Which way to go?

Lynda, Age 69 3/4

I will be 70 in may. My husband died 7 years ago. I live in a Chicago suburb on the north shore and am trying to sell my home. I have a place in Florida for the winter and I do not know where to go. I have enough money for me to last my lifetime however, I have 2 adult children who barely get buy. I have been helping both.

Do I continue living the style I am accustomed to and let them get the money when I die or do I help them more?

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18 Responses to Which way to go?

  1. Ginger says:

    I helped my daughter and her husband thru some rough patches. Early on her husband wasn’t financially responsible. I directly supported my grandkids school activities and had their very crooked teeth fixed. Direct money to them wasn’t spent well. At one point finally…when I knew they should be able to get by, but were going to movies and out to eat every weekend, she was a couple of months behind on the house payment and I told her I thought maybe they needed to lose the house to learn responsibility. She was seriously shocked….but over the next 6 months they tightened up on spending, caught up on the house payments. Years later, I’ve only helped during a dire emergency and was promptly paid back. Sometimes you just have to see if they sink or swim the hard way.

  2. Judy says:

    First and foremost, you have my sympathy for the loss of your life mate, it must be so difficult.

    As far as the children and you having quite enough to last the rest of your life, not knowing how long you would figure that to be, I wish I had that problem, we didn’t plan well and had lots of bumps in the road.

    We too have children that seem to struggle having more than one child and the cost of everything today, I would live a comfortable life but yet get so much satisfaction of seeing my children enjoy any monies that I was planning on leaving, while I am alive to see it. But that is me, I am all about my children and grandchildren, everyone is entitled to do as they wish, not that it is wrong or right, it has to feel right to you.

    I wish you the best… if you need someone to find you a lovely home, reach out, I am a relocation specialist and can find you the very best agent wherever your dreams take you.

  3. Nancy says:

    I needed to have this subject about adult children and money reinforced!!
    Thank you for responding about this subject!

  4. Laurie says:

    Think about where you want to be in ten years. Do one of your children live somewhere with a better climate than Chicago? Where do your best friends live?
    Are you outgoing, willing to make new friends in a new community?
    Think about setting aside enough funds for your increasing medical bills, including possibly help in the home at some point over the next twenty years or more.
    Giving money to your children is a very personal decision that you and your financial advisor should agree on. Remember that you may live beyond ninety.

  5. Dear Lynda,

    Would it be possible to downsize to a small condo on or near the North Shore? That way you could travel back and forth, if needed. You would be able to help your children
    and be able to maintain a lifestyle that is similar to what you have had in the past. Just a thought.


  6. Diana says:

    If you move to Florida, will you have anyone nearby who will go with you to the ER at 2 AM? Or help you find a new doctor or part-time help if needed? Is there someone in Chicago who will be there for you?

    If one of your children is willing and capable of being your ‘someone,’ I’d think twice before leaving. If not, then you have less reason to stay.

    As far as the money, I doubt that there’s a financial professional who would tell you to give a large amount of money to your children now (unless you have a great deal of money to spare).

    One of our children lives nearby and will care for us as we age. Our house will go the her when we die. The remainder of our estate will be divided among our heirs. That’s how our families have always handled estates and it works for us; perhaps it would for you.

    Best of luck….

  7. Iris says:

    Take care of yourself first that is what is important at this stage of life. Your children must realize that they have to care for themselves and also you if need be. You have done what was needed to get them to the stage they are at its now. Enjoy your life to the fullest with out worrying about adult children. Be happy and enjoy your life the way you want to enjoy it. Best years are coming…keep smiling and enjoy each day you have.

  8. Mary Lou says:

    Hi Lynda,
    Look for the middle ground on all this. You love your children and I agree with the advice above that setting healthy boundaries and giving to them in a way that recognizes that they are adults now would be the way to go. Instead of them waiting until your death you could choose to give them a money gift with no strings attached, and with the understanding that the rest of your money is for you to move forward with your life in a positive way. This would free up your relationship with them so it’s not based on their dependencc on you. Mary Lou ~ http://www.meinthemiddlewrites.com

  9. Joan Goodman says:

    Dear Lynda:
    Your problem is not unique: 1) there are many more widows today than widowers; 2) adult children do need help as the job market is not as rosy as it was in the 1960s.

