Author Topic: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early  (Read 4616 times)

tennisray

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Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« on: October 29, 2021, 05:47:19 AM »
We have a 14 year old HS Freshman son.  DW is retiring at 45 from work in December. We'd like to get advice on how to explain to our son in a way that: 1. Doesn't make him worry about money (he doesn't know our stash, but he knows we are a frugal family compared to his peers); 2. Empowers mom and doesn't make her look like she can't handle working; 3. Not make him think this is all about him and scare him into thinking mom will become a helicopter parent, haha.

We are thinking about: "Work is not fulfilling me right now and I want to step away and explore other things that make me happy.  I'd also like to spend more time with the family and stop missing so many vacations with you guys. We are financially secure since we have been savers for such a long time. Our spending won't change and you don't need to worry".

Any changes/additions you would make?  Is it time to be more specific about our stache?  Since we've become FI, we have explained that even if we lost our jobs, we have enough in investments that would cover our expenses easily since we don't spend too much $.

uniwelder

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2021, 06:49:46 AM »
I don't have kids.  When I was your son's age, my dad lost his job (worked construction and things slowed down) for a year and my mom had a part time job.  My parents were always very open about how much money they made, budgeting, cost of braces/auto/vacation/etc.  It was concerning to me as a kid, but they said they had enough saved to make it through, though we didn't have extra money for extras.  Their confidence eased my worries and I think I was much more money conscious than 95% of most teens.

Do you still work?  Mom quitting her job because you have plenty of savings shouldn't raise any red flags.  Dual income career parents weren't always the norm, and I would guess your son has other friends who only have one parent that works.  I don't see a big deal here, except the helicopter parenting.  Does your wife have other things to keep her busy so your son doesn't become the new obsession at a time when he needs independence?

tennisray

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2021, 06:58:58 AM »
I don't have kids.  When I was your son's age, my dad lost his job (worked construction and things slowed down) for a year and my mom had a part time job.  My parents were always very open about how much money they made, budgeting, cost of braces/auto/vacation/etc.  It was concerning to me as a kid, but they said they had enough saved to make it through, though we didn't have extra money for extras.  Their confidence eased my worries and I think I was much more money conscious than 95% of most teens.

Do you still work?  Mom quitting her job because you have plenty of savings shouldn't raise any red flags.  Dual income career parents weren't always the norm, and I would guess your son has other friends who only have one parent that works.  I don't see a big deal here, except the helicopter parenting.  Does your wife have other things to keep her busy so your son doesn't become the new obsession at a time when he needs independence?

My parents were frugal, but never shared their finances until I was 18.  My dad was a physician, but went on disability at 52, so I was always nervous that we were one bad situation away from homelessness.  Both parents were immigrants and grew up relatively poor to Western standards.  It was not a good situation for me and I don't want my son to have that mentality. My parents were economically fine/thriving, even with disability, but I didn't find that out until 18.

I still work. I get summer's off, so I feel like I have "practiced" retiring.  DW hasn't, and admittedly I'm nervous, but am learning to trust her.  We agreed to have periodic check-ins on how it is going (for her and the family dynamics) after she FIRES.

Weisass

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2021, 07:06:25 AM »
My parents never shared the details, but they talked about responsible spending all the time, and the importance of securing your future. So we didn’t know everything, but we knew enough to know the my parents philosophy of money. I grew up in that culture convinced that we need to talk MORE, not less, about money in the family.

Now as a parent of four, I can see how some of the details aren’t as helpful for small kids, but the talking about money and making sure it isn’t a third rail is essential. I plan to retire while some of my kids are still young, and I think that it is essential to keep the door open on those conversations. Tone matters as much as content, so I would suggest that you avoid any explanation that looks or sounds like an apologetic. You don’t need to defend the decision; you want to celebrate it as the spoils of hard work.

Malcat

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2021, 07:22:05 AM »
Do you really think your kid will worry about money if one of your retires? I know a lot of teenagers who would have no concept of how one parent retiring would affect their financial stability, especially since a lot of kids have a parent who doesn't work.

You know your kid best, but if this is a legitimate concern, then I have to wonder where your kid is getting this kind of money-stress from? And that would be my bigger concern.

If you are financially good, why would your kid assume that a mature decision made by their parents would put them at any kind of risk?

I would really not be inclined to frame this in terms of fear mitigation, I would be inclined to frame it as a demonstration of responsible life choices.

Like "Your mom and I have always been diligent savers, and this gives us a lot of freedom to make choices that other families can't. We both think that what's best for everyone in our family is that your mom retire, and we're really proud to be able to do that."

This is an exciting lifestyle choice, not telling your kid that one of you has cancer but that everything will be okay.

tennisray

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2021, 07:59:04 AM »
Do you really think your kid will worry about money if one of your retires? I know a lot of teenagers who would have no concept of how one parent retiring would affect their financial stability, especially since a lot of kids have a parent who doesn't work.

You know your kid best, but if this is a legitimate concern, then I have to wonder where your kid is getting this kind of money-stress from? And that would be my bigger concern.

If you are financially good, why would your kid assume that a mature decision made by their parents would put them at any kind of risk?

I would really not be inclined to frame this in terms of fear mitigation, I would be inclined to frame it as a demonstration of responsible life choices.

Like "Your mom and I have always been diligent savers, and this gives us a lot of freedom to make choices that other families can't. We both think that what's best for everyone in our family is that your mom retire, and we're really proud to be able to do that."

This is an exciting lifestyle choice, not telling your kid that one of you has cancer but that everything will be okay.

I think in these terms because that is how I grew up.  I know now that my family was fine growing up, but as a kid, I was overly worried about something I shouldn't have been worried about.  I also know that I didn't talk about my feelings as a teenager (I still need to work on it, haha), so I frame things based on my experience.  I hope I've been parenting a well-adjusted son.  He's definitely is more compassionate, empathetic, and organized than I was at his age.  I tend to ask for help/read books on parenting because I don't want to rely on my upbringing as my guide (not just financially, but in a lot of areas).  DW has been very patient with me over the years.

