially) are the way they are (or were, my father is now deceased).  My mom and sisters thrive on the drama while my dad was controlling.  The financial dependence allowed my dad to continue to control them and allows my mom to be the martyr when something goes wrong ("After all I've done for you...").  No thanks! I am the youngest by quite a bit, but my dad treated me like an adult in ways that my sisters never experienced.  He knew I didn't need him and wouldn't put up with his controlling, and he respected me for it.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: nobody123 on August 18, 2015, 02:19:37 PM
The more I think about it, this actually has a lot to do with my age I think.  I grew up before 529 plans.  Now I totally see why parents view that savings as their kid's money.  My dad planned to pay for college out his 401k because he would be old enough to withdraw it tax free.  I think that is partly why I view it as my dad's money.  It was in his name, not in an account set aside for me.

No, it is definitely MY money, and in my name.  There will be strings attached, namely it must be used to educate themselves via college / reputable trade school.  If either of my kids gets a full-ride and finishes their degree, I will happily fork over the money for them to use however they want.  If we've done our jobs as parents, they won't blow it on something stupid.  If one of them chooses to work retail or whatever because college just isn't for them right away, that money will sit there in case they ever decide to go to school or until I die, whichever comes first.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: sw1tch on August 18, 2015, 03:29:40 PM
I disagree with the author that sibling jealousy about financial favoritism is about the rich wanting to get more and equating it to a distaste for welfare or other government aid. There are many fiscally liberal people who experience sibling jealousy in situations of financial favoritism.

I think the jealousy is born of the fact that generally, families raise their kids in one of two ways:

1. They raise them believing that everyone is equal. You don't grow up getting "extras" - everyone gets the same. Parents generally try quite hard not to show favoritism between their kids while the kids are at home. It can be hard to undo this and let it go as adults - no matter how successful one sibling may be. After all, for a successful sibling who was raised in a "everyone is equal" home, it can be very difficult to have empathy for the sibling who is failing and leeching of their parents - since everyone is equal, all siblings had an equal chance at success.

2. They raise them with inequality throughout their childhood, causing sibling jealousy all the way along that simply continues into adulthood. With one child reaping rewards for seemingly nothing (or bad behavior), and the other working hard and never being "good enough."

Most people feel the same emotions about financial favoritism as if they were 12 years old and their mom came home from work and gave their sibling a bag of candy, then looked at them and said, "Oh. I didn't have enough to get you anything. Besides, Johnny ate all his candy from last time, and you still have some left, so you don't really deserve anything."

Even siblings who are able to overcome this jealousy cite "family peace" as the overwhelming reason for equality. It's not that they believe that sibling should get the favoritism, or deserves an equal share - it's just that they believe the sibling is going to make a fuss or be unpleasant if they don't get it. Their desire to avoid the trouble overcomes any desire for the money or for equality.

It's not about being greedy, it's about destroying healthy family dynamics. When one sibling to the exclusion of everyone else is getting financial help and not others, it is hard not to feel slighted or hurt. Also since the overwhelming attention they need means they missed important milestones in my life. And it does personally affect me. It affects my parent's quality of life in that they are financially hardly able to take care of themselves let alone this person, so I have worries about what will happen to them. There is also is unspoken expectation once my mother blows it and spends her resources on my sibling, I will be her fallback which is stressful.  There is also requests for expensive gifts for this sibling (which I ignore) and also finding out money or giftcards I give to my mother, end up being spent by him than on the intended recipient. I'll call my father and he will immediately start on the topic of the sibling (his worries, what should we do, etc) so I can't even have a normal father daughter connection without this intruding. So I feel robbed of having a normal parent child relationship with them. BTW my sibling is not handicapped or in a situation not of their own controlling but is an alcoholic and has had a lifetime of manipulating my parents.

It really burns my sister's boat. My father was away for 6 weeks so my sister took care of his apartment, getting his mail, paying a few bills, watering his plants. A letter came from my Dad towards the end of his time away. Was it $50 thank you for watching his place? No it was $100 to be given to Sibling.

I agree with this!  It is very rarely about the "money".  The money is just the quantifiable aspect of the relationship (since other aspects such as quality time, meaningful relationships, open and intellectual conversations, and emotions cannot be as easily counted and added up).  We can only really talk about money because it can be spoken of as an actual number representing something.  Money in and of itself has no meaning other than as a measure; no, I see symptoms of deeper relationship issues.  The money just puts a quantity to the degradation of those relationships.

You see, parents are not a nameless, faceless, bank whose only purpose is to dole out money to their children.  They are living breathing human beings that only have so much time, emotions, brainpower, energy, etc in life to offer.  When they are constantly having to bail out, enable or give handouts to specific children, the others will feel slighted.  It is never "JUST" the money that is given to the other siblings, it is the parents' entire life that contributes to them.  An example from my life: when I still spoke to my parents, they would only bring up the other children's lives; how the "other" kids are struggling and invariably (but not really as I look back and realize they were deliberately doing so) guilt me into feeling like I needed to *also* contribute to my siblings' lives since I chose a different path and learned how to manage my money for myself.  They pretty much never cared what I was learning and going through as all of their cares were spent on others.  I spent all of my life feeling like I didn't exist and definitely did not feel very important to them at all other than to be their supposed therapist, but a therapist that is supposed to deal with the monetary problems that stem from enabling my siblings???  I'm not your damn therapist or here to solve your parenting issues, I'm your son!

If a parent's entire life is spent dealing with the irresponsible child while the more responsible one doesn't get any moment (or much) of that parent's actual life, you better believe it the responsible child will feel cheated.  The big issues for me are the emotions that remained largely ignored when my parents  "gave" to my siblings.  I know other people have different experiences due to having better relationships and communication with their parents, but I think there are some groups of people that have similar feelings as I do where they are just supposed to settle for "less" when it comes to the relationship because they are able to deal with themselves financially and usually also responsibly.  In my experience what my parents are really saying to me are: "You know how to take care of yourself, don't expect anything from us (even a relationship)."  And, with my understanding of this and for other reasons, I don't talk to them anymore.  I feel about 10x better since I stepped away.

TL;DR: For me, it's not about the money.  Money's just easier to point the finger to since it's quantifiable.  To me, it's about the aspects of the relationship with parents that aren't touched on or healed and the lack of honest, trusting, conversation about it.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Basenji on August 18, 2015, 03:38:44 PM
^ are you me? Wow, yes, I've had a breakthrough on this thread. Seriously.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Spork on August 18, 2015, 07:12:24 PM


TL;DR: For me, it's not about the money.  Money's just easier to point the finger to since it's quantifiable.  To me, it's about the aspects of the relationship with parents that aren't touched on or healed and the lack of honest, trusting, conversation about it.

Agreed.

In my case, the "indulged" child had a reasonable job and just overspent herself on clothes and booze.  For years, there was never a time she talked to my dad where she didn't ask "for a little loan."  What ended up happening is my parents subsidized her alcohol addiction.  She would literally spend herself broke where she could not feed her kids and then ask for help -- and always get it.

For me it wasn't about the money "I didn't get".  I didn't need it.  It was about the money that was used to enable her. 
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: kite on August 19, 2015, 08:41:25 AM
Following
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: partgypsy on August 19, 2015, 09:15:43 AM
I do agree, it does feel good to be needed. She could have felt needed by her grandkids, but she pretty much chose childrearing her adult child instead. And she gets things out of the relationship (he cooks for her, as he often repeats she is the only one who "understands him" no one cares about him etc, his current crisis deflects attention from dealing with her own problems, etc).
Other than 3 times she visited, she has essentially been absent as grandmother to my kids. I visited recently with the family, and ahead of time she said not to come to the house (she was ashamed how messy etc it is), and then opted out a couple times for other group meetings. 2nd to last day we are having a meal with her at a restaurant, and she is so delighted to see her grandchildren. We are in the parking lot saying our goodbyes and she almost breaks into tears and says "I've changed my mind! You can come over, I want to spend more time with you!" Unfortunately we had made other plans we couldn't break at that point, so had to decline.
I think retrospectively my parents do feel kind of bad about lack of attention to me. And they have made more of an effort to do things with me and my kids in the past few years. But if they try to draw me into the drama, I cut the conversation short.   
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Fuzzy Buttons on August 19, 2015, 09:29:18 AM
When his eyesight failed and I had to take over his books, I was surprised to see a balance owed by one of my very successful siblings.  She told me, "he likes having someone come by with $50  each week, so I borrow money I don't actually need, just to go through the motions."  And she was exactly right.  People like to feel needed.

That is awesome.  :)

2nd to last day we are having a meal with her at a restaurant, and she is so delighted to see her grandchildren. We are in the parking lot saying our goodbyes and she almost breaks into tears and says "I've changed my mind! You can come over, I want to spend more time with you!" Unfortunately we had made other plans we couldn't break at that point, so had to decline.

That is sad.  :(

This thread has been an emotional roller coaster.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: mrmiyagi on August 19, 2015, 10:52:22 AM
This has been a really interesting thread. It makes me appreciate how great my own mother is. Growing up she was always incredibly careful to make everything even between me and my sister, down to the exact same number of gifts at Christmas, every year. We both grew into self-sufficient adults who don't need much help (even if my sister likes to shop a bit too much). When my parents pass, I assume they'll split any inheritance evenly between us, but we've never really talked about it. It's their money, they can do whatever the hell they want with it.

I didn't realize this kind of family money drama was so widespread. I'm impressed by all of you who have overcome that kind of nonsense to grow into responsible adults.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Dollar Slice on August 19, 2015, 11:06:50 AM
This has been a really interesting thread. It makes me appreciate how great my own mother is. Growing up she was always incredibly careful to make everything even between me and my sister, down to the exact same number of gifts at Christmas, every year.

Funny. My mom actually still does this (us "kids" are now 38 and 41). We'll be chatting about holiday preparations and she'll make comments like "I still need two more gifts for your brother" or "is there anything else you can think of that you need? I'm short one present for you"...
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: BBub on August 19, 2015, 12:20:42 PM
I am thankful to have no money drama with my family.  I think no good can come from jealousy of a sibling receiving money & I'd be totally fine if my parents decided to help out one or more siblings.  Of the four grown siblings, I earn & have the most money by far.  Easily more than the other 3 combined.  Honestly, we all knew that would be the case early on.  I won Monopoly every time as a child ;).  And I was always working up some little hustle to sell something to the other siblings, neighborhood kids, etc.  One time when I was about ten I had to bail out my older sister who got caught in the 100 CD's for a penny scam.  Haha, she thought her life was over when they called demanding money.

My parents now help out the siblings w/ cash gifts at Christmas, contributions into college funds for the grandkids, etc.  I have been privately refusing that assistance for years, insisting to my parents that they divide my share between the others.  I don't say it to the siblings because I don't want it to even be a thing.  But my mom always figures out a sly way to get money my way - like buying DW a piece of furniture, or giving us a home depot gift card & insisting we use it on the house.  She is just so generous & really gets joy out of giving.  My parents are quite wealthy these days, but that wasn't the case growing up.  Dad was working 80-90 hrs building the business & mom worked nights as a nurse.  They were always relatively frugal, and they are now reaping the rewards.  I've considered, when the time comes, foregoing my inheritance and giving it to my siblings.  I'd imagine they'll have more use for the money than me.  Although my little brother seems to be on a promising path towards figuring out how to make good money, my sisters have no desire.. artsy types.  But they are supporting themselves and doing really well in life.

But if my parents wanted to make a larger financial contribution to one or several siblings I'd be totally fine with it.  But everyone is responsible, no drug problems, runaway debt, etc.  I can easily see how those factors could really complicate matters.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Bumbling Bee on August 19, 2015, 12:35:53 PM
So the engineer will inevitably feel resentment against the teacher.  If Kid A is making more than Kid B then they worked harder to get there.  Between two siblings, this country very much is a meritocracy, so having the parents even it up will just serve to reward the person who didn't work as hard.

I know what you're saying but you haven't read exactly what I wrote. I said if they both worked hard to get where they are and continue to work hard at their jobs. If the engineer makes 80k a year and the teacher makes 40k a year and they both work hard. I would not necessarily feel resentment if I was the engineer and my sibling was given a bit extra.

This.

As kids, we were extremely resentful of any perceived inequity, from who got tennis/karate lessons (my brother and me, because our parents were trying to help rectify our extraordinary lack of coordination; we did not last) to who got ice cream without the others to who had more baby pictures in the photo album, because in our kid minds, there was a direct correlation between that and who was loved more. Now that we're adults, though, we've all accepted that our parents loved us the same (and made us approximately equally crazy >=P).

