Talking to my widowed Mom about money

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GeoMetry
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Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by GeoMetry »

My parents are from a generation that avoids talking about money. My father passed away last year and out of necessity my mother has confided in me about her finances and I have been giving her guidance and making sure that the necessary things get done, i.e. taxes and estate stuff related to my Dad. I am one of two children my brother is eight years younger, married, fairly well off and financially responsible. My Mother has asked me to keep her financial situation between her and me. Her situation is quite good nothing to be embarrassed about.

I would like to convince my Mother that my brother should be better informed. To persuade my mother I am trying to think of examples where my brother is at a disadvantage as a result of not having more insight.

Here is the example I came up with:
I know that he and I are 50/50 beneficiaries, and I think he knows that as well. What I know that my brother doesn’t know is that there is a Traditional IRA account with about a million dollars in it, so half of that is about $500K. Under current law a non-spouse beneficiary of a traditional IRA has just ten years to completely liquidate the IRA, recognize the income and pay the taxes. Some experts expect that the ten year rule will once again become a five year rule as it was in the past. Knowing that at some point in the future I might be adding $100K to my income each year for five years, I could decide to be more aggressive on my Roth conversions now because $100K on top of my own substantial RMD could push me into IRMAA and higher tax brackets. But my brother does not have that insight and is therefore at a disadvantage.

I am looking for a few more, possibly better, examples that I might use to convince my Mother.
invest4
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Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by invest4 »

Did you mother provide any specific reasons she is uncomfortable to share? This would also be helpful to better consider and address her concerns.


Otherwise, a couple of thoughts immediately come to mind:

* Provides a potential backup who has her best interests in mind in case there is any reason you are unable

* A different perspective and sounding board for decisions

* Minimize the chance that there are significant family disagreements

You didn't mention how your brother may feel about current setup. Some people are not very interested (happy for big brother to just take care of things), while others want to be actively involved or at least consulted / feel part of the process. Often times, a person's feelings alone can be reason enough to include them...to maintain family harmony.

For example, my Mom and Step-Father asked me to be the executor of their estate, but my step-brother expressed some discomfort about not being involved. In my case, I don't believe it's one of mistrust, but rather to have a voice and also be involved in an area where he is less sure footed about how things will work (finances). Done.

Sounds like your Mom is well positioned...both financially and with a solid son to help. Best wishes.
Carl53
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Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by Carl53 »

Possibly your Mom would be agreeable to taking additional distributions or make Roth conversions at hopefully lower tax rates than you or your sibling have. As I type this though I am thinking that she is likely 90 since you are already doing RMDs. If so, her RMDs may be so large that doing as I suggested initially may not be worthwhile.
DarthSage
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Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by DarthSage »

Does your mom have an estate attorney or financial advisor? Someone "on the outside" might be better able to tell her to include your brother. Also, with your dad gone, your mom should revisit her will, POA, etc., just to make sure her wishes are in writing.

I would work on encouraging your mom to include your brother. It sounds like he's solid, and it would be good for you to have a back-up person, in case you're not available, for whatever reason. And really, at this point, it's all about making sure your mom has peace and comfort in her remaining days.
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GeoMetry
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Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by GeoMetry »

Thanks for the financial advice. I agree and I am steering her that way. She has been doing Roth conversions up to the top of the 24%/28% bracket for years. Her pension and SS cover all her expenses. She and my Father have been all in with Tech stock funds since the 1980s 0% bonds. Her accounts just keep going up. She is 81 years old, I expect her to live to 100. I am not doing RMDs yet.