Morning Glory

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2021, 08:19:16 AM »
My step-dad retired when my brother was still in hs, although he was traditional retirement age. He just said something about working enough years to get his pension. Something like "I've worked enough years to have a comfortable income for life" should be enough.

soulpatchmike

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2021, 08:39:17 AM »
When I was in 3rd grade, my parents took us to Disneyland.  I didn't ask for anything because I was worried my parents wouldn't have enough money for us to get home.  I don't blame my parents for this, they instilled a great work ethic in me and we never wanted for anything, but there was always a silent worry of being 90 days from bankruptcy in our house.  I understand OPs concern because I lived it as a youth. 

There is a flip side...we have raised kids with a single-income family of 7 and my kids(4 teens and 10yrs) think I am an old miser, as does DW sometimes.  As for advice...I like to be transparent with my kids.  They know we make decisions that might be different than their friends, but they also aren't afraid to challenge our financial decisions either.

Ultimately, I would just tell him that mom doesn't want to work anymore so she is quitting her job.  If he asks if she is getting another job, I would say she is not planning to but anything could happen in the future.  Then I would ask if he has any other questions...likely that a 14 year old boy would say, nope, and then go back to his room.

Omy

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2021, 08:46:19 AM »
My parents used to borrow money from me regularly (from the allowance they gave me) and pay me back after pay day. For them, it was just a way to avoid making a special trip to the bank to get cash out. For me, I was concerned that we were on the brink of financial ruin and my savings was the only thing keeping us afloat. I only found out recently that it was just a convenience thing for them.

I spent most of my childhood feeling unnecessarily insecure about my parents' financial position (which is probably why squirreling away as much money as possible was so important to me).

I recommend explaining it in a positive way and encouraging questions/discussion. I wish my parents had spent more time talking about financial matters when I was younger.



FINate

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2021, 08:50:38 AM »
Like "Your mom and I have always been diligent savers, and this gives us a lot of freedom to make choices that other families can't. We both think that what's best for everyone in our family is that your mom retire, and we're really proud to be able to do that."

This^ You all should be celebrating this moment and using it as a positive example for your kids to learn from w.r.t. saving and investing. Have fun with it, go to a fancy dinner or whatever.

I wonder if your concern here isn't really about your kids, but rather your own money worries/anxieties?

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2021, 08:55:22 AM »
Bravo @tennisray on being a considered parent. 

I too had the type of childhood that I want my kids to have the opposite of.  And lived with fear of hunger, lack of dental care and worry about if the car would make it to wherever we were going.

I like how @Malcat frames the conversation.  Short and Sweet.   

My reference for teens are limited to my 20 year old son, and 17 year old daughter.  Son just rolls with everything and doesn't seem to get stressed about stuff beyond his own world.  He likes to bring things up on the fly where a conversation will be short.  Often I hear about worries or big life stuff when I deliver clean laundry to his room or am searching for the cat or the keys to a car. (not going to go to this university, broke up with my girlfriend a couple of weeks ago)  DD likes to have a chat over breakfast or during a car ride or just before bed.(this group of girls was talking about this other girl and I overheard confidential information...planning to did this maybe or that maybe or maybe the other...I was listening to this podcast all about.......)  Conversation ratio is daughter words 12 to son words 1.   

Just be honest, stick to the facts and unemotional.  And short.


GreenEggs

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2021, 09:01:15 AM »
I'm wondering the same type of thing Malcat mentioned.


Seems to me that DW's retirement should be seen as an achievement worthy of celebration, and something to be proud of.  Your teen should understand that your frugal lifestyle choices are what has allowed DW to leave the workforce while she's still relatively young, and that is a wonderful thing.  She has the choice of returning to work someday if she happens to get bored or finds a cause that she passionate about helping with.  She is "free to choose" and that is wonderful.


What teen wouldn't understand and be proud of that?

reeshau

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2021, 09:23:13 AM »
DW is retiring at 45 from work in December.


Just think how "old" 45 seems, to a teenager.  Does your son talk a lot about retirement?  He may have no concept, yet of 65 being a traditional retirement age.  There are many things, good and bad, that kids assume are normal just because it happens in their household and that is their only example.  Maybe this is an opportunity to plant some FIRE seeds before some corporate HR sets his expectations lower!

tennisray

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2021, 09:26:17 AM »
I admit that my concerns are most probably a projection of my own feelings based on my upbringing with money worries.  If I was in my son's position, my thoughts wouldn't be, "Great for my mom to retire!".  It would be "Jeez, we already use coupons when we go out to eat, and only buy things when they are on sale...What's going to happen now that my mom has no income?" Hopefully my son won't think this way, and my fears are overblown. 

It's interesting how some people can't imagine why I'd be worried, and some people can understand.  I think it all comes down to our own experiences with money.  I hope my son never has to feel a scarcity mindset.  Oh my, reading some of the similar anecdotes brought back memories. I remember my dad buying the neighbors ice cream from the ice cream truck. I'd be struggling with an internal battle of desperately wanting some, but refusing because I thought that $1 would break our budget.  I also didn't have health insurance for some reason.  So, when I needed medical, my dad would bring me to his doctor friend's office (not always the correct specialist). Then he and the doctor would go through this whole charade of my dad trying to give the doc cash, the doctor refusing, and then I'd return a couple days later with a gift (usually a sweater that my mom bought from Marshall's). 

We will take the advice and approach our discussion with all positivity.  I like the idea of going out for a fancy dinner. Or, maybe taking a special trip would be better.

I also don't want it to seem like I had a terrible childhood.  I am extremely lucky for the life my parents provided.  True immigrant success story (would have been even more financially successful if my dad didn't get disabled right before his highest earning years). 

tennisray

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2021, 09:30:03 AM »
DW is retiring at 45 from work in December.


Just think how "old" 45 seems, to a teenager.  Does your son talk a lot about retirement?  He may have no concept, yet of 65 being a traditional retirement age.  There are many things, good and bad, that kids assume are normal just because it happens in their household and that is their only example.  Maybe this is an opportunity to plant some FIRE seeds before some corporate HR sets his expectations lower!

Haha! We've been planting seeds for sure.  He wants to have a military career, so he's on the path for an early retirement if he plays his cards right. 

Malcat

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2021, 09:36:13 AM »
Do you really think your kid will worry about money if one of your retires? I know a lot of teenagers who would have no concept of how one parent retiring would affect their financial stability, especially since a lot of kids have a parent who doesn't work.

You know your kid best, but if this is a legitimate concern, then I have to wonder where your kid is getting this kind of money-stress from? And that would be my bigger concern.