It doesn't bother me at all that my siblings now get more money and things than I do. Part of it is that they get paid significantly less to do work that requires more education (I am the only sibling without a doctorate) and arguably contributes a lot more to society than my job. A big part of it is probably that they're both really responsible with their finances, and never ask for or expect help from our parents; my parents just like giving them a bit of a buffer for their own peace of mind.

Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: mtn on August 19, 2015, 12:42:51 PM
Where does it stop? My older brother went to private high school and college. I went to public for both. My little brother was public for both, but out of state for college, and is on the 5 or six year plan. I played hockey, way more expensive than their swimming or football. I got an $8,000 car, and the residual $4,500 when we sold it 5 years later. My older brother a $10,000 truck and will get the money when it sells (expected about $7,000)--going on 6 years with that truck now.

But do you know what? We're all different. We all had different needs. My parents were happy for my little brother to get through Pre-calculus with a C. I was a math major, and they expected more of me in math than him. Is that right or wrong? No. Different people, different needs, different expectations.

Life is too short to be jealous. Go to the Bible for it, weather you're Christian or not--do not covet your neighbors things; honor thy father and mother. Good words to live by.

Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: BBub on August 19, 2015, 12:44:04 PM
So the engineer will inevitably feel resentment against the teacher.  If Kid A is making more than Kid B then they worked harder to get there.  Between two siblings, this country very much is a meritocracy, so having the parents even it up will just serve to reward the person who didn't work as hard.

I know what you're saying but you haven't read exactly what I wrote. I said if they both worked hard to get where they are and continue to work hard at their jobs. If the engineer makes 80k a year and the teacher makes 40k a year and they both work hard. I would not necessarily feel resentment if I was the engineer and my sibling was given a bit extra.

This.

As kids, we were extremely resentful of any perceived inequity, from who got tennis/karate lessons (my brother and me, because our parents were trying to help rectify our extraordinary lack of coordination; we did not last) to who got ice cream without the others to who had more baby pictures in the photo album, because in our kid minds, there was a direct correlation between that and who was loved more. Now that we're adults, though, we've all accepted that our parents loved us the same (and made us approximately equally crazy >=P).

It doesn't bother me at all that my siblings now get more money and things than I do. Part of it is that they get paid significantly less to do work that requires more education (I am the only sibling without a doctorate) and arguably contributes a lot more to society than my job. A big part of it is probably that they're both really responsible with their finances, and never ask for or expect help from our parents; my parents just like giving them a bit of a buffer for their own peace of mind.

+1.  One of my siblings is a highly educated therapist who served the mentally ill.  Her education was far more expensive than mine, and she makes less money.  She is now taking time off to raise her children.  I have more money simply because I'm a good salesman.  That doesn't make me a more valuable person, and it doesn't mean I worked a whole lot harder than she did.  We just chose different paths.  If she ever needed money I would not be resentful.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: MissStache on August 19, 2015, 12:51:48 PM
In many ways I've been the sibling who has gotten more.  My half sister is 13 years older than I am, and when she went to college my parents (and her mother) just didn't have enough money to pay for it and she ended up taking out student loans for the majority of her education.

By the time college rolled around for me, my parents were doing pretty good financially and they paid for 100% of my college. I was so thrilled and grateful to be able to graduate with no student loans.

I can't help but wonder if she's resentful of me for it?  We've never discussed it.  We aren't particularly close given the age difference and growing up separately, but I do think about it from time to time.

Since then they have made a real effort to make sure we are treated equally.  When my grandmother died they divided her bequest between us 50/50 (I don't think my grandmother explicitly asked them to do that).  They gave my sister 5K for her wedding and have told me they will do the same for me if I ever need it.  They've also told me that their will has us as 50/50 heirs. 

Gosh, now that I write it all out I wonder if I should feel slighted that I'm only getting 50% of my parent's estate, but she also gets the entirety of her mother's in addition?  I don't, not even a little bit, but I can see how that would be a thorn in some people's sides.

Personally I hope they go to their graves with only a few dollars left, because that means they have spent all their hard-earned money.  I suppose they (and we) are also lucky that they raised two financially stable and savvy daughters!  That's worth way more than an inheritance!
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: sunshine on August 19, 2015, 02:16:26 PM
My spouse is the only one of his siblings that doesn't get large regular in fusions of cash from the folk. Not now. Not ever. He has no problem with it. He gets mad his folks make the weak weaker and bug us to help his siblings also. We won't. If your lazy that's your problem.  There is no hard feeling about his siblings getting more.

The hard feeling come when it comes to the grandkids. All our kids lives their cousins got things constantly bought for them by my husband's parents. They took the other grandkids on vacations and fun outings and left ours out. This hurt our kids and made us mad. We talked to his folks about it and their reasoning is our kids have good parents, get things  and get to go places. The others don't. I explained that they were hurting their grandkids. If fell on deaf ears.  Now that our kids are young adults you really see the effect on the relationship.

My mom on the other hand is fairly well off. I encourage her to spend every dime  on things that make her happy before she passes. I don't need nor expect her $. My husband's siblings are already worried about someone getting more stuff if they are not first their when their folks pass. Ugh



Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: nobody123 on August 19, 2015, 02:41:20 PM
This has been a really interesting thread. It makes me appreciate how great my own mother is. Growing up she was always incredibly careful to make everything even between me and my sister, down to the exact same number of gifts at Christmas, every year.

Funny. My mom actually still does this (us "kids" are now 38 and 41). We'll be chatting about holiday preparations and she'll make comments like "I still need two more gifts for your brother" or "is there anything else you can think of that you need? I'm short one present for you"...

Ha, my mom does this too!  Sister and I are both in our late 30s.  My mom has also carried the tradition forward, so both of my kids have to get the same number of presents from her and my dad.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Capsu78 on August 19, 2015, 03:37:08 PM
This has been a really interesting thread. It makes me appreciate how great my own mother is. Growing up she was always incredibly careful to make everything even between me and my sister, down to the exact same number of gifts at Christmas, every year.

Funny. My mom actually still does this (us "kids" are now 38 and 41). We'll be chatting about holiday preparations and she'll make comments like "I still need two more gifts for your brother" or "is there anything else you can think of that you need? I'm short one present for you"...

Ha, my mom does this too!  Sister and I are both in our late 30s.  My mom has also carried the tradition forward, so both of my kids have to get the same number of presents from her and my dad.

I can beat that! My wife still hosts an Easter egg hunt... for our adult kids and spouses.  At least now we make sure the grandkids get the most eggs! It was quite competitive until the grandkids came along.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: frugalecon on August 19, 2015, 05:58:55 PM

Life is too short to be jealous. Go to the Bible for it, weather you're Christian or not--do not covet your neighbors things; honor thy father and mother. Good words to live by.

I think that this is a little unfair. I don't covet what my sisters receive. But I am concerned that my parents have harmed them by not expecting them to behave functionally, but rather have bailed them out of many stupid situations. And that is going to lead to disaster eventually.

As far as the dynamic when we were children, I grew up with low self-esteem, and that was not helped by my sisters receiving bags of gifts when we went to visit relatives, and me receiving nothing. The deal was that they were the only girls in the family, so the grandmothers and aunts absolutely loved having little girls to buy things for. So I now recognize that they loved me fine, but in a different way. At the time, though, I didn't understand that. I just felt very awkward, like it was my fault that there was something about me that made people not care about me. And since I realized early on that I am gay, I guessed that they had figured that out, or could sense it in some way, and that explained everything.

But the important part is that I grew up believing that I would need to be self-reliant, and they grew up believing that others would take care of their needs.

Which set of beliefs is compatible with FIRE??
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: K-ice on August 20, 2015, 12:29:07 AM
This is such an emotional thread for many.

My sibling has probably made twice as much as me (older so more earning years & less school) but spent 4x more than me. So they have been helped many more times.

However, I am grateful that although my sibling has received much more financial help, I have NEVER equated it with love or lack of it.

Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: infogoon on August 20, 2015, 07:33:38 AM
Bookmarking. This is a very interesting thread.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Cookie78 on August 20, 2015, 07:59:37 AM

However, I am grateful that although my sibling has received much more financial help, I have NEVER equated it with love or lack of it.

Me too. So grateful.
Very well said.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: kite on August 20, 2015, 04:16:28 PM

Life is too short to be jealous. Go to the Bible for it, weather you're Christian or not--do not covet your neighbors things; honor thy father and mother. Good words to live by.

I think that this is a little unfair. I don't covet what my sisters receive. But I am concerned that my parents have harmed them by not expecting them to behave functionally, but rather have bailed them out of many stupid situations. And that is going to lead to disaster eventually.

As far as the dynamic when we were children, I grew up with low self-esteem, and that was not helped by my sisters receiving bags of gifts when we went to visit relatives, and me receiving nothing. The deal was that they were the only girls in the family, so the grandmothers and aunts absolutely loved having little girls to buy things for. So I now recognize that they loved me fine, but in a different way. At the time, though, I didn't understand that. I just felt very awkward, like it was my fault that there was something about me that made people not care about me. And since I realized early on that I am gay, I guessed that they had figured that out, or could sense it in some way, and that explained everything.

But the important part is that I grew up believing that I would need to be self-reliant, and they grew up believing that others would take care of their needs.

Which set of beliefs is compatible with FIRE??

Bible reference is apt.  It goes beyond coveting.  The prodigal son's brother was peeved.  Even if you dismiss religious beliefs as nonsense, the description of sibling rivalry and parental favoritism is ancient.  It's part of the human condition.  Parents want to help their kids.  They get enjoyment out of being needed and of bailing the kids out of jams.   The flip side is that children take pleasure in score keeping and feeling slighted when someone else gets more. 
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: frugalecon on August 20, 2015, 05:41:29 PM

Life is too short to be jealous. Go to the Bible for it, weather you're Christian or not--do not covet your neighbors things; honor thy father and mother. Good words to live by.

I think that this is a little unfair. I don't covet what my sisters receive. But I am concerned that my parents have harmed them by not expecting them to behave functionally, but rather have bailed them out of many stupid situations. And that is going to lead to disaster eventually.

As far as the dynamic when we were children, I grew up with low self-esteem, and that was not helped by my sisters receiving bags of gifts when we went to visit relatives, and me receiving nothing. The deal was that they were the only girls in the family, so the grandmothers and aunts absolutely loved having little girls to buy things for. So I now recognize that they loved me fine, but in a different way. At the time, though, I didn't understand that. I just felt very awkward, like it was my fault that there was something about me that made people not care about me. And since I realized early on that I am gay, I guessed that they had figured that out, or could sense it in some way, and that explained everything.

But the important part is that I grew up believing that I would need to be self-reliant, and they grew up believing that others would take care of their needs.

Which set of beliefs is compatible with FIRE??

Bible reference is apt.  It goes beyond coveting.  The prodigal son's brother was peeved.  Even if you dismiss religious beliefs as nonsense, the description of sibling rivalry and parental favoritism is ancient.  It's part of the human condition.  Parents want to help their kids.  They get enjoyment out of being needed and of bailing the kids out of jams.   The flip side is that children take pleasure in score keeping and feeling slighted when someone else gets more.

Well...I disagree that small children "take pleasure" in keeping score. I already described my experience, but I have seen similar dynamics play out in families where parents clearly have a preferred child. Some of my in-laws were that way. One child received the sailing lessons, and the riding lessons, a fancy drum, and a multitude of other opportunities, and the other just didn't. It was pretty clear that there were problems for her when she was quite young. It is unreasonable to expect a child of 7 or 8 years to be able to process what to everyone else was clearly favoritism. Parents have a responsibility to maintain an emotionally safe environment for their children. Obviously a lot will fall short, and the kid will later need to learn how to process issues from his or her childhood. But that doesn't mean that a simplistic admonition not to covet is "apt." Children are not simply miniature adults! There is a limit to their ability to understand what is happening to them.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Ursa on August 21, 2015, 12:59:40 AM
For parents who do this, I certainly don't agree with them but it's their money to do as they wish.

I just hope those parents save enough money for their own retirement and end of life care so they don't end up shafting their more responsible children by leaving them with the bill because they spent all their own money helping their irresponsible children. I've seen way too many instances where the siblings who got all the financial help refuse to help with the parents once they get older and the (nice) and responsible sibling has to foot the bill.

Also, don't be surprised if you end up ruining your children's relationship with each other because that's what will happen.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Blonde Lawyer on August 21, 2015, 09:15:55 AM
For parents who do this, I certainly don't agree with them but it's their money to do as they wish.

I just hope those parents save enough money for their own retirement and end of life care so they don't end up shafting their more responsible children by leaving them with the bill because they spent all their own money helping their irresponsible children. I've seen way too many instances where the siblings who got all the financial help refuse to help with the parents once they get older and the (nice) and responsible sibling has to foot the bill.

