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Author: FoolStreet Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 5069  
Subject: Re: Poll: Your parents...Foolish or not? Date: 8/31/2003 12:21 AM
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My mom is very frugal by nature from her parents. Her grandparents were 1st generation to arrive from Poland. She had me read, "The Babylon" book - what was that thing called? Kinda like the Wealthy Barber, but set thousands of years ago...

Anyway, whereas Mom does great w/ frugality, she's not as up to snuff on some of the tricks of the trade for "tweaking" her finances. Eg, she's not as quick to do the credit card balance transfer game, had all her money in CDs for years instead of in equities, much less Roths, but she did contribute to a teacher's savings plan and will retire w/ two smallish pensions. And she's helped us buy a duplex which will be a source of retirement income too. So, I think she just doesn't "obsess" about financial things like I do, which is ok. She does great.

My dad isn't too hot I'm learning lately. Apparently he's had some spending issues which my mom has had to deal with (such as too much eating out and spending money on friends/relatives who have less money in order to 'appear' better off - and to innately want to help people despite that being NOT the way to help peopl) and he has less than stellar credit. Nevertheless, he holds to two constants: 1) once you own real estate, don't mess it up and 2) get a solid job w/ a pension and contribute to it's savings plans. Personally, he's a loose cannon I now realize and I worry for him.

My father-in-law, is a drunk and is a dummy when it comes to anything half serious. He says he knows everything, but frankly the guy hasn't a clue. We love him anyway and we'll be happy to help him out on *our* terms, not his. I think my wife got to where she is despite him and also because as the oldest, she was stuck w/ more responsibilities. She was raised fairly poor (living in a trailer in a meadow for a few years while pops was avoiding some bad debts, having only deer to eat, etc.), and I think she rebels against my frugality because of it. So, she keeps me honest on the "L" in LBYM, though our different perceptions of what "L" is causes some conflict. We get through and we've done fairly well.

Her mom is a bright pull-herself-up by her bootstraps type of lady who built some small businesses after she got divorced. I think she succeeded by hard work more than anything and we talk sometimes about how much BW and I analyze (well, probably just me) our investment decisions whereas her mom would just jump right into things. So, it worries me that her mom doesn't really understand taxes as much as she says she does and that she could be making some relatively poor decisions for lack of knowledge about the subject as she transitions from actively managing investments to retirement, but she'll do fine by sheer will power, I think.

Net, Net: I think both my wife and I work harder because we know what it's like to have to fight for everything we've got and when we get windfalls, we really want to make best use of them. We really sit back sometimes and realize that financially and career-wise, we're the only ones in our families who have even a remote clue. On the other hand, our parents handed down the invaluables: caring for your family, friends and neighbors, a hard work ethic and an understanding that happiness doesn't come from trends, fashion or "stuff."
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