Author Topic: Has anyone convinced their parents to change?  (Read 9584 times)

cyclevillian

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Has anyone convinced their parents to change?
« on: January 29, 2013, 04:27:34 PM »
I am have some smart, high income, great parents. I love hanging out with them and seeing them as often as possible. However, they both HATE their jobs. Both work for large corporations and have to deal with the usual office politics, meetings, younger bosses, no raises, etc. Things only seem to be getting worse each year too. It can be fairly depressing talking to them about work because of how miserable it makes them.

The problem is they could probably retire in a few years (or less) if they made a few changes. 1) move to a smaller, cheaper house with lower property taxes (they live in a ridiculously expensive part of a relatively inexpensive city 2) sell their sports cars (multiple camaros) 3) stop with the expensive cable tv package and sell the extra HDTV 4) spend a little less on going out to eat so often....

If they did these things they could probably retire and still live a wasteful typical american lifestyle.

Has anyone managed to convince their parents to change their ways to become more mustachian? How did you bring up the subject? How did you go over their finances? What changes did you recommend? How are they doing now?

I have brought up my plans to retire in less than 10 years a few times and usually they just nod and say "oh really?" but don't really ask any questions and just go on complaining that they may never retire...


unitsinc

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Re: Has anyone convinced their parents to change?
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2013, 04:29:06 PM »
I wish.

My dad is....bad. Pretty low income, but he has a house that is paid for. He just loves to waste his money. I have yet to be able to talk any sense into him.

I think parents in general are pretty hesitant to taking advice from those they reared.

Nate R

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Re: Has anyone convinced their parents to change?
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2013, 04:43:35 PM »
I think parents in general are pretty hesitant to taking advice from those they reared.

I think it's Dave Ramsey that calls that "Powdered Butt Syndrome," that people who've changed your diapers won't take financial advice from you. :-D

Crash87

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Re: Has anyone convinced their parents to change?
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2013, 04:47:27 PM »
Mine seem to have latched on to the early retirement idea. I built a spreadsheet for them that calculates when they would run out of cash and that seems to have made them much more comfortable about the idea.

I think they want me to manage their investments lol

The Bearded Bank Builder

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Re: Has anyone convinced their parents to change?
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2013, 04:51:37 PM »
Unfortunately no. My parents are worth a bunch of money but my dad still works a job he hates and loses sleep over the stress...I think if I was closer with them I would try a little more to convince them they could retire now, but realistically I think they would just think I was crazy and/or judging their spending habits

arebelspy

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Re: Has anyone convinced their parents to change?
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2013, 05:03:37 PM »
I wish.

Parents think they are doing everything they can, while leaking money like a sieve (though I don't know why a sieve would have money in it.. maybe gold?).

I'll FIRE long before them.  They're at such a spending rate Dad won't ever be able to retire, S.S. + small retirement accounts aren't enough.

Oh well.  I probably push too hard.  Need to be a silent example, rather than prodding the way I do.
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TheDude

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Re: Has anyone convinced their parents to change?
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2013, 05:18:16 PM »
Interesting thread. My mom retired at 55 from a job she disliked. I worry about her mental health as Alzheimer's runs in our family but at least she knew it was time to call it quits at her old job. Now she just works part time as a cashier.

My dad I am pretty sure will work until about 70 and then live off SS and a small savings. He can live pretty cheap so I think he'll be ok. We have had a bunch of disccusions about money and living cheaply. The only thing that drive me nuts is he plays in the options market. I am low cost diversified index fund investor.

I find it pretty amazing that so many people have parents in a job they hate. I am 31 but I wont stay in job I hate. Whats the point life is too short.

John74

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Re: Has anyone convinced their parents to change?
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2013, 05:44:54 PM »
I had to teach my mother in-law the mustachian way after her divorce. She was used to living large and the divorce pretty much put an end to it. That was a hard fall. It took 3 long years for her to really embrace frugality. But she is doing great now, having learned to live below her much lower income.

My own parents are the frugal type, so they need no guidance from me.

bo_knows

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Re: Has anyone convinced their parents to change?
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2013, 06:10:47 AM »
Not a chance.  My Dad is 60 and is living off SS alone (plus some LTD benefits for another year I think).  My biggest victory with him was convincing him to look at the cost per cup of his Keurig machine and re-evalute.  He did, and came back to me with "You know, the cost per cup is like 10x what it is in a normal drip coffee maker! I weighed out each coffee sample and did several tests!".

My Mom is going through her 2nd divorce right now, has been on SSDI for 10 years, and has a very small IRA and a very small pension from previous employment that is coming.  She made a comment to me recently that she's in big financial trouble because she's never actually lived alone in her entire life.  I'm trying to provide advice.

