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Spin off - anyone grow up wealthier than they are now?

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The parental set I was raised by were really quite well off. I didn’t even really realize it at the time, but things like tossing six steaks on the grill for dinner or paying for private music lessons were normal for us. We weren’t spoiled and other aspects of life were pretty modest, but my kids definitely DON’T have the same kind of cash being put toward them that I did.

 

My husband was raised more modestly, like our kids. So this is normal for him. But I think the choice of having a lot of children and me staying at home have made the biggest impact on the bottom line - I’m poorer on paper than my family of origin, even though we live quite well. It seems like kind of an atypical situation - am I the only one?

Edited by Arctic Mama

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Yeah, probably.

 

My mom and step-dad were solid middle and then upper middle class when I was growing up.  They are probably better off than that now, whatever you'd call elite though not in the manipulates money category.  

 

My dh's family was more standard middle class, though they might fall under well-off now - mainly because they really lived very frugally without consumer debt, and the house they have now was almost unlivable and they spent years working on it, and the land has also gone up hugely in value since they bought it.  It's purely an asset  now and a really substantial one.

 

I guess we are probably lower-middle now in terms of income, though we've got a good pension and extended medical, so we're quite stable for that category.  We'd be almost the same as dh's parents at the same age I think, but neither of us are quite as frugal and the economy is a little different.  But then, we aren't paying 17% on our mortgage.

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I wonder how much the differing economy is at work. My parents had the great stock books but also lost huge amounts in the dot com bubble. They also had poor mortgage rates but overall their cost of living was lower compared to wages.

 

My husband’s family was poor when mine was rich, but his is now quite flush and mine are struggling (for various reasons). I guess it isn’t predictive :p

 

Interestingly I’d say all of us kids are actually not as well off as our parents were at these same ages. Huh.

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Growing up, I thought we were upper middle class. Turns out, my parents were maxing out credit cards in order to provide all the stuff.

 

Now, DH and I are probably considered upper middle class, but we are much more responsible with our money. We rarely put things on credit cards. If we don't have the cash to buy something, then we don't buy it. The kids don't have a ton of activities because we don't have the money for it.

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In some ways, yes.  My parents were not well-off but did quite well with having only one parent working (tenured professor at university in low COL area).  They spent money on things that mattered to them - lots of travel, both in country and internationally, lessons for my brother and I, paying off the mortgage but didn't spend money on stuff - we had very little stuff and most of it was old, cheap or used.

 

Compared to them, we are not nearly as well off.  This despite the fact that I've worked full time/part time for almost all my adult life including  the time I've been homeschooling (only took two years off any type of work).  Even with that 'additional' income as compared to my parents, we can't afford to go on trips, lessons for the kids are always a bit of a stretch and the mortgage?  Well, it'll get paid off when it's paid off, certainly not on the 10 year plan, like my parents did.

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I find the poverty thread fascinating! Who here is in the boat where they were raised comfortably or even fairly wealthy but are living much leaner?

That’s me.

 

It all changed for me at age 17 or so.

 

ETA: No regrets, that was a matter of fact statement, but reading it over, it sounds curt.

Edited by Spryte
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Dh did. Or, at least was raised as if he did.

Today, we know we're in a wealthier position, but probably not during our first decade, give or take. It took years to get him over my lack of brand loyalty!

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Funny enough, I relate really well to the "growing up poor" thread....but never commented because we weren't exactly poor.  My dad was a farmer (in one of the most rural, impoverished counties in our state).  We lived frugally...but I never needed anything.  We always had vacations (not extravagant...but we had them).  My mom stayed at home and was available to do room-mom type stuff for school.  We still wore old coats and baggies on our feet when it snowed...but we went to a ski resort at least twice in my childhood...

 

That said, I am not currently projected to have the same comfortable middle age as my parents.  We carry a lot of medical debt; we have a smaller house in a higher COL area.  DH's job has no benefits and does not often have raises to reflect increases in COL.  I will not reenter the workforce until my kids hit high school...so I'll be working longer (a delayed retirement, if any, whereas my dad is already retired at a fairly young age and works part time for "fun money.")

 

All that to say, I *feel* poorer than my upbringing.  It may not be the case because I was raised in a simpler time/place (there were no soccer teams or art clubs or karate classes -- now they are available but we just can't afford them).

 

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That’s me.

 

It all changed for me at age 17 or so.

 

ETA: No regrets, that was a matter of fact statement, but reading it over, it sounds curt.

No regrets here either. We chose our lifestyle and financial situation to some extent, and while we could make more money it would be at the expense of things we value more highly.

 

Though that is perhaps the very definition of financial comfort - having choices, even if some of them suck.

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We have a higher income on paper but a MUCH lower purchasing power from that income. It's quite sad really.

