Author Topic: Are any of your parents secretive about finances?  (Read 5323 times)

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2915
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Are any of your parents secretive about finances?
« on: April 28, 2017, 07:38:33 PM »
Hi all,

Was curious what you guys' experiences are with your parents and finances, particularly those of you who have parents who are well-off or wealthy. Have your parents tried to get you thinking about investing at an early age? Do they encourage talk about what they're doing and what you could do to make your money work for you? Whether it's investing wisely in mutual funds or stocks, or real estate?

Or do they clam up when you ask them about anything remotely related to money? Do they tell you to look for good deals on liabilities rather than assets?

Situation with my parents: both are 2nd generation Chinese in their 70s who grew up low-middle class then became relatively affluent about halfway into their careers. They have resided in the Bay Area (East Bay) for the better half of their lives and and retired before 65 (7-8yrs now for my mom and at least 10 for my dad). My mom is still working up to the $40k max she can earn "retired" as a consultant for the school district (this is so she can "keep her mind sharp" in her words). My dad (nuclear engineering to IT mgmt at the power company) is receiving a pension and likely my mom is too (though, I'm not sure how that works if you're working after retiring for the same school district though). They own a few investment properties (one of which I co-own with them and live in) but these were mostly afterthought acquisitions - just because they were affordable at the time and heck why not (one was a condo that my grandparents lived in, so possibly a partial inheritance with that one). Both are staunch believers in higher education and getting great job, working hard, and running the rat race (lol) etc. Despite having saved up A LOT they never seem to have seen or realized the thing called "passive income" - I guess that's what their pensions are for :). My mom is extremely frugal and looks for deals on anything she can look for a deal on. So much so that she compulsively gets stuff for free or heavily discounted (think along the lines of those crazy couponers who now have to worry about where to store all the crap they just got for free or cheap but not quite as bad). In fact, they suffer from a minor case of Hoarders - if most of you were to visit their home and look in certain rooms or the garage, you would be appalled.

Anyway, I just informally asked my parents about the couple of other rental properties they own and what they rent for, and immediately my mom asked "Why? Why do you want to know?" in a defensive tone. I told her I wanted to know because I'm interested in acquiring rental property. Then they got all vague and secretive about it, with my dad interjecting "I don't know how much we charge" lol. After a little more prodding, my mom said "we charge $500 under market on one and $200 on the other" and the conversation just sort of trailed off to something else. A little later, my mom came back and said "So I think rental properties are a bad idea - you're going to get bad renters in bad neighborhoods and then you'll be stuck in a bad situation. I think you guys should just focus on looking for a bigger house to move into with your two kids"
Huh? A major asset owner who is obviously cash flowing is encouraging her son to shop for good deals on a non-cash flowing asset first rather than cash-flowing assets? I'm a bit confounded. Now, you could probably argue at this point that they don't see their rental properties as assets but as liabilities. That's true of my mom especially - everything is a liability to her, but that's her own undoing because she literally worries about *everything*. She then told me that my dad consolidated all their mortgages on the rental properties and their house and are paying $1000 a month for everything. They've owned these properties in the Bay Area for a very long time so they could easily pay everything off but choose to defer to making mortgage payments so they can get a small tax write-off. Even then their rental income cashflow exceeds their mortgage payment so it's not a huge deal I guess.

All that said, they have never been that open about their finances other than general blanket statements where they talk about how they're very well off. All I know otherwise is that they've been using financial advisors and tried pushing one on me hard.
I'm sure they don't want to come off as braggards nor do they want their children to think they can take advantage or to take them for granted. But wouldn't most people who have successfully created wealth for themselves be more than willing to divulge information and keep teaching their kids to make sound financial decisions AND investments? Referencing "The Millionaire Next Door" I guess this goes back to figuring out if they're actually PAWs or UAWs - but it's hard to know that with how closed off they are about sharing anything. Maybe my mom's paranoia is stemming from her thinking I just want to take all her money...lol. Thinking about it more, though they are very likely millionaires, I wouldn't be surprised if they were still in the UAW category or perhaps on the threshold at best. Whenever we ask them for advice they just tell us things like "you should use this financial advisor she's great" and "no don't buy real estate - you'll have to do deal with awful renters. it's not worth it" - but then they're not willing to share with us how they made it work and examples from their own finances to illustrate why we would want to use their financial advisor. I'm still confounded about my mom telling me not to buy rental properties so as to not have to deal with bad renters when they have been renting and are just fine - I don't recall any stories of them dealing with awful renters.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2017, 07:49:22 PM by jplee3 »

Sydneystache

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 274
  • Location: Sydney (Westie!)
  • Aiming for RE!
Re: Are any of your parents secretive about finances?
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2017, 04:34:27 AM »
I think your main issue is you don't think your parents trust you enough to be forthcoming with their wealth. Hard to not take it personally but I suggest they do trust you enough that you are on a title with them.