Nancy

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Re: Has anyone convinced their parents to change?
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2013, 06:41:38 AM »
Nope. I've been talking to my dad about paying his bills on time/saving since I was 12. In my experience, you can't make someone change. They have to want to change on their own. However, I keep talking with my father about money management in the hope that one day, he will wake  up and decide to stop wasting his money/life, and then he'll have the info in his memory bank. I understand that this is not likely.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Has anyone convinced their parents to change?
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2013, 07:59:51 AM »
I think parents in general are pretty hesitant to taking advice from those they reared.

I think it's Dave Ramsey that calls that "Powdered Butt Syndrome," that people who've changed your diapers won't take financial advice from you. :-D


This is the issue....at times I have tried to subtly discuss ideas/concepts but to no avail.  Mostly, I now avoid it and downplay where I am at because I don't have the room for more roomates and loans to family are not in my playbook.


rugorak

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Re: Has anyone convinced their parents to change?
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2013, 08:21:41 AM »
I wish as well. My dad is cheap but so much so he spends a lot to be cheap. That and he hasn't figured out how much paying interest on debt is killing things. But all in all he'll be ok with a federal pension and extra he put away himself. Plus he doesn't love his job but he once did and he still doesn't hate it. He just gets tired of some office politics sometime.

My mom on the other hand spends like it is going out of style. They have cut back to going out twice a week. But they go away for long weekends quite often on top of that. She doesn't have much put away at all. And even though she asked me for advice on her retirement investments my stepdad and her decided to seek out professional help which from what I have heard isn't helping them much at all. Commissions all the way. My mom hates hates her job but at the rate they spend they are going to run out of money. And on top of all that she always goes on about wanting to help me. And I know I am doing much better off than her and my stepdad. Definitely powdered butt syndrome with her. At the rate they are going and I am I will be FIRE 2-3 years after them and ~25 years younger. I just hope they don't expect me to help them too much (ie: financially) because I haven't factored that into my calculations.

stevedoug

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Re: Has anyone convinced their parents to change?
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2013, 09:09:10 AM »
My parents spend too much. Always have.
For them, it's impossible to live on $50k/yr.
I have no idea how they spend the money. I've tried to offer support in creating a budget, but they don't ever give me the opportunity.

They did, however, accept a copy of my credit card for emergencies / food, when they were both out of job.
They still use it.

The kicker? My mom works for the state welfare agency. Often the welfare recipients make more than she does, considering all the benefits. A few have 'tipped' my mom cash ($5 to $20) for her excellent service.
I wouldn't want to be in her situation. They raised me for 18 years, and gave me 18 years of food. The least I can do is let them toss $100/month on my cash back card and have some good (home cooked) food

galaxie

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Re: Has anyone convinced their parents to change?
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2013, 02:10:07 PM »
I've never suggested anything directly to my parents about their finances, but I have mentioned my early retirement plans to them.  Between my talking about it and a brief time where they lived overseas with a very different lifestyle, I think my parents are getting interested in downsizing their home, reducing expenses, and getting serious about retirement.  They've said they might retire in 5-10 years... I plan to retire in 15.

Gerard

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Re: Has anyone convinced their parents to change?
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2013, 02:17:12 PM »
Complaining about your job is what passes for casual conversation for a lot of people. They don't really want to change. Maybe if some of us retire before our parents, they'll start to believe it's possible. But it's more likely they'll just think that we lucked into high-paying or low-expense jobs or lifestyles.

aclarridge

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Re: Has anyone convinced their parents to change?
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2013, 09:02:06 AM »
My folks lived quite well below their means for their working careers, and retired just before 60, a few years ago. I'd say I'm about as frugal as they are now, but they used to be more so. I'm lucky I was able to learn from them.

When it comes to investing though... they had the vast majority of their savings with an investment management firm. Last year (year 2 of retirement), the firm was exposed as basically a big fraud and now lawyers are involved etc. but they will probably only get back about 10c on the dollar of what they had. It's devastating that it happened so early in their retirement. They should be ok in terms of covering living expenses if all goes well (they have my Dad's pension and the government pension/old age assistance), but they are having to start getting more frugal now. They were on track for a slightly more "spendy" retirement going to exotic places they've never been, spoiling grandchildren, etc. Anyway, a few more lessons learned from them: manage your own money, diversify your investments, and being frugal trumps catastrophic financial losses.

norvilion

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Re: Has anyone convinced their parents to change?
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2013, 10:38:48 AM »
My mom is really good as far as being intelligent with money. My dad however grew up as the youngest sibling in a large family and never quite let go of the subconscious instant gratification bug (though of course he finds the need for instant gratification to be just what's wrong with today's society). Mom tries to save, he tends to go through savings (though usually it goes towards excessive eating out or large-scale projects rather than useless junk). Perhaps eventually the synergy will start to work better, but it's hard to change someone's habits when they completely agree with you and don't see that their actions don't follow their own beliefs.