If you are financially good, why would your kid assume that a mature decision made by their parents would put them at any kind of risk?

I would really not be inclined to frame this in terms of fear mitigation, I would be inclined to frame it as a demonstration of responsible life choices.

Like "Your mom and I have always been diligent savers, and this gives us a lot of freedom to make choices that other families can't. We both think that what's best for everyone in our family is that your mom retire, and we're really proud to be able to do that."

This is an exciting lifestyle choice, not telling your kid that one of you has cancer but that everything will be okay.

I think in these terms because that is how I grew up.  I know now that my family was fine growing up, but as a kid, I was overly worried about something I shouldn't have been worried about.  I also know that I didn't talk about my feelings as a teenager (I still need to work on it, haha), so I frame things based on my experience.  I hope I've been parenting a well-adjusted son.  He's definitely is more compassionate, empathetic, and organized than I was at his age.  I tend to ask for help/read books on parenting because I don't want to rely on my upbringing as my guide (not just financially, but in a lot of areas).  DW has been very patient with me over the years.

I would still err on framing it as a positive and something to be proud of. That's more effective at reassuring a kid than planting the idea in their head that they should have been worried about finances.

But you can definitely use this as an opportunity to create dialogue with your kid about personal finance. Ask questions like "do you ever worry about money?" "do you feel comfortable asking us questions about money?"

Malcat

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2021, 09:38:31 AM »
I admit that my concerns are most probably a projection of my own feelings based on my upbringing with money worries.  If I was in my son's position, my thoughts wouldn't be, "Great for my mom to retire!".  It would be "Jeez, we already use coupons when we go out to eat, and only buy things when they are on sale...What's going to happen now that my mom has no income?" Hopefully my son won't think this way, and my fears are overblown. 

It's interesting how some people can't imagine why I'd be worried, and some people can understand.  I think it all comes down to our own experiences with money.  I hope my son never has to feel a scarcity mindset.  Oh my, reading some of the similar anecdotes brought back memories. I remember my dad buying the neighbors ice cream from the ice cream truck. I'd be struggling with an internal battle of desperately wanting some, but refusing because I thought that $1 would break our budget.  I also didn't have health insurance for some reason.  So, when I needed medical, my dad would bring me to his doctor friend's office (not always the correct specialist). Then he and the doctor would go through this whole charade of my dad trying to give the doc cash, the doctor refusing, and then I'd return a couple days later with a gift (usually a sweater that my mom bought from Marshall's). 

We will take the advice and approach our discussion with all positivity.  I like the idea of going out for a fancy dinner. Or, maybe taking a special trip would be better.

I also don't want it to seem like I had a terrible childhood.  I am extremely lucky for the life my parents provided.  True immigrant success story (would have been even more financially successful if my dad didn't get disabled right before his highest earning years).

FTR, I grew up extremely poor, so I understand fears about money. What I don't understand is why your child would have fears about money, which if they do, despite being raised in financial security, then that should be addressed.

charis

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2021, 09:40:06 AM »
If I retire early, I will be telling the truth - I saved enough money to leave traditional employment and I am retiring to run the household and work for myself doing whatever I want to do.  Unpaid labor is still labor and I do a ton of unpaid work for my family (and I suspect a lot of mothers do the same).  My investments will be paying me from now on (or my spouse's income will cover our costs).

PhilB

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #18 on: October 29, 2021, 09:48:52 AM »
Some anecdata for you:

We both retired 3 years ago when our youngest had just turned 13 and his older brother was about to turn 15.  Prompted by your thread I just asked my youngest if he had ever been worried that we wouldn't have enough money with both parents not working.  He replied "Not particularly, I trusted you to have worked it out.  In fact I reckoned we'd be even safer as you'd have more time to spend on your spreadsheets."  Sarky sod!

He went on to say that he particularly appreciated how much more sane his mother had been since retirement as towards the end work was leaving her anything but.

So be honest, make it clear that hard work and sensible saving has got you to the point where work is now optional and that their Mom is looking forward to doing other things with her time.

tennisray

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #19 on: October 29, 2021, 10:03:22 AM »
Some anecdata for you:

We both retired 3 years ago when our youngest had just turned 13 and his older brother was about to turn 15.  Prompted by your thread I just asked my youngest if he had ever been worried that we wouldn't have enough money with both parents not working.  He replied "Not particularly, I trusted you to have worked it out.  In fact I reckoned we'd be even safer as you'd have more time to spend on your spreadsheets."  Sarky sod!

He went on to say that he particularly appreciated how much more sane his mother had been since retirement as towards the end work was leaving her anything but.

So be honest, make it clear that hard work and sensible saving has got you to the point where work is now optional and that their Mom is looking forward to doing other things with her time.

What a great story! You did a great job parenting!  Hope retirement has been as good as you expected it to be!

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #20 on: October 29, 2021, 10:30:00 AM »
Agree that you're overthinking it. Our kids are also 13 and 15. DH retired in May at age 48. Money conversations around our house have always been along the lines of, "We're saving money on X so we can be more secure and have more to spend on Y." I was always careful to frame it so that X was something the kids didn't care about, but Y was something they were interested in having. I've also always been careful to reassure them that they'll always have whatever they need. Outgrew your shoes? No problem, we'll pick up new ones this afternoon.

As for DH's retirement, they're were both really happy that Dad was available to drive them to/from school last year instead of taking the bus. They also like that DH's new hobby is cooking excellent Italian food because it means they get more pizza and spaghetti.

Keep the conversation focused on the positive and tell him how the change affects him personally. That's all he really cares about.

lhamo

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #21 on: October 29, 2021, 12:10:02 PM »
I admit that my concerns are most probably a projection of my own feelings based on my upbringing with money worries.  If I was in my son's position, my thoughts wouldn't be, "Great for my mom to retire!".  It would be "Jeez, we already use coupons when we go out to eat, and only buy things when they are on sale...What's going to happen now that my mom has no income?" Hopefully my son won't think this way, and my fears are overblown. 

