Helping adult children

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Swimmer
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Helping adult children

Post by Swimmer » Sun Apr 23, 2017 3:15 pm

Ok, I read Beyond the Grave and am feeling a bit guilty. Here's our situation...we have two sons. Both are engineers and doing well in their careers. Son 1 has 3 active children and a stay-at-home wife who is a wonderful mom. Son 2 is married and his wife has an excellent career. They have no children.

Son 1 has a lot of expenses, particularly with the children's many activities. We have been helping them with the many expenses related to activities as well as dental expenses and major home repairs . We have also set up generous 529 accounts for the grandchildren.

Son 2, while we've never disclosed the amount of help we give Son 1's family, tells us he has "plenty of money" and doesn't want any help from us. We have told him about the 529s and assured him that if he has children, we would take care of them equally. We told him if he ever has an emergency, we're here to help.

I'd love to hear comments from folks who may be in a similar situation. Do you feel it's necessary to let Son 2 specifics as to how you are helping Son 1's family. Is it really any of his business while we are still alive?

FWIW, everything is 50/50 wrt our estate. Also, we paid their educational expenses and they both graduated debt free.

DiMAn0684
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by DiMAn0684 » Sun Apr 23, 2017 3:19 pm

Far from being in your situation, but I'd be perfectly fine if my parents decided to help my brother out financially and support my nephews / nieces (assuming brother is not a deadbeat).

jebmke
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by jebmke » Sun Apr 23, 2017 3:20 pm

No personal experience to relate but I have friends with similar circumstances. They adjust the 50/50 to reflect assistance given to one child as if it were an advance of inheritance.
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SecretAsianMan
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by SecretAsianMan » Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:09 pm

jebmke wrote:No personal experience to relate but I have friends with similar circumstances. They adjust the 50/50 to reflect assistance given to one child as if it were an advance of inheritance.
This makes the most sense to me. Fairest way to do it.

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Alexa9
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by Alexa9 » Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:40 pm

I would give them each an equal amount. I wouldn't punish one son for not having kids. An early inheritance when kids are young and need it most is often better than when they're successful and don't need it. However, if neither of them need it or want it, then I don't see any reason to give it to them.

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WoodSpinner
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by WoodSpinner » Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:56 pm

Swimmer,

For years. my parents faced a similar question. In our case my DS and her family needed extra help (2 kids). My DB and I knew about it (high level) and didn't feel slighted in any way. Both of us and our families were doing well and didn't need the extra assistance Not only did my parents provide extra help, they shifted the will to give more to my DS since they needed it more.

Fast forward-- my niece and nephew have both completed advanced degrees and are launched Now the plan has shifted to more of a straight division between the siblings and a pot for my niece and nephew. I think it's worked great and don't begrudge them a thing.

So here is a question? Why the post? Any question you made the right decision?

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Kenkat
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by Kenkat » Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:56 pm

The other option is to tell son #2 that you know he doesn't need the money but it's a gift that we want to give you. He can save it, spend it, give it to charity - whatever - but here it is.

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randomizer
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by randomizer » Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:02 pm

Kenkat wrote:The other option is to tell son #2 that you know he doesn't need the money but it's a gift that we want to give you. He can save it, spend it, give it to charity - whatever - but here it is.
I like that idea.
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mac808
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by mac808 » Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:04 pm

It sounds like your sons are both mature and well-adjusted (congrats), so I would be as transparent as possible with them. If someone has an issue, let them raise it, make their arguments, and propose a solution. I think it's reasonable to "true up" son #2 who might not need as much help, and keep things 50/50. Ask son #2 how he wants to handle it. For what it's worth, I have the fewest kids (0) of all my siblings, but I think it's reasonable to exclude direct costs spent on the grandchildren (e.g. 529s) from these calculations, assuming it's a relatively small % of the estate (<10%).

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Re: Helping adult children

Post by RadAudit » Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:13 pm

I was once told - and I believe - that while you may not be keeping score, you're children are. I'd make every effort to even up the funds dispersed to date to 50 / 50 between the children and go 50 / 50 thereafter.

I would seek to avoid the perception that one child won the grandchildren lottery and the other didn't in the dispersal of funds.