Also, don't be surprised if you end up ruining your children's relationship with each other because that's what will happen.

This is a very excellent point. 
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: FatCat on August 21, 2015, 04:00:32 PM
I know someone who was told by her mother she is out of the will because she got married. Since she has a husband to provide for her, she doesn't need any inheritance. Her twin sister gets 100% of the inheritance now because she isn't married. This has really damaged her relationship to both her mother and her twin.

I know someone who's leaving 100% of a $300k-500k inheritance to their irresponsible kid because the responsible kid has had a job for 20 years while the irresponsible kid stayed home playing video games full time into his late 30s.

You can do what you want to with your money, but it's likely going to damage relationships. It seems like most of the people I know who have died recently had wills giving 100% to their least successful child, even if it was relatively large sums. I think this must be the norm.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Bumbling Bee on August 21, 2015, 04:41:47 PM
I know someone who was told by her mother she is out of the will because she got married. Since she has a husband to provide for her, she doesn't need any inheritance. Her twin sister gets 100% of the inheritance now because she isn't married. This has really damaged her relationship to both her mother and her twin.

Just... Wow.

Quote
I know someone who's leaving 100% of a $300k-500k inheritance to their irresponsible kid because the responsible kid has had a job for 20 years while the irresponsible kid stayed home playing video games full time into his late 30s.

I know a family like this too. Two of the siblings are pretty successful; the third moved home after college and has never held a job or lived on his own, and the older he gets, the less likely it will happen. I mean, how do you explain to prospective employers that you're in your thirties, but have absolutely no work history? He's actually a really sweet person, and the one I feel saddest for. Being completely dependent on his parents all this time seems to have completely eroded his confidence and sense of self-worth.

Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: MrsPete on August 22, 2015, 08:39:57 AM
I think it might be fair to divide this topic in to two categories: 

Young adulthood:  When the kids are still young and making their way in the world, it seems right to give to siblings equally.  We've told ours what we'll pay for college, and we've told them that anything they earn in terms of scholarships will be funneled into a "first car account".  Our oldest is now a college senior, and she's "driving her scholarships".  Our youngest is only a freshman, so she's only made one "scholarship deposit", but we're offering them the same amount of financial support. 

Estate planning:  If we were to die right now, our estate would be split equally between our two kids; but it's likely that we'll live another 40-50 year, and at that point, we may not divide things equally.  I have a strong relationship with both my kids, and I wouldn't leave them money differently meaning "I love your sister more", but if one of them moves across country, while the other is right there with me in my elderly years, bringing me food and driving me to the doctor, I may reward that child who's helped me at the end with a larger portion of the estate.  But that's not something that I can say right now while I'm sitting here in a healthy 40-something body, and I'm still taking care of the kids! 

And then other circumstances can pop up:

I have a cousin who is the only child of a wealthy father.  The problem:  This cousin has an almost three-decade history of drug abuse and run-ins with the law.  His father bought him a house and pays all his bills; he works for grocery and gas money.  Literally, this is what he's capable of doing; we don't say "mentally retarded" any more, but I think he is mildly mentally retarded -- he's not "developmentally delayed" 'cause at 40 years old, he's not going to get any better.  His father doesn't believe this because he LOOKS normal and can SPEAK normally.  Regardless, add drugs to an already limited intellect, and you have a mess.  This is not the individual who should receive everything his father worked for all his life in one big check.  So I am already named executor of his money; he knows this and is okay with it because he realizes that I can manage the money and keep him from being homeless.

Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: LeRainDrop on August 23, 2015, 09:08:21 PM
For parents who do this, I certainly don't agree with them but it's their money to do as they wish.

I just hope those parents save enough money for their own retirement and end of life care so they don't end up shafting their more responsible children by leaving them with the bill because they spent all their own money helping their irresponsible children. I've seen way too many instances where the siblings who got all the financial help refuse to help with the parents once they get older and the (nice) and responsible sibling has to foot the bill.

Also, don't be surprised if you end up ruining your children's relationship with each other because that's what will happen.

This is a very excellent point.

 Yup, this is spot on.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Astatine on August 23, 2015, 10:10:18 PM
Posting to follow (have more to say but will need to wait til I'm on my laptop)
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: iamlittlehedgehog on August 24, 2015, 10:31:22 AM
This thread touched a cord with me. It is only me and my sister who is 3 years older than me.

When we were younger I received a lot of financial help and support because I was the perpetual f-up who couldn't get her life together. My sister was the angel who graduated top in her class and went straight into nursing school and stepped into a very well paying job - she in turn also helped support me while I moved back home and dealt with my addiction issues.

Fast forward some years and I'm married, sober and doing very well. She has had multiple health issues and bouts of un and under employment in the recent years (her husband works and provides what he can). In turn my husband and I have paid for our niece's dance classes, clothes, and various other expenses so she doesn't feel the pressure.

TL;DR - sometimes families gotta hang in there for each other, even when it doesn't seem fair. No one can predict the future, you may resent them for the help now but you might need it later.

But I do hope this doesn't cause a long term financial issues for your parents OP.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Pigeon on August 24, 2015, 11:39:28 AM
I'm in the everyone should be treated equally camp, unless there is a physical or mental disability.

My parents paid for college for each of their 6 kids, but the sky wasn't the limit, and the tuitions were in the same ballpark.  I got into some places they couldn't afford and if I'd wanted to go, I would have had to take out loans for the difference.  Same thing for my siblings.

We will pay for 4 years of room, board and tuition for our two kids, or the equivalent.  If they were to get scholarships that brought the costs lower than that, they could use the difference for graduate school.

My inlaws also paid for college for their five kids.  The big difference is that they paid for medical school for two of them and a masters for the third.  We didn't ask them to pay for dh's masters because we thought that was silly.  Dh was a grown-ass adult and could pay for his own.

I think both my dad and my MIL have wills that divide everything equally, which is as it should be.  We and one other brother do the lion's share in caring for MIL, but I would not want her leaving more to us because I do think it just creates hard feelings.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Noahjoe on August 24, 2015, 01:25:37 PM
Lots of opinions here, some interesting and some smacking of entitlement. I have similar circumstances to many here. My parents limited estate will probably go to my oldest sister who has a GED, at 35 got her first job that lasted more than a month, and hasn't paid a bill ever. I'll likely be the one to ensure she doesn't end up homeless and distribute 100% of my parent's estate to her over time. Aside from the obvious pain in the ass of it all and the fact that my parents enable her terrible life skills, here are my thoughts on their money:

It's theirs. Why do I deserve any of it? Why do any of you deserve your parent's money?

It might be easier for me to not care because I don't talk to or get along with this sister. It might be easy because I know I don't need money from anyone. It might be easy because I've assumed this would happen 17 years ago when my sister dropped out of school. I've worked hard to get where I'm at and I'm set. I made peace with not providing her a safety net (beyond helping my parents distribute their money to her in some way) a long time ago. Why should I spoil the time I have left with my parents (and the sibling I do care about) over money? Why would you? They love me, I know it, and that should honestly be enough. Life's too short to be that twisted up about someone else's possessions. If you're on this forum you're probably in a better financial situation than most and will likely not need to work yourselves into an early grave. Celebrate that. Celebrate that your parents were alive long enough to amass some kind of wealth and that you got to enjoy their company into adulthood. There are a good many who haven't had that privilege that would almost certainly give up any inheritance for more time with mom and dad.

When my parents are gone, know what I'm going to miss? Them. Know what I'd rather not have? Their money. If you need your parent's money for X, Y, or Z  you should think about whether or not that thing is important. If it is, find a way to get it that doesn't cause you this much angst. Your parents don't owe you taking a year, or two, or ten, off of your early retirement date. You owe yourself that privilege. So wax your money mustache, put on  your Dickey's, and get back to work.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: kite on August 24, 2015, 02:24:13 PM
This thread touched a cord with me. It is only me and my sister who is 3 years older than me.

When we were younger I received a lot of financial help and support because I was the perpetual f-up who couldn't get her life together. My sister was the angel who graduated top in her class and went straight into nursing school and stepped into a very well paying job - she in turn also helped support me while I moved back home and dealt with my addiction issues.

Fast forward some years and I'm married, sober and doing very well. She has had multiple health issues and bouts of un and under employment in the recent years (her husband works and provides what he can). In turn my husband and I have paid for our niece's dance classes, clothes, and various other expenses so she doesn't feel the pressure.

TL;DR - sometimes families gotta hang in there for each other, even when it doesn't seem fair. No one can predict the future, you may resent them for the help now but you might need it later.

But I do hope this doesn't cause a long term financial issues for your parents OP.

This!!!!!!!
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: music lover on August 24, 2015, 06:37:04 PM
It's theirs. Why do I deserve any of it? Why do any of you deserve your parent's money?

Actually, almost no one here thinks they "deserve" their parent's money. But, the greedy/lazy/useless child doesn't deserve it either, do they? When people are not treated FAIRLY by parents who are supposed to love all their children equally, it causes hurt feelings.

But, you can't overlook the money....what happens when the parents need end of life care and the one child who sucked up all of their money is nowhere to be seen and the health care bills start piling up?? Brother Joe is too busy snorting coke off a hookers ass to care and your nice safe 2.5% WD rate has become 8% to pay for ma and pa's meds and retirement home.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Noahjoe on August 25, 2015, 07:27:27 AM
Given the financial literacy of the average person in 'merica I'd venture to say that fair treatment financially is going to be the exception to the rule. Parents typically are going to do whatever they can to make their kid's lives better. That probably means helping the ones that don't help themselves as well as their responsible siblings. Instead of being jealous or hurt, I'd be happy that I didn't absorb all their bad habits and am on a successful path. The glass is half empty for too many people here, and life's too short for that.

For those that are using the excuse of, "Well, what happens when your parents need a bajillion dollar a month nursing home to spend their final days?" - make it your parent's decision. Are YOU planning ahead for end of life care? Why can't they? If things get really bad, they'd probably move to a nursing home, liquidate their estate, and use that money to pay for end of life care. If that falls short, there are government programs for such things. If that falls short, they may end up somewhere depressing, but that is ultimately influenced by their decisions (they could also live with one of their kids - a pretty common scenario). If you think they're going to end up in the direst of straits, as the financially responsible child you should probably have that conversation with them instead of sweeping it under the rug and complaining about how you will need to work longer to support your invalid parents.

Life's full of choices. These types of circumstances are no different. When people say that they don't feel entitled to the money, but they're mad that their sibling is going to get more than them, I call BS. Making a choice to let money you don't need govern your happiness in any situation, fair or otherwise, is a poor choice. And it's a choice. Reframe the thought in your head and see if you can draw a different conclusion.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Lyssa on August 26, 2015, 01:25:30 AM
Given the financial literacy of the average person in 'merica I'd venture to say that fair treatment financially is going to be the exception to the rule. Parents typically are going to do whatever they can to make their kid's lives better. That probably means helping the ones that don't help themselves as well as their responsible siblings. Instead of being jealous or hurt, I'd be happy that I didn't absorb all their bad habits and am on a successful path. The glass is half empty for too many people here, and life's too short for that.

For those that are using the excuse of, "Well, what happens when your parents need a bajillion dollar a month nursing home to spend their final days?" - make it your parent's decision. Are YOU planning ahead for end of life care? Why can't they? If things get really bad, they'd probably move to a nursing home, liquidate their estate, and use that money to pay for end of life care. If that falls short, there are government programs for such things. If that falls short, they may end up somewhere depressing, but that is ultimately influenced by their decisions (they could also live with one of their kids - a pretty common scenario). If you think they're going to end up in the direst of straits, as the financially responsible child you should probably have that conversation with them instead of sweeping it under the rug and complaining about how you will need to work longer to support your invalid parents.

Life's full of choices. These types of circumstances are no different. When people say that they don't feel entitled to the money, but they're mad that their sibling is going to get more than them, I call BS. Making a choice to let money you don't need govern your happiness in any situation, fair or otherwise, is a poor choice. And it's a choice. Reframe the thought in your head and see if you can draw a different conclusion.

There's a world of difference between being mad 24/7 and thinking 'this is sort of unfair and I sure hope I won't be stuck with nursing home bills...' every few months.

Just like there is a world of difference between thinking your parents got and let themselves be sucked try by an irresponible child and leave them wasting away in a crappy nursing home because 'they had a choice'.

