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Subject:  Me vs. My Parents $40K Debt (Long) Date:  9/6/2004  2:55 AM
Author:  IslandFoolin Number:  189337 of 310727

Good Day All,

I will try to keep this as concise and to the point as possible however it is an emotional subject and one that has taken up the past few weeks worth of my free time. If you have some time, please read through and lend a hand. If you're strapped for time, bookmark this and come back, I would appreciate it. This WILL be a success story.

Background: Welcome to middle class America, NJ style. I myself am 22 years old, just graduated from college this past May, and have found myself immersed in the desire to learn more about personal finances, investing, and money in general. I have taken on a more conscientious approach to my own money management and have felt and seen the rewards already. This new knowledge led me to realize how poor of a situation my parents are in financially, and furthermore the effect this would have on the future of both my parents in retirement and my sister in her upcoming college years and beyond.

The law of the land has always been that Dad takes care of the money and whenever someone questioned that, the reply would be "Well you've always gotten what you've wanted haven't you? Then I don't see a problem." Now I will do everyone the favor of holding back my rant against my Dad. Lets just say that laziness pervades itself into every step of ones life. Rant over. Heckling and reminding him of all the mistakes he's made has no positive value in the upcoming challenge.

My parents (mainly my dad) have come to terms with the fact that I am learning about something that they never took the time to learn about and that I am a resource. It took a while but I have made some progress: I have almost 80% of my parents' financial information into Quicken. I have sat them down and shown them the graphs, charts, and In Your Face realities of their financial position. My mom didn't sleep well that night.

My Mom and Dad are 51 and 54, respectively. My Mom is starting her 30th year as an elementary school teacher. My Dad works in the Facilities Management department of a local medical school. They want to retire to Florida, where they plan to buy a home somewhere in the $200-230K range (***This is their mutual goal, and what I see as being the key motivator for their upcoming struggles which I plan to remind them about daily***). My sister graduates high school this year and plans to attend college out of state (doesn't seem possible). I am moving to the Virgin Islands come this October (nor does this seem possible, I can't wait!), and this is the main reason for my recent pushing of the subject with them. I want to leave knowing that they are on the right path.

I figure the best way to do this is to lay out as much of their financial picture, for you all to tinker with, as possible (