Is it generational? Is it the rags to riches migrant story? Who knows. People from poor backgrounds deal with wealth in different ways and yours don't seem to feel they're wealthy enough.

Up until I entered a successful career and started researching and investing into different types of assets on my own, my mother (the wealthier parent from an upper middle class family) never disclosed her wealth issues to me. It has only taken 20 years for her to have frank convos with me about her financial future etc. She is at a retirement stage in her life so we discuss things such as wills and legacies etc.

Once she had confidence that I was not going to rely on her wealth (I don't like strings attached), she realised I wasn't going to be a leech or dependent on her and it was actually me who had more wisdom on wealth management than her.

From what it sounds like, I think you jumped the gun and made your parents paranoid about their nest eggs.

My suggestion, don't ask them any more questions about their real estate ventures. From what it sounds like, your parents are quite wealthy but they don't want to disclose it to you in case you start dreaming about spending their wealth on Ferraris and other toys. Go venture out on your own, don't rely on their assets, buy your own rental property without consulting them etc.

Ask yourself - do you need to rely on their money? If no, then that convo is closed. If yes, well relying on other people's money usually have many strings attached and your parents are evading and dancing around the issues.

If they're anything like my mother and her family, the wealth isn't discussed lest it changes the dynamics within the family, which sounds like your probing questions already has. Let them open up to you about it, not the other way around. They're quite right in that at this stage of life, you should be focusing on your own situation/problems and that of your children -  their two grandchildren.

They have it sweet. You're not there yet.

MayDay

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4005
Re: Are any of your parents secretive about finances?
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2017, 05:03:55 AM »
My FIL is like this. It's very frustrating be as H will have to handle everything when he dies, and it would be really helpful to have a basic outline of the state of things do he doesn't have to waste months unraveling everything. And even more importantly, as fil is single, if his mind ever starts to slip! It's going to be a nightmare.

But there is nothing but I can do so I stay out of it.

englishteacheralex

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1921
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Honolulu, HI
Re: Are any of your parents secretive about finances?
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2017, 05:08:14 AM »
I disassociated myself from my mom (dad died 8 years ago) financially a long time ago. My philosophy is to treat the situation as though it were none of my business and has nothing to do with me, since I have no expectation of receiving anything from her in any way. All money is hers to do with as she pleases during her lifetime and beyond. If she wants to leave it all to my brother, fine. If she spends it all before she dies, fine.

This is a good universal practice, I think, although the whole picture of maybe having to provide for one's parents should they be insolvent later isn't being considered here. In our unique situation, this isn't really a worry.

Now and then my mom will make a comment about something utterly asinine that she has done with money--took all of her considerable assets out of the stock market in 2009, for example--and I will just shake my head. But I don't get too emotional about it. Her life, her money.

For the record, I don't consider this ideal. I plan to be extremely transparent and forthcoming about the state of our finances with my own children. But my mom is a difficult person and one of her craziest subjects is money, so this is the healthiest way I've found of dealing with an unhealthy person in this area.

Nudelkopf

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 899
  • Age: 28
  • Location: Australia
Re: Are any of your parents secretive about finances?
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2017, 06:01:33 AM »
I find that interesting that they're so secretive. Particularly if you're asking from an education point of view (rather than nosiness).

My parents are very open to teaching me, & sharing their information & knowledge.  They're self funded retirees (both retired at 55).  They've got good boundaries - don't really ask much or offer me advice unless I ask them for help. I know all their balances & worth etc, and they know mine. I guess over the years of small conversations, we've built up a trust. I like that even now they ask me for advice - that feels nice.

Aunt Petunia

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 898
Re: Are any of your parents secretive about finances?
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2017, 07:02:51 AM »
My parents are both very vague about finances, to the point of refusing to fill out my FAFSA when I was younger because they didn't understand why I needed that information. Dad is from England where it is taboo to talk about money. Mom is from New York and is of French and Irish descent. 

itchyfeet

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 761
Re: Are any of your parents secretive about finances?
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2017, 08:01:55 AM »
Nobody I know is open about their finances.