I have two children. One has all the grandchildren, to date. DD, of course, has child related expenses and money is tight. For DS - well money is just tight. But, I try to make the annual dispersal of funds equal up - hopefully on an annual basis. I do not tell either one how much the other is being helped. While I don't believe it is their business to know precisely how DW and I disperse funds, if they can't figure it out before I transition maybe I'll leave a note for them to read after I'm gone. On the other hand, if they are going to fight about something perceived - as opposed to actual - differences are as good as any other thing to fight over.
Last edited by RadAudit on Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Swimmer
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by Swimmer » Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:22 pm

WoodSpinner wrote:Swimmer,

For years. my parents faced a similar question. In our case my DS and her family needed extra help (2 kids). My DB and I knew about it (high level) and didn't feel slighted in any way. Both of us and our families were doing well and didn't need the extra assistance Not only did my parents provide extra help, they shifted the will to give more to my DS since they needed it more.

Fast forward-- my niece and nephew have both completed advanced degrees and are launched Now the plan has shifted to more of a straight division between the siblings and a pot for my niece and nephew. I think it's worked great and don't begrudge them a thing.

So here is a question? Why the post? Any question you made the right decision?

Yes, that's why the post. I'm torn as to whether we are doing the fair thing helping the grands. :confused maybe I'm over analyzing.

Lexi
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by Lexi » Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:22 pm

I believe that equals should be treated equally unless there are true special needs or major differences in personal character. You cannot know how the future will develop. "Beyond the Grave" gives many examples to support this view. Giving generous gifts to grandchildren, including funding 529s, lies outside of the division between your children but I don't see why you would provide other support to one able-bodied child who is doing well in his career without providing equal benefit to the other.

Swimmer
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by Swimmer » Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:25 pm

RadAudit wrote:I was once told - and I believe - that while you may not be keeping score, you're children are. I'd make every effort to even up the funds dispersed to date to 50 / 50 between the children and go 50 / 50 thereafter.

I would seek to avoid the perception that one child won the grandchildren lottery and the other didn't in the dispersal of funds.

I have two children. One has all the grandchildren, to date. DD, of course, has child related expenses and money is tight. For DS - well money is just tight. But, I try to make the annual dispersal of funds equal up - hopefully on an annual basis. I do not tell either one how much the other is being helped.

I value your response as well as the others. Thank you.

LarryAllen
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by LarryAllen » Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:26 pm

Start a 529 for kid 2 with him as bene and then switch the bene to future grandkids when they have kids. If they don't have kids they can use the money by merely paying the penalty fee which isn't that big of a deal.

Swimmer
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by Swimmer » Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:28 pm

LarryAllen wrote:Start a 529 for kid 2 with him as bene and then switch the bene to future grandkids when they have kids. If they don't have kids they can use the money by merely paying the penalty fee which isn't that big of a deal.
Thanks...actually we have done this.

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KlingKlang
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by KlingKlang » Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:49 pm

Swimmer,

If I was in your situation I think that I would handle everything exactly as you have.

Most of the responders seem to consider grandchildren as sub-units of children. The way that I would think about this is that you have 5 descendants: 2 children and 3 grandchildren. If you wish to provide equal aid to each of your descendants that sounds completely reasonable to me.

As far as informing each descendant of each penny of aid that you give to each of the others this would cause WWIII in my family, but I understand that family dynamics differ.

maroon
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by maroon » Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:56 pm

My parents contributed $0 toward my college education, $0 toward one sibling's college education, and a large five-figure sum toward another sibling's college education. Am I resentful? No. Regarding an inheritance, my parents claim we kids should not expect any. So there's that. (I always chortle at the various "how should I investi my million dollar inheritance" threads.)

In the OP's situation: If I were the OP, I wouldn't diclose to kid # 2 the full details of helping kid #1. But if I were kid #2, I woudn't mind my parents giving kid #1 some extra financial support if needed.

MathWizard
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by MathWizard » Sun Apr 23, 2017 8:30 pm

My sister needed help, and got some from my mother though that was limited. I did not need the help.

Fine with me. It was my mother's money, what right would I have to tell her how to use it?

In your case, it appears that you are helping YOUR GRANDKIDS, not your one son. I'm sure you
would do the same for other son.

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TxAg
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by TxAg » Sun Apr 23, 2017 8:48 pm

As someone who is probably the same age as your children, I would say don't give me a dime unless I'm somehow in dire straits.