This was a bit of an issue for us -- we retired when our kids were 10 and 14 and we were 46/56.   What seemed to help most was a combination of loosening up a bit on the spending + stressing to them that we try to get good value for money as a matter of principal, not because we are worried about the money running out.  We have plenty of money.  Part of the reason we do is that we don't spend it thoughtlessly or frivolously.  We still order pizza and takeout a few times a month.  Interestingly as we have upped our home cooking game more often than not the kids will comment themselves on how much better value for money our tasty home cooked meals are -- my pizza that costs $5 for two huge pizzas is arguably as good or better than what we can get for $40-60 at the gourmet pizza place. 

Both kids went through a phase where they were spending quite a bit on new clothes, but now have come back around to see the value/pleasure in scouting for great pieces at the thrift store.  I think knowing that they don't HAVE to get their clothes used makes it more palatable for them.

Other than a short trip to the coast for a weekend in August, we haven't done any family travel since Covid, but that is another area where we don't scrimp any more.  Sure, we try to get good deals on flights and car rentals, etc. and use points for some of our hotels, but we stay in 4-5 star hotels and go to whatever restaurants look interesting without worrying too much about the cost. 

Villanelle

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #22 on: October 29, 2021, 12:24:17 PM »
Interesting thread.  (FTR, I am not a parent.)

My mom quit full time teaching when I was about 10.  As best I can recall, I didn't really think anything about it, one way or the other.  She did still substitute teach fairly regularly, so maybe that cause me to think of it more as just a different job, than as less job?  We were middle class/upper middle class during those years and beyond.  There were definitely times I maybe felt like we had less money than others (when, in retrospect, I suspect we actually had more money) because we didn't eat out, my parents drover older cars, we didn't have cable, etc.  There were times I disliked that--when we moved to a fancier neighborhood, I can still recall how mortifying it felt to be tasked with yard work in the front yard, when we were likely the only house in the neighborhood who didn't have a gardener.  At age 12, that felt horrifying!  But I never tied that to mom not working, and I never felt poor or insecure about finances.  As best I can recall, my parents never made a big announcement or had A Talk with me about mom's change in employment.  It just happened and I think I mostly filed that under "adult-ing stuff I don't really care about". 


Dicey

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #23 on: October 29, 2021, 12:36:43 PM »
Do it with enthusiasm. This is something to be celebrated, not dreaded.

Morning Glory

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #24 on: October 29, 2021, 01:44:35 PM »
Do it with enthusiasm. This is something to be celebrated, not dreaded.

Depends on the kid: My son enthusiastically told our new neighbors that we sold our house "so that we can get to one million dollars". Not a great example of stealth wealth lol.

yachi

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #25 on: October 29, 2021, 02:15:39 PM »
Do it with enthusiasm. This is something to be celebrated, not dreaded.

Depends on the kid: My son enthusiastically told our new neighbors that we sold our house "so that we can get to one million dollars". Not a great example of stealth wealth lol.

LOL.  I showed one of my daughters a savings account statement with about $1,000.  I wanted to explain how money can make more money (interest).  A few days go by and my sweet child is telling a friend of ours that we have a million dollars in the bank.

She was not far off, we actually had 900K or so.

Nords

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #26 on: October 30, 2021, 09:34:47 AM »
We have a 14 year old HS Freshman son.  DW is retiring at 45 from work in December. We'd like to get advice on how to explain to our son in a way that: 1. Doesn't make him worry about money (he doesn't know our stash, but he knows we are a frugal family compared to his peers); 2. Empowers mom and doesn't make her look like she can't handle working; 3. Not make him think this is all about him and scare him into thinking mom will become a helicopter parent, haha.

We are thinking about: "Work is not fulfilling me right now and I want to step away and explore other things that make me happy.  I'd also like to spend more time with the family and stop missing so many vacations with you guys. We are financially secure since we have been savers for such a long time. Our spending won't change and you don't need to worry".

Any changes/additions you would make?  Is it time to be more specific about our stache?  Since we've become FI, we have explained that even if we lost our jobs, we have enough in investments that would cover our expenses easily since we don't spend too much $.
First, @tennisray, congratulations on your financial independence and on her retirement!

If you’ve been having money conversations in your family for a while, your son might be ready to hear some of the numbers.  You wouldn’t necessarily have him join your next budget meeting and go over all of the account balances, but I think it’s worth talking about how long you’ve saved & invested.  The money has compounded for years and now you’re reaping the rewards.  You’re more interested in spending time with family and pursuing other interests.

He’s old enough to start thinking about his own part-time income and his Roth IRA.  This could be when he'll find a very practical use for his high-school math and the results of exponential growth.

He might also be so wrapped up in his own teen life that he doesn’t care what you guys are doing.  His questions might only want to know how this affects him:  Can he still have friends over?  How will he get a car at age 16 if you’re not working?  Will he have to pay for his college or can he still get a ROTC scholarship? 

My parents were frugal, but never shared their finances until I was 18.  My dad was a physician, but went on disability at 52, so I was always nervous that we were one bad situation away from homelessness.  Both parents were immigrants and grew up relatively poor to Western standards.  It was not a good situation for me and I don't want my son to have that mentality. My parents were economically fine/thriving, even with disability, but I didn't find that out until 18.
I think it’s worth sharing a little of your teen fears with him.  “We didn’t talk enough about this when I was your age, and I always felt nervous about it, and we don’t want you to worry.”

It's also worth talking about how your teen years impacted your desires to save and invest and reach your own FI.  You worked hard, you have plenty of financial resilience, and you're free to live without financial fear.

When my spouse and I quit working in 2002, our daughter was almost 10 years old.  We'd had the age-appropriate conversations for years and she knew we were going to be all right.  She was thrilled to have us around for field trips and all the school events.  Our house became the weekend place where the kids could gather to use the kitchen and hang out, because we didn't have to scamper around catching up on errands & chores before Monday.  It was also the place where they could gather during weekday afternoons for school projects because we had the time and the other parents knew we'd be home.

Our daughter was nearly 16 years old in 2008 when the Great Recession ramped up.  Everyone in her social circle was (rightfully) worried about their parents' jobs and she watched a couple of their friends have to move to other neighborhoods/schools (foreclosures).  The school was cutting way back on spending and even the teachers were venting to their classes about the economy and unemployment.  During this time she took great comfort in knowing that we had "enough" and would come through the recession just fine.  She was not at all happy about what was happening to the balance in her Roth IRA, but she also enjoyed the story about Warren Buffett's family cheering when hamburgers go on sale.

