Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

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Jackson12
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by Jackson12 » Fri Mar 25, 2016 9:41 pm

I thought about my reply and realized that I have had some financial benefits which my parents lacked. They couldn't afford college when they were young adults and by the time they could they had children and my father couldn't stop working (mothers were expected to stay home with the kids back then).

They gave me a college education and many other opportunities. While my spouse and I never had high paying jobs the benefits essentially boosted our income a great deal. Our kids all got free tuition for undergraduate school (courtesy of my husband's employer) .

I can't even calculate how much we "earned" because of that. There is also a great retirement plan with a generous employer match, all pre-tax. We want for nothing even though our income appears -on paper- to be far less than many of our friends. We can't spend lavishly but we still go to concerts ( many free) , read the latest books (courtesy of the library) , and enjoy pitch in dinners with friends.

Love,laughter, good conversations, and a close knit family. These are priceless.

After they graduated, we had an honest talk with our sons and told them a super expensive school was not possible. Theynearned scholarships, including a Merit scholarship for the son who went to law school.

We are very proud of them and they constantly prove that they know how to save and invest wisely. They are earning far more than we did at their age. We think they will be farther ahead than us -over time.

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TXJuice
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by TXJuice » Fri Mar 25, 2016 9:46 pm

Millennial vs Younger Boomers- Numbers and education-wise, I would call it a tie. Subjectively, they win big time.
My dad came from very little with many obstacles - small town, large family, little income, loss of father at a young age; however, he worked himself through college + grad school.
My mom came from a little more, but was valedictorian of HS + grad school. She started and currently runs a successful business/practice.

I have the same education as my mother, but I will always consider their accomplishments (together/individually) as nothing less than sublime.

I am very lucky.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Fri Mar 25, 2016 11:25 pm

It depends very much upon how you slice it. Baby-boomer here who grew up in a poor region of the US.

There is no doubt that I saved more, have a better-assured retirement, and had far more leisure time at all stages of my life than my parents.

However, my parents had it far better financially than the vast majority of people their age in their community. I doubt that I rank so highly among my peers in my community.

And, regardless of how score is kept, I am confident that my parents' generation was indeed the greatest generation.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by MattE » Sat Mar 26, 2016 12:03 am

My parents were\are uneducated blue collar workers and were\are fiscally irresponsible dolts on top of that. At 27 I make more than both of them combined at any point in their lives and I'm pretty sure I passed their peak net worth within a year or two of graduating college. I'm the oldest of four, though, and the outlook for my siblings is less rosy. One of my sisters finishes college next month and is putting herself in position to do relatively well for herself long-term, but the current trajectory for the other two has them fitting right in with our parents.

Jackson12
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by Jackson12 » Sat Mar 26, 2016 3:36 am

MattE wrote:My parents were\are uneducated blue collar workers and were\are fiscally irresponsible dolts on top of that. At 27 I make more than both of them combined at any point in their lives and I'm pretty sure I passed their peak net worth within a year or two of graduating college. I'm the oldest of four, though, and the outlook for my siblings is less rosy. One of my sisters finishes college next month and is putting herself in position to do relatively well for herself long-term, but the current trajectory for the other two has them fitting right in with our parents.
It strikes me that many of the people responding in this thread seem to have had parents who didn"t mamage money well and -as a result - their children decided they wanted far more solid finances.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by basspond » Sat Mar 26, 2016 4:55 am

To make my mom happy, I will say me. My daughter had a class project and asked several people "What is their American Dream"? Unknown to either of us, my mom and I both answered that our children do better than we did. My parents have been retired for some time and have a pension that pays their bills, great medical coverage, their portfolio has at least quadroupled since retirement, and they have as much non liquid assets. This was done with one income and raising four children. We have more assets (both DW and I work) but like the saying goes "A bird in hand is worth two in the bush".

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by pennywise » Sat Mar 26, 2016 8:21 am

Such interesting responses. I'm a boomer with silent generation parents.

My father came from a family with no education but big dreams--my grandmother was a Southern mill worker who eventually became a labor organizer and leader. She insisted he get a college degree, and he then joined the military as an officer. Spent 25 years doing that and at retirement joined the administration of his last duty assignment, which was ROTC commander at a private university. He worked there 20 years and then retired from that. My mother had a high school diploma but never worked outside the house; she died when I was 19 YO. There were 6 of us kids and we always lived comfortably middle-class lives on his income in the Army. I know it was a tremendous boost financially that by the time college expenses loomed for all of us, he was working at one that offered a tuition benefit for dependents; he has said that some years his benefits far exceeded his salary :D and all of us have at least one college degree. My dad remarried to a retired college professor, who died recently. She was financially comfortable and they traveled extensively during the marriage, but did not commingle their estates and she left over $1 million to her two daughters. Dad is now 82 YO so with SS and largely thanks to a military officer's pension and medical coverage he is living a comfortable life. He has told me his annual income is ~$100K and he has long term care insurance and a paid off house that he may sell to move to something smaller now that he's alone.