I appreciate all the financial advice. I really just need examples that I can use.
Last edited by GeoMetry on Sat Jul 25, 2020 6:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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JoeRetire
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Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by JoeRetire »

GeoMetry wrote: Sat Jul 25, 2020 3:53 amMy father passed away last year and out of necessity my mother has confided in me about her finances and I have been giving her guidance and making sure that the necessary things get done, i.e. taxes and estate stuff related to my Dad. I am one of two children my brother is eight years younger, married, fairly well off and financially responsible. My Mother has asked me to keep her financial situation between her and me.
You mother has informed you, but not your brother? Why is that?
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GeoMetry
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Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by GeoMetry »

Proximity, I live 10 miles away, he lives 400 miles away.
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Stinky
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Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by Stinky »

invest4 wrote: Sat Jul 25, 2020 4:30 am * Minimize the chance that there are significant family disagreements

[snip]

Often times, a person's feelings alone can be reason enough to include them...to maintain family harmony.
The “avoid family disagreements” argument would be at the top of my list.

As my mother was on her death bed a few years ago, one of her dying wishes was that there was no fighting between me and my siblings after her death. We didn’t have any history of disagreements, and none emerged after her death, but my mothers desire to have family harmony after her passing resonates with me.
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livesoft
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Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by livesoft »

I would not be surprised to find out that your mom has already talked to your brother and " asked [him] to keep her financial situation between her and [him]."
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dandinsac
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Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by dandinsac »

I have helped my wife to organize her mother’s finances. Every 6 months or so, I do a two-page summary of her finances. This specifies what she has in her IRA, taxable account and annuity and how much is automatically withdrawn. I do a simple comparison of the balances with the previous. My wife shares the document with her mother and siblings. This helps my mother-in-law stay connected, but also keeps everyone informed. For your situation, I would tell your mother that you need to tell your brother in case something happens to you so that he can step in and support her.
aristotelian
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Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by aristotelian »

I'm not seeing the issue, especially if you can't think of examples. Sounds like both are in good financial position whether the inheritance is optimized to the penny or not. Personally I try not to signal any expectation of inheritance because I want my mom to feel free to spend her money or donate to charity as she wishes.
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Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by Sandtrap »

GeoMetry wrote: Sat Jul 25, 2020 3:53 am My parents are from a generation that avoids talking about money. My father passed away last year and out of necessity my mother has confided in me about her finances and I have been giving her guidance and making sure that the necessary things get done, i.e. taxes and estate stuff related to my Dad. I am one of two children my brother is eight years younger, married, fairly well off and financially responsible. My Mother has asked me to keep her financial situation between her and me. Her situation is quite good nothing to be embarrassed about.

I would like to convince my Mother that my brother should be better informed. To persuade my mother I am trying to think of examples where my brother is at a disadvantage as a result of not having more insight.

Here is the example I came up with:
I know that he and I are 50/50 beneficiaries, and I think he knows that as well. What I know that my brother doesn’t know is that there is a Traditional IRA account with about a million dollars in it, so half of that is about $500K. Under current law a non-spouse beneficiary of a traditional IRA has just ten years to completely liquidate the IRA, recognize the income and pay the taxes. Some experts expect that the ten year rule will once again become a five year rule as it was in the past. Knowing that at some point in the future I might be adding $100K to my income each year for five years, I could decide to be more aggressive on my Roth conversions now because $100K on top of my own substantial RMD could push me into IRMAA and higher tax brackets. But my brother does not have that insight and is therefore at a disadvantage.

I am looking for a few more, possibly better, examples that I might use to convince my Mother.
My Mother has asked me to keep her financial situation between her and me.
Your mother may have her own personal reasons for this that you are likely unaware of and deserves to keep her own counsel.
Respect her wishes.
Help her do what she wants, not what you want.

In time, likely, she will bring up things or concerns about your brother. Then maybe you can input a little and ask.
Patience.
Patience.
For now. . . listen. . . do.

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Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by Sandtrap »

livesoft wrote: Sat Jul 25, 2020 7:20 am I would not be surprised to find out that your mom has already talked to your brother and " asked [him] to keep her financial situation between her and [him]."
+1000
Well said!