 

My dad graduated with his MBA in '77 with grad school debt equal to 1/10 his first year's salary. They were able to buy a home in Silicon Valley for twice his first year's salary. That job came with family health insurance that had no premiums, deductibles, or co-pays.

 

My DH graduated with his MBA in '06 with grad school debt about $5k more than his first year's salary. The job came with family health insurance that had premiums, a $500 deductible, $20 primary care & $30 specialist co-pays up to I think it was $1200 max. A decade later we were up to a $4500 deductible and 10% cost-shares up to $6850 max. After switching jobs, we now have a $2500 deductible but 20% cost-shares up to a $7350 max. We were not able to afford a house on his first year's salary but several years later were able to find one that cost 3.5x his salary.

 

My parents never kept a car for longer than 5 years. We drive an '04 with 265k miles and an '07 with 245k.

 

My brothers and I had all sorts of things growing up that we cannot afford for our own children because the cost of basics is so much higher now.

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The cars, clothes, vacations, extracurriculars, ski equipment & season passes, etc. don't really bother me.

 

What DOES bother me is that I was able to apply to any college I wanted without consideration of cost. I didn't have to face the choice of 2 years at community college & then 2 years at a state college vs. hoping for a merit scholarship. If Stanford cost the same now in inflation-adjusted terms we could afford to send our kids. But it is now prohibitively expensive and UCLA residential is the same as Stanford was back then.

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I find I do not hold the same values as my parents. My parents did not have a hobby unless you count "bargain" shopping as a hobby. It was not a bargain IMO, they spent thousands and thousands a year on crap they did not need or want but was "on sale". I will never understand living in a house for a decade and having boxes of unpacked stuff that they moved into the house. I fully reject the excessive consumerism and lifestyle my parents had.

 

For those with lower income holding on to something because you may not be able to afford to replace it if you get rid of it and need it makes more sense than accumulating things Just Because and Reasons. I still find my parents excess stuff to be disturbing and worry about them.

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By after tax family income, adjusting for inflation approximately, it would be the same for me and higher for my husband.

However my husband is in the sandwich generation with his parents and grandma still living and not working and no pension. So he worries about money because now we are contributing to his parents shopping expenses which has more leeway than when his parents run out of living expenses. He also saves more because jobs are no longer stable unlike his dad who worked in the same factory for decades.

My dad has pension and my mom is covered under his generous health benefits so they are financially comfortable even in their 70s.

 

I grew up in a densely populated city and music teachers were a dime a dozen within a block. Swimming pools and instructors were plentiful as well. Recreational centers were within walking distance so choices were there for many sports. Where I stay now we have only a piano teacher near enough to walk and we have to drive for music and sports instruction. Since supply is lower, we do pay more than my parents did even though my childhood home is also in a high cost of living area.

 

So paying for some of his parents wants, saving more to buffer job instability, saving more for retirement as there is no pension, all adds up to more “expenses†on similar income. His parents are the cultural generation that thinks kids are for paying for old age so they didn’t plan for retirement though they do have some savings but life expectancy is now longer so those would run out.

 

My kids if they earn similar income as adults to my husband current income would be poorer due to rising cost of home ownership but would also have no grandparents to support since my in-laws does not bother with my kids.

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I now realize I grew up very strangely.   We didn't have a lot of money by US standards, but we were overseas, in a 3rd world nation, and so we were the wealthy ones in that country.

 

So I really never know how to answer these questions. I grew up poor, but as one of the wealthy ones.  I really don't know how to classify myself as a child.

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I wanted to add that I still feel like we are doing fine - considerably better than many.  

 

I don't mind that my kids think that shopping for clothes means going to the basement to check out the hand me downs or that the snowsuit that DS is wearing is on its 5th year in our family.

 

My only slight regret is travel.  I love to travel.  I loved travelling with my parents.  I feel very blessed to have been able to travel with them to so many places.  One day I'd like to take the kids on a trip outside the country - we started talking about it and are going to try to create a budget and maybe start a savings account but I'm pretty sure it's something that they won't get to experience the way I did (going abroad for many months and visiting multiple places and living abroad in some cases for 6 months to a year).

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On the outside, we live close to what I grew up with. The difference is that it's intentional. We are never late with bills, have money in the bank, an unexpected car repair doesn't throw us, we can afford all of what we need and some of at we want. We go on vacation every single year. I feel like we are really doing well.

 

Dh grew up with a lot more luxury. We rent, something he never experienced growing up. We don't drive new cars. We dont have the extra moneh for hunting, and hes sad to not pass that on to our kids (but its such an expensive hobby!).

 

He has a very similar job to his dad, but I think, relatively speaking, he doesn't get paid as much. We also had debilitating school loans. And we got caught in a housing recession with our first house. Lots of financial setbacks. His parents don't understand this, and they regularly lecture him that his habits are going to cause him to retire in cat-food poverty. The habits of, you know, a couple of pairs of shoes per kid per year, camping every summer, and buying our kids birthday presents. Dh struggles with knowing he has not lived up to their expectations of him. It's been hard for him to walk through.