I have no idea about my parents finances. I know they don't have much, and are mostly reliant on social security. That's about it.

At least I know my parents have no debt. I don't even know that about my inlaws.

They could be rich or bankrupt for all I know. I think my FIL doesn't even share the family's finances with my MIL. He owns his own business, and does his own books, and makes all financial decisions for the family.

My DW has inherited a total lack of interest in money from her mother. I send my DW SMS messages telling her when I do a big share trade etc. She couldn't care less. She has never even asked how to access my brokerage account or retirement accounts if I kick the bucket, although I have emailed her instructions. I hope she filed it carefully. We have shared our money pretty much from day 1. It was never really a discussion point, she moved into my house that I owned, and we opened a joint bank account and that was was it. She spends what she wants (not much), and leaves the rest to me to look after.

I have no knowledge of my sisters' finances either, although we are fairly close, and I would never disclose details of my financial situation to them, unless they asked a direct question. I would answer honestly, but I would be shocked if they ever asked.

None of my friends discuss their finances. I often wonder what they all have stashed.

I get my fix from over disclosure here. Haha

Heckler

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1346
Re: Are any of your parents secretive about finances?
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2017, 12:27:07 PM »
My family has shown me their retirement account statements, only after my father quietly told us that they are millionaires and they'll be OK without us.  This was after I told him our situation and ten year plan, which is likely thirty years ahead of theirs.   My dilemma is whether I teach them about ETFs and self directing, or let them waste away my inheritance on their financial advisor.  I've told them to spend it all, but hopefully not on the FA.  Mom had a bad experience stock picking with a friend who was well off.

Step37

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 427
  • Age: 45
  • Location: AB, Canada
Re: Are any of your parents secretive about finances?
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2017, 01:05:04 PM »
I know that my in-laws are just fine (both retired teachers with pensions) and have everything organized as far as their will. I believe the plan is to spend it all, which is great!

My parents, on the other hand, are not very forthcoming about their finances. My mom has a teacher's pension, which basically pays for her hobbies. I believe my dad pays everything else; I find it strange that they've never combined finances, but whatever. I do remember some pretty serious arguments about finances as a kid. They are quite spendy, have several vehicles, and a large acreage with many buildings, all FULL of various stuff and with no particular organization. They appear to have no plan or desire to deal with any of their "stuff" and it gives me tremendous anxiety, since I am the likely candidate to deal with it all. I know that their will is not in order. My dad has recently sold his businesses but still owns some commercial rental property with his business partner. I also recently learned (from my BIL, who lives in the US with my sister) that they still have a HUGE mortgage...

At the very least, I would like to be aware of what they own and what they owe (or know that a lawyer has this information), because HOLY SHIT, it will take me years of my life to sort it out. My mom is completely checked out about finances and my dad just doesn't share information. I am not relying on their money in any way, but I would love to have some kind of handle on the situation. I can definitely relate to where the OP is coming from and I'm interested to follow this thread...

ambimammular

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 388
  • Age: 42
  • Location: Indiana
Re: Are any of your parents secretive about finances?
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2017, 01:11:01 PM »
I assume my folks doing fine. Their house has been paid off for a decade now. And property values where he lives have skyrocketed. My dad has his own business, which was tight in the first some years, (when I was a little girl) but now he's much more relaxed about spending. He's still working only because he wouldn't know what to do if he wasn't. He picks the gigs he wants to do.

I've helped get his expenses and book work ready for the tax guy for years, so I know that his work expenditures are more than my household's income. It's a clue, sort of, but doesn't add up to much because I don't know what the money coming in looks like.

Also, my little brother who is his business partner, once shook his head and smiled at my questioning and said, "Don't worry about Dad, that guy's doing just fine." 

Dad offers to fly us out to visit and pays for family group vacations. He always wants to spend money on my family because he wants to keep it fair with my brothers (who live in their same town). We kids all know that money will be divided between us equally in the will.

None of this is really evidence, but it seems to indicate that they're comfortable. Growing up I always thought they were pretty frugal. Now after being firm mustachians for years now I know that my family is much more thrifty, but they were definitely the bedrock from which we started.