The latter seems to require a much higher level of anger and bitterness than complaining on the net how your brother is mooching of your parents.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: FrugalWad on August 26, 2015, 07:34:26 AM
I remember feeling really nervous just asking for a small loan from my parents for a ticket to go see some friends. I didn't have a credit card at the time, was short on cash, and paid them back immediately come the next paycheck. We didn't grow up with the money for the parents to play favorite. My grandparents tried, but they didn't have any money either. I got a bag of change once and my sibling didn't.

When we grew older, my parents had a mentality of first come, first serve. Whoever could drive first was given the option of buying the old beater. Whoever was going to move out first was given the option of the old cookware set. I was older, so had the option first. But I wound up joining the military. The beater got traded in so my parents could buy a more reliable car, and I told my sibling to take whatever he could when he moved because I wouldn't need anything. I had a full ride through college. I was just fine with my brother getting a subsidized ride through college from my parents, because he was a hard worker and several times before, I had shown him how life is so much better when being able to save money and live below your means.

I've been through times where I couldn't afford to put gas in my car, but I'd rather have so much figured out how much earlier I needed to head out to start walking rather than ask for economic outpatient care.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: greytbigdog on August 26, 2015, 11:09:45 AM
This thread is really interesting and actually got me out of just being a lurker on the overheard at work thread.

It was very obvious with my in-laws that their daughter was the favourite as the kids were growing up, less financial and more just preferred treatment. But financially, SIL is only four years younger and had all of her university paid for, and DH had to pay for 50% of his - similar tuition costs.

The last 10 years since they have graduated and moved away from home, DH's relationship with his sister has gotten MUCH better.  Also DH finally spoke to his parents about the favouritism and now they go out of their way to make things more equal. 
When we got married, MIL gave us a little bit money to help with the wedding.  Five years later she completely paid for SIL's wedding, and we were given $5000.  Thanks SIL for having an expensive wedding!
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Making Cookies on August 26, 2015, 12:55:54 PM
I just hope those parents save enough money for their own retirement and end of life care so they don't end up shafting their more responsible children by leaving them with the bill because they spent all their own money helping their irresponsible children.

Good point - but how much financial liability is there for the surviving children of a elder that passes away?

Does it just get paid out of the estate? If there isn't an estate (elder was renting apt and has $120 worth of garage sale grade possession and no money) - who can get stuck with the bill?

if the elder has $250K worth of debt - can the grown children be compelled to pay anything?
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Making Cookies on August 26, 2015, 01:30:18 PM
On a very, very good note, my parents came to town to take my wife and I to lunch at a place of our choice. Nice affordable food. Nice shaded outside seating. Nice breeze. We got an hour's worth of their time (we had to get back to work) and all in all - perfection.

It wasn't about money. It was just about getting a bit of their time and them not being in a rush to go home and they didn't spend the hour talking about someone else.

I think that's all most of us "kids" really want - just some time and attention. Even us middle aged "kids". That's probably all the parents/grandparents want - time and attention. Money thrown into the equation just makes everything messy and complicated.

Its hard to feel like we are giving (going and doing to meet the rest of the family's schedules and plans) and not getting much in return but their impatience and gossip.

Hmmm, maybe now that my sibling is many hundreds of miles away - the parents aren't as distracted and consumed by the sibling's "adventures".

The running joke my wife and I share now is that my parents will buy a home here and they'll be like velcro to us now that the sibling has moved away. Might be nice, might be a bother. Not going to worry about it right now either way.  ;)
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: kite on August 26, 2015, 05:39:53 PM
I just hope those parents save enough money for their own retirement and end of life care so they don't end up shafting their more responsible children by leaving them with the bill because they spent all their own money helping their irresponsible children.

Good point - but how much financial liability is there for the surviving children of a elder that passes away?

Does it just get paid out of the estate? If there isn't an estate (elder was renting apt and has $120 worth of garage sale grade possession and no money) - who can get stuck with the bill?

if the elder has $250K worth of debt - can the grown children be compelled to pay anything?
Generally no.  Only a cosigner is obligated to pay.
But the Medicaid asset recovery laws enable states to recoup expenses after death if the decedent is over age 55.  In the pre-ACA  days when most who qualified for Medicaid had almost no assets, this was rare. But now with around 11 million who qualify based on income alone, this leaves their homes & bank accounts subject to seizure.  The "family home" may not remain in the family and heirs could be stuck paying to keep the house.  It is a rude awakening for adult children living with their parents and for cohabiting, but unmarried, couples. 
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: DeepEllumStache on August 26, 2015, 07:50:08 PM
It wasn't about money. It was just about getting a bit of their time and them not being in a rush to go home and they didn't spend the hour talking about someone else.

This

In the end, it really isn't about the money, it's about the unequal relationships created and how hard it is to balance them.

Parents spend more time and effort on the sibling that has the problems. That child eventually becomes the special child and acts as the main character in the family drama. The parents enjoy being needed. Everyone else gets accidentally shifted into the scenery. Unintentionally, many conversations begin and end with a recap of the ongoing drama. Typically it ends up being repeats of the same story but there is no time or relationship outside of that reserved for the special child. The money just becomes another expression of this.

It can even continue years after that child turns their life around, since the parents and child may have trouble changing how they interact. In my family, the child that pulled off the amazing 180 is still treated as fragile despite not being that way anymore. There is some resentment from that child since another child is currently being enabled with much quieter financial help but is treated like an adult.

My parents have tried very hard to be fair and it's probably a work in progress. Considering how different the circumstances for each child has ended up as, they really have done a great job. The money was never really the driver. In the end, it's their interpersonal relationships with us that tend to be a key factor in how happy everyone is with the family dynamic (versus resentment).
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: WGH on August 26, 2015, 09:35:56 PM
+1 to the parents wanted to feel needed

I was booted out the door at 18 and made to fend for myself which worked out fine and I have the typical American dream of mortgage, good job, and 2.5 kids. My brothers are 9 and 13 years younger and still mooch off my parents. For instance middle bro just got married and my parents paid for the whole wedding. When I got married we just went to the courthouse as we were broke as a joke living in an efficiency apartment with only sleeping bags for furniture. I don't personally care but my wife brings this up from time to time....

My wife's siblings OTOH are a damn mess of enablement. They bicker constantly about who gets more money, attention, etc. and unfortunately MIL eats this up. Nothing is funnier than listening to one moocher complain that another moocher is taking to much of MIL's money. They hypocrisy is completely lost on them. My wife complains when the treatment is unfair but I remind her that she's 34 and not a child any longer and we have money and they don't. Doesn't matter those hurts started as children and they never go away. 

DW does tell one story that I still haven't made up my mind on about how I feel about this whole topic of fairness....

Backstory: she has two sisters and two brothers.

One day her dad bought her a special edition barbie doll just for her no one else got anything. DW cherished this toy and to this day recollects what that gesture meant to her. Being singled out and made to feel special rather than everyone has to get the same amount of M&Ms boosted her self esteem and happiness and improved her relationship with her dad. Now she's the middle child and suffers badly from that syndrome and that's part of this. But it got me wondering about how do you balance in a large family acknowledging each child independently but at the same time fairly and equitably?

There was quite a bit of resentment in her family that stemmed from Mom bought me a doll when we went to the store, sis complained so we had to go back to the store and buy her one. The resentment is not from not being treated fairly but rather from not being singled out and made to feel special.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: okonumiyaki on August 26, 2015, 11:57:30 PM
My parents were fair, to the point of obsession.  For example, eldest sibling got bought a used car when she left college, as needed it for her job.  When my other sibling & I graduated, we didn't need a car, but got the same amount of money.  inflation adjusted  If one of us went on a school trip costing X, the other two would also get X.  Any subsequent help on downpayments etc. has also been scrupulously matched, whether or not we need it.  We all got exactly the same help for college (a living allowance, but pay for your own tuition)  The will will be even, and has rules on how to divide up the possessions...  (we will draw lots to see who gets first pick, and then will go A B C, C B A etc)

My parents in law are a bit different.  When my wife was 17, she was offered a house or college overseas as her inheritance up front, as she was a girl & wouldn't get anything else (this was actually very liberal of my FIL, as they are indonesian muslims)  She chose college abroad.  Fast forward 25 years, and my BIL and one SIL have screwed up in various different ways, and now FIL has decided to leave his company 50/50 to my wife and a SIL, with my wife getting the family home as well (on the basis that he can trust that she won't need the money, so won't sell it, and it has sentimental value to him that it remains in the family)

I've kept completely out of it, as his right to do what he wants.  I did query if the 3 left out siblings would challenge the will in court, as not in line with muslim rules on inheritance, but apparantly the lawyers have assured him it is watertight (because he will give stuff away while he is still alive, not on death, so all counts as gifts, not inheritance)

But, yeah, it will make for some awkward reunions in the future.  Our recent trip back, only one of the left out siblings was happy to see us.   
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: ender on August 27, 2015, 06:21:58 AM
Part of it might be your expectation, as the child, of your parents remaining obligation.

I have an expectation that I am "entitled" to exactly $0 of money/etc from parents, grandparents, etc. It bothered me enough to take money from my parents for college expenses, I can't imagine how much the imaginary strings would feel like if I got more money from them with any semblance of strings.

I also have pretty much always expected to be in a better financial position than my siblings and have. They aren't exactly Mustachian, that's for sure.

But really, what bothers me, is that my parents seem to "one up" me whenever I have something. For example if I have to drive 7 hours to come visit, rather than any level of "wow that's a big commitment from you, thanks" it's seemingly turned into "yeah your brother is driving 12" or stuff like that. It's very subtle, and not super common, but when that trend is combined with a lack of specific praise (lots of "we're so proud of you!" without any specifics) it's quite difficult on our relationship. No amount of fairness/unfairness in money related questions will ever be more impactful than this.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: golden1 on August 27, 2015, 08:43:58 AM
Very interesting thread.  I am an only child and as such I never experienced any sibling financial tension.  The closest I can recall was when my mom was married to my stepfather who had a son who was 4 years older than me.  He always had trouble in school so my parents incentivized him by giving him money for every grade higher than a C.  I always received straight As and Bs and worked hard for them and got no offer of money and that used to bother me for sure.

So my perspective on this subjects is as a parent.  I have two children, one of whom is on the autism spectrum.  His difficulties are mild and chances are he will be able to function with minimal support as an adult, and the goal is for him to be fully independant, but it is tough to know at this point.  I worry about how this impacts my daughter.  I have no worries about her ability to become a mature, fully functional adult.  She is bright, well adjusted, and well on her way to have a good life hopefully.   I can tell at times that she resents some of the attention he gets.  I really struggle with trying to be fair with also understanding that my children are different people with wildly varying capabilities.  My son may just need more support as an adult and I only have so much to give.  I really hope that I raised her with enough empathy and understanding that she won't be resentful if I end up supporting him more than her.  My point is that it can be more complicated and not always about just preferring a particular child more than the other. 

As far as college goes, they both have generous equal college funds that they can draw from, and when it's gone, it's gone and they will have to tap into loans.  My dd, who is 13, has already started asking about college, and she knows she has enough for tuition for 4 years at a public college or about 1.5 years private, so it is up to her what she wants to do. 
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: MayDay on August 27, 2015, 01:35:34 PM

In the end, it really isn't about the money, it's about the unequal relationships created and how hard it is to balance them.

Parents spend more time and effort on the sibling that has the problems. That child eventually becomes the special child and acts as the main character in the family drama. The parents enjoy being needed. Everyone else gets accidentally shifted into the scenery. Unintentionally, many conversations begin and end with a recap of the ongoing drama. Typically it ends up being repeats of the same story but there is no time or relationship outside of that reserved for the special child. The money just becomes another expression of this.

It can even continue years after that child turns their life around, since the parents and child may have trouble changing how they interact. In my family, the child that pulled off the amazing 180 is still treated as fragile despite not being that way anymore. There is some resentment from that child since another child is currently being enabled with much quieter financial help but is treated like an adult.


This hits the nail on the head in H's family.

MIL wants to vent to H about SIL's latest antics.  ALL THE TIME.  Phone conversations begin and end with her complaining about H's sister.  It hurts, subtly, over time, and she doesn't even realize she is doing it. 

Like others said, it isn't about the money, its about "on top of most/all your focus being on the problem child my whole life, now you are giving her all the money on top of all the love/attention".    (Note:  MIL isn't actually giving SIL all her money).

My parents treat us fairly, and if they divided their estate unevenly, it would just be odd.  I wouldn't think they don't love me, I would think they were mentally ill or_____??.  So I wouldn't be as hurt about it.  And if they left it all to me under those circumstances, I'd share it with my siblings, because it really isn't about wanting all the $$$$$$. 
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: FireLane on August 27, 2015, 07:22:14 PM
I know this feeling. My wife's parents have been financially supporting my brother-in-law (dropped out of school, has never had a real job and isn't looking for one) for years. They give him free room and board, pay for his health insurance and give him occasional spending money. They don't ask anything of him in return, and he hasn't offered. They've never offered this level of support to my wife and me, nor have we ever needed it.