At one point she shoulder-surfed me and saw our net worth number in Quicken.  She commented "Holy sh-- cow, Dad, is that us?  How rich are we?"  I used the punchline from the sitcoms and Shaquille O'Neil ("Mom and I are rich, but you're still poor") and explained how the money had to last us for another 50-60 years so that she wouldn't have to support us when she was in her 40s.  Because it was all about her.   

I only made the mistake one time about driving past her school-bus stop in the morning with my longboard strapped to my roof rack.  At the time she was embarrassed (her friends teased her) and annoyed that she couldn't paddle out too.  She told me (much later in her mid-20s) that it really made her want to pursue her own FI.

And she has.

tennisray

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #27 on: October 30, 2021, 06:46:29 PM »

[

When my spouse and I quit working in 2002, our daughter was almost 10 years old.  We'd had the age-appropriate conversations for years and she knew we were going to be all right.  She was thrilled to have us around for field trips and all the school events.  Our house became the weekend place where the kids could gather to use the kitchen and hang out, because we didn't have to scamper around catching up on errands & chores before Monday.  It was also the place where they could gather during weekday afternoons for school projects because we had the time and the other parents knew we'd be home.

Our daughter was nearly 16 years old in 2008 when the Great Recession ramped up.  Everyone in her social circle was (rightfully) worried about their parents' jobs and she watched a couple of their friends have to move to other neighborhoods/schools (foreclosures).  The school was cutting way back on spending and even the teachers were venting to their classes about the economy and unemployment.  During this time she took great comfort in knowing that we had "enough" and would come through the recession just fine.  She was not at all happy about what was happening to the balance in her Roth IRA, but she also enjoyed the story about Warren Buffett's family cheering when hamburgers go on sale.

At one point she shoulder-surfed me and saw our net worth number in Quicken.  She commented "Holy sh-- cow, Dad, is that us?  How rich are we?"  I used the punchline from the sitcoms and Shaquille O'Neil ("Mom and I are rich, but you're still poor") and explained how the money had to last us for another 50-60 years so that she wouldn't have to support us when she was in her 40s.  Because it was all about her.   

I only made the mistake one time about driving past her school-bus stop in the morning with my longboard strapped to my roof rack.  At the time she was embarrassed (her friends teased her) and annoyed that she couldn't paddle out too.  She told me (much later in her mid-20s) that it really made her want to pursue her own FI.

And she has.

Great story! Thanks for sharing. Very helpful.

tennisray

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #28 on: October 30, 2021, 06:50:35 PM »
Thanks everyone for your input. We decided to be positive. When DW gives her notice in a couple weeks, we’ll start a fun countdown calendar to retirement, and then have a short trip to celebrate.

I think it’s the money guys podcast where they talk about having your dollar bills invested so they work for you like soldiers (instead of working yourself). We’ve used this to explain investing to our son. So, we won’t share our net worth #’s, but we’ll let him know that Mom’s soldiers are working hard enough to surpass her income.

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #29 on: October 30, 2021, 09:34:11 PM »
Way to go, @tennisray!

If your son comments about his thoughts/feelings on the matter, would love to hear the update.


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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #30 on: November 01, 2021, 01:11:08 PM »
Thanks everyone for your input. We decided to be positive. When DW gives her notice in a couple weeks, we’ll start a fun countdown calendar to retirement, and then have a short trip to celebrate.

I think it’s the money guys podcast where they talk about having your dollar bills invested so they work for you like soldiers (instead of working yourself). We’ve used this to explain investing to our son. So, we won’t share our net worth #’s, but we’ll let him know that Mom’s soldiers are working hard enough to surpass her income.

Sounds cool! I also really second the suggestions to have a conversation (the kind where you listen more than you talk) and also to tell your kids about your fears and experiences as a child.

This is also an opportunity to talk with your kids about your values, and an opportunity for you to demonstrate that you actually make choices that are consistent with said values.

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #31 on: November 01, 2021, 02:22:48 PM »
I would really rethink the not sharing details. Sure, don't open every bank account, but you're talking about a 14 year old, not a 4 year old. Platitudes are not going to go over well. You're getting into the years where your teen is really starting to mature and grow up, and you treating him like a child is only going to add conflict. In 5 years or so that kid is going to be thinking about moving out, for college or whatever.

Budgeting and investing, how to make sound financial decisions, etc are important life skills. Teach them. Just because your parents didn't talk about money with you doesn't mean it was a good approach.

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #32 on: November 01, 2021, 03:15:21 PM »
I would really rethink the not sharing details. Sure, don't open every bank account, but you're talking about a 14 year old, not a 4 year old.

Oh, wow. I had somehow skimmed past the part where the kid is 14. Even though "teen" is right in the title! I vaguely thought they were maybe 8 or 10 or something after reading the concerns in OP.

Glad that @Sibley pointed this out. And sorry I skimmed too quickly.

Fwiw, when I was around 12 to 14, I probed to understand what things like our house cost. Truthfully, since dad was intermittently money-stressed but seemed inconsistent, I wanted to develop my own model of cost and figure out what the problem was. Dad willingly shared one or two details when asked but shut down if I gave followup questions. What I could hear thus became engraved on my brain, gradually accumulating details. Dad was passionately cheap, but I could never understand why it seemed to be such a problem.

Many years later, I discovered the missing link. It wasn't just irrationality on dad's part. In fact, he was finishing a long series of alimony payments to a previous wife who had not been disclosed, at least to us children!

Kids that age with any quantitative sense have the capacity to understand budgets quite well. If he's interested, I lean in favor of disclosure unless some individual characteristic suggests a contervailing problem. Given that you yourself are smart, your son probably is too. Anyway, just a reader's opinion - I respect that you're the parent, with much more hands on knowledge, and also that you live with the consquences.

Still - when in doubt, I say share some info (and, as others have said, listen a lot!). Anyway, best wishes.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2021, 03:22:40 PM by BicycleB »

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #33 on: November 05, 2021, 09:18:02 AM »
This has been interesting to read, thanks!  Our daughter is only 6, so I'm not sure how we would approach this.  That said, I fully expect us both to be fully retired by her teen years, and partly retired as early as next year.  My thinking right now is that we'd be pretty open with her about our finances.  Maybe my tune will change as she gets older -- but generally speaking my plan is to be honest with her, even about things that are "private" -- mental health, AA, money, spirituality, whatever.  Part of that conversation would have to be that it isn't nice to brag about that kind of stuff to other people, of course.