SilveradoBojangles

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 318
Re: Are any of your parents secretive about finances?
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2017, 01:14:42 PM »
You might consider approaching your parents in a slightly different way. What if you said to them, "I am thinking about my financial future, and how I can make the best of it. I am impressed with the lives that you have built for yourselves, and so I want to learn from you. What were the best things you did? What do you wish you had done differently? How did you guys learn about this stuff?" etc. Then it is less about the specifics of their finances, and more about the wisdom and experience they have gained. It might get them to open up.

My mom is an accountant and she has always been very open with her finances. I have learned a lot from her. My dad, not so much, but his financial past is checkered at best.

Sibley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3596
  • Location: Chicago, IL
Re: Are any of your parents secretive about finances?
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2017, 12:02:59 PM »
Regarding openness or lack thereof - I think a lot of it is how people were raised, and whether they decided they wanted to change that pattern.

In my case, I am now in the position of making (some) financial decisions for my parents, as well as helping with budgeting, etc. When you throw health (or lack of it) into the mix, surprising things can happen.

MayDay

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4005
Re: Are any of your parents secretive about finances?
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2017, 11:37:01 AM »
I see my grandparents and grandparents-y -y aging and slipping and passing, and see my parents and IL's dealing with that mess, and I don't understand why they wouldn't want to make it easier on their own kids.

My grandfather in particular is starting to mentally slip. He's becoming a target for salespeople- just bought a timeshare, bought a shady cruise deal over the phone, etc.

How can my parents and IL's see that and not want to be organized for their own aging?  H and I have already talked about simplification of investments and accounts as we age so that there is less to screw up as out minds slip. I definitely plan to give our kids summary information and financial POA and such. Why wouldn't you?


BFGirl

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 715
Re: Are any of your parents secretive about finances?
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2017, 11:59:53 AM »
I have not asked my parents flat out about their finances, but have only gotten vague information from them when I have tried to broach the subject. I haven't asked them for a penny in the over 20 years since I finished school, so I think it is a privacy thing with them.   I really have no idea if they have $50K in the bank or $5 million.  They both have pensions and everything is paid for.  They spend money on the things they enjoy and don't seem to be worried about anything.  I've been told I'm the executor, but I will likely have to try to find everything when they pass.  Both had some inheritance from their parents, my dad more than my mom.  There is some old shopping center in another state that my dad is probably a 1/10th owner of and I don't know if it is profitable or a millstone.  It will be lots of fun to find out :/

PoutineLover

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1187
Re: Are any of your parents secretive about finances?
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2017, 12:08:47 PM »
My parents have always been very open about their finances and I've known since I was a teen how much they earned, how much the house cost, what the car payments were, etc. I'm somewhat worried for them since they are in their fifties and in my mind not prepared enough for retirement. I have been investing since I was little (mutual funds but still) and I learned a lot from their mistakes. I am so thankful that they were transparent with me, because it has helped me get the right start and I know some of my friends have no idea about their parents finances. I'm at the point where I wish I could help them pay off their debt and get more prepared for retirement, but there's only so much I can do.

KBecks

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1860
Re: Are any of your parents secretive about finances?
« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2017, 12:24:02 PM »
Although my in-laws have made a will and discussed things with my husband, they have never discussed much with me (and I am actually not in their will, the money would pass direct to my kids if my DH passes first.  This is explained to me as not because of me, but because of ex-SIL.  But I don't care.  I have my own money.)

I was mortified when my husband showed his mom our Mint page. I was like, what???  I think that should be kept private.  My husband has said that my in laws have near $1mil and we don't have to worry about them.   So I don't worry about them and I don't need to have a lot of conversations with them about money. They saved in 401ks.  If they had special investing success I might ask them to teach me.

I suggest that you can ask your mom and dad to teach you about rentals, like, what was good about it, what was bad about it, what they leaned and would do differently.  This is much different than asking what their real estate portfolio and cash flows are worth.  It sounds like rentals have been a PITA for them, and that may be very true.  Maybe they can teach you the downsides and you can learn from that.

Your parents may be tentative and think you are not mature enough to know or they may enjoy their privacy.  Either is fine.  It's their business, not yours! 




DeskJockey2028

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 676
  • Aiming for 2028
Re: Are any of your parents secretive about finances?
« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2017, 12:44:40 PM »
My Mom was never secretive about her finances when she was alive, but that's because she never had much.

My Dad (mid-70s) is not terribly forthcoming about it but if pressed will leak a little info.