My husband's parents both had college degrees but never made a lot of income. His father was a HS teacher and his mother only worked as a substitute teacher when they really needed money. FIL died many years ago and one huge lesson for me as a spouse was watching my MIL's shock and dismay when she discovered that without asking or telling her, he had chosen his teacher's pension option with no survivor benefit meaning she immediately lost the majority of her monthly income and also she no longer had any supplemental health care :( . Fortunately her own father was quite well off and because of a lifetime's worth of financial support and gifts from him plus a surprise inheritance from an aunt she cared for, my MIL lived comfortably in a paid off house in a very nice part of town for many years after his death. As she has aged and we know more about her financial status it has been astonishing to find out her actual annual income is <$25,000--pretty interesting for someone living in a house worth $800,000+. However she was a depression era baby and extremely frugal, self-sacrificing and modest in her needs/wants. She never trusted investing other than saving and putting money in CDs so she probably could have done far better but things turned out ok. She is now living in assisted living and her monthly income is exactly what the ALF costs so her financial status is stable; she has enough in savings that she will not outlive her assets even if she makes it to 100 (she's 92).

Husband and I both have good educations, master degree level for both of us. We work at the same university-the one my dad also worked for-and have each been employed as administrators for 30+ years. Got the same tuition benefit for our two kids so that was a big financial boost, although we sent them to private K-12 school knowing college was covered. None of our parents were big spendthrifts and both of us are cautious live below your means folks who each have DB pension plans and healthy 403b accounts. Our joint income is far, far more than any of our parents ever earned during their lives. Now at 62/58 YO we are financially independent and could retire any time, which probably is better than any of our 4 parents' could have done at the same ages. Still, in terms of living a comfortable life they all did fine and we do not foresee needing to provide financial support to either of the two survivors--although we could and would of course if necessary.

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market timer
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by market timer » Sat Mar 26, 2016 9:18 am

My parents are mid/late boomers and I'm late Gen X. On an inflation-adjusted basis, I believe our household incomes, circa age 35, are similar. They started working much earlier in life, just after high school. I didn't start working until my late 20s, so they got an early head start in terms of building up net worth. However, they were supporting 6 kids by age 35, so they were not able to save as much per year as I have been able to do, mostly without kids but now with one child.

From a financial perspective, I think our situations are similar at this age. However, from a risk perspective, I'm probably able to sleep much better at night. First, my background makes it much easier for me to find employment, while they had to rely on themselves as small business owners. Second, my and my wife's parents are much wealthier than their parents were. So, we have a safety net that they did not have at our age. Lastly, my fixed costs are extremely low. I could live on less than $20K/year easily.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by bloom2708 » Sat Mar 26, 2016 9:40 am

My parents (70/68) are straight out of the "Millionaire Next Door". They never made a combined income over $65k. Until 3 years ago they lived in their first house that they paid $10k for from my mom's grandma.

They saved and saved and saved. Very rarely traveling or making large purchases. They always bought used cars and drove them a long time. They helped pay for my sister's and my college. We each ended up with a small amount of planned student loans. So we could understand how debt works.

Now they are sitting on a nice nest egg (primarily at Edward Jones, they know about the fees) with questionable health. They don't know what to spend their money on. They did finally upgrade houses. They moved about 5 blocks to a one level nice house. That was a big win. They don't want to travel. They don't want new cars. I think they are stuck after living a life of frugality and saving. It is a common theme I read about.

My wife and I have had a much higher income. This has allowed us to save quite a bit and spend. At 45/46, part of me wishes we would have saved at a bit higher rate. Part of me can see us trending more toward my parents. I would like to travel more than they do and spend the winters in AZ.

In today's dollars, I'd say they were more prodigious savers than we have been. Finding that balance point seems to be the key.
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by RadAudit » Sat Mar 26, 2016 12:56 pm

Thanks to the OP for raising the question. I've thought about it for a while and have concluded that there is almost no way that I'll do as well as my parents, from a financial perspective.