If you want to split it 50/50 when you pass then fine, but while you're on this Earth I wouldn't want one penny of your money. I understand the 529 approach, and that might be the one exception if you really felt strongly about it....I only say that because I could see doing it for my grandkids.

If my sibling felt differently, I wouldn't hold it against him or you, but I prefer to stand on my own two feet.

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Re: Helping adult children

Post by Katietsu » Sun Apr 23, 2017 10:48 pm

It sounds like the sons are OK with it. Do what is right for you and do not stress. I think every option proposed here is reasonable. Reading between the lines , I believe that my MIL has provided assistance to her son #2 when the grandkids were young and the jobs transistioning. Do not know the details, and my DH and I do not feel it was/is any of our business. I think we would only feel bad about it if we were treated differently in a similar circumstance. Otherwise, I am glad we have never needed the help.

Nate79
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by Nate79 » Sun Apr 23, 2017 11:46 pm

My sisters are not as financially well off as me and thus my parents have helped them out over the years. I always tell them that I do not need assistance and that it does not bother me at all. Recently they gave me a gift to kind of make it even for which I was appreciative but told them they didn't have to do it. I guess it depends on the family but in my family I want to see us all succeed and taken care of. So if someone needs help we make sure they are taken care of.

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Oak&Elm
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by Oak&Elm » Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:34 pm

I grew up with a sister who lived off my parents until the day they died. My second sister and I estimated she mooched about $300k over a 30 year period. It sickens me to even think about how she blew my parents hard earned money. I too have read Beyond the Grave, great book, must read. All I can say from my perspective is keep it equal, the son who gets less may or may not be keeping track. If you want to help out the son with kids God bless you, it's your money to spend/give whatever. Just give son #2 the same amount and let me add, at the same time. This is fair and should help keep your sons friends long after your gone.

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Re: Helping adult children

Post by daveydoo » Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:12 pm

Swimmer wrote: I'd love to hear comments from folks who may be in a similar situation. Do you feel it's necessary to let Son 2 specifics as to how you are helping Son 1's family. Is it really any of his business while we are still alive?
Fair is fair, irrespective of what one needs. I see no health- or safety-related emergency here.

Twenty years ago, for no good reason at all, my Dad (and Mom) gave each of the kids a few thousand dollars. It wasn't a check -- it was money that was invested by his (then) broker in his pre-BH-like days. It was in the hands of a value-tilted manager and we were grateful to have it. It went up and down and eventually we all co-mingled it with our own (much larger) brokerage accounts. Fast-forward two decades and we were sitting around reminiscing about this inexplicable gift and one sib looks puzzled and says "I never got that!" We all knew there's no way that Mom and Dad would have left this one out. So we combed through the old paper records until we found the date of the gift. The one sib says "Hey, that's when I bought my house!" So Mom and Dad had helped one kid (a little) with down payment -- unbeknownst to the rest of us -- and simultaneously set a comparable amount aside for each of the other kids. That's just how they were.

"Making it up" decades later when the estate is settled has no meaning -- what's the expected rate of return on these $ that one brother gets and the other one doesn't?

Now, if this were a special-needs case -- one child or grandchild had special needs -- then I think an exception is easy and I would be candid with the other child. But so far you're only taking about life-style-related choices. We all take fewer vacations when we have kids -- that hardly makes us charity cases.

Imo, you can't count on the not-in-need child to say "I'm not OK with this." But he won't be OK with this, and he shouldn't be. There will be posters who say this is your decision and your money and it's no one's business. That would make sense if you were a stranger. But you can also hug one kid every night and not the other, and that's also your decision and no one's business -- but still a bad idea.
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:20 pm

SecretAsianMan wrote:
jebmke wrote:No personal experience to relate but I have friends with similar circumstances. They adjust the 50/50 to reflect assistance given to one child as if it were an advance of inheritance.
This makes the most sense to me. Fairest way to do it.
+1 - put the $ in a segregated account, give it to child when time comes or P.O.D. and letter explaining it to child. Make sure child 1 knows why. Fair is fair, no matter what.
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bubbadog
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by bubbadog » Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:25 pm

Keep it simple. You have two independent adult children . Try to keep it close to even if at all possible.

Gnirk
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by Gnirk » Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:33 pm

I have helped each of my adult children at different times, for (very good) different reasons. And I have always gifted the other one with an equal amount during the same time period to keep it fair.