I'm not jealous, really. More baffled as to why they're letting him sponge off them without even trying to get him to stand on his own two feet. But as far as I'm concerned, they can spend their own money as they choose. It'd be nice to get an inheritance eventually (they own some real estate that I'd welcome the opportunity to own and manage in a Mustachian fashion), but I'm not counting on it. However, I'm more concerned by the possibility that they may need expensive medical care late in life that will deplete their assets... and when BIL's free ride ends, I have no doubt, he's going to show up on my doorstep looking for more handouts.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Lski'stash on August 27, 2015, 08:33:45 PM
I think there are two different kinds of arguments going on with kids. The first one here speaks to two people who work equally hard but make different incomes.
So the engineer will inevitably feel resentment against the teacher.  If Kid A is making more than Kid B then they worked harder to get there.  Between two siblings, this country very much is a meritocracy, so having the parents even it up will just serve to reward the person who didn't work as hard.

I know what you're saying but you haven't read exactly what I wrote. I said if they both worked hard to get where they are and continue to work hard at their jobs. If the engineer makes 80k a year and the teacher makes 40k a year and they both work hard. I would not necessarily feel resentment if I was the engineer and my sibling was given a bit extra.

This.

As kids, we were extremely resentful of any perceived inequity, from who got tennis/karate lessons (my brother and me, because our parents were trying to help rectify our extraordinary lack of coordination; we did not last) to who got ice cream without the others to who had more baby pictures in the photo album, because in our kid minds, there was a direct correlation between that and who was loved more. Now that we're adults, though, we've all accepted that our parents loved us the same (and made us approximately equally crazy >=P).

It doesn't bother me at all that my siblings now get more money and things than I do. Part of it is that they get paid significantly less to do work that requires more education (I am the only sibling without a doctorate) and arguably contributes a lot more to society than my job. A big part of it is probably that they're both really responsible with their finances, and never ask for or expect help from our parents; my parents just like giving them a bit of a buffer for their own peace of mind.

Being from the side of the person who chose the career that makes less money, I feel the need to point out that they chose that career path. I always knew I wasn't going to 'make bank' as a teacher and have planned my life accordingly. I don't feel any need for extra handouts for that reason, and I don't expect them.

The other is what to parents do when one adult kid is being supported in spite and because of their  Fuckups and it continues to happen. Where does it stop? When the parents get sick of it and let them suffer the consequences, in my experience. There's a different line for everyone. I definitely agree that some parents find themselves wanting to be 'needed' and end up enabling because of it. Is it frustrating? Yes. Is there anything that you can do about it? No.

So let it go. Feel sorry for them, and happy for you for not being sucked up into it.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Mountainbug on August 27, 2015, 09:51:52 PM


However, I am grateful that although my sibling has received much more financial help, I have NEVER equated it with love or lack of it.

+1

Seriously... Money does not equal love, parents aren't perfect, the world isn't fair. (Not to say anyone who posted doesn't have legitimate reasons to feel the way they do)
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Melody on August 27, 2015, 11:14:28 PM
My parents have always stressed to treat is equally. As a result I was given my wedding gift a number of years ago, once I passed the age my sibling was when she married and wasn't in a relationship... So there's an extra $10k in the house deposit account for me :-) I am very happy with this arrangement as I don't think I am the sort of person to have a big wedding anyway and as I am still single much further away from marriage than from home ownership. Ones a realistic current goal, even if I met Mr right tommorrow marriage would likely be 2+ yrs away. Short of a disability I think parents should spend equally on gifts for adult children, though the gifts don't need to be the same. (For example college tuition for one child and a car to get to and from a workplace traineeship for the other).
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: AllieVaulter on August 28, 2015, 02:29:58 PM
I know this feeling. My wife's parents have been financially supporting my brother-in-law (dropped out of school, has never had a real job and isn't looking for one) for years. They give him free room and board, pay for his health insurance and give him occasional spending money. They don't ask anything of him in return, and he hasn't offered. They've never offered this level of support to my wife and me, nor have we ever needed it.

... and when BIL's free ride ends, I have no doubt, he's going to show up on my doorstep looking for more handouts.

This is basically the situation with my in-laws.  My BIL is healthy, bright, and incredibly unmotivated.  They tried tough love and he just stopped all communications with them.  MIL couldn't handle the emotional blackmail, so now he's back living with them.  Thankfully, I don't think they're doing anything horrible to their finances for him, but it's definitely an unhealthy relationship.  Hopefully, it will be many years before the inlaws pass on, but when that happens BIL isn't living with us.  DH has made that very clear.  I think my FIL has been working on a plan to get BIL self-sufficient.  FIL still hasn't given up the hope of an empty nest. 
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: mustachepungoeshere on August 31, 2015, 09:55:29 PM
My husband and I both face this odd assumption from relatives on both sides that we are 'rich' because we went to uni, work full-time and live in a capital city (COL disparity, anyone?)

As a result, everyone else in my family gets birthday and Christmas presents from my paternal grandmother, except me. I expect her Will to be allocated the same way.

My maternal grandparents still send all their grandkids and great-grandkids a cheque each birthday and Christmas, god love 'em. But my mum thinks it's time this stopped and thinks the older grandkids (some in their 30s) should know better. So I save mine. They're not out the money, and I have a few mementoes of their generosity (and handwriting, which I treasure).

My husband's brother and my sister both get handouts from respective parents. (My parents have help my sister out with cars and cash. My in-laws have helped my brother-in-law out with cash, paid services - health insurance, car insurance, phone bill, free board, groceries, meals out, etc etc etc.)

Some of that is proximity (we live away from them all), some of it squeaky wheel (even when we probably needed it, when we were first married and broke, we never asked), and a lot of it is that they are both financial no-hopers.

My in-laws complain about my BiL's spending habits and money management, but he learnt from them. Now he refuses to speak to them about money. But he will talk to me. :)

I admit to feeling envious at times, because it appears as though our siblings' financial mismanagement is being rewarded. But I channel that energy into focusing on our situation and just trying to run our own race.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: eyesonthehorizon on September 02, 2015, 01:55:47 AM
A thousand times over, it's not about the money in the end. It's not about deserving money.

My own parents always stressed how important it was that they treat their children fairly, but both showed favoritism to my one younger sibling throughout our lives. It's been unmistakable from childhood dessert sizes to their final decisions about inheritance. It took until I departed to college to have a healthy sibling relationship, because our parents would pit us against each other in their need for a scapegoat for anything wrong, and it's hard for a younger, impressionable, approval-seeking child not to do as encouraged even if it seems 'off'.

I was a type A perfectionist and my sibling was a type B partygoer, probably not least because of this treatment. We have a mostly positive relationship now that we can have it absent our parents, but for me - as the child who couldn't bear to ask for anything, and who was generally exemplary out of a desperate need to be noticed, it's very hard to let go of the feeling of never having had even a chance to be good enough. We were only a couple of years apart and were both intentional children, so it's not as if there were significant differences in conditions; they just always preferred my sibling. Always wondering "why" about that leaves a mark on all your kids. As the slighted child, I've spent a huge amount of time trying to recover from crippling fear of rejection and replacement, and it's had a terrible impact on my ability to feel secure in partner relationships.

And this is within the softened context of two children who were either near-letter-perfect or only a very mild, run-of-the-mill sort of rebellious; I cannot imagine how much worse it would feel to have been that striving child if this had all happened within the context of having a 'problem sibling', because it never had to become a question of who and whether anyone deserved anything.

While I'd agree parents' money is absolutely theirs to divide at will after their children grow up, and adult children don't 'deserve' resources the parents acquired for themselves, that doesn't make favoritism any less harmful; moreover, anyone who can pontificate that an adult is not affected by their upbringing is kidding themselves.

What children do deserve to receive equally is the goodwill and best efforts of their parents.  Raising adjusted kids is really about raising healthy adults, and the notion that you don't owe your kids anything once they can survive on their own suggests you probably do at least owe it to them not to impede their getting to that point. Barring extenuating circumstances outside the realm of choice (mental/ physical health needs), resource investment among your kids ought to be as equal as possible; parental investment correlates strongly with offspring wellbeing. And being within your rights to show favoritism to your children, even as adults, doesn't make it right to do.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: coin on September 02, 2015, 10:22:29 AM
I have absolutely no problems with my parents doing what they want with their money.  I have a feeling most of it will go to my youngest brother, which I have no problem with since he's significantly younger and needs it way more than the rest of us.

If they ever offer me money when I marry or buy a house, I'm going to be inclined to refuse it simply because I dislike the possibility of family drama.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: TravelJunkyQC on September 02, 2015, 12:55:39 PM
I'm finding this thread fascinating and very much applicable to myself. I'll be the first to say that I've had a balls-out-ridiculous-privilaged-life. My parents sent both my sister and I to the best possible schools, and paid for both of our undergrads. While my sister went to a US private college (with the costs that come with it), I instead chose a university back in my father's native Canada. However, since my parents paid for the tuition, room, and board for my sister, they paid for the equivalent of mine (tuition, rent on an apartment that they chose with me - dorms past the first year didn't exist, and a 300$ a month stipend to feed myself). Any entertainment money was made on our own (we both started working at 14 and continued part-time during uni to cover costs of «extras». While the costs for me were significantly lower than for my sister, their promise was that we would come out debt-free, not a set amount of money. I never had any issues with this.

Flash forward a few years: after graduate school (not covered by my parents), my sister moved back in with my parents and lived there rent free for a year. I was never jealous because while I absolutely adore my parents, I wouldn't want to live with them again, simply because as an adult it puts unecessary strain on the relationship in my opinion.

Flash forward a few more years to today: my sister decided to start a farmstead to make cheese. She works damn hard, longer hours than me, and way harder (office life is easy lets be honest). However, instead of having the added stress of a 350,000$ mortgage and 150,00$ business loan for the construction of the cheesemaking facility, my parents bought her the entire farm and paid for the construction. They didn't want her to have the financial stress. And in their words «we can either give it to her now or when we die, and we'd rather give it when she needs it.» None of this makes me jealous for the simple reason that I know that if I were to start my own business, they would help me out as well. I can honestly say that two things with this situation bother me: the fact that my sister was never forced to go through the brutal but important «develop and get a business plan approved by some investment/banking power», and also, I fear that my parents are far too generous for the amount of living they have left. On the first point, my parents are well aware of my feelings, and they are both business saavy people and have assured me that they never would have done this had they not gone over her business plan and believed in it. On the second point: my parents could out-mustache MMM any day of the week, and while they are both scientists never making multi-millions per year, we lived FAR below our means and they have assured me that they will be dead with several million in the bank because they don't know how to spend it.

Whenever my parents come visit me, my mother always wants to go shopping with me, because they help my sister with necessary things. However, I always refuse, because I don't need anything. We actually got into an argument the last time they were here, because I said that whenever they want to buy me something, be it groceries or clothes, I just want to put the money in the bank to fund my early retirement. I know that they love to see how responsible I am for my age, and my father completely understands, but my mother is like many adoring mothers - she loves to give gifts because it makes her feel good. My father told me, point blank «I understand what you mean, because I'm the same way, but it makes your mother so happy to give you a gift, she spends so much time picking out christmas gifts, imagining your face when you see it. Please indulge her once in a while, it won't hurt.»

I realize how fortunate both my sister and I are to have our parents. How wise they have been to both raise us in a way that we don't NEED money to survive, while also being able to help us to make our lives easier if they want. That being said, while my parents' division of the 20,000$ inherited when my grand-father died funded my first 10,000$ for retirement, the fact that I have never accepted any other money from them since graduating undergrad has caused my father to tell his friends and my mother how proud he is of me. Hearing my mother tell me that my dad was proud of who I was is more valuable than any money they could bestow upon me.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Nickyd£g on September 03, 2015, 06:29:18 AM
Wow, this thread struck a chord with me!  My older brother and I grew up in a low-middle class home with a spendthrift mum and extremely frugal dad (= a lot of arguments!).  My brother had some...issues... as a teenager and my mum's answer was to throw money at him, without my dad's knowledge for the most part.  Age 12, I was told I would get pocket money for taking over most of the household chores.  My brother got money, did no chores.  Age 15, I got a part time job, as well as school.  My brother was, by that time, unemployed or in prison - it was always one of the two.  I went to university - my tuition was paid for by my parents, I was given a grant and I continued to waitress part time to cover expenses, plus lived at home to save on costs.  I got a job, moved out, bought an apartment.  By this time, my brother was living at home with my then retired parents, stealing items, constantly begging for money for drugs.