Dad, born in 1918, was the youngest son of a sharecropper. After WWII, he worked as a bookkeeper until he was about 50 and then he bought a business. He retired 15 years later. When he died, he left Mom with enough money so she was able to live comfortably and leave her kids a modest inheritance. After being employed for 39 years, we're enjoying retirement, SS, a small pension, a little IRA and what's left of the small inheritance. However, on an inflation adjusted basis, if my wife lives a normal life span and continues to spend moderately after I die, the amount of money she'll leave our kids will be worth less than what my Mom left us.

But the jury is still out and back of the envelope calculations being what they are, I could be wrong. And, while it may appear that I'm ahead on points at this juncture, I figured the only fair comparison is how much is left over - on an inflation adjusted basis - after you finish the game
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by jarhead_jr » Sat Mar 26, 2016 8:07 pm

It's not even close by that's is because choices for us. Not economy. My mom was single parent working 3 jobs just to pay the bills from her early life poor decisions. She taught me many lessons through her life experience. The day I started high school she told me she had the expectation that I would go to college but she could not afford it. I was to fund my own through scholarships or go in the air force and she refused to let her only child join the military. My career had me earning more on day 1 than her highest grossing year with 3 jobs. She does get a state funded pens, but my net worth at age 31 far exceeds what she will ever have. Those early life choices count the most some times.

Now my wife's parents. That's a tough one. They were low income teachers in rural Midwest, but they were extremely frugal and invested wisely. I think there investments world or better than ours will.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by setmefree » Sat Mar 26, 2016 8:20 pm

BahamaMan wrote:
tennisplyr wrote:There's a lot written that the young folks today won't do as well as their parents did financially perhaps for the first time. I was wondering how you feel you are doing or have done compared to your parents? If you could explain why that would be helpful.
Asking this question of Bogelheads has a Big selection Bias.... The people that aren't doing that well, are working 2-3 jobs and don't have time for an internet Poll. The people here, are all interested in investing, which means they pretty much all have taken care of the Food, Clothing and Shelter issues.
This is a very good observation ! Understandings on this thread should keep this is mind before drawing conclusions.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by navyasw02 » Sat Mar 26, 2016 8:50 pm

At face value, I think this question is an easy answer. But given a historical perspective I'm not sure.

My parents started working in the late 60's, worked through the crazy 80's economy, and are now retired with pensions and some small 401k savings when that became the thing after defined benefits. They had enough money to buy a house, have a kid, and take a vacation to Europe every summer on the salary of a teacher and a police officer.

As for me, I started investing in 2000 and the market took a dump, then took a bigger dump in 2008. My townhouse I bought in 2005 took a dump. I dont feel like I can afford to have a house or a kid at this point in my life and I make more than my parents combined inflation adjusted as housing prices in the area I grew up are astronomically out of reach.

Who's really doing better?

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by IlliniDave » Sun Mar 27, 2016 6:21 am

It's difficult to compare because of very disparate goals. All I can say is that I have done differently then they have. My parents succeeded in the sense they have had the lifestyle they strove for. I'm on path to succeed relative to my goals. I have piled up more financial resources, and in some ways am more financially "sophisticated" (probably a dubious honor), but they never shared that drive.
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by Stormbringer » Sun Mar 27, 2016 9:43 am

Much, much better due to education and successful businesses.

My worry is for my daughter. She has grown up in a world of abundance, and despite the fact that she will emerge from college debt-free, I don't see her doing as well as us. I'm concerned how that will affect her.
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RobInCT
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by RobInCT » Sun Mar 27, 2016 10:58 am

Just barely an older millennial here with older boomer dad, mom 3 years younger--I was a later-in-life baby. I think I'm on track to do about as well as my parents did, though at this point I'm significantly behind where they were due in large part to the fact that graduate education, and the accompanying expense, was basically a necessity for me to have any hope of doing nearly as well as my parents, who both did very well with just bachelor's degrees. I realize some people do well today with only undergrad degrees, but I'm not an entrepreneur nor particularly STEM-gifted, so graduate school seemed like it was necessary for me.

Graduate degrees set both me and my partner (2 years younger, also an older millennial) back significantly, and although we've now both paid off our loans by aggressive early repayment, both lost income from those years and the loan repayment prevented us from getting the early jump on buying a house and accumulating non-retirement cash savings that my parents were able to do. We've also had to delay having kids for the same reason, though we intend to get a start on that in the near future and are crossing our fingers that we don't encounter any expense-creating issues on that front as a result of the delay.