My in-laws (also both mid-70s) have told us that we will receive something of an inheritance, have hinted that it will be north of $100k but refuse to talk any more about it with us. I do know that they retired at 55, and suspect that even though FIRE as a term didn't exist back in 1997, they've been strong proponents of the FIRE discipline and are sitting on a growing stash of investments. But I don't know for sure.

I think it's much less of a trust issue and much more of a born in the mid-late 40's attitude.

des999

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 183
Re: Are any of your parents secretive about finances?
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2017, 01:00:59 PM »
my dad always did the finances, and he was always quiet about what he had and what he was saving.  Now that he is retired, and now that I've shown him to be knowledgeable  in that area, he has surprisingly been very open.  He ask me questions, I tried to get him to leave his financial adviser but have not yet been successful with that. 

He never made a ton of money, but I was impressed with how much he saved, considering he had no 401k, pension or the like.  He had to do it the hard way, so I was impressed.  I also feel lucky to have a job with a pension, 401k + match, and much higher pay.

talltexan

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2540
Re: Are any of your parents secretive about finances?
« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2017, 01:30:11 PM »
My parents weren't high earners, but they've done a good job of controlling their lifestyle by not moving, living in a small house, and only having one child who's been fairly independent after college.

They've made it sound like they're secure, but my mom seems unwilling to retire. I think she likes her job, but the unmustachian commute seems ridiculous to her.

Mgmny

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 577
  • Age: 29
  • Location: Northwest 'Burbs of MSP
Re: Are any of your parents secretive about finances?
« Reply #19 on: May 02, 2017, 07:03:24 PM »
Mine have been open about money pretty much my whole life. I used to look at their then "Microsoft Money" software and see the daily changes in the market - sorta cool (and terrifying sometimes to a 13 year old boy to see that in 1 day his parents lost like 17k).

My in-laws are the exact opposite. My wife has 0 idea how much $$ her parents make or how much they are worth. All we know is that they recently paid off their home about a year ago.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2915
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Are any of your parents secretive about finances?
« Reply #20 on: May 03, 2017, 12:07:50 AM »
Thanks all for your input. Very interesting to hear the various responses. I forgot to include my experience with my in-laws! They definitely aren't as secretive as my parents and will tell my wife about their finances if she asks. The thing is, they are among the worst of financial stewards. They stockpile loads of cash instead of investing it (out of paranoia mostly), make awful decisions on what they *think* are investments, view money as something to be spent on pleasures to "enjoy life," let people run them over for their money, and will pay premiums for "necessities."
Then they talk about retiring in a couple years from the restaurant they own and run. I don't see it happening until something catastrophic happens to one or both (oh and when they get an increase in profit one month over another, the first thing that comes to mind with them is that they should celebrate by spending most of it...!). In any case, I think they're open with us because they know my wife will review their accounts in their best interest to make sure they pay their bills on time and don't overdraft, and even then they've still managed to miss payments and overdraft. That's about it...
« Last Edit: May 03, 2017, 12:09:41 AM by jeromedawg »

MrsPete

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3519
Re: Are any of your parents secretive about finances?
« Reply #21 on: May 03, 2017, 12:12:22 PM »
I see my grandparents and grandparents-y -y aging and slipping and passing, and see my parents and IL's dealing with that mess, and I don't understand why they wouldn't want to make it easier on their own kids.
This has been on my mind lately. 

My own parents just made a whopper of a financial mistake, and they really can't afford such mistakes -- it was a scam-the-elderly type thing, something for which they would not  have fallen earlier in their lives.  They know they made the mistake, and they told me about it somewhat shamedly (is that a word)?  I didn't let them see just how shocked I was that they'd made this mistake ... because it wasn't something that could be un-done, and they would only have felt worse about it /would never have told me anything in the future; however, they admitted that they thought their age was a part of the mistake -- they said they thought the salesman took advantage of them with lots of fast-talking.  I jumped on this as an opening to offer my services -- or those of my adult daughter, whom I know would help -- if they should need them in the future. 

I think I opened a door with them, and I hope that they'll allow me to help them.  By help, I mean manage - not give money.  They have enough to live comfortably, but they don't have enough to squander.

I'm thinking that -- in the future, not today -- I'm going to be very upfront with my daughters and tell them that if they see me making financial mistakes, I want them to tell me.  And because they are frugal and very close to me, I have no problem with opening my finances to them, even allowing them to take over a portion of my finances.  After all, they have a vested interest:  They don't want me to squander their inheritance.  I'm not nearly old enough to be concerned about that today, but I've been wondering just how/when such a conversation should take place. 


merula

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1269
Re: Are any of your parents secretive about finances?
« Reply #22 on: May 03, 2017, 12:33:49 PM »
I see my grandparents and grandparents-y -y aging and slipping and passing, and see my parents and IL's dealing with that mess, and I don't understand why they wouldn't want to make it easier on their own kids.
This has been on my mind lately. 