My dad had 8 brothers and a sister. (all gone)
My mom had 4 sisters. (all gone)

All said that to their children when it came to financial and other matters. It's a way to keep peace and avoid conflict, and respect each child's position in the family.

Parents are guardians.
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InMyDreams
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Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by InMyDreams »

As Stinky said: family harmony after she is gone is a great goal. Not entirely pertinent to the topic, but I would suggest that you (and she!) read Beyond the Grave. Easy read, and focuses on family harmony after you're gone.

He advises being very open (in most situations) about how any remaining estate will be divided.

Also, thinking into the future - how will it work if/when your mother needs assistance with basic financial tasks, such as bill paying? I've seen advice that one child writes the checks, the other child has read-only access to accounts as a double check on the check-writing child. I don't mean to say anything about your honesty, just that it's a good accounting principle and it will help the second child feel comfortable that finances are appropriately managed.

Of course, she is the final decision maker.
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Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by Kenkat »

Some experts expect that the ten year rule will once again become a five year rule as it was in the past. Knowing that at some point in the future I might be adding $100K to my income each year for five years, I could decide to be more aggressive on my Roth conversions now because $100K on top of my own substantial RMD could push me into IRMAA and higher tax brackets. But my brother does not have that insight and is therefore at a disadvantage.
I personally think this is kind of a reach - who are these experts and given you expect your mom to live to 100, why would you think you can plan on some specific scenario 20 years from now? Under current law and current account balance, you’d be adding $50k to income every year. That’s about all you can count on.

As far as letting your brother in so he can do planning, just something such as “mom may leave us some money someday” might give him enough to plan a little. If he asks how much, you can just answer “I don’t know” because you don’t.
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Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by 7eight9 »

It sounds like you are looking for relationship advice and not financial advice.

If your mother doesn't want your brother to know about her finances that is her business and in my opinion you should honor her wishes.

If your brother was to do financial planning in anticipation of receiving $xxx in the future it could backfire. Maybe your mother decides to leave it all to charity. Or she spends it on long-term care. Or remarries and leaves it all to her new husband. Or whatever scenario you can dream up. And your brother adjusted his portfolio in anticipation of something that didn't come to fruition. That could be an unforced error. And you would be the cause.
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Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by Katietsu »

I think you are wrong. Your mother is very uncomfortable talking or sharing money issues. She felt forced to share with you out of necessity despite this discomfort. So, you are now going to push her to share with your brother. This is just reinforcing her discomfort at sharing with you. By the way, she did not need to share with you. She could have paid a professional to do whatever you did. She has a right to her own decisions. Respect her wishes and don’t make her regret sharing with you.

Lest you think that I do not understand your position ...

My husband’s family would rather talk about anything before talking about money. I have a widowed in law about the same age with “probably” a similar financial situation. I say probably because I can only guess. I also suspect that there will be extra taxes paid by all, including my husband and I, as a result of this secrecy. I have made general suggestions like please cancel your RMD for 2020 and either take advantage of no IRMAA, etc or do a Roth conversion. I could be much more effective with more information as I must guess and tell her a lot of if then. She takes these things to her financial advisor and her tax preparer I am much better and/or more conscientious than either of them.However, in the end, it is clear that her decision is privacy. And it is her money, her life, her decision. My husband, or the next generation, will probably lose to taxes because of the secrecy but it is their money or their choice. Oh yeah, I am guessing my hubby’s sibling knows much less than we do.

Be careful about counting on a particular inheritance. Not saying that an inheritance is not likely. For example, my aunt’s costs for home health aides in a LCOL area was $250,000 a year. She could have stayed in a nursing home after her rehab for less but she absolutely wanted to be in her own home. And it was her money to be used for herself regardless of any inheritance expectations.