To the extent that I end up not doing as well as my parents it will probably be because I have to save for my own retirement, and both of them have pretty generous pensions that pay all current living expenses and allow them to use their savings for non-necessities like such as, fortunately for me and my sister, paying for college educations for their children. On the other hand, neither of my parents inherited much from their parents, and my parents are currently in a position to leave a comfortable amount to their children if they choose to do so, and if they do so, it will improve my financial situation quite a bit.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by Sheepdog » Sun Mar 27, 2016 11:06 am

My parents, born in 1896 and 1902, never owned anything beyond a house, and they lost one and everything else in The Depression. My mother had an 8th grade education, but my father was a high school graduate (11 years back then.) They never owned an automobile in their lives. My Dad, who died in 1957, never saw that house paid for. He did not trust banks even. When Eisenhower was elected president, he took the few hundred dollars he had in the bank, and hid it at home, because he "knew a Republican would lead us into another Great Depression and the banks would fail again." My mother had about $1,000 in the bank when he died, I believe. However, when she died in 1995 she had accumulated about $50,000 in US Treasuries and $20,000 in CDs plus her paid-for home...an estate of about $100,000. I was surprised. Obviously, neither owned stocks.

Okay, lets look at my sister and me (still the older generation to most here), born in 1925 and 1933. My sister, who died in 1998, owned only a mobile home on a small lot as real estate in her life and had very little in the bank....no stocks, but occasional CDs. She inherited $50,000 from my mother in 1995, but had only about $10,000 in the bank when she died in 1998. She couldn't save. Invest? Of course not.

Here I am, finally, a family member with no debts, have a paid-for house and 2 autos and with more than adequate investments in stocks and bonds from which I am living very well.

Of course, I am financially better off than my parents, but I doubt if I have been more successful considering their background and problems.

Let me extend this conversation. How are my grown children doing financially compared to their parents? One is 52 and the other is 46. They both have paid for houses, multi cars. They have investments, but I don't have any idea how much, but I expect that they are accumulating a good amount. I imagine that when they retire they will have more than us and we are proud of them.
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by GKSD » Sun Mar 27, 2016 1:13 pm

Financially better than parents. Parents totally enabled me to achieve what I have today but they have left the mortal world and were not able to see what I have achieved. So bit sad about that. My father was a Math professor and Mother was a teacher.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by Sandi_k » Sun Mar 27, 2016 4:53 pm

They did better with real estate; I'm doing better with saving and investing. Both mom and dad were born pre-baby boom; I'm an old Gen X'er.

My dad was convinced he was smarter than the stock market, and got involved in complicated schemes about the time of the dot com bubble. My understanding is that he had a lot of options, and when they were called, he lost most of his retirement savings. He and my step-mom had to sell their house and downsize as a result. They bought a tiny home in town, which was humiliating to my step-mom after a 4 bedroom/3 bath house on 1+ acre lot. Over the next 15 years, they improved and flipped twice, finally ending up in a modest 2 bedroom home before he passed. My step-mom now takes care of my nephew, and my sister pays her for child care. She has some income, as my dad had a Navy pension. But it wasn't what she expected, marrying a dentist with his own thriving practice. Education: doctorate for him, high school and professional certification for her.

My mom has been a little less volatile. She worked as a nurse for years, and raised three kids. She remarried as well, and parlayed that marriage into a major step up the financial ladder. They sold a nice house in a good area (for 5 times what she paid for it), for another small home in Santa Barbara that was a probate sale. That house appreciated by 3x what they paid for it in 6 years, and they then built their own retirement home in a smaller town. She effectively retired at 60, when my stepdad had cancer, and then he died unexpectedly. She was left with a paid-for house, no retirement income aside from a $300 monthly pension, a small IRA (about $60k) and an annuity worth ~ $200k. She was able to claim reduced SS at 62, and she has military health care as a widow, which has been a huge help. But she doesn't have much margin, even with us sending her funds each month. Education: a two-year nursing degree for my mom, and a master's in engineering for my step-dad.

In contrast, our real estate gains have been more along 2-3x what we paid for our houses; we'll never see five-fold appreciation again, I think. But we've done well in buying low, improving the place and enjoying it while we have it. Neither of us got more than our bachelor's degree - we were pretty clear that more education was not something that would propel us further - earning a living and getting a house in our 20's would. So that's what we did.