Edited by Zinnia
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Yes, my parents and grandparents were solidly middle class. We are not.

 

Partly because of current choices, (homeschooling, for us = 1 income), partly because of poor choices in the past that affect our income/equity/savings now.

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I know I was middle class growing up, but while it was clear we were in the middle I felt like I wanted more as a kid and wasn't allowed/couldn't have it.  Maybe it was just how society was in the 80's but I didn't have designer jeans and in middle school it mattered.  I've some conversations with my dad about how lean my life is now and he said there was a time we were too.  He had to make some big changes to make it better.  So I feel like we may not be different, but it feels super lean being the adult this time. 

 

I would say we are middle class.  We rent.  We have owned 3 times and never made a dime.  One income has affected our ability to save big.  We do take vacations.  I believe it's important as a family.  Many are camping trips, but others have said if we traveled less we could pay off our debt.  yep, but I have no regrets.  Trips were always cash and never put on a CC.  Moving around hurt us as well.  Renting hasn't been good in that area.  Lots of broken leases by the owners made us move a LOT.  It's funny I can't break a lease without losing my deposit but they can up and kick me out anytime.   My kids have minimalist wardrobe but they do have some good shoes/coats/camping layers.  They have had music or sports lessons when they wanted it.  We are in a high COL area now so I've had to say no more.  More money goes to rent/food/gas.  We are considering moving farther out to reduce our spending there.   I know we are okay.  Not saving much though.  Could make better choices.  I'm trying.  

Dh grew up poor.  He's living a much better lifestyle.  He works hard for me to stay home.  He doesn't get a lot of the money he makes...it goes to living.  But he's providing for our family and his kids are living much  better than he did.  He feels like he's moved up.  

 

The fact that DH and I both paid our way through college just working and a few loans and our kids can't do the same makes me sad.  It was a good learning experience to be able to provide ourselves an education.  My kids may need to wait to attend college for $$ reasons.  

 

The one thing I tell my kids is create the life you want.  Don't take on debt to finance it.  Work hard, live simple.  If you want to live in a tiny house far from civilization you better figure out how to finance it and do it sooner than later.  It's just hard to make those big life changes mid career.    And save more.  So much more 

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A bit. Dad (bank v.p.) made more then (say, 1970) than hubby makes now, and back then thought paying $54,000 for a four-bed/three bath new house in S. California was expensive. Everything was cheaper. Mom worked p/t more out of boredom than anything. We only ate out once a month, though - Depression babies (my folks) did not "waste" money. We only turned on a/c on hottest days at our ranch house in the '60s - and then NOT the kid bedrooms, ever - and for the new house Dad did NOT allow a/c to be installed. Man, we sweated some days! But my folks were able to save a lot towards retirement, which we have not been able to do, AND their house sold for five times what they paid for it. We will be lucky to not lose money whenever we sell our house. So I think the biggest difference is not so much life style but ability to save money and make money off one's house.

 

Oh, and college costs. Dad balked at spending all of $5,000ish a year when i got accepted as a junior into USC. Ended up going to state U, then to the small private school where my mom worked, so I could live at home and go for free (Chapman College, now University). I would LOVE to send any of my kids to a school like USC for just five grand a year!!!! College costs have gone up waaay to far now.

Edited by JFSinIL
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Me, and I'm the thrifty one.  This year has been the first year we couldn't have been defined as low income for our family size.  I will say, my parents were still pretty frugal for their income; a lot of income went into financial planning.

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Yes, that’s me. I grew up in a upper middle class family. My parents live very comfortably with a nice home, vacation home, boat, etc. I never considered us “rich†because my high school had such wealthy kids! I thought rich people lived in the Atlanta Country Club (which they did), but when my husband met me he said he couldn’t believe how wealthy we were. For me, it was just normal. I have three sisters and they all live equal to or above the standard of living we were raised in. My one sister married very wealthy, but she’s kind of a snob about it and will point out the gap between us now.

 

My husband and I live very comfortable & we have everything we need & more, but we definitely have a budget and I consider myself to be quite frugal. I don’t have the luxury of walking into Target and just buying something because it’s cute. I budget everything & save for big items. We live within our means though, have a lovely home, and I have the luxury of not needing to work. We have no debt & I feel that we are better off than we’ve ever been in our marriage (thanks Dave Ramsey). My husband is a worship pastor and loves his job and can provide for us. We feel so blessed, and we are rich in happiness 😊. If I’m being honest though, my family benefits from the wealth of my parents and sisters. They are all incredibly generous & frequently we get invited on vacations that we would not be able to afford on our own. My home is filled with beautiful furniture & most of it belonged to my mom or sisters and was gifted to me (so grateful)

 

So I’m living on less than what I was raised, but fine with where we are. My husband and I have our own financial goals & they work for us.