Arbor33

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Re: Has anyone convinced their parents to change?
« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2013, 07:22:18 AM »
I found myself in an interesting situation in regards to my parents and retiring early. Almost as soon as I picked up the notion of reaching financial independence, my father got laid off after having worked at a company for over 27 years. He was blind sided and had always assumed he'd work there until he could collect his pension.

At that juncture, he hopped a ride on the frugal express. That was a huge deal for him. He'd been of the mentality that he works hard for his money so he should enjoy it. That lead to a lifestyle that was garnished with motorcycles, sportscars, and boats to go along with a summer home he built.

After a year and a half of searching for work, he's come up empty. He's since liquidated the motorcycles and sports cars leaving him with one of each. On top of that, he's trading down to a less expensive boat. He regrets having sold the income properties he once owned about a decade ago and has really found that he doesn't have to spend nearly as much as he once did. You can really see that the gears are churning in his head when we talk about finances. He knows he could have left his soul sucking job years ago had he invested smarter and played a bit less.

Luckily, my father also builds custom homes (where his passion really lies) as a side hustle. He's pursuing that with greater fervor and he's got much less stress as a result. While it's not the typical retiring story people expect, his layoff was a blessing in disguise and his quality of life is no worse for wear.

All of that being said, had I approached him to speak about FIRE prior to the layoff, he would have told me that I'm nuts. I think because I was employed and helping with the bills during the layoff, he now respects my financial perspective a bit more than he once did. Funny how that works...
« Last Edit: February 01, 2013, 07:30:07 AM by Arbor33 »

momo

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Re: Has anyone convinced their parents to change?
« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2013, 01:26:40 PM »
Nope. The saying you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink comes to mind.

I find creating an open dialogue to express my thoughts and own ideas with my parents is ok. For this they will respect my choices and listen to my ideas and hear what I feel is important. In my case my parents have successfully created and managed their own real estate business for over 40 years and helped many families achieve their dreams. Growing up they did their best to create a healthy and safe home. We are very blessed.
However, I feel it is unrealistic for my parents to listen to me telling them "how" to live or they should "change". I do not presume to know what is "best" for them. Nor do I attempt to force my values on them. Imagine if someone in your family did that to you? How might you react?

Now of course I have politely shared my concerns in non-threatening and judgmental tone on more than one occassion. My only goal is to share and to plant the seeds in their minds. Only time will tell if they CHOOSE for themselves if they FEEL they need to make subject changes.

For example my parents need to DECIDE for themselves if they need to live a healthier lifestyle. Even if their own doctors tell them they need to stop doing a specific action. Does it mean my parent will comply? Of course not and that is the key component.

They can decide:
Is eating out daily in their best interests if they want to have a rich life with reduced physical ailments?
Is now or later a better time to proactively discuss with an estate planning attorney, their concerns involving their burial, final medical directives, et al?
Is now or never the best time to inform me of their final wishes and concerns? Most parents do not tell their adult children what they want if they "leave too soon".

Ultimately, I feel many parents will typically view their adult children as children and will not seek out their counsel. So if my parents choose inaction, well, simply put that is their choice and one I will respect. I know all I can do is raise awareness by planting seeds; I cannot force anyone to do anything they themselves do not wish to do.

I think that is one of the great truisms in life, learn to control what you can control in your own life. Once I realized this, I stopped banging my head against a rock. Lol.

Your mileage may vary. Cheers!
« Last Edit: February 01, 2013, 01:37:59 PM by Stashtastic Momo »

homeymomma

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Re: Has anyone convinced their parents to change?
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2014, 01:06:30 PM »
My dad could write a book about frugality (which is good because he's in very poor health and lives entirely off social security).

My mom is the most frustratingly financial illiterate person on the face of the planet. She had very wealthy parents who are still ( even after death) financing her lifestyle. It frustrates me to no end because she is one of three, she is the least financially capable, and she only one with a child (me). I was very close to my grandparents and I know they intended some of their wealth to trickle down to me. But my mom seems to be doing her very best to make that not happen. She quit her job in a huff at age 55 with no plan for retirement, sold her house at the bottom of the crash because she wanted to travel around in an RV for a year. Six years later and she has no income, no plans, and no intent to make money other than selling real estate my grandparents left her. Aaaargh!!

The worst part is that she's going to end up on our doorstep when she's old and blown through all the money!!

Apologies for the extremely unhelpful rant.

Cpa Cat

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Re: Has anyone convinced their parents to change?
« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2014, 01:27:24 PM »
When I was young, my parents got a divorce. My mom used her divorce settlement to go back to school (she was a high school drop out/housewife). She did a GED then a Bachelor's degree, then a Masters, then a PhD. She actually never had a real job (the occasional academic-related position). It took her about 20 years to finish.