So I've seen my grandma, my mom and my step-mom all living in straightened circumstances in their 60's and 70's, due to a combination of bad luck, limited savings, and death of a spouse. I've been an over-saver as a result, and I've stayed with a government job that has a pension - which also includes retiree medical. My retirement will be substantially better than theirs.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by jfn111 » Sun Mar 27, 2016 8:27 pm

It's an interesting question. Financially I'm at a place my parents never dreamed of but I think that's of little importance. My dad was a well respected political journalist but he was disabled when I was 8 due to a brain tumor caused my observing an above ground nuclear test. He was asked to report on it by the military. (He was in the national guard). My mother fought juvenile diabetes her entire life and was disabled by the time I was 10.
I'm pushing 60 in May and had a lifetime to accumulate when they didn't.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by AtlasShrugged? » Mon Mar 28, 2016 1:26 pm

tennisplyr....Thank you for posting a thought-provoking thread. I have read the replies, and I thank my lucky stars that I stumbled across this forum last year. The stories I have read, the advice I have received is a testament to the fundamental 'goodness' of this community.

First, I am Gen-X (at the start of Gen-X) - about to turn 50 (this week, in fact). Yay me!

Second, financially I am doing much better than my Mom (now dead for many years), simply because I stayed married. My parents divorced when I was young child. She went to school (paid for by my father), became a lab technologist, and worked that job until a car accident disabled her. Her life went downhill from there. She died broke, and in debt. Now my father remarried. In terms of income, I think it is a 'wash', with me nosing him out by a 'hair' (or two). In time, I am pretty sure I will surpass him on the income front. He has two pensions and social security. But not a lot in the way of investment assets (less than 100K). If things go according to my investment plan, I will 'blow him away' in terms of investment balance in about 12 years.....maybe sooner. I'll have a small non-COLA pension, SS, and an investment portfolio....assuming things go according to plan (which they rarely do)

Third, in my case, I made barely enough money for my wife to be a stay-at-home mom. That was a sacrifice (on her part, tossing her career) that I don't think I can adequately value. If I had it to do over again, I would have found a way for her to keep something part-time. I was young, dumb and not supportive enough. After the kids got out of primary school, she returned to work part-time, outside her field. It was never the same for her.

Fourth, I think I did better than my parents in some non-financial ways. I stayed married. Which might not count for much, but I think it is worth noting. In matters of the spirit, I also think I did much better. I regularly attend services (2X-3X weekly). My religion has been a source of strength and comfort - which they did not really have. Educationally, I did better - while my parents both had degrees, they did not get post-graduate degrees. I completed about 1/3rd of a Masters degree.

Last, and probably most important. I turned out 'Ok', and maybe marginally edge out my Dad....but I think my children will do much better. One is about to get his Masters degree, and the second is applying to enter Physical Therapy program (culminates in a doctorate). I think the arrows I am shooting will travel further.
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by psystal » Mon Mar 28, 2016 1:39 pm

snowman wrote:
BahamaMan wrote:
tennisplyr wrote:There's a lot written that the young folks today won't do as well as their parents did financially perhaps for the first time. I was wondering how you feel you are doing or have done compared to your parents? If you could explain why that would be helpful.
Asking this question of Bogelheads has a Big selection Bias.... The people that aren't doing that well, are working 2-3 jobs and don't have time for an internet Poll. The people here, are all interested in investing, which means they pretty much all have taken care of the Food, Clothing and Shelter issues.
Very good observation, BahamaMan. While I love reading threads like this one, it also helps to put things into perspective.
As an older Millenial, I'm marginally less well-off than my parents, although I suspect that after 20 years of leading a Boglehead lifestyle I'll make up the lost ground. My debt-to-income is substantially worse than when my parents were my age, which stings that much more knowing that my starting salary was only marginally higher than theirs in a similar field with equal levels of education. COL is also much higher than it was 30 years ago, especially relative to incomes. I live in the same metro area where I grew up, so I have a good idea of how far a dollar used to go.

I'm definitely in the minority among my peers, however. Most Millenials are far, far worse off than their parents in terms of income AND debt. The real crisis will start when we hit retirement, because we'll have spent a lifetime in positions with almost zero retirement benefits. Even when we get them, the options are - as we know here - generally very expensive and very bad. Imagine what it will look like to have an entire generation retiring on 401(k) plans that had an average match of less than 1%, when they spent the first 10-15 years of their careers paying off student loan debt, and only a small fraction of them own their homes (since they could never save enough for the down payment). It's going to be catastrophic.