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Re: Helping adult children

Post by Steelersfan » Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:52 pm

Three kids, two married with children, one not married and no children. All financially stable and similar financial circumstances. I've always (see below) given them the same amount each year.

The one exception was when one of them (one of the married ones) got sick and couldn't work for more than a year. I gave him extra (quite a bit actually) to cover part of his living and medical expenses and never told the others. I"m sure they would have thought that was entirely appropriate, and I would do the same for any of them in a similar situation today.

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Re: Helping adult children

Post by 10YearPlan » Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:59 pm

Another vote for keeping it as even as possible to prevent the potential build up of resentment. To make it easier for you, maybe just do a set amount as a gift each year to both, proactively, and that's it. This will also potentially help the son who does need your help to "make do" with that annual gift vs. seeing you as a go-to source for whatever, whenever. Not saying this is the case, but you never know.

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warowits
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by warowits » Mon Apr 24, 2017 7:12 pm

I am in my early 30s, and my parents have 5 adult children, many of whom have been helped out financially at one time or another. The idea that they would give me money to make it 'even' when one of my brothers needed help is insulting. I am an adult. I have no claim to my parents money. They can spend it how they like, 1/5th of it isn't mine.
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by RadAudit » Mon Apr 24, 2017 7:15 pm

daveydoo wrote:Fast-forward two decades and we were sitting around reminiscing about this inexplicable gift and one sib looks puzzled and says "I never got that!" We all knew there's no way that Mom and Dad would have left this one out.
Glad things turned out OK; but, it sort of reinforces another thing I've been told. When siblings meet at the reading of the will, they are no longer siblings. They are people dividing up money.
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RadAudit
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by RadAudit » Mon Apr 24, 2017 7:31 pm

warowits wrote:I am an adult. I have no claim to my parents money. They can spend it how they like, 1/5th of it isn't mine.
Actually, a very mature and healthy idea. Wish everyone thought along similar lines on this topic.

But, I've seen too many cases where the division wasn't equal and someone got their feelings hurt - even when the parents thought their plan for division of the funds was for the best of reasons.
FI is the best revenge. LBYM. Invest the rest. Stay the course. - PS: The Calvary isn't coming, kids. You are on your own.

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gasdoc
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by gasdoc » Mon Apr 24, 2017 7:45 pm

My mother has helped my sister and me at different times. Most significantly, she paid $100K for college educations for each of us, but only expected repayment from me. Why? Because I had a much higher income than Sis did. Did I think this was unfair? No, because neither Mom nor Sis had great financial resources compared to my relatively large income after residency. Mom's current will treats us equally with no "catch up," which is what I recommended to her.

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btenny
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by btenny » Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:10 pm

I have a very similar situation with my kids and grand kids. The son with two kids has less $$ from his career and more bills. So I give him stuff occasionally. Right now I try to treat both kids equally with money even though one has more need. We give them similar amounts. They get along great and I want it to stay that way. TBD what we will do as the grand kids get older and need school money. I guess I will address that issue when we get there.

Good Luck.

blueman457
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by blueman457 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:12 pm

RadAudit wrote:
warowits wrote:I am an adult. I have no claim to my parents money. They can spend it how they like, 1/5th of it isn't mine.
Actually, a very mature and healthy idea. Wish everyone thought along similar lines on this topic.

But, I've seen too many cases where the division wasn't equal and someone got their feelings hurt - even when the parents thought their plan for division of the funds was for the best of reasons.
I view time/money as a proxy of what people value. If they value xyz, then they will spend more time and/or money on it. And while a child A cannot lay claim to parents' money, if the parent gives more time/money to child B, child A may feel slighted because parents are viewing child B as "more important" than child A.

I vote for 50/50. Is there anyway for you to give Son 2 any money? Maybe chip in for pay for a vacation they've been wanting to go on?

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delamer
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by delamer » Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:29 pm

daveydoo wrote:
Swimmer wrote: I'd love to hear comments from folks who may be in a similar situation. Do you feel it's necessary to let Son 2 specifics as to how you are helping Son 1's family. Is it really any of his business while we are still alive?
Fair is fair, irrespective of what one needs. I see no health- or safety-related emergency here.