I am glad your Mom has you for support. Please let her feel good about it.
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GeoMetry
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Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by GeoMetry »

I appreciate all the comments and advice but I am a bit disappointed that no one even tried to answer the question that I asked.
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dodecahedron
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Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by dodecahedron »

GeoMetry wrote: Sat Jul 25, 2020 6:34 am Thanks for the financial advice. I agree and I am steering her that way. She has been doing Roth conversions up to the top of the 24%/28% bracket for years. Her pension and SS cover all her expenses. She and my Father have been all in with Tech stock funds since the 1980s 0% bonds. Her accounts just keep going up. She is 81 years old, I expect her to live to 100. I am not doing RMDs yet.

I appreciate all the financial advice. I really just need examples that I can use.
You expect her to live to 100. Great! I hope she does. But you are making lots of assumptions. Her pension and SS may cover all her current expenses but her costs could go up a lot if she needs LTC. Your father died only recently, but he left a void in her life. Eventually she *might* decide to remarry, in which case a whole new set of unanticipated financial complications could set in, including the new spouse´s LTC needs. Or she might decide to take an expensive new hobby. Or she might become very involved with a new charity, joining its board and directing significant donations there.

Since you asked for examples you can use:

I happen to know a widow in her late 80s whose husband died about 15 years ago. At the time of her husband´s passing, her will and IRA beneficiary designation provided that her legacy be divided equally among her children, but some years after her husband´s death, she got very passionate about a particular charity, joined its board, and wound up making a lot of QCDs, in amounts exceeding her RMDs. Her remaining portfolio is smaller than anticipated and her will now includes the charity as an equal beneficiary along with her children.

If her kids had made decisions about Roth conversions based on information available at the time of her husband´s passing, they would have been very much off the mark, both for the reasons described above and the fact that tax laws have changed in unpredicted ways since then.

It is your mother´s business who she decides to confide in. Be honored that she confides in you for her sake but do not make plans based upon what she shares nor share anything with your brother that she has not given you permission to share. And do not press her to share with her brother. She may know things about your brother that she does not care to share with you.
Last edited by dodecahedron on Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
livesoft
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Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by livesoft »

GeoMetry wrote: Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:04 pm I appreciate all the comments and advice but I am a bit disappointed that no one even tried to answer the question that I asked.
I guess you didn't understand what I was suggesting. Have you even tried to persuade your mother? Try this: "Hey Mom, do you have a secret you are not telling me? That is, have you gone to my brother and told him about your financial situation, but asked him to keep it to himself just like you have asked me? Why or why not?"

I don't see why you need any examples from the very direct approach because you have not even told us that you tried to do anything yet.
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Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by HomeStretch »

To answer your question, IMO you have listed all the good reasons.

Your mom’s discomfort may be with the level of detail you posted about sharing with your brother. Perhaps the following is reasonable to your mom and for your brother:
1. Letting your brother know that you are helping your mom as you live locally with home chores (etc.) and financial matters (no detail).
2. If your mom’s plan would be to turn to your brother for assistance in the event your were incapacitated or worse, then to prepare a high level summary of what you do/accounts listing. Let your brother know where you keep “the Mom file”. Also make sure he is listed a successor POA and he has a copy of that document.

I did both with my siblings (great relationships with them) and that sufficed.

As far as sharing beneficiary information or doing Roth conversions for the heirs’ benefit, that seems unnecessary due to your Mom’s discomfort. Consider stop asking her so you don’t make her uncomfortable. I understand why you want to do so as it would be “optimal” but maybe just settle for “good enough” and respect your mom’s boundaries.
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Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by dodecahedron »

Also, you did not mention how old you and your brother are. If your brother is charitably inclined (or becomes so in the future) and will be over 70 1/2 within 10 years of your mother´s death, inheriting a tax-deferred account may not present any tax burden at all.
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Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by Stinky »

GeoMetry wrote: Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:04 pm I appreciate all the comments and advice but I am a bit disappointed that no one even tried to answer the question that I asked.
I think “invest4” gave you some pretty solid examples upthread.
invest4 wrote: Sat Jul 25, 2020 4:30 am * Provides a potential backup who has her best interests in mind in case there is any reason you are unable

* A different perspective and sounding board for decisions

* Minimize the chance that there are significant family disagreements
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dodecahedron
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Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by dodecahedron »

GeoMetry wrote: Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:04 pm I appreciate all the comments and advice but I am a bit disappointed that no one even tried to answer the question that I asked.
One more thing you did not ask but I will gently remind you of anyway, from someone who has lived through the experience of being widowed.