My parents died quite suddenly, with no will, and man, did it get ugly!  My brother accused me of "stealing all the money" from the estate, of putting him on the street when we sold the house (a large, 3 bedroom on an acre which he would never manage) etc.  I helped him buy a small, lovely apartment, with a lot of my parents' furniture, and left him to it.  He sold it all, spent all the cash and now lives in a council flat in a bad area.  While he is now clean he is unemployable and regularly asks me for money.  I do not give him any.  Last year he asked me to pawn my mothers jewellery so he could buy Christmas presents.  Uuuh..no.

Growing up, I was very resentful of the money, time and attention my mum gave my brother.  Now, I'm glad my father insisted on my learning the value of money, and feel very sorry for my brother.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Making Cookies on September 03, 2015, 11:56:32 AM
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hikikomori

Could this explain some of the siblings out there who can't (won't) make it on their own?
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: TheGrimSqueaker on September 03, 2015, 02:33:46 PM
I borrowed some money from my parents for a down payment on a condo, but repaid it within five years plus the agreed-upon 5% interest. Over the years we've also made each other several gifts, some of which were expensive. Such luxuries as I've received have been exactly that: luxuries that I otherwise wouldn't buy, because I get along just as well without them and they don't make a meaningful difference to me.

One of the reasons I choose to live in another country is because both my parents are extremely controlling when they want to be, and money is one of the tools they use to manipulate and control people. My brother didn't make it out. My parents routinely support him, he often lives with them although he's in his late 30s, and in general they're actively enabling his addictive behavior. For example, when he wrecked one vehicle they bought for him by driving drunk and crashing it into a median during one of his temper tantrums, they bought him another as soon as his injuries healed enough for him to be physically capable of driving. I call that a danger to public safety. They also paid his utilities and rent for years, and frequently let him live with them, often at little or no cost. This is so that he can spend more money on alcohol, and also continue working at an unusually low rate of pay for his industry due to his lack of credentials and his propensity for not showing up to work because he's on a bender.

The longer my brother lives, the more infantile he becomes. All his needs are provided for, and he enjoys a far higher standard of living than his skills or credentials would otherwise provide him. So, he's never uncomfortable enough to go to night school in a different discipline, or to leave town for an apprenticeship program elsewhere. As long as he lacks the skills to stand on his own two feet, he'll keep sucking at the proverbial tit, simply because it's available. He'll also keep pissing away whatever he receives, which guarantees he'll be broke in a year or two no matter how much he inherits. That he will inherit most, or all, of my parents' assets is almost certain. Why? Because he neeeeeeds it.

My parents have spun themselves a glorious self-image in which they are noble, angelic beings who continue to rescue their poor, helpless son. They fail to acknowledge their own role in the codependent merry-go-round their lives have become. Instead, they've basically added him to their marriage and are now some kind of trio for all social purposes. They add his name to the "from" line of holiday cards and gifts, and wherever they go, they take him along like one of Paris Hilton's purse puppies. For reasons unexplained, he tolerates this.

I don't dispute the fact that my parents' money is theirs to do with as they please, and if it was something simple like spending it, I'd shrug or even high-five them. The problem is that they've chosen to use their money to financially castrate their own son. That's just not cool.

It just seems to me that a person's right to swing their financial fist ought to end where someone else's nutsack begins. This enabling bullshit has done some serious damage.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: partgypsy on September 03, 2015, 02:58:05 PM
I borrowed some money from my parents for a down payment on a condo, but repaid it within five years plus the agreed-upon 5% interest. Over the years we've also made each other several gifts, some of which were expensive. Such luxuries as I've received have been exactly that: luxuries that I otherwise wouldn't buy, because I get along just as well without them and they don't make a meaningful difference to me.

One of the reasons I choose to live in another country is because both my parents are extremely controlling when they want to be, and money is one of the tools they use to manipulate and control people. My brother didn't make it out. My parents routinely support him, he often lives with them although he's in his late 30s, and in general they're actively enabling his addictive behavior. For example, when he wrecked one vehicle they bought for him by driving drunk and crashing it into a median during one of his temper tantrums, they bought him another as soon as his injuries healed enough for him to be physically capable of driving. I call that a danger to public safety. They also paid his utilities and rent for years, and frequently let him live with them, often at little or no cost. This is so that he can spend more money on alcohol, and also continue working at an unusually low rate of pay for his industry due to his lack of credentials and his propensity for not showing up to work because he's on a bender.

The longer my brother lives, the more infantile he becomes. All his needs are provided for, and he enjoys a far higher standard of living than his skills or credentials would otherwise provide him. So, he's never uncomfortable enough to go to night school in a different discipline, or to leave town for an apprenticeship program elsewhere. As long as he lacks the skills to stand on his own two feet, he'll keep sucking at the proverbial tit, simply because it's available. He'll also keep pissing away whatever he receives, which guarantees he'll be broke in a year or two no matter how much he inherits. That he will inherit most, or all, of my parents' assets is almost certain. Why? Because he neeeeeeds it.

My parents have spun themselves a glorious self-image in which they are noble, angelic beings who continue to rescue their poor, helpless son. They fail to acknowledge their own role in the codependent merry-go-round their lives have become. Instead, they've basically added him to their marriage and are now some kind of trio for all social purposes. They add his name to the "from" line of holiday cards and gifts, and wherever they go, they take him along like one of Paris Hilton's purse puppies. For reasons unexplained, he tolerates this.

I don't dispute the fact that my parents' money is theirs to do with as they please, and if it was something simple like spending it, I'd shrug or even high-five them. The problem is that they've chosen to use their money to financially castrate their own son. That's just not cool.

It just seems to me that a person's right to swing their financial fist ought to end where someone else's nutsack begins. This enabling bullshit has done some serious damage.
Sounds like my parents, if they had more money.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: rocketpj on September 03, 2015, 03:05:04 PM
My parents have bent over backwards to present the impression of fairness - almost too much.  When my grannie died she left a bunch of jewelry to her female descendents.  I don't care (not being female) - they were her jewels to do with as she wished.  As far as I can tell she left a safety deposit bill, since nobody seems willing to wear or sell them.

But my parents felt bad that I was left out, so they said they would 'balance things out in their will'.  I asked them to please not do that - the last thing I want when I lose my parents is to get into some kind of conflict with my siblings over a few thousand dollars.  As far as I know they have taken that into account.

My folks are well beyond FIRE and every once in awhile will give us a cheque - they always call it a 'mortgage holiday'.  It is basically some of the profits from their extensive investments (which include, I think, inheritances from the previous generation).  I am always very grateful, and always just put it straight into investments. 

I have no idea if they do the same with my sister, or if it is the same amounts.  I assume they do - I hope so.  If they didn't I'd just assume they make determinations based on their understanding of our respective financial situations and needs.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: pachnik on September 03, 2015, 03:23:18 PM
One of the reasons I choose to live in another country is because both my parents are extremely controlling when they want to be, and money is one of the tools they use to manipulate and control people. My brother didn't make it out. My parents routinely support him, he often lives with them although he's in his late 30s, and in general they're actively enabling his addictive behavior. For example, when he wrecked one vehicle they bought for him by driving drunk and crashing it into a median during one of his temper tantrums, they bought him another as soon as his injuries healed enough for him to be physically capable of driving. I call that a danger to public safety. They also paid his utilities and rent for years, and frequently let him live with them, often at little or no cost. This is so that he can spend more money on alcohol, and also continue working at an unusually low rate of pay for his industry due to his lack of credentials and his propensity for not showing up to work because he's on a bender.

The longer my brother lives, the more infantile he becomes. All his needs are provided for, and he enjoys a far higher standard of living than his skills or credentials would otherwise provide him. So, he's never uncomfortable enough to go to night school in a different discipline, or to leave town for an apprenticeship program elsewhere. As long as he lacks the skills to stand on his own two feet, he'll keep sucking at the proverbial tit, simply because it's available. He'll also keep pissing away whatever he receives, which guarantees he'll be broke in a year or two no matter how much he inherits. That he will inherit most, or all, of my parents' assets is almost certain. Why? Because he neeeeeeds it.

My parents have spun themselves a glorious self-image in which they are noble, angelic beings who continue to rescue their poor, helpless son. They fail to acknowledge their own role in the codependent merry-go-round their lives have become. Instead, they've basically added him to their marriage and are now some kind of trio for all social purposes. They add his name to the "from" line of holiday cards and gifts, and wherever they go, they take him along like one of Paris Hilton's purse puppies. For reasons unexplained, he tolerates this.

It just seems to me that a person's right to swing their financial fist ought to end where someone else's nutsack begins. This enabling bullshit has done some serious damage.

Wow, I would call this a multi-paragraph definition of enabling.  Nothing I have read in this thread has made me more grateful for being able to support myself. 
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: midweststache on September 03, 2015, 04:07:33 PM
My parents were fair, to the point of obsession.  For example, eldest sibling got bought a used car when she left college, as needed it for her job.  When my other sibling & I graduated, we didn't need a car, but got the same amount of money.  inflation adjusted  If one of us went on a school trip costing X, the other two would also get X.  Any subsequent help on downpayments etc. has also been scrupulously matched, whether or not we need it.  We all got exactly the same help for college (a living allowance, but pay for your own tuition)  The will will be even, and has rules on how to divide up the possessions...  (we will draw lots to see who gets first pick, and then will go A B C, C B A etc)

This is my parents exactly. They gave me a check for my birthday worth the exact same amount the spent on my sister's birthday gift (some work on the house she purchased a year ago). It was so exact it was a not-round number, so I was initially very confused (VERY GRATEFUL, but also confused) until they explained how they arrived at that number.

My sister and I never wanted for anything growing up--we were pretty spoiled, come to think of it--so I think my parents are a little shocked at how well-adjusted, particularly financially, we ended up. Sister is a consumerista, particularly when it comes to conspicuous consumption, but she spends what she earns (thank god she has a job with a forced pension). I'm much more minimalist/anti-consumer, so DH and I can aggressively pay off debt and pursue FI.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Trimatty471 on September 27, 2015, 07:06:46 PM
My brother sponges off of my parents.  I am neither jealous or concerned about the unfairness.  What gets me is that sometimes my Mom pushes him in my direction. 

The thing his he buys what want but begs for what he needs.  And she makes excuses for him.

If that is what she wants to do then it is fine but that is not me.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: TheGrimSqueaker on September 28, 2015, 08:02:14 AM
My brother sponges off of my parents.  I am neither jealous or concerned about the unfairness.  What gets me is that sometimes my Mom pushes him in my direction. 

The thing his he buys what want but begs for what he needs.  And she makes excuses for him.

If that is what she wants to do then it is fine but that is not me.

One of the phrases that I've had to repeat often is: "if you want to spend your savings on him, or go without things you need so that he has more money to spend on <insert indulgence of choice> that's up to you. But you do not have the right to pressure me into doing the same."
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: 2Birds1Stone on September 28, 2015, 10:55:59 AM
I found out a few months ago that my father is supporting my soon to be 27 year old brother. He has a degree, actually got into medical school but decided not to go, up until a few months ago he was working delivering pizza at the same place he has worked since high school. The pizza place shut down, and instead of using this as a learning experience that he has to eventually grow up my brother convinced my father that he has some ideas/entrepreneurial ambitions, and now my dad is paying his rent/utilities/food/cell/car insurance indefinitely while my brother sits around wasting away his 20's.

He is enabling my brother, and it is a very touchy subject so I don't dare bring it up to anyone in my family. 
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Kitsunegari on September 28, 2015, 12:09:28 PM
My younger brother is a rather passive person, and my parents, altho they don't support him, let him live with them and borrow their car for free. It doesn't bother me in the least, but it makes me sad the fact that he's 30 and his life is still without a direction. I guess the difference is that I was financially independent (by my family) very early and I've always been proud of it, so when they try to give me money I have the luxury to reply "No thanx, we're doing fine".
My DH says they should put him at the door and let him fend for himself, but I'm not convinced he'd gain anything. 
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Sibley on October 02, 2015, 12:12:21 PM
I am so very glad that my parents were decent. Fair, but not obsessively so. However, I am well aware that they will be moving in with me eventually. Sis and I have already discussed the future, and we're good with it. Mom is aware, though probably not how much we're planning for!

The one thing that happened recently that upset my sister was that mom and dad did POAs, and I'm on them, but she isn't. Which is not what Sis and I discussed, and sis and mom discussed. Apparently, it wasn't obvious on how to do them, so instead of asking sis (who's the legal "expert" in the family) for help, mom just got them done, wrong. We'll be redoing them at some point when my sister is around to help and get the damn things right.