Twenty years ago, for no good reason at all, my Dad (and Mom) gave each of the kids a few thousand dollars. It wasn't a check -- it was money that was invested by his (then) broker in his pre-BH-like days. It was in the hands of a value-tilted manager and we were grateful to have it. It went up and down and eventually we all co-mingled it with our own (much larger) brokerage accounts. Fast-forward two decades and we were sitting around reminiscing about this inexplicable gift and one sib looks puzzled and says "I never got that!" We all knew there's no way that Mom and Dad would have left this one out. So we combed through the old paper records until we found the date of the gift. The one sib says "Hey, that's when I bought my house!" So Mom and Dad had helped one kid (a little) with down payment -- unbeknownst to the rest of us -- and simultaneously set a comparable amount aside for each of the other kids. That's just how they were.

"Making it up" decades later when the estate is settled has no meaning -- what's the expected rate of return on these $ that one brother gets and the other one doesn't?

Now, if this were a special-needs case -- one child or grandchild had special needs -- then I think an exception is easy and I would be candid with the other child. But so far you're only taking about life-style-related choices. We all take fewer vacations when we have kids -- that hardly makes us charity cases.

Imo, you can't count on the not-in-need child to say "I'm not OK with this." But he won't be OK with this, and he shouldn't be. There will be posters who say this is your decision and your money and it's no one's business. That would make sense if you were a stranger. But you can also hug one kid every night and not the other, and that's also your decision and no one's business -- but still a bad idea.
Very eloquently said. The last paragraph makes an important point.

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Re: Helping adult children

Post by Dottie57 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:36 pm

My dad bought ee bonds to finance a portion of my nephews collage education. Nephew had about 22k a year for college at age 18. My parents told me about their idea, I encouraged it. They later gave me the same initial amount even after being told it was bot necessary. Circumstances are different between siblings. Parental money is theirs to give to where they desire.

My Aunt had a child with leukemia in the 60's. Grandpa helped them out which was very good. Not my mom and dad's business.

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warowits
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by warowits » Tue Apr 25, 2017 1:29 am

daveydoo wrote:
Swimmer wrote: I'd love to hear comments from folks who may be in a similar situation. Do you feel it's necessary to let Son 2 specifics as to how you are helping Son 1's family. Is it really any of his business while we are still alive?
Fair is fair, irrespective of what one needs. I see no health- or safety-related emergency here.

...

Imo, you can't count on the not-in-need child to say "I'm not OK with this." But he won't be OK with this, and he shouldn't be. There will be posters who say this is your decision and your money and it's no one's business. That would make sense if you were a stranger. But you can also hug one kid every night and not the other, and that's also your decision and no one's business -- but still a bad idea.
I strongly disagree with this sentiment. Money does not equal hugs, or love. The OP is an adult, who can spend their money however they want. I seriously doubt their son will even care, because he is also a grownup.
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by msk » Tue Apr 25, 2017 4:16 am

I have 4 kids but two are still in college. I have paid for all their college educations, very generously compared to actual needs of a college student. But the eldest works, her husband works (a Vice President in a medium sized company) and they have 3 kids. Good jobs; but they always seem to have this impoverished attitude (e.g. purchasing second hand clothes for the kids) and sort of expecting help from grand parents (her husband's dad is 8-figure wealthy so he also chips in). So I help them with vacations, around $10k annually for tickets to faraway places. Second kid is a divorcee with 2 kids but ex-husband maintains his kids very well and treats his ex-wife well, though not court-obligated to support her (I never understood why they got divorced...). Anyway this 2nd daughter, unemployed, always takes her vacations 1st Class, so I feel silly offering her $10k (does not even cover her one-way air fare!). I do not travel 1st Class myself. Nevertheless I still feel guilty about my lop-sided gifts between my 2 eldest kids. Perhaps it's just the adage: you'll spend the most on the least deserving kid :(

minimalistmarc
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by minimalistmarc » Tue Apr 25, 2017 4:22 am

Wow, that is some major economic life support. I have never heard of adults giving their grown up kids money to go on vacation.