The first year or two of widowhood are an exceptionally fragile period.

At this point, your emotional support and nearby availability is a precious gift, for which I am sure she is very grateful. I am grateful that one of my adult daughters was nearby and the other visited whenever she could after my husband died. It made me happy to hear my daughters talking about shared memories of their dad and their happy shared childhood in our home. Their harmonious sibling relationship is one of the biggest gifts in my life.

It is good that you care about your brother´s future well-being. It sounds like you have a good relationship. Let your mom know how much you treasure your relationship with your brother, outside the context of financial discussions.

Since you expect your mom to live a long time, there really is no particular rush for her to press her to do anything she does not actually need to do right now. It is an emotionally fragile time. Anything you can easily do to reduce the stress on her at this time is a very good thing.

¨A widow should find a [financial adviser] who listens to her and does not try to rush her.¨ is a quote from a NYT article about dealing with finances for the recently widowed that really resonated with my experiences.

Most financial decisions are not urgent for a widow in your mom´s position and there is no need to rush her or pressure her. Listening to her is more important than advising her right now.
Last edited by dodecahedron on Sat Jul 25, 2020 1:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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galving
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Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by galving »

Stinky wrote: Sat Jul 25, 2020 7:09 am
invest4 wrote: Sat Jul 25, 2020 4:30 am * Minimize the chance that there are significant family disagreements

[snip]

Often times, a person's feelings alone can be reason enough to include them...to maintain family harmony.
The “avoid family disagreements” argument would be at the top of my list.
Fully agree.
My parents have given me POA, and informed us both of their expectations.
We're tackling the issues with full transparency, which still involves plenty of difficult and tough conversations.
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Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by dodecahedron »

HomeStretch wrote: Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:18 pm Your mom’s discomfort may be with the level of detail you posted about sharing with your brother. Perhaps the following is reasonable to your mom and for your brother:
1. Letting your brother know that you are helping your mom as you live locally with home chores (etc.) and financial matters (no detail).
2. If your mom’s plan would be to turn to your brother for assistance in the event your were incapacitated or worse, then to prepare a high level summary of what you do/accounts listing. Let your brother know where you keep “the Mom file”. Also make sure he is listed a successor POA and he has a copy of that document.
These seem like reasonable and modest requests that should suffice for now, if indeed the OP´s brother is the successor executor/POA.

The brother may not be listed as successor executor/POA, and if so, the OP should give their mother some time and space to decide who she would like to fulfill that role.
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Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by dodecahedron »

galving wrote: Sat Jul 25, 2020 1:12 pm
Stinky wrote: Sat Jul 25, 2020 7:09 am
invest4 wrote: Sat Jul 25, 2020 4:30 am * Minimize the chance that there are significant family disagreements

[snip]

Often times, a person's feelings alone can be reason enough to include them...to maintain family harmony.
The “avoid family disagreements” argument would be at the top of my list.
Fully agree.
My parents have given me POA, and informed us both of their expectations.
We're tackling the issues with full transparency, which still involves plenty of difficult and tough conversations.
Some families (e.g., my family of origin) are very large and siblings may have very different financial, medical, and personal circumstances, not to mention world views, religious beliefs, approaches to medical risk decision making. Full transparency among all siblings about every financial and medical decision my mom makes during her lifetime would add a lot of stress to her remaining golden years.