My own parents just made a whopper of a financial mistake, and they really can't afford such mistakes -- it was a scam-the-elderly type thing, something for which they would not  have fallen earlier in their lives.  They know they made the mistake, and they told me about it somewhat shamedly (is that a word)?

I'm sorry this happened. Even if you think it can't be undone, you might try making a call to the scammers and threatening to call your state's Attorney General if they don't refund the money. The worst they're going to say is "No", and if they say "Yes" you can still report them anyway. IME, state attorneys general offices LOVE this sort of "protect the little guy" stuff, and I've gotten results that I didn't expect to be able to get.

MrsPete

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3519
Re: Are any of your parents secretive about finances?
« Reply #23 on: May 13, 2017, 01:03:48 PM »
I see my grandparents and grandparents-y -y aging and slipping and passing, and see my parents and IL's dealing with that mess, and I don't understand why they wouldn't want to make it easier on their own kids.
This has been on my mind lately. 

My own parents just made a whopper of a financial mistake, and they really can't afford such mistakes -- it was a scam-the-elderly type thing, something for which they would not  have fallen earlier in their lives.  They know they made the mistake, and they told me about it somewhat shamedly (is that a word)?

I'm sorry this happened. Even if you think it can't be undone, you might try making a call to the scammers and threatening to call your state's Attorney General if they don't refund the money. The worst they're going to say is "No", and if they say "Yes" you can still report them anyway. IME, state attorneys general offices LOVE this sort of "protect the little guy" stuff, and I've gotten results that I didn't expect to be able to get.
A thoughtful idea, but not practical for this situation:  I just learned about the situation, but it actually happened two years ago.  I think it's too late to complain to anyone. 

Blackeagle

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 120
  • Location: Wichita, KS
Re: Are any of your parents secretive about finances?
« Reply #24 on: May 13, 2017, 02:46:16 PM »
My parents had some definite Mustachian tendencies.  They spent 30 years earning upper-middle class incomes while living a lifestyle on the economical end of middle class.  Our family did not have a ton of consumer spending: all the cars made it to at least 100,000 miles and my dad often biked to work.  That said it was not in any way a deprived childhood.  I had plenty of toys and we travelled quite a bit, (mostly long road trips). 

After my Dad had a "take this job and shove it" moment (though I'm sure he was far more genteel about it than that) my parents retired very comfortably in their early 50s.  Since then they spent a decade where one or the other of them held some sort of interesting job that allowed them to live in interesting places and do interesting things (someone call the Internet Retirement Police).  In their early 60s they built a very nice house (paid for with cash) and settled down to more of a traditional retirement. 

While they definitely modeled responsible financial behavior for me, there hasn't been a ton of direct talk about their finances.  I know that money's not an issue and I'm not expecting to need to support them monetarily in their later years (on the flip side they have put in a lot of time helping my grandparents and a great aunt as they aged, and I fully expect to do the same for them in the future).

I do get the impression that they're a bit concerned the idea of a big inheritance to come might make me lazy or lead to irresponsible financial behavior on my part in the meantime.  I'm not counting on any inheritance from my parents in my retirement plan, in part because I hope to FIRE long before that would become a possibility (my grandmother is over 100 and going strong so with those genetics it will hopefully be quite a while).  This thread has got me thinking that it might help reassure them if I were more open about my own plans and retirement savings.

lhamo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9755
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Are any of your parents secretive about finances?
« Reply #25 on: May 13, 2017, 08:55:35 PM »
I see my grandparents and grandparents-y -y aging and slipping and passing, and see my parents and IL's dealing with that mess, and I don't understand why they wouldn't want to make it easier on their own kids.
This has been on my mind lately. 

My own parents just made a whopper of a financial mistake, and they really can't afford such mistakes -- it was a scam-the-elderly type thing, something for which they would not  have fallen earlier in their lives.  They know they made the mistake, and they told me about it somewhat shamedly (is that a word)?