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gasdoc
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by gasdoc » Tue Apr 25, 2017 6:49 am

msk wrote:I have 4 kids but two are still in college. I have paid for all their college educations, very generously compared to actual needs of a college student. But the eldest works, her husband works (a Vice President in a medium sized company) and they have 3 kids. Good jobs; but they always seem to have this impoverished attitude (e.g. purchasing second hand clothes for the kids) and sort of expecting help from grand parents (her husband's dad is 8-figure wealthy so he also chips in). So I help them with vacations, around $10k annually for tickets to faraway places. Second kid is a divorcee with 2 kids but ex-husband maintains his kids very well and treats his ex-wife well, though not court-obligated to support her (I never understood why they got divorced...). Anyway this 2nd daughter, unemployed, always takes her vacations 1st Class, so I feel silly offering her $10k (does not even cover her one-way air fare!). I do not travel 1st Class myself. Nevertheless I still feel guilty about my lop-sided gifts between my 2 eldest kids. Perhaps it's just the adage: you'll spend the most on the least deserving kid :(
I have to say- I really have a hard time understanding why you would feel the need to give any of your children money for $10K vacations. Our DD will be getting that kind of money for support while she is a student, but that will be her total spending money. To each his own, I suppose.

gasdoc

jlcnuke
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by jlcnuke » Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:01 am

warowits wrote:
daveydoo wrote:
Swimmer wrote: I'd love to hear comments from folks who may be in a similar situation. Do you feel it's necessary to let Son 2 specifics as to how you are helping Son 1's family. Is it really any of his business while we are still alive?
Fair is fair, irrespective of what one needs. I see no health- or safety-related emergency here.

...

Imo, you can't count on the not-in-need child to say "I'm not OK with this." But he won't be OK with this, and he shouldn't be. There will be posters who say this is your decision and your money and it's no one's business. That would make sense if you were a stranger. But you can also hug one kid every night and not the other, and that's also your decision and no one's business -- but still a bad idea.
I strongly disagree with this sentiment. Money does not equal hugs, or love. The OP is an adult, who can spend their money however they want. I seriously doubt their son will even care, because he is also a grownup.
This is pretty much my thoughts. If parents could only spare $5k, and their daughter desperately needed $4k, should they not help because they couldn't afford to also give $4k to their son or other daughter? Heck no. The giving is for a reason, not to buy their love or to play favorites. If one sibling has a different situation than another they shouldn't be treated the same. In my opinion, any adult who was raised properly shouldn't expect that their parents money equals love or that a gift to someone else must also be given to them. If a person's adult children are upset about that, they should be taught better, not paid off.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:12 am

msk wrote:I have 4 kids but two are still in college. I have paid for all their college educations, very generously compared to actual needs of a college student. But the eldest works, her husband works (a Vice President in a medium sized company) and they have 3 kids. Good jobs; but they always seem to have this impoverished attitude (e.g. purchasing second hand clothes for the kids) and sort of expecting help from grand parents (her husband's dad is 8-figure wealthy so he also chips in). So I help them with vacations, around $10k annually for tickets to faraway places. Second kid is a divorcee with 2 kids but ex-husband maintains his kids very well and treats his ex-wife well, though not court-obligated to support her (I never understood why they got divorced...). Anyway this 2nd daughter, unemployed, always takes her vacations 1st Class, so I feel silly offering her $10k (does not even cover her one-way air fare!). I do not travel 1st Class myself. Nevertheless I still feel guilty about my lop-sided gifts between my 2 eldest kids. Perhaps it's just the adage: you'll spend the most on the least deserving kid :(
Oh, my. This is exactly the kind of thing that breeds resentment.

I think it would be better either not to help the wealthy kid, (explaining that you paid for her college and now it is her siblings' turn), or to help both graduates equally. There is no good way to explain helping the rich one only.

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Re: Helping adult children

Post by Swampy » Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:33 am

Son 1 has a lot of expenses, particularly with the children's many activities. We have been helping them with the many expenses related to activities as well as dental expenses and major home repairs...
My question to you is "Has Son 1 asked for help?"

I suggest you read "The Millionaire Next Door" by Stanley and Danko.
What you describe sounds an awful lot like EOC - Economic Outpatient Care.


At the risk of being criticized by others, I believe you are inadvertently weakening Son 1 as opposed to Son 2.
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by kaudrey » Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:34 am

warowits wrote:I am in my early 30s, and my parents have 5 adult children, many of whom have been helped out financially at one time or another. The idea that they would give me money to make it 'even' when one of my brothers needed help is insulting. I am an adult. I have no claim to my parents money. They can spend it how they like, 1/5th of it isn't mine.
+1

I am not 48, my sister is 45. I am divorced with no kids. They have two teenage daughters. We are all successful and don't need monetary help. Over the years, we have both gotten short term loans from our parents, all paid back. My parents put some extra money into the kids' 529s each year - it would never occur to me to feel that this was "unfair" because they aren't my kids and I don't have any. I'm glad they can help with college costs for my nieces. My parents also periodically give money to my living-off-of-Social Security aunt and uncle, and it would never occur to me to be concerned about that either.