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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by Carefreeap » Mon Mar 28, 2016 5:22 pm

Jackson12 wrote:
MattE wrote:My parents were\are uneducated blue collar workers and were\are fiscally irresponsible dolts on top of that. At 27 I make more than both of them combined at any point in their lives and I'm pretty sure I passed their peak net worth within a year or two of graduating college. I'm the oldest of four, though, and the outlook for my siblings is less rosy. One of my sisters finishes college next month and is putting herself in position to do relatively well for herself long-term, but the current trajectory for the other two has them fitting right in with our parents.
It strikes me that many of the people responding in this thread seem to have had parents who didn"t mamage money well and -as a result - their children decided they wanted far more solid finances.
Well when your stand out senior high school memory is making a five-hour round trip to deliver a cashier's check to keep the family home from being foreclosed on, you realize that not everyone lives the way your parents do.

And you aren't wrong to want to go to college.

My parents were/are financial trainwrecks. Mom died at age 70 with an estate that was upside down by almost $400k; a combination of home equity loans, cc debt and almost 40k in IRS debt. Dad has just turned 80 lives on SS on Medicaid and has no assets. My brother who is only 14 months younger than I am has a FICO score < 500, has nothing since he lost the (same!) family home to foreclosure about seven years ago. The house was purchased in 1963 and the property taxes were approximately $800/yr due to Prop 13. :oops: My father was making some snarky comment about my brother (they haven't talked in about four years) when I turned to him and said "What did he learn from you guys?"

My husband and I have done well for ourselves. We've worked hard, retired early, and have tried to keep our spending in check. We feel fortunate and grateful we have choices. Sometimes the best example is to not do what everyone else is doing!

mt
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by mt » Mon Mar 28, 2016 10:05 pm

As a physician, I am doing somewhat better than my engineer father financially when you compare us at various ages. That said, my parents have done very well and have a very comfortable retirement. They do not know what a Boglehead is, but they have lived below their means and been in indexed funds for the last decade or so. We both had three children, and my Mom and my wife did not work.

My Dad traveled on business a lot, and was gone 2-3 night per week. I take call, and sometimes have to work in the middle of the night. I would rather take call than travel.

One last comment. A number new physicians in my practice have a crushing amount of educational debt (300K or more). Younger physicians are starting out in a bigger hole than docs my age (50), and will get a later start at accumulating assets.

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wander
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by wander » Mon Mar 28, 2016 10:12 pm

My parents were way more successful. They owned business and were among few richest people in our town.

10YearPlan
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by 10YearPlan » Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:39 am

Crow Hunter wrote:Financially, yes, based on the sound financial principles that my parents gave me on top of inheriting a not insignificant (to me) sum from them.

Otherwise, no. My Dad was the son of a carpenter and the first in his family to graduate high school and my Mom was the daughter of an alcoholic/abusive share cropper that never even owned the homes they lived in. They both managed to land very good union jobs with a mega-corp and raised myself and my brother without real wants (too many toys and 2 vacations a year minimum) and helped us graduate college debt free.

I don't have that kind of grit. My "starter home" was nicer than the house I grew up in and I don't know what it is like to chop/pick cotton or go to be hungry or use an outhouse in the winter or have no electricity.

I can only barely remember only having 3 channels on an aerial antenna.

I can never live up to my parents example.

ETA. Based on my Father's extreme artistic talent (all self taught) and the fact my Mom tested out at an over genius level IQ, if they had the same opportunities that I had growing up, I would only be a dim shadow of their brilliance. For example, my Father saw a bas-relief one time on an archaeology documentary we were watching and decided he wanted to try it. I was really into pirates and sailing ships, so within a few days, I had a nearly photo realistic bas-relief of a sailing ship carved into a piece of scrap wood. I can't even comprehend how to even start.

ETA2: I'm Gen X and my parents were born during WW II.
I logged in just to reply to your post. This is a lovely, touching tribute to your parents and proof they did a good job in raising you. Your story gave me chills.

10YearPlan
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by 10YearPlan » Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:56 am

I am going to go with mixed bag.

My parents did not go to college (well, my dad did but he did not graduate and my mom was from a family where that was not even a consideration for women). Dad was in sales but (sorry, Dad) was not very good at it. He was a stubborn guy who didn't like to schmooze, and didn't really have a great work ethic, so, I am not really sure how he managed to be employed at all. However, he did make some real estate investments and also was a miserly saver, so on that front he did okay. Mom had a relatively low-paying secretarial job while she was employed, with a few years of being a stay at home mom and/or PT work thrown in there. Together they did not make a lot of income, but we lived below our means nonetheless. Dad was forced into retirement in his early 50s and was able to make it work because of those real estate investments. Both parents died a few years ago and left behind some money, despite my mom having a long term illness and having to live in a home for 3+ years toward the end.