I grew up in a very different situation -- my dad was a physician, my mom stayed home, and I knew we had plenty of money but my dad would never tell me anything specific.  I had no idea how much he made, how much he had saved, etc, until VERY recently (like the last year or two).  I often worried I'd never earn as much as him (which was true) or earn enough to provide a middle class American lifestyle to my family (which was totally not true).  I think knowing more details would have helped.  I learned a lot of good money stuff from my mom (pay off credit cards, invest early and often) but no one talked about numbers.  My plan is to do things differently with my daughter, but maybe I'll change my tune.

elaine amj

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #34 on: November 16, 2021, 06:22:11 PM »
How has the conversation been going with your son?

I retired at 39 when my DD was 17 and DS was 16. We had been open about our FIRE plans for several years by then.

I remember when they were young I would say "No" to stuff they asked for by saying "we don't have the money". Of course, I just meant it wasn't in the budget. Around the time they hit their teens, I realized my mistake (not that they ever exhibited anxiety about it) and started reframing it, saying "I don't think X is worth it" or "it's not in our budget" and I started more in-depth explanations.

I remember telling DS as young teen that we chose savings over a nicer house or fancier toys. And that we were working towards FIRE and that's why we didn't have as much disposable income as some friends. He did mention once that he would have preferred a nicer house over more savings lol (Now that it's his own skin in the game, he prefers less house and morw savings).

So when I FIREd when he was 16, he was proud of me and liked telling his friends his mom was retired. He's always been more curious about money matters so by this point, I had already been sharing actual numbers so he knew we had plenty. I do still feel some reserve talking dollars and cents with my kids, but really - it's good for them to learn and understand.  They know not to blather about it.

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tennisray

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #35 on: November 17, 2021, 01:22:40 PM »
Update!!!

We told our son on the weekend during our family meeting.  He was surprised (mostly because we always tried to emphasize the good things about going to work) that she was leaving.  We gave him the opportunity to ask any questions, but he didn't have any. 

Last night in the car (on the way to the orthodontist to get braces off...yay!), I asked if he thought about any questions/concerns.  I started by explaining my money worries as a kid.  He said he trusted us and he wasn't worried. He knew we prioritize vacations over having nice cars/clothes and he likes it that way. 

I'm still trying to get over sharing specifics with him.  I'm so nervous if he finds out how much money we have that he'll complain when we make him pay for stuff out of his own $ or become a spendy-pants. We think we'd be more comfortable waiting until he's 17.  For now, we just told him that mommy makes more money on her investments than her salary.

Thanks again for the advice, but mostly your stories.  It was great to read.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #36 on: November 17, 2021, 01:38:16 PM »
Update!!!

We told our son on the weekend during our family meeting.  He was surprised (mostly because we always tried to emphasize the good things about going to work) that she was leaving.  We gave him the opportunity to ask any questions, but he didn't have any. 

Last night in the car (on the way to the orthodontist to get braces off...yay!), I asked if he thought about any questions/concerns.  I started by explaining my money worries as a kid.  He said he trusted us and he wasn't worried. He knew we prioritize vacations over having nice cars/clothes and he likes it that way. 

I'm still trying to get over sharing specifics with him.  I'm so nervous if he finds out how much money we have that he'll complain when we make him pay for stuff out of his own $ or become a spendy-pants. We think we'd be more comfortable waiting until he's 17.  For now, we just told him that mommy makes more money on her investments than her salary.

Thanks again for the advice, but mostly your stories.  It was great to read.

That’s a great result. I’m doing a program now about money and one of the things we’re talking about is how much people are impacted by their relationship to money as children and how their parents handled and discussed money. Keep in mind that if you’re worried that your kid is thinking things you’ve never discussed, those are stories you’re telling yourself and they’re not real unless/until confirmed. You won’t know unless you have those conversations. I’m not sure what the harm is in being transparent? You can explain that you invested well and had financial plans and you can explain those plans, how they work and teach those skills to your son. Why make it a mystery or a secret? All you have to do is follow everything up,with boundaries. Maybe it’s an opportunity to help your kid set up their first investment account and learn about index shares? There’s plenty of financially savvy tik toys you could watch together and discuss. Your kid won’t want to become spendy pants if that’s not part of your family values. However they could become spendy pants on their own if they don’t themselves form their values around money and how it relates to self worth. Also, your kid may be easier to educate and teach at 14 than the know it all 17.

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #37 on: November 17, 2021, 02:23:33 PM »
Just wanted to say that this is a great thread and lots of good stuff here. Raising good humans isn’t easy.

We have 13 and 11 year olds sons and navigating money conversations is something I’m not sure we’re great at yet. I certainly don’t have a great family model to draw from, and neither does my spouse. My income has increased 400% over the past 2 years and will likely stay in this range for the foreseeable future. We have some nice things, our kids know we’re debt free except for our 2 homes, and yet I say “no” plenty of times to things both large and small, which may confuse my kids. My younger son has tried to counter the argument a time or two with “…but we’re rich!” and I try to correct that quickly and simply say that we have ENOUGH. I have no idea where he got the “rich” feeling from because we are pretty careful with our words and actions as it relates to money. We’re still in the accumulation phase and are probably 8 years from my personal FI number.

The good part is that I know our kids feel secure. The questionable part is that they don’t yet understand the value of hard work, saving, investing, giving, etc. We have more work to do.

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #38 on: November 17, 2021, 02:29:58 PM »
Update!!!

We told our son on the weekend during our family meeting.  He was surprised (mostly because we always tried to emphasize the good things about going to work) that she was leaving.  We gave him the opportunity to ask any questions, but he didn't have any. 

Last night in the car (on the way to the orthodontist to get braces off...yay!), I asked if he thought about any questions/concerns.  I started by explaining my money worries as a kid.  He said he trusted us and he wasn't worried. He knew we prioritize vacations over having nice cars/clothes and he likes it that way. 

I'm still trying to get over sharing specifics with him.  I'm so nervous if he finds out how much money we have that he'll complain when we make him pay for stuff out of his own $ or become a spendy-pants. We think we'd be more comfortable waiting until he's 17.  For now, we just told him that mommy makes more money on her investments than her salary.