Her oldest two children happen to have particular expertise in financial and legal issues, so we are her confidantes and POAs. Mom is comfortable confiding in us and the other siblings acknowledge our technical expertise and trust us to consult them if and when difficult decisions need to be made on her behalf. No rush about difficult and tough hypothetical conversations among all of us until mom is no longer able to make her own decisions.
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Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by BolderBoy »

GeoMetry wrote: Sat Jul 25, 2020 3:53 amI am looking for a few more, possibly better, examples that I might use to convince my Mother.
My advice - likely worth what you'll pay for it - is don't try to convince your mother.

I would further advise you to imagine that there will NOT be any inheritance for either you or your brother (you can't tell the future - 20 years is a long time) and to make your financial decisions based on that outcome. To that end (and to make a gesture to your brother), why not have a financial sit down with him and lay out what you are going to do financially going forward and see if he opens up to the idea.
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Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by Sandtrap »

GeoMetry wrote: Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:04 pm I appreciate all the comments and advice but I am a bit disappointed that no one even tried to answer the question that I asked.
I am looking for a few more, possibly better, examples that I might use to convince my Mother.
Likely because the question is based on an incorrect premise.

It is not "how" to "convince" your mother, but to be helpful for now as your input should not be given unless asked concerning your brother.

This could be why few will answer that question. Many here no longer have living parents and have gone through the same experience multiple times.
Maybe or maybe not.
Could be wrong.
Often am.

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Katietsu
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Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by Katietsu »

GeoMetry wrote: Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:04 pm I appreciate all the comments and advice but I am a bit disappointed that no one even tried to answer the question that I asked.
Maybe you should pause and think about this for a moment. Many of us answering you have gone down this road before you. Some of us having been trying to watch out for a widowed parent/in law who has expressed similar sentiments as your Mom. Some who responded have been in your mother’s position and have their own outlined their emotional experiences. When such a high percentage of the answers are trying to steer you away from the obstacle instead of giving you advice on how to jump it, you might want to open yourself to the responses you are receiving.
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Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by galving »

dodecahedron wrote: Sat Jul 25, 2020 1:52 pm
Some families (e.g., my family of origin) are very large and siblings may have very different financial, medical, and personal circumstances, not to mention world views, religious beliefs, approaches to medical risk decision making. Full transparency among all siblings about every financial and medical decision my mom makes during her lifetime would add a lot of stress to her remaining golden years.

Her oldest two children happen to have particular expertise in financial and legal issues, so we are her confidantes and POAs. Mom is comfortable confiding in us and the other siblings acknowledge our technical expertise and trust us to consult them if and when difficult decisions need to be made on her behalf. No rush about difficult and tough hypothetical conversations among all of us until mom is no longer able to make her own decisions.
Understood.
Family + Money can equal complexity.
It's quite amazing how diverse perspectives on money can be within the same family.
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Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by aristotelian »

GeoMetry wrote: Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:04 pm I appreciate all the comments and advice but I am a bit disappointed that no one even tried to answer the question that I asked.
Interesting that you want to give your mom advice but don't want to listen to advice from anyone else.
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Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by Freetime76 »

Hi OP: I am very sorry for your loss.
...sometimes you get what you need, not what you want. I think there’s a song about that, actually. :D This forum is really helpful that way, though it can be hard to hear.

So, let’s run this out a bit further: You could alert her to the 10 year rule, as an FYI, BUt to me, that would be highly presumptive. Sort of like, hey mom, you know that IRA you’ve got? Well, here’s how I’m going to handle it to avoid some taxes...My mom would go into orbit - :oops: and we DO talk about money openly in my family. :shock: As long as she still breathes, it is hers. Taxes or not.

Please, Do your very best to keep her trust, so that you DO know what is going on later, when she actually NEEDS something. Otherwise, she might quit talking to you about it at all, and then where will you be? She might walk into Edward Jones and be met by a super polite, understanding person who moves her investments into a Plan.