I'm sorry this happened. Even if you think it can't be undone, you might try making a call to the scammers and threatening to call your state's Attorney General if they don't refund the money. The worst they're going to say is "No", and if they say "Yes" you can still report them anyway. IME, state attorneys general offices LOVE this sort of "protect the little guy" stuff, and I've gotten results that I didn't expect to be able to get.
A thoughtful idea, but not practical for this situation:  I just learned about the situation, but it actually happened two years ago.  I think it's too late to complain to anyone.

It is still worth checking with the AG.

My grandfather fell for a lot of mail scams, and lost most of his money.   At one point he was asked to be a witness in a class action lawsuit.  I'm not sure if he ended up getting any money back, but often these scams (and the investigations into them) are longstanding.

SwordGuy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5658
  • Location: Fayetteville, NC
Re: Are any of your parents secretive about finances?
« Reply #26 on: May 13, 2017, 10:16:44 PM »
My mom and dad taught me to be prudent on what I spent, save money, how to do things for myself and the attitude that I actually should do things for myself.  My mom didn't like owing money (which I think came from her farming parent's background).   The only investment advice I got was that they were investing instead of paying off the mortgage on their new house faster.

I wish my dad had taught me more.  But he didn't and I didn't know what I didn't know.

My mom knew they had savings but really didn't know the details.  When my dad died I had to go thru the bills and statements for the prior year so I could let my mom know what she had to spend and when/what accounts the money would be pulled from.  After that, she was able to manage her own affairs until she went into the hospital for the last time.

I knew that they had accumulated a goodly amount of savings, but not the details.   Mom did pretty darn well for a girl born on a small farm during the depression who became a secretary.   My dad was born in a small town in West Virginia to parents who weren't very well off, either.   He became an Army captain and then an accountant. 



checkedoutat39

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 74
  • Location: The mountains
Re: Are any of your parents secretive about finances?
« Reply #27 on: May 13, 2017, 10:20:05 PM »
For several years now I've been my parents' financial adviser. Mostly this just meant suggesting stocks/mutual funds/asset allocations. Then Dad died last year, so it's just Mom now and I've gotten a closer look at her financial situation.

I do her taxes now and have access to all her accounts. I help her with stuff like making IRA minimum distributions and cutting basic expenses. She has enough to live comfortably and I've taught her about safe withdrawal rates and the like. She takes to it pretty eagerly. If anything I'm trying to get her to spend *more* money while she still has a chance.

Anyway, I visited her earlier this year and helped her start the great decluttering. Dad had kept his tax returns back to 1970 or so. He went from around $22K in 1970 (quite a lot back then) to six figures by the end of the decade. The 80s were much rougher, as his industry basically left the US. Two companies he worked for (one he ran) went out of business, he went from one consulting gig to the next for awhile and we had to move three times between 1981 and 1993 (and a fourth time in 1999, to his last job). By any measure we were well off and we stayed that way, but we had bought in to a lifestyle that was a struggle to maintain. In the 70s he had bought a vacation condo and a separate plot of land for a retirement home that by the mid 80s he had to liquidate. I knew all this of course, but it was eye-opening to see the numbers behind the lifestyle, and hear some other stories from Mom that I didn't know while growing up.

That experience of building up a lifestyle through professional success, and then struggling to maintain it when the industry turns on you, incontrovertibly led me to developing the financial habits I have as a adult. Dad didn't *try* to teach me that, and probably didn't want to, but that was his legacy.

okits

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8796
  • Location: Canada
Re: Are any of your parents secretive about finances?
« Reply #28 on: May 13, 2017, 11:54:35 PM »
I asked my parents if they expected to need financial assistance from DH and me (as part of our own financial planning).  They said no (believable, they have solid pensions) but provided no other details.  I neither asked for more nor offered numbers of my own (I did tell my dad that our goal was to be not dependent on a job by mid-40s, due to industry ageism.  He understood that and sounded like he approved.  Hopefully that assures them that we're being responsible.)

I think, culturally and generationally, they want their privacy and don't think their finances are something their (middle aged!) kids should have a hand in.  Their executor is someone just as old as they are (I don't know what's in their will, and don't really feel like I need to know.)  I figure they're entitled to their privacy and autonomy as long as they're financially self-sufficient.  I'd want more information if I was supporting them, but that's not the situation.  I probably won't try to involve myself unless I see them getting scammed.

As far as financial teaching, they modelled frugality, but taught me nothing about investing.  Their choices (and available options) for wealth building were different than ours.  Hands-on investing is much easier (and much more important) for my family's financial future than it was for them.