Bah. Hate legal paperwork. On the plus side, sis gets to help me with my stuff! (and I help everyone with their taxes)
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: cavewoman on October 10, 2015, 11:48:49 AM
Starting when I was about twelve and my brother was 14, my dad (single parent) sat me down and told me about how "the squeaky wheel gets the oil." This was around my brothers first stint of rehab.
 I think that if my dad were a different man, that I may have been more resentful growing up, but he had never been short in telling me he is proud of me. And emotionally supporting me through all my life decisions. I think this speaks to what the money represents in some of these family stories. My dad made sure to be there for me, or at least to talk to me about it when I was getting less attention because my brother was squeaking again.
 I wouldn't want to sit down and tally it up, but it's very likely that we came out even in financial care. I got college, he got bail, rehab, and loans. My dad forgave my brother's loans when he had a kid, and he had told me he'd do the same for mine when I have a kid (he took out all parent loans and I'm paying him back 20%).
 He also said I could stop paying him when he pays off what he owes for my schooling, regardless of how much I still owe. But I don't want to take him up on that. If he doesn't want my money when I have a kid, I'll tell him he can either put it into a travel fund to come see his grandkid, or put it into their college fund.
I have no idea how his will is set up, but my brother died a few years ago so now I'm an only child. I hope he spends it all before he goes. He should take that trip to Amsterdam he's always talked about.

It's likely that if my brother and I hadn't had a heart to heart about 5 years ago, in which I learned of some very traumatizing things that happened to him as a kid that I didn't experience (and he protected me from) that I would have had resentment towards him. But instead, I just miss him.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: peoria on October 10, 2015, 05:07:08 PM
I am the middle child in a family of 8 children, and I was always "the responsible one".

My parents were awful with money, and most of the time lived paycheck to paycheck, despite an annual income of over 150k.
For about two years we all received allowance of $10 every two weeks for chores that we were supposed to do.
 
The chores themselves were not split up very equally, and as "the responsible one" I was given more than my fair share. i.e. I was responsible for laundry for 10 people (with no dryer), cooking dinner and doing dishes and my older brother was responsible for taking out the trash and cleaning his room (my room was always clean, and did not count as a chore).

I saved my allowance every week, and never spent any of it. My siblings all wasted theirs on the ice cream man or similar.

4 times during the time we received allowance, my parents came to me and asked me to "borrow" back my allowance money I had saved up.  What did they borrow it for? To pay my siblings allowance for the 2 weeks.

This was a precursor for college expenses. My brother and I both went to community college at the same time.  My parents said they would pay for it, and wrote a check for us.   Two weeks later they ask me to borrow money enough to cover both of our tuitions, books, and some extra. ( I was working 30ish hours a week at just over minimum wage). That pattern continued through community college.

Later, my siblings would come get a "loan" from my parents, and the parents would turn around and borrow money from me to cover the sibling's loan plus extra. Sometimes the siblings would pay the parents back, but the parents never paid me back.

By the time I was 22, my parents owed me over $25000 and I cut them off for good.

They have found ways to continue lending my siblings money throughout the years.

I definitely like my parents were sending me a message loud and clear " Don't be responsible. Don't save your money. You will get screwed over if you do." Luckily something is ingrained in my personality that resisted that change.

It does make me somewhat resentful of the parents and the siblings, and has strained my relationship with all of them.

Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Astatine on October 11, 2015, 05:25:40 AM
Oh wow, that is uniquely horrible. Well done for holding true to yourself despite everything.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: frugalecon on October 11, 2015, 06:17:58 AM
I am the middle child in a family of 8 children, and I was always "the responsible one".

My parents were awful with money, and most of the time lived paycheck to paycheck, despite an annual income of over 150k.
For about two years we all received allowance of $10 every two weeks for chores that we were supposed to do
...

By the time I was 22, my parents owed me over $25000 and I cut them off for good.

They have found ways to continue lending my siblings money throughout the years.

I definitely like my parents were sending me a message loud and clear " Don't be responsible. Don't save your money. You will get screwed over if you do." Luckily something is ingrained in my personality that resisted that change.

It does make me somewhat resentful of the parents and the siblings, and has strained my relationship with all of them.

Peoria, that sounds very painful, and I can empathize with parts of this...my sisters were routinely paid for chores I did for free, and I even had to turn over cash from my side hustle to give to them, since it was "unfair" that I was earning money. (An early lesson in paying the tax man!)

But hopefully you see now that your responsible nature is a great blessing, and it will give you so many options that your siblings will never have. The most important thing is to make sure that you are well-defended against the many requests for bail outs that will surely come your way. It is ok to offer to help them get their finances in order through education and sound advice, but ultimately it is not your responsibility to continue a destructive pattern.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Making Cookies on October 11, 2015, 08:01:26 PM
By the time I was 22, my parents owed me over $25000 and I cut them off for good.

They have found ways to continue lending my siblings money throughout the years.

I definitely like my parents were sending me a message loud and clear " Don't be responsible. Don't save your money. You will get screwed over if you do." Luckily something is ingrained in my personality that resisted that change.

It does make me somewhat resentful of the parents and the siblings, and has strained my relationship with all of them.

I've never been int hat situation but if I were - and if I was of the same mind I am now I'd probably lie to them and tell them that I spent all that money on whatever I invented during the conversation. Mostly intangibles. Meanwhile - keep banking that money. Glad you got ahead in life.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: peoria on October 13, 2015, 11:35:02 AM
Yes, I am overall very happy that I was "born" responsible. Has made my adult financial life much easier.

I would not have been able to say I had spent my all of my money, as my parents knew that it was not in my nature.

I grew up saying I was going to live by a specific intersection because there was, a costco, price savers , and Albertsons within 1/4 mile and all gave tons of free samples- so I would be able to eat for free all the time.

I have so many other stories of being penalized for being responsible and/or being a saver, that I have no idea how it was not stomped out of me, or where it came from.


Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Mr Money Mutton Chops on October 13, 2015, 09:58:35 PM
Yes, I am overall very happy that I was "born" responsible. Has made my adult financial life much easier.

I would not have been able to say I had spent my all of my money, as my parents knew that it was not in my nature.

I grew up saying I was going to live by a specific intersection because there was, a costco, price savers , and Albertsons within 1/4 mile and all gave tons of free samples- so I would be able to eat for free all the time.

I have so many other stories of being penalized for being responsible and/or being a saver, that I have no idea how it was not stomped out of me, or where it came from.

Well, wherever it came from, good for you for keeping it.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: elaine amj on October 14, 2015, 11:58:44 AM
I look at life as a team effort rather than a competition. My parents have spent much more (I have no clue how much) on my brother than they have on me. he has needed/asked for more as he has not handled his money as well. My dad paid his gas money for many, many years, they have helped him with CC debt, they have funded vacations, they bought him a car, etc etc. It has all been ok with me since I am genuinely happy when he gets good things. It does help that while my parents are not equitable or fair, I in turn have also gotten everything I have asked for. I have been given plenty of generous gifts and luxuries. I also think what REALLY helps is that I think my brother is a great guy although maybe not as good with his money as he should be :) Also, I have viewed my independence as my own personal challenge - my parents would likely have offered me similar support if I had asked.

That said, this thread has opened my eyes to a lot of potential pitfalls that could happen to my own children. I am not equitable or fair with my own kids. I have told them since they were little that "life is not fair" and that I have no interest in being "fair". I have been very clear with them that I love both just as much but that they would each get stuff according to what I feel they need at that time. When they were younger i spent wayyy more money on expensive piano lessons for my DD. My DS was not interested and dropped out. Now that they are older, I spend more money on expensive travel sports teams for my son while I spend pretty much nothing on my DD. I have never calculated or tried to balance these types of spends.

If they get to college and one gets a huge scholarship, I will be thrilled and thank that child - and keep the college savings for my retirement/future fun. If the other child doesn't get scholarships, they'll have the college fund to tap into.

I just can't imagine a life of keeping score. I'm not wired like that. I do hope I don't wreck my kids forever doing it my way though - a little nervous after this thread LOL! They are now in their early teens and I am now upping my efforts to teach them to cheer for each other and to be happy for each other's blessings.

Hmm...on the fairness perspective, they both whine that the other has it better than they do (has less chores, gets away with more, etc). I wonder if this is a good sign or a bad sign? (I've been telling them that it is a sign of good parenting LOL).
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: HairyUpperLip on October 14, 2015, 01:02:50 PM
wow, interesting thread.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: andyp2010 on October 14, 2015, 02:08:40 PM
So unbelievably relatable.

When I was a teenager, I developed a strong passion for cycling. So much so I later traveled the world as a cycle mechanic for a living. It started as I wanted a paper round for earning money so my parents, very kindly, bought me a basic bike for Christmas. After a year or so I decided that I wanted to save for a road bike, so I did. It was a £180 Raleigh Airlite so I saved at £15pw, the entirety of my paper round earnings. I was very proud of my savings so I told my family of them occasionally. Come my mums birthday, I came home from school and was told that we're going to Paris next month for 2 days to celebrate and I owe them £200 for it. I completely refused to pay, if it meant that I didn't go, fine. A huge argument ensued that was  explicitly stated as me not loving my mum enough apparently.

VS my brothers experience at exactly the same time. He was maybe 7 or 8 at this point. My stepfather was a passionate cyclist and started to take my brother to events for this sort of thing. My brother was uninterested at best, forced into it at worst. It was decided that his current bike wasn't up to standard, so he was bought a full carbon fibre road bike, aero helmet and all the top bells and whistles,a track bike, a mountain bike for if he wanted to start that and a bmx just for fun. Easily a few thousand pounds worth. If I wanted something, I was told I'd have to save up. If he mumbled about a vague interest in something, all the top gear available came through the post days later. For the last few years they've been on holidays across Italy,Greece, Spain, over to NZ for weeks at a time and have asked nothing of him in return,in fact, he's turned down other holidays with them because he didn't feel like going.

I love my brother to bits, I don't view it as his fault, but these sort of stories can be mirrored against each other from our whole childhood and it did impact on my self worth a lot.

The worrying thing is the impact its having now, he genuinely couldn't save a dollar to save his life and I can't see him leaving home any time soon. That's fine but in 3 years, he's getting a very large inheritance from my step grandparents, his grandparents whom I was very close with too. By chance, I had an inheritance at his age so there's no jealousy of it .It's rightfully his but if it's someones money that they've earned, by all means waste it. When it's someone you love's life's work, it'll really really hurt to see it squandered. I'll just have to shut up I suppose.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: lostamonkey on October 14, 2015, 05:57:16 PM
I look at life as a team effort rather than a competition. My parents have spent much more (I have no clue how much) on my brother than they have on me. he has needed/asked for more as he has not handled his money as well. My dad paid his gas money for many, many years, they have helped him with CC debt, they have funded vacations, they bought him a car, etc etc. It has all been ok with me since I am genuinely happy when he gets good things. It does help that while my parents are not equitable or fair, I in turn have also gotten everything I have asked for. I have been given plenty of generous gifts and luxuries. I also think what REALLY helps is that I think my brother is a great guy although maybe not as good with his money as he should be :) Also, I have viewed my independence as my own personal challenge - my parents would likely have offered me similar support if I had asked.

That said, this thread has opened my eyes to a lot of potential pitfalls that could happen to my own children. I am not equitable or fair with my own kids. I have told them since they were little that "life is not fair" and that I have no interest in being "fair". I have been very clear with them that I love both just as much but that they would each get stuff according to what I feel they need at that time. When they were younger i spent wayyy more money on expensive piano lessons for my DD. My DS was not interested and dropped out. Now that they are older, I spend more money on expensive travel sports teams for my son while I spend pretty much nothing on my DD. I have never calculated or tried to balance these types of spends.

If they get to college and one gets a huge scholarship, I will be thrilled and thank that child - and keep the college savings for my retirement/future fun. If the other child doesn't get scholarships, they'll have the college fund to tap into.

I just can't imagine a life of keeping score. I'm not wired like that. I do hope I don't wreck my kids forever doing it my way though - a little nervous after this thread LOL! They are now in their early teens and I am now upping my efforts to teach them to cheer for each other and to be happy for each other's blessings.

Hmm...on the fairness perspective, they both whine that the other has it better than they do (has less chores, gets away with more, etc). I wonder if this is a good sign or a bad sign? (I've been telling them that it is a sign of good parenting LOL).