Like another poster, my parents (dad really, mom didn't have as much of a say) did not believe in college. So, even though I was pretty bright, college was not a given. I went to college anyway, but it was a battle to graduate, honestly. Had to work a lot in school--and graduated in 5 years while working FT through most of it. I even opened a credit card once so I could pay my tuition the next week. Not ideal, but I wouldn't change a thing as it led to my current career. I am doing much better income-wise than my parents and married someone with equal earning potential and goals. But on the saving/investing and living frugally part, I can't say I am doing as well, proportionately. And I am more than okay with that. I work hard so I can spend money on vacations and travel and experiences I never had growing up. And we intend to pay for most, if not all, of our kids' college educations. I hope to leave some money for the kids someday but will not sacrifice all enjoyment in the here and now to leave millions behind.

poker27
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by poker27 » Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:18 am

Leaps and bounds better than my folks.

I was raised by my grandparents, and I think a lack of education/knowledge, back luck, health issues, and life events were all reasons due to their lack of financial success. We spent the majority of my childhood on food stamps and always had final notice bills stacked up.

Knock on wood, I've been fairly lucky, busted my azz from a young age, and never went overly into debt. I dont make a decent living, but if they knew how much I was making they would think I'm rich.

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femur
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by femur » Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:06 pm

Great thread! I thought adding my own data point here would help me clarify my own thoughts.

My parents are boomers (1951 and 1953) and I am an early millennial born in 1982. We are from the Midwest.

My father got a mathematics degree (before programming was an offered major at his university) and was a programmer for many years until he got his MBA (payed for by employer) and moved up the management route. He retired as a CIO of a bank last year. I don't know specifics but I know he received large stock options and bonuses throughout his career. My mother was mostly a stay at home mom but also a special education teacher starting when i was 10. She also has her masters degree.

They are both financially very well off with pensions, great 401k/IRA holdings, a vacation home along with their condo and travel quite a bit.

I started on a similar trajectory as my father but developed very deep and specialized technical knowledge and decided not to go into management. My salary is about as high as my fathers near the end of his career but I wont get stock options or bonuses since I am not going into management. I will not seek a masters degree because it would cost me at least $50,000.

I am making very different choices than my parents. My wife and I live very frugally and are choosing not to have kids. Our spending is and will continue to be very different than my parents who bought a home in a very nice suburb and always had new cars; i've never spent more than $5,000 on a car. I am certain that my investments are at least 5 times greater than my parents had at my age. I dont think my peak net worth will every be as high as theirs on an inflation adjusted basis.

In all, I would say I have have similar opportunities as my parents but made very different choices and live a different lifestyle. The biggest benefit that my parents have that I wont is a very low-cost education and a nice defined-benefit pension.

The last item i would like to note is that both sets of my grandparents were very hard hit by the depression as children and grew up very poor in midwest farming communities. My parents far and away were better off than their parents.

kaudrey
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by kaudrey » Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:20 am

Our lives are very different. My dad was the sole breadwinner, a successful engineer, and we lived a very nice, middle-class life (2 kids, white picket fence, blah blah blah). He retired at 57 (20 years ago), and they are doing fine. They won't run out of money.

My DH and I both work, make good money, don't have kids, etc. We, like my parents, save a good portion of our income, and also plan to retire when I am 57.

At 47, we have more money than my parents ever did, so I guess we have done better. But, in the end, we all have been able to lead lives with which we are very happy, and that is what is important to me.

Crow Hunter
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by Crow Hunter » Thu Mar 31, 2016 9:47 am

10YearPlan wrote:
Crow Hunter wrote:Financially, yes, based on the sound financial principles that my parents gave me on top of inheriting a not insignificant (to me) sum from them.

Otherwise, no. My Dad was the son of a carpenter and the first in his family to graduate high school and my Mom was the daughter of an alcoholic/abusive share cropper that never even owned the homes they lived in. They both managed to land very good union jobs with a mega-corp and raised myself and my brother without real wants (too many toys and 2 vacations a year minimum) and helped us graduate college debt free.

I don't have that kind of grit. My "starter home" was nicer than the house I grew up in and I don't know what it is like to chop/pick cotton or go to be hungry or use an outhouse in the winter or have no electricity.

I can only barely remember only having 3 channels on an aerial antenna.