    1) You are lucky that you have enough money to last a lifetime. For instance: $1 mil. in 1960 is equivalent to $15 mil. today. However, presuming you live to 100, inflation will continue on as well as your insurance premiums, so I am assuming you are in safe investments.

    2) Selling your house is a good move. Interest rates are set to move up, and depending on how long it takes to sell your home, you will get an idea of how the younger generation is faring.

    3) You did not mention if your children were married, or if grandchildren are involved.

    4) Nevertheless, you love your children….and helping them where necessary is a good thing….as long as the funds are not going for vacations or frivolous things.

    6) It is going to be hard for you, initially, to move into a smaller place, but again, you are doing the right thing.

    7) There are many ways you can help your children, but I might suggest that you create a brokerage account in your name and theirs (two different accounts). You and Child 1)….and You and Child 2). Invest in some solid dividend-paying stocks, and let them live off the dividends. In this way, you can retain your original capital and they will inherit the stocks when your time comes. I do not suggest bonds in these accounts, but stocks such as VZ, T, NEE, DUK, D. There are many companies that have a history of paying increasing dividends (The Dividend Aristrocrat List).

    8) Focus your thoughts on ten years from now. It may be your children helping you – and you are fortunate in so many ways to have them.

    Joan Goodman CFP

  10. Cynthia Ellison says:

    We are here on this earth for a very little while, I feel we are a way to help family but not at the price of your total saving. Life is harder for most of the generation in the 2017, jobs are not as secure as in the 1900 so put a limit to your help, it will come back to you and you’ll sleep better at night. *

  11. Your children are adults and they should be able to handle their own situations.
    The more you help them the more they will expect it and depend on you to help them and they will never become responsible for their lives.

  12. Fran says:

    This is tough. We don’t know your children. We don’t know what they are like. All I can say is that everyone’s adult children are having a rough time these days. You’re lucky they don’t live with you, because a lot of adult children either still live at home or have returned to live at home. It’s not like when you and I were 18. I was living in my own apartment, I had a great job, and I was going to college PT. I wasn’t rich but I had no real financial worries. Jobs were plentiful; wages weren’t bad. Not so today. //// You know the answer to your question. If you didn’t, you would have asked. (That’s not true of all questions.) Do what will bring you the most peace and happiness. You don’t have to answer to or explain it to anyone else. BTW, how great it is that you are so well off in older age. Makes life a bit easier.

    • Joan says:

      Fran, in another post, I noticed that you live in Albuquerque. I have been thinking about relocating to ABQ, and have questions and concerns. This is the first time I have replied or posted online, so not sure of protocol or how to be in touch with you. Joan

  13. Jod Lourie says:

    Dear Lynda…..your children will never learn to stand on their own 2 feet as long as they have their mommy bank to fall back on…..I know its hard not to be there for your kids but you must stop now…that is how you will be a good mother to them…..

    This is the time you should think about putting your affairs in good order so that you will not be a burden to your children or any one else and thats the best present you can give them….Jod Lourie

  14. Janet Adams says:

    I understand your concern and love for your adult children, and your desire to help them. Indeed, you are already doing so and I hope they have expressed gratitude and appreciation for what you have already done for them. I agree with the first comment ….. this is your time to enjoy your remaining years in ways that bring you the most joy and comfort. You truly deserve to do this with your own funds. Your children are adults and responsible for themselves. You have already raised them! Your happiness should not be compromised for that of your children at this point in life. This may be a good lesson for them about personal responsibility and working to attain their own goals. Indeed, this may be the best gift you could give them! Peace and love.

  15. Hazel says:

    Live your life. While you don’t say much about your ADULT children’s situation, it seems they need to take responsibility for their lives. Until they do they will always need to be rescued. If you feel guilty, don’t. Love is priceless. Not with a money tag. Create healthy boundaries and live your life.

  16. Cindy says:

    Live your life and enjoy your remaining years. You deserve it. This may sound harsh but stop rescuing your children . It’s time your adult children become responsible for themselves.

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