I think you are being fair. Fairness does not always mean equal treatment. It would be wrong if you paid for expensive piano lessons for your daughter but refused to pay if your son said he really wanted to learn how the piano. It would also be wrong if you paid for your son's sports but did not allow your daughter to play sports.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: elaine amj on October 14, 2015, 10:04:51 PM

I think you are being fair. Fairness does not always mean equal treatment. It would be wrong if you paid for expensive piano lessons for your daughter but refused to pay if your son said he really wanted to learn how the piano. It would also be wrong if you paid for your son's sports but did not allow your daughter to play sports.

Thanks - makes me feel better. And really, both my kids know they are outrageously spoiled (at least by this cheapskate mama's standards). Anything they really, really want...they typically end up getting. I see no point in trying to find some expensive activity for my DD simply to fair up with her brother's competitive sports. She's just as happy with her (free) youth group.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Avidconsumer on October 15, 2015, 10:25:08 AM
Hearing everyone's messed up families makes me feel good about my messed up family. I definitely don't have it as bad as some on here. it seems like the majority see some sort of unfairness. Makes me think, we're all just as bad and will probably be the same towards our kids or we just like to whine about unfairness, because we're greedy by nature.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Avidconsumer on October 15, 2015, 10:25:59 AM

Hearing everyone's messed up families makes me feel good about my messed up family. I definitely don't have it as bad as some on here. it seems like the majority see some sort of unfairness. It makes me think, we're all just as bad and will probably be the same towards our kids or we just like to whine about unfairness, because we're greedy by nature.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Warlord1986 on April 05, 2016, 08:39:14 AM
My parents are very good about splitting everything fifty/fifty. They haven't given me money for something that they wouldn't give give to my brother. The difference is that I have a relationship with my parents, my brother doesn't talk to them. He doesn't mooch off of them, but he does mooch off of women. He's an emotionally abusive piece of crap, and I think we're better off without him in our lives. My mother doesn't agree with me, and has emotionally thrown me under the bus to make excuses for him and how he treats the rest of us. Daddy mostly agrees with me. The only things that won't be split evenly are my mom's jewelry and their crystal. If my brother gets his paws on it, he'll just throw it away. In the case of the crystal, he might actually smash it.

The resource that wasn't dolled out fairly was patience. When the sixteen year old is getting arrested for breaking into cars, there isn't a lot of patience left for dealing with the six year old's spilled milk.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Kitsune on April 06, 2016, 07:15:58 AM
In terms of inheritance... What my parents worked out is that my brother gets my dad's jewelry (his dad was a jeweler, so we're talking vintage Rolex watches and gold and whatnot), while my sister and I split my mom's jewelry (and her share of my grandmother's jewelry), and the $ and estate get split evenly. I get the antique dining room set (which was handed down to my mother 'because she's the one who hosts the family meals, so she should get the tools to do so' and it'll be passed down to me for the same reason). That... generally makes sense, estate-wise - I can appreciate objects of value being passed down to those who will use them, and money being split. Cool.

Inequality that KILLS ME:

My parents make enough money that none of us were eligible for loans/bursaries. Ok, fine. So, for me, they gave a 'living subsidy', which, on top of what I earned working, paid for rent on a dirt-cheap apartment in a sketchy neighborhood, kept heat/basic phone/internet/etc turned on, and left about 20$ for food per week. I managed it, I made it work, I did a 3-year program in 3 years, graduated, and never asked for money again (ok, untrue: I ran into a hiccup with money transfers while I was building a house and asked for a 2-day loan while transfers came through; my parents said they weren't comfortable lending me money, ok cool, I worked it out. I NEVER asked for money after the month of my graduation, other than that one time that was refused.)

My sister is now attending an unnecessary year of university (she did a 3-year degree in 5 years, and then applied to programs but wasn't accepted, so she's doing an extra year and re-applying... so that's 6 years so far on what's functionally a 3-year program.) They've paid for her rent (3 times what mine was, and this is in a rent-controlled city, so rents have gone up less than 10% in that time). Their idea of a 'living stipend' for her was to hand her a credit card and say 'put all your groceries and any necessary expenses on that!'. Meanwhile, she works part-time: enough to pay for a 200$/month Sephora habit, multiple leather jackets, a closet full of 100$ pants, an ipad 'because she wants one', etc.

My brother. Oh, my brother. He is on year 5 of a 2-year CEGEP program (Quebec takes the last year of highschool and first year of university and that's CEGEP, and then university is 3 years instead of 4, basically) with horrific grades. He had a decent part-time job, but he's quitting because 'he's not happy', and doesn't have anything else lined up. He lives with my parents: they pay for his schooling, housing, groceries, car, gas... and he uses his (good! The kind other people LIVE on!) pay to subsidize his restaurant/drinking habit. And then overspends and they bail him out.

Honestly: on one hand, it's FINE. It's their money, they can do what they want, if they have more now to pay for them that's fine, etc.

On the other hand: they DON'T have the money. I've seen what their retirement savings are: about equal to what they spend in 1.5 years, and they're over 60 (honestly, I'm worried about being called on to subsidize their retirement...). And the kicker (and this is what kills me): they tell me that they can't NOT subsidize my sibling's education, because they paid for mine and that wouldn't be FAIR.

And I'm like... I busted my ass (on a semi-useless program, granted), graduated on time, lived on less than I thought possible, worked through school, etc. If you want to subsidize my siblings, that's FINE, but don't use me being successful as an excuse to enable them! ARGH.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: RetiredAt63 on April 09, 2016, 04:57:33 PM
And the scariest thing about your brother's academic history is that a 2 year CEGEP DEC means he is in a pre-university program - and anyone taking 5 years is NEVER going to get into University on that.  What a waste.

My brother. Oh, my brother. He is on year 5 of a 2-year CEGEP program (Quebec takes the last year of highschool and first year of university and that's CEGEP, and then university is 3 years instead of 4, basically) with horrific grades. He had a decent part-time job, but he's quitting because 'he's not happy', and doesn't have anything else lined up. He lives with my parents: they pay for his schooling, housing, groceries, car, gas... and he uses his (good! The kind other people LIVE on!) pay to subsidize his restaurant/drinking habit. And then overspends and they bail him out.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: HairyUpperLip on April 13, 2016, 10:12:47 AM
Isn't the Canadian school/college/university thing a joke anyways?

One of my cousins in Ontario told me that they only use certain classes and grades to determine eligibility for university.

<-- Canadian Citizen. Not Canada bashing, honest question.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Kitsune on April 13, 2016, 10:42:18 AM
Isn't the Canadian school/college/university thing a joke anyways?

One of my cousins in Ontario told me that they only use certain classes and grades to determine eligibility for university.

<-- Canadian Citizen. Not Canada bashing, honest question.

... They remove grades from classes like phys Ed and art, I believe. Which honestly seems fair.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: TheGrimSqueaker on April 13, 2016, 12:12:56 PM
Isn't the Canadian school/college/university thing a joke anyways?

One of my cousins in Ontario told me that they only use certain classes and grades to determine eligibility for university.

<-- Canadian Citizen. Not Canada bashing, honest question.

... They remove grades from classes like phys Ed and art, I believe. Which honestly seems fair.

When I graduated in Alberta (mind you, this was during the Stone Age when we had to submit our application on carved tablets because papyrus hadn't been invented yet)... there were several different considerations that affected your eligibility as a student.

First, there was the question of whether you graduated and met the requirements of your particular school. Each student had to meet provincial standards and complete certain core courses in some stream or another to get a diploma, and there were also physical education and life management courses that were mandatory. Religious schools required courses in religious studies, language schools required courses in a foreign language, and so on. You also had to have enough option courses to earn 100 credit hours over what usually lasted three years, although students who did music or other after-school options could sometimes graduate with nearly twice as many credits as they needed.

If you didn't have a diploma, you couldn't get into a university. You could get a GED (by passing some tests) and perhaps get into a trade school or college, or you could go back and upgrade for a year until you met the diploma requirements, or you could even go to an adult school or night school if you had a special situation like a long illness or were a recent immigrant who didn't speak the language. But generally flunking out of high school excluded you, for life, from a university degree. The prevailing cultural assumption (which wasn't necessarily true) is that whatever problems had kept you from getting through a highly structured curriculum such as high school would most likely continue and interfere with your success in a less structured environment.

Next, there were the "core" courses, which were Math, English, Humanities, and one science which had to be Biology, Chemistry, or Physics as opposed to a general science course. Each of the courses had to be from the matriculation stream, not the survival stream which was watered down and focused on things that applied to everyday life (as opposed to university prep). The system allowed people to take an extra year to upgrade and get through the matriculation stream, so as to proceed at a slower pace if they needed to. Slower streams existed in Math and English, and possibly other courses, but only the last year of the matriculation stream counted toward admission. The grade in each course was half based on your school work and half based on a province-wide Departmental exam which was given at the end of the year. This was to help combat grade inflation and to ensure students from across the province were assessed based on their actual skills, removing the teachers' subjective bias and judgment. The arithmetic mean of your grades in these four courses, your "core" grade point average, was the primary number that affected your eligibility.

If any of your grades in core courses were too low, or if you were in a special program such as a fine arts program that justified your acceptance without having the basic skills to get by, you would be flagged as needing remedial 100-level courses in that area in addition to your regular course work. These remedial courses would act as extra prerequisites and did not count toward your university degree.

Third, there was your overall grade point average in your final year, including your option courses (which didn't have departmental exams). Because of the lack of objectivity in awarding grades, nobody cared much about overall GPA compared to your core grades. Fourth, there was your cumulative grade point average across grades 10, 11, and 12. This mattered even less than your final year GPA, because nobody cared how well you did in make-work classes. In some cases it was a decision factor affecting whether you were eligible for scholarships, or could be used to show that an otherwise good student deserved an opportunity despite having had one bad year.

Fifth, when you applied to some programs like music, engineering, pre-medicine, or athletics, there were extra entrance requirements but also some scholarships you could apply for if you were well enough qualified. Individual departments could require you to pass an audition or entrance exam, to have specific option courses, to be fluent in a particular language, or to have higher grades than were required for general admission.

Finally, if you'd earned an "A" ranking in your amateur sport, you could apply to a university that had an athletic team and obtain sponsorship for competition if you studied there, but only if you qualified for admission. There was no such thing as relaxing the rules to get a special athlete to sign up.

There was no such thing as a mandatory essay, mandatory volunteer work (a conflict in terms if ever there was one), or special consideration because your parents or elder sibling went to the school. Also, the tuition rate was the same for everyone. There wasn't a sliding scale based on parents' perceived ability to pay, and a parent's income did not influence whether a student was eligible for a student loan.
Title: Re: Parental financial favoritism. Unfairness or jealousy of help you don't need?
Post by: Trudie on May 23, 2016, 03:10:27 PM
I am definitely the one sibling out of three who has not gotten any cash infusions over the years, either due to my parents doing things for my one sibling with money problems or helping out with kid expenses such as college, cars etc. to help my siblings out (I don't have kids).

From that perspective, my quarrel with the article is that it's not simply greed that fosters the slight resentment I do feel. It's that I still have a childish desire to be treated equally by our parents. Yes, there is a little greed there, I admit it. But truthfully, I can recognize in myself that when my brother or sister get big gifts to use for their kids or get bailed out of hardship caused by bad judgement, that I feel sort of like they are getting attention and care from our parents that I'm not getting. The irrational part of my brain sees that and starts to wonder whether Mommy and Daddy love me as much as them. Of course it doesn't make any sense, and I know they love me just as much.

Second, it's their money. They can do what they want with it.

This is the way I feel.  For years my one sibling (with kids) has been gifted substantial amounts of money for the kids -- five figure college funds, money for sports and lessons, and finally loans for their business.  We don't "need" the money, but it has fostered resentment on my part because I probably am jealous of the attention and concern.  They live within one mile of one another and their lives are quite emmeshed, sometimes to a degree that isn't healthy.  Translation:  not enough emotional boundaries.  Basically, I want to throw the phone across the room whenever my dad brings up their business.   It's almost like another child.  My sister has a college degree and they have a business, and only when her kids were in their late teens did she go back to work.  I struggle with the enabling that happened when her kids were young... when the parents (capable of saving money for college and working) weren't and my parents footed a huge chunk of the bill.  There were ski vacations, meals out, expensive extracurricular activities and class trips during those years.   Now her kids are almost out of the nest and she's returned to work part time but seems to struggle with its demands.  She gets worn out easily.  Doesn't sleep well.  And when she works a long stretch feels like she needs to reward herself with vacations or massages or whatever. 

We've lived a few hours away... close enough to see them, but far enough to be shielded from it.  Still, I get concerned about the "emmeshment" that has occurred and how things will play out when my parents get older and have needs.  I have recently vowed to talk to my mother about this, very directly and kindly.