Everything they have when they pass will be split between my sister and I - what they do with their money before that is not my business. But, I totally understand how other family dynamics are not the same as ours.

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Re: Helping adult children

Post by Swimmer » Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:43 am

Swampy wrote:
Son 1 has a lot of expenses, particularly with the children's many activities. We have been helping them with the many expenses related to activities as well as dental expenses and major home repairs...
My question to you is "Has Son 1 asked for help?"

I suggest you read "The Millionaire Next Door" by Stanley and Danko.
What you describe sounds an awful lot like EOC - Economic Outpatient Care.


At the risk of being criticized by others, I believe you are inadvertently weakening Son 1 as opposed to Son 2.

OP here. Yes, I read it and I remember the EOC topic you refer to. My situation isn't nearly that extreme, but I don't want to head down the wrong path.
To answer your question, no--neither son has ever asked for anything.
Maybe that should tell me something?

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Hub
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by Hub » Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:24 am

warowits wrote:I am in my early 30s, and my parents have 5 adult children, many of whom have been helped out financially at one time or another. The idea that they would give me money to make it 'even' when one of my brothers needed help is insulting. I am an adult. I have no claim to my parents money. They can spend it how they like, 1/5th of it isn't mine.
Same here 100%. I'm honestly surprised at how many people recommend keeping it even. Interestingly I get the impression that many with that opinion have settled parents' estates and I have not so I do not dismiss them. I just have a hard time personally feeling entitled to my parents money as a grown human with my own money, and I know my brother feels the same. My feelings would be different if there was a deadbeat sibling involved.

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Re: Helping adult children

Post by RudyS » Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:39 am

I read all the above, and finally decided to chip in. We have two great kids. All financially independent now. Earlier on I helped one with parochial school tuition. He told me, "I don't want to take advantage of "sibling". That'll all be taken care of in the inheritances. But such a great kid! OTOH, I gave one our car when I bought a new one since they had a teen driver and could use another car at home. Then I gave the other one the cash equivalent. It's really nice when money isn't really an issue.

Dandy
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by Dandy » Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:42 am

Splitting things 50/50 isn't the only definition of fair. It is the best starting point. But, individual needs play a role. Both children seem fine with your current arrangement and the child/grandchildren who need more help is getting it. Sounds good to me. Not all family cultures would welcome this disparity of financial help.

fishmonger
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Re: Helping adult children

Post by fishmonger » Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:43 am

I think it's very rare for kids to truly get "even treatment" from their parents when it comes out to financial considerations. For example, my in-laws have been very generous with their time and helping take care of our kids (their grandkids).

My wife however paid 100% of her education expenses, both undergraduate and graduate work. Her brother on the other hand was given a year's tuition, as well as an interest free loan for his remaining education expenses, to be paid back whenever he pleases. It will never be squared but we are fine with it; they are also in a much better place financially then they were when my wife was in school, so it is what it is.

The one thing that concerned me about your post is you seem to be financing regular, recurring expenses for Son #1 - dental work, home repairs, kids activities. To me it's different if you're helping out a relative with "major" expenses - education, down payment for a home, medical emergency, etc. If I was Son #2, that might incur some level of bitterness. Also, are you doing the best thing for Son #1 by him not living within his means? No judgment, just a thought

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Re: Helping adult children

Post by dandinsac » Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:56 am

This is a great thread that got me thinking. I would be in your son #2 situation.

I do not want to know if my parents provide support to my brother who has two children starting college soon. If they do provide help, that's their decision and none of my business. It's their money. If they were to offer me something, I would be happy to accept it, but I wouldn't try to keep score.

You didn't mention your financial situation or age, but as a son whose parents are in their early 80's, I definitely would not want a situation where my parents are giving me money now, but will need my support in 10 or 15 years. (Many of my ancestors often live into their late 80s and 90s.) That puts me and my brother in a really tough financial position, just as we're both getting close to retiring. If they need support, we have to figure out how much each should help out. I can see that getting really messy.

If my parents wanted to "even things out", I think it's better to do it in the estate.

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