Thanks again for the advice, but mostly your stories.  It was great to read.

sounds like you raised a pretty good kid.  I was raised to value vacations and experience over stuff now i'm going to retire before our kids ever realize we actually did normal engineering jobs.  Kids will grow up thinking my wife is a photographer and dad just does whatever he pleases.

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #39 on: November 17, 2021, 02:55:27 PM »
What a nice update. I’m glad it went over well.

When I was 14 my mother was laid off from her job because the industry had a big downturn. Previously she had been working really hard and making bank. My parents had upgraded their lifestyle accordingly so it was very stressful for me to watch their date nights and dinners out go away all at once when my mother went back to school. She took me out one day to get a new bed spread and sheets and I remember feeling s little sick with worry about how much that cost, wondering if we would be ok. At one point she mentioned getting s student loan to help with household expenses like groceries and I was afraid we were in a precarious position.

What I took away from that is kids are quite sensitive and pay attention even if they don’t have the context or understanding. No need to share details, but assurances that the finances are secure is important.

elaine amj

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #40 on: November 17, 2021, 03:16:22 PM »



I'm still trying to get over sharing specifics with him.  I'm so nervous if he finds out how much money we have that he'll complain when we make him pay for stuff out of his own $ or become a spendy-pants. We think we'd be more comfortable waiting until he's 17.  For now, we just told him that mommy makes more money on her investments than her salary.



So glad it went well :) Sometimes we parents build up huge mountains in our head.

I remember feeling uncomfortable about sharing specifics because my parents never did. I had no good reason "why" but it felt weird to do it when my parents always went out of their way to not tell me.

So I deflected my kids questions too.  But DS is a lot more money curious and would ask every now and then. I would say we have "enough". As he grew older, I realized I couldn't come up with a good reason not to tell them. So around 15/16, I finally told them.

It didn't end up being a big deal. I did warn them not to tell their friends although DS asked to be able to tell his best friend since they talked about everything, including money.

It made zero difference in how they treated money or what they asked me for.

Then again, by then I knew my kids well. Neither are spendy pants and neither are the type to have their hands out. I tried their whole lives to figure out something they wanted to buy so they could work towards it. But they always say they don't need such and such.

When it was time for cellphones,  I scored an amazing deal on iPhones for them and their birthday money from grandparents easily covered the cost. Their bills were so cheap (free for DS and $50/yr for DD) that they had no need to save to pay for it.

When I asked DS about upgrading his ancient hand-me-down laptop when I overheard him grumbling during his gaming session, he'd insist what he had was "good enough".

My DD had zero complaints when she turned 18 and I started charging geared-to-income rent ($200/mo).

They understand I can stay FIREd because we continue to be frugal. They know that if we go to a restaurant with a coupon, they need to order whatever is on the coupon.

They've never been spendy with my money. DS is my more spendy child (like a $50 hoody - OUCH) but he mostly only does frivolous spending with his own money.


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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #41 on: November 17, 2021, 04:23:28 PM »
I think the important thing is to teach them about earning, saving. and handling money.  There is really no good reason to tell them exactly how much you earn and have invested.  Most kids talk and many tend to brag.  Without numbers you'll save your children from falling into those bragging sessions, that are uncomfortable for most of them, and definitely none of their business.  Until you reach the age where you need to give them a financial POA to handle your affairs why do they need the exact numbers? 






 

tennisray

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #42 on: November 17, 2021, 06:55:19 PM »
Why make it a mystery or a secret? All you have to do is follow everything up,with boundaries. Maybe it’s an opportunity to help your kid set up their first investment account and learn about index shares?


We’re still not convinced he needs to know specifics. We may change our minds. We’ve explained that we are FI and what that means. Maybe if he asks, we can get more detailed.

When he turned 13, we opened up a brokerage account for him. We double anything he puts into it. It may not be a good thing for him to get used to these kind of returns (vti and vbr)., haha. He needs a bear market to set his expectations for more historical gains!

tennisray

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #43 on: November 17, 2021, 07:05:08 PM »



I'm still trying to get over sharing specifics with him.  I'm so nervous if he finds out how much money we have that he'll complain when we make him pay for stuff out of his own $ or become a spendy-pants. We think we'd be more comfortable waiting until he's 17.  For now, we just told him that mommy makes more money on her investments than her salary.



So glad it went well :) Sometimes we parents build up huge mountains in our head.

I remember feeling uncomfortable about sharing specifics because my parents never did. I had no good reason "why" but it felt weird to do it when my parents always went out of their way to not tell me.

So I deflected my kids questions too.  But DS is a lot more money curious and would ask every now and then. I would say we have "enough". As he grew older, I realized I couldn't come up with a good reason not to tell them. So around 15/16, I finally told them.

It didn't end up being a big deal. I did warn them not to tell their friends although DS asked to be able to tell his best friend since they talked about everything, including money.

It made zero difference in how they treated money or what they asked me for.

Then again, by then I knew my kids well. Neither are spendy pants and neither are the type to have their hands out. I tried their whole lives to figure out something they wanted to buy so they could work towards it. But they always say they don't need such and such.

When it was time for cellphones,  I scored an amazing deal on iPhones for them and their birthday money from grandparents easily covered the cost. Their bills were so cheap (free for DS and $50/yr for DD) that they had no need to save to pay for it.

When I asked DS about upgrading his ancient hand-me-down laptop when I overheard him grumbling during his gaming session, he'd insist what he had was "good enough".

My DD had zero complaints when she turned 18 and I started charging geared-to-income rent ($200/mo).

They understand I can stay FIREd because we continue to be frugal. They know that if we go to a restaurant with a coupon, they need to order whatever is on the coupon.

They've never been spendy with my money. DS is my more spendy child (like a $50 hoody - OUCH) but he mostly only does frivolous spending with his own money.


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Very cool to read. It’s nice to be able to trust your kids with $ decisions. We are happy where our son is in terms of $ habits. But he’s surrounded by people with more things/nicer homes/cars/etc. And we know what high school can be like and trying to fit in. I’m getting looser with purchases, like nicer sneakers…still only when on sale, but no longer sneakers bought from Costco, haha. I save those for me!