Plus *** People do change their wills, you know.***. She could leave it to charity or her church, she may want your younger brother to continue to grow and succeed on his own, without any deleterious effect from knowing money is coming his way. Because it may, in fact not (come to either of you...she may need it, she could change her mind). It could become so much money, that she starts giving it away while alive, or creates trusts for grandchildren, or maybe buys a really nice Vette every few years. Do not expect to get this money. Do not plan your finances around it. Because she might need it.

Here are examples you can use:
- I’m my mom’s executor and know her will and finances. My sister doesn’t. She works sort of, isn’t on drugs or anything scary, but is only in her 30s, a developing adult who is (imho finally) getting her act together. What would be the impact of her expecting millions? I can tell you: She inherited something from my dad, and the impact was further delays in getting her act together. What a waste. Mom’s not telling her anything, and mom has changed her will twice thus far. Absolutely, there will be sibling issues after mom’s passing. Oh well. I’ll have to wear my big girl pants.

- My FIL told his oldest son - his executor- of his new will. He(son) confided in my husband, leaving out the youngest son. So, youngest son is being left in the dark, but.... it’s dad’s to tell Or. Not. Tell. Right? Oldest son bowed out of being the executor (meaning he said he wouldn’t do it), be a he’s uncomfortable with the whole thing (will is a mess).

- :sharebeer Go to Mr Money Moustache forum, and search for “inheritance drama”. There is an enormously long thread of stories. Perhaps you’ll find one that suits your needs. Get popcorn.
Freetime76
Posts: 339
Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2019 8:26 pm

Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by Freetime76 »

dodecahedron wrote: Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:12 pm
GeoMetry wrote: Sat Jul 25, 2020 6:34 am Thanks for the financial advice. I agree and I am steering her that way. She has been doing Roth conversions up to the top of the 24%/28% bracket for years. Her pension and SS cover all her expenses. She and my Father have been all in with Tech stock funds since the 1980s 0% bonds. Her accounts just keep going up. She is 81 years old, I expect her to live to 100. I am not doing RMDs yet.

I appreciate all the financial advice. I really just need examples that I can use.
You expect her to live to 100. Great! I hope she does. But you are making lots of assumptions. Her pension and SS may cover all her current expenses but her costs could go up a lot if she needs LTC. Your father died only recently, but he left a void in her life. Eventually she *might* decide to remarry, in which case a whole new set of unanticipated financial complications could set in, including the new spouse´s LTC needs. Or she might decide to take an expensive new hobby. Or she might become very involved with a new charity, joining its board and directing significant donations there.

Since you asked for examples you can use:

I happen to know a widow in her late 80s whose husband died about 15 years ago. At the time of her husband´s passing, her will and IRA beneficiary designation provided that her legacy be divided equally among her children, but some years after her husband´s death, she got very passionate about a particular charity, joined its board, and wound up making a lot of QCDs, in amounts exceeding her RMDs. Her remaining portfolio is smaller than anticipated and her will now includes the charity as an equal beneficiary along with her children.

If her kids had made decisions about Roth conversions based on information available at the time of her husband´s passing, they would have been very much off the mark, both for the reasons described above and the fact that tax laws have changed in unpredicted ways since then.

It is your mother´s business who she decides to confide in. Be honored that she confides in you for her sake but do not make plans based upon what she shares nor share anything with your brother that she has not given you permission to share. And do not press her to share with her brother. She may know things about your brother that she does not care to share with you.

Sound advice. Real examples.
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JoeRetire
Posts: 6664
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:44 pm

Re: Talking to my widowed Mom about money

Post by JoeRetire »

GeoMetry wrote: Sat Jul 25, 2020 6:37 am Proximity, I live 10 miles away, he lives 400 miles away.
I'm assuming both mom and brother have telephones. So I don't see how 400 miles matter.
It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | And I feel fine.
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