I can never live up to my parents example.

ETA. Based on my Father's extreme artistic talent (all self taught) and the fact my Mom tested out at an over genius level IQ, if they had the same opportunities that I had growing up, I would only be a dim shadow of their brilliance. For example, my Father saw a bas-relief one time on an archaeology documentary we were watching and decided he wanted to try it. I was really into pirates and sailing ships, so within a few days, I had a nearly photo realistic bas-relief of a sailing ship carved into a piece of scrap wood. I can't even comprehend how to even start.

ETA2: I'm Gen X and my parents were born during WW II.
I logged in just to reply to your post. This is a lovely, touching tribute to your parents and proof they did a good job in raising you. Your story gave me chills.
Thank you, they were the greatest parents that I could have ever asked for and were excellent role models. I miss them every day.

kd2008
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by kd2008 » Thu Mar 31, 2016 10:06 am

Pardon me, but I do not get these stories. Correct me if I am wrong: Does the title of the question imply this? If your parents were financially X in relation to their cohorts, are you greater than X (appropriately adjusted to now) in relation to your cohorts.

I do not understand the point of saying life was hard (lack of convenience or opportunities) back then primarily due to technology or the society in general was less educated and then making a deferential statement towards your parents.

Comparison to parents is always biased in deferential terms and not objective terms. So it always better to compare to your cohorts aka keeping with the Jones's. Just kidding. :)

Given the day-to-day conveniences alone, I would say my life is less stressful than my parents. Financially, I would say I am lagging given that I have way more education than them (aka my pay premium has not materialized for the extra education). But in absolute terms, I have earned more money in my short career of less than a decade than they have in their entire lifetime. I am forever grateful to my parents for giving me opportunities that in hindsight cost arm and a leg - a computer, a bike to commute, tutoring when I was lagging behind, and for putting up with all other teenagy things we all do as young invincibles with the world at the tip of our nose.

MathWizard
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by MathWizard » Thu Mar 31, 2016 10:32 pm

We are doing better than either set of parents, especially so on my side, where
there is basically no comparison.

My wife and I moved from poor and lower middle class resp.
to upper middle class in both income and wealth.

Our kids may do better than us. I hope so, but the bar is higher for them.

Bekki
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by Bekki » Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:34 am

We are on track to do considerably better than our parents.

My parents raised seven kids on a single, low income. They utilized debt (a lot of it) to get by. I don't think there has ever been a time that my parents have had anything in savings, besides any mandatory contributions to retirement.

My dad makes a really good salary now, and all of the kids are grown and out of the house. But they still have a lot of debt to contend with. They have also co-signed for HUNDREDS of thousands of dollars worth of student loans for my siblings. While the siblings are responsible to pay everything, themselves, my parents are most certainly on the hook if any are unable or unwilling to pay.

My dad confided in me recently that he loses sleep over the fact that he is 55 years old and only has $30,000 saved for retirement.


My husband's dad is better off, but not by much. He worked his way up to a decent income, but neither of my in-laws believed in saving or investing. Mother-in-law was a chronic spender and built up lots of secret debt, which wasn't discovered until she passed away a few years ago. Father-in-law is very frugal, but has no savings. His house was paid off, but he had to take a significant HELOC to pay for a much-needed divorce. He is 64, with maybe $150,000 to his name (and that's all equity in his house).

My husband and I both made education and career choices that intentionally steered clear of hefty student loans. At 40(him) and 32(her), we are debt from but for a mortgage, and regularly saving a significant chunk of our income for retirement. We got somewhat of a late start, and while our current net worth doesn't exceed his father's, we will surpass him fairly quickly.

We've both been inspired by our parents' scary financial situations to be very frugal and save, save, save.

AndrewS
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Re: Financially, how have you done/doing vs. your parents?

Post by AndrewS » Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:22 pm

Interesting discussion and one I've thought a lot about.

I'm mid-30s and am doing better than my parents. My two siblings are doing worse. I got a PhD in physics and have been a research scientist and steadily employed all my adult life. My early 60s parents worked in IT in a LCOL area and hit employment problems once they hit their 50s. My father was effectively retired at 51 due to an inability to find a job in his field. When my grandmother died a few years ago, they used their inheritance to buy rental property and this provides the bulk of their income.

My grandparents did pretty well and better than my parents. On a single income they lived in a nice house on one income and my grandfather retired at 51 when he sold his business. He was quite intelligent but did not have a college diploma. I live in a HCOL area and to me it seems my standard of living is below my grandparents.

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