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #44 on: November 17, 2021, 07:17:05 PM »
Within our nuclear family of 4 (but not beyond) I have been very open that I'm saving a million dollars. That the way you get rich isn't by spending everything you have. I have also emphasized not boasting to friends -- who knows if they respect that! But we have enjoyed a lot of "We're rich!" moments this year where we contemplated spending--but didn't. Helps that they really understand the 25-year professional and savings journey that accumulated the million, and that we're bike riders. Also when they were little and we struggled financially, I always told them "health is wealth" and they internalized that.

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #45 on: November 17, 2021, 08:56:36 PM »
Why make it a mystery or a secret? All you have to do is follow everything up,with boundaries. Maybe it’s an opportunity to help your kid set up their first investment account and learn about index shares?


We’re still not convinced he needs to know specifics. We may change our minds. We’ve explained that we are FI and what that means. Maybe if he asks, we can get more detailed.

When he turned 13, we opened up a brokerage account for him. We double anything he puts into it. It may not be a good thing for him to get used to these kind of returns (vti and vbr)., haha. He needs a bear market to set his expectations for more historical gains!

There's a difference between hiding the truth from your kid and not sharing details that he can't understand. No teenager can really grasp what a 7 figure NW means. It's too abstract. They can barely grasp what a hundred thousand really means.

As an adult, if someone says $100K, we all immediately have a sense of the impact of that on our lives. A kid doesn't have that, can't have that. Hell, a lot of young adults can't even grasp what that really means until they've made 5-6 figure decisions like school loans, weddings, housing, HCOL vs LCOL, investments, etc.

You don't need to be nervous about sharing with your kid, but it makes perfect sense to communicate with him in ways that can actually make sense to him.

The only reason sharing your exact NW might make him not understand why you won't spend more on him would be because he doesn't really understand what that NW means.

So don't show him your NW. There's no reason to, but that doesn't mean you need to hide anything either.

I was about 13 when my mom started explaining what groceries cost. I was about 14 when she broke down how mortgage payments and car payments work. I was probably close to 15 when she really put it together in a picture of monthly cash flow.

She gave me a loooooong list of all of the things we could afford based on the extra cash we had monthly. It was crazy how many luxuries we could possibly afford. Except, we couldn't afford ALL of them, only a few. So even having a lot of extra money to spend, I started understanding that just choosing which luxuries to spend on means making hard decisions as to what you can't have.

I would see her spending a ton on my little brother's intensive educational supports and my dumb kid brain would translate that to "oh look, they have that much money to spend on him, they can obviously afford to spend that on me too!"

After that cash flow exercise with my mom, I really started understanding the level of lifestyle we could afford and what kind of trade offs were needed for every luxury we chose to spend on.

We were rich enough to afford almost any one given middle class.luxury, just not a lot of them. So maybe one big one in a given year, or a few small ones.

It made me feel simultaneously like we were quite wealthy, but also really showed me how important it is to be careful in how you spend. Because being sloppy with your choices in luxuries would block you from being able to have something you really wanted.

So perhaps take an approach more like that. Gradually bringing him along in terms of concepts that he can actually grasp.

elaine amj

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #46 on: November 17, 2021, 10:37:49 PM »



Very cool to read. It’s nice to be able to trust your kids with $ decisions. We are happy where our son is in terms of $ habits. But he’s surrounded by people with more things/nicer homes/cars/etc. And we know what high school can be like and trying to fit in. I’m getting looser with purchases, like nicer sneakers…still only when on sale, but no longer sneakers bought from Costco, haha. I save those for me!

I do feel it's important that kids don't feel deprived next to their peers. By that I mean that since we have enough, I would not want my kid going around in broken running shoes, worn out clothes, etc etc.

That came later when DS was older and far preferred his disgusting, dirty, full of holes, (but apparently more fashionable) white running shoes over the new, perfectly functional pair I bought him. It was a funny twist - my mother was so embarrassed to be seen with him LOL!

Anyway, they don't need brand name everything - but I don't see any need to make them look foolish to make a financial point. So yes, I bought the nice shoes (birthday present) and the fancy hoody (actually - DS bought that one himself. He knew I'd gag at a $50 hoody lol!).

They had all they needed to fit in. The vast majority were from thrift stores though. Now they are young adults and take their friends to thrift stores :)

Both my children would say that they had absolutely everything they needed and pretty much anything they wanted. What helped is they really never wanted much.

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Ladychips

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #47 on: November 18, 2021, 06:58:24 AM »
This has been a great thread, and I really appreciate the update. I think sharing your history and feelings with your kid is great.

Dicey

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #48 on: November 18, 2021, 08:18:11 AM »
This has been a great thread, and I really appreciate the update. I think sharing your history and feelings with your kid is great.
Totally agree!

Villanelle

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Re: Best way to explain to Teen that Mom is retiring early
« Reply #49 on: November 18, 2021, 11:36:01 AM »
Just wanted to say that this is a great thread and lots of good stuff here. Raising good humans isn’t easy.

We have 13 and 11 year olds sons and navigating money conversations is something I’m not sure we’re great at yet. I certainly don’t have a great family model to draw from, and neither does my spouse. My income has increased 400% over the past 2 years and will likely stay in this range for the foreseeable future. We have some nice things, our kids know we’re debt free except for our 2 homes, and yet I say “no” plenty of times to things both large and small, which may confuse my kids. My younger son has tried to counter the argument a time or two with “…but we’re rich!” and I try to correct that quickly and simply say that we have ENOUGH. I have no idea where he got the “rich” feeling from because we are pretty careful with our words and actions as it relates to money. We’re still in the accumulation phase and are probably 8 years from my personal FI number.

The good part is that I know our kids feel secure. The questionable part is that they don’t yet understand the value of hard work, saving, investing, giving, etc. We have more work to do.

When I pushed back as a kid, my parents always explained that that the reason they had no debt, had enough, could afford emergencies, etc., was because they didn't buy me or themselves every cool toy that looked interesting.  They were very clear that the reason I couldn't have that toy was the same reason that they never once carried a balance on their credit cards--because they made careful decision with money.  They were very clear about making the connection that the reason they were financially stable (and could, in theory, afford the toy) was that they didn't just buy random things, no matter how cool they looked.

They never shared specifics about how much money they had, but they mentioned--early and often--that credit cards should never ever be used is there wasn't money to pay off the purchase immediately, that they only debt they had ever had was for a home purchase, and that saving money was a priority.