She lived a pretty frugal lifestyle - supported by student loans, the settlement and child support. The budget had no wiggle room. I came home from school on more than one occasion to find her crying because she didn't know how to afford a necessary expense.

She would joke that she was going to rely on me for support in retirement. The "joke" made me more and more anxious. And then when she was close to finishing her PhD, she called me and said she felt tired and depressed and didn't see the point of finishing and working because she would never "catch up" anyway. She then said something to the effect of, "You're on track to make enough money to support me anyway."

So I told her no. I said it was a bad idea to quit, that after 2 decades, she would never forgive herself for giving up. And I said it will be a cold day in hell that I support her if she chose to waste all of that money and 20 years of earning potential on some academic whim. The conversation ended.

She did finish and got a job. About five years later, she actually thanked me for what I said because it made her really face retirement planning and take it seriously.

Still - I don't think I worked magic or anything. She was halfway there. Just frustrated by the reality of starting her career at 50. I do think it was a reality check to hear me firmly say that I was not going to be her retirement plan.

SkinnyGreenMan

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Re: Has anyone convinced their parents to change?
« Reply #21 on: April 29, 2014, 01:46:15 PM »
My dad has always been frugal, and I'm sure that's where I picked up on most of these kinds of ideas first.

MMM and the reading list was the first place I learned about investing in a way that made sense though, and I've suggested many of those books to my dad.  It's helped him immensely with his retirement planning.  We talk about frugality and saving money often now, since it's something we have in common.

We're set to retire roughly around the same time.

deborah

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Re: Has anyone convinced their parents to change?
« Reply #22 on: April 29, 2014, 03:56:24 PM »
I just make comments about things I have done (and were successful) that I think they could do too. Not suggesting they do them, just telling them what I am doing. They have been very receptive of these things, and have actually started to ask for advice.

Jordie64

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Re: Has anyone convinced their parents to change?
« Reply #23 on: April 29, 2014, 04:11:56 PM »
I think this whole time they have been trying to get ME to change. When I found MMM, I finally realized how Mustachian they have been all these years. Paying cash for their sensible cars, not buying into the "have to keep up with the Joneses" mentality, saving like maniacs for my sister's and I's college tuition so we would'nt have to take out loans... so many things...

Now, they both are retired, under 60 and enjoying their lives (which are very full). I did turn my dad onto this website and he is looking into the cheap prepaid phone plans (one for me!).

Very proud of them.

Norrie

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Re: Has anyone convinced their parents to change?
« Reply #24 on: April 29, 2014, 06:44:50 PM »
I haven't really tried to convince them of anything, but I've definitely been very vocal about how we were paying off debt, they know that we're working on paying off the house, and they are just so pleased for us. My mom worried about us a great deal, which is sometimes frustrating, because I'm more worried about them. I gave them a copy of Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover, because I had an extra one. My mom was like, "ooh, this will be interesting to read through and maybe I'll share it with your brother". I am fairly sure that she never read it, and she definitely didn't pass it on.

My parents have had cancer five times between them, and have done every single thing in their power to support and love me unconditionally. They love my husband as if he was their own son, and have offered him a level of love and encouragement that he had never experienced in his family of origin. They help us with our kids, and dote on them more than we ever could. Basically, they're one of our biggest joys in our lives, and we'll do whatever it takes to keep them healthy and solvent in the future. Their house is paid off and my dad has some military income, but I really don't know much beyond that. I know that there is no extra lying around.

Beckyemerson

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Re: Has anyone convinced their parents to change?
« Reply #25 on: April 29, 2014, 08:40:21 PM »
I converted my parents or at least I like to tell myself I did. Actually growing up they were mustachian out of necessity and then my Dad got raises and my mom went back to work and they became typical Americans. Recently, they started making huge improvements towards the mustachian direction.

You already said your parents lament their jobs. When they complain be sympathetic and suggest retirement. You probably need to sell retirement first. Many people hate their job but it gives them purpose so they don't really want to give it up. And they probably think retiring makes someone old.

At the beginning of this post I credited myself to changing my parents but to be honest I think the things I mentioned to my parents had less of an impact than circumstance. My Dad had a small surgery and had to be out of work for a bit. Being away from work made him realize he would love to be retired.

Your parents sound smart and successful. If they made retirement a truly desired goal then they would probably have no problem figuring it out with or without your help.


HAULIN3

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Re: Has anyone convinced their parents to change?
« Reply #26 on: April 30, 2014, 02:59:30 PM »
I've heard it said "it's powdered butt syndrome"  No one likes to take advice from someone who they have powdered their butt...

Cassie

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Re: Has anyone convinced their parents to change?
« Reply #27 on: April 30, 2014, 03:58:07 PM »
My parents were always frugal so when my Dad got sick at age 54 and could no longer work they were fine.  However, I think that was typical of their generation-born in 1920.