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We grew up with all we needed, but at the same time, never wasted a dime. We got 2 pairs of shoes a year. Period. Of course, there are a lot of kids who would think that was the height of luxury. I remember Christmases that we did not have a tree as my dad was not going to waste the money. I remember a pillow being my Christmas present--that was the year that my mom got a used pen. My dad's work threw them out, but he discovered you could buy cartridges for them. We went to the grocery store every 2 weeks because we went to the PX. My mom and I EACH got a soda. That was a very big deal. And I remember the only fast food I ever had as a kid--I went to an Arby's once with my mom. My dad's frugality paid for a full year of each of my kids' college though, so I'm not complaining. 

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I grew up pretty average, I think.

 

I think DH and I are generally....pretty average.

 

Thing is, I didn't grow up in a static financial situation.  My dad was laid off multiple times and we moved a lot.  So there were times that they had plenty of money, and times where they didn't.  My dad was never out of work for very long, but even just being out of work for only a few months can take a lot of time to recover from, especially if it involves moving all the way across the country, or a brand new pregnancy, or in at least one case, both.  My parents didn't OWN a home until I was like 6 or 7, but we never lived in an apartment either.  And my parents always made sure that we had what we needed, even if we didn't always necessarily get what we WANTED.  Also, I am the oldest of 4 kids, all of us born within an 8 year period.  The number of kids a family has does have a genuine impact on the financial situation of the family.  The bigger the family, the more expenses they have and that means that even on a "good" income, the family can still be in a difficult financial situation. 

 

DH and I have also had our own ups and downs.  We have had years where our total income is under $30k, with 4 kids at home, and we have had other years where our total income was over $70k, and had only 1 kid at home. 

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I grew up wealthy or at least solidly upper middle class. I have five siblings and we went to a private Lutheran school (a lot of costs for these schools are offset by the church). We went on vacations in a camper. My parents paid for private colleges for each of us. But—my dad was in huge amounts of personal debt he took out to keep his business afloat. When he died, the business had to declare bankruptcy and my mom had to use cash from her big house sale to pay a personal loan back. So, we’re doing OK. We’re not even scratching what I had growing up, but we’re not burdened with heavy debt. We can almost afford a state college for ds only if he lives at home. Our kids have housing, food, and clothing.

 

The bigger difference I’m seeing is the retirement years. Both my mom and dh’s parents have pensions. They are both living well now. DH and I are saving as much as we can for retirement, but I don’t think it will compare to the pensions I see our parents living with.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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I think I might qualify. I didn't grow up in a static situation though - my parents both worked in a factory and layoffs were common. We lived in a camper for a year after a foreclosure (in Northern Illinois - winter and all), but also had years when we traveled to Europe or took a 6 week cross-country trip (travel was my parent's big spend). In the years when both of my parents worked, and this became more common as I became a teenager and my mom had some seniority in the factory, we were solidly middle class.

 

Because I have more children than my parents did and only 1 income, we have a lot less income than my parents did. Other differences between my parents and us: My parents had high school educations, while both DH and I have/had student loans for degrees. They have pensions; we allocate our money into a 401k. They had/have free health insurance through the union; we pay a hefty premium, deductible and co-pay for ours. My parents weren't ever good with handling money, and they never taught me, so it was quite the adjustment to live on just DH's income for me.  

 

Dh's family was only 1 income like us, although my FIL made quite a bit more than Dh does. My in-laws have always lived frugally though, so it wasn't too much of a shock to his system to go to living on just his income.  

 

My mother (my father is deceased) is very generous with us though; she pays for educational summer camps, has funded 529s, and takes us on vacations at least annually. 

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We're about the same as my parents were at this point in their lives in regard to income. The difference in benefits is huge, though. My dad worked for the same company from age 25 until he retired at age 62 with a pension and enough in retirement accounts to live at the same or higher standard of living for the rest of their lives.

 

The amount that Dad paid into retirement monthly to achieve that is less than we pay for health insurance. His company covered 100% for health insurance for the whole family. We have relatively good benefits (for today's job market) but have to pay the family plan premium. We still save for retirement, but neither my husband or I will be able to retire at 62.

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Its interesting about all the pension references. I think this has skunked my parents, who were in the first generation where the bulk of employees didn’t have significant pension options. Their parents all did, and didn’t save much for retirement. But my parents and their ilk tried saving but underestimated or didn’t do it well enough and MANY don’t have enough to retire.

 

On the other hand in my generation almost nobody has a pension AND we have seen the pitfalls of parents who have no retirement savings. So we have a really excellent and rigorous retirement set up. It cuts into to day to day spending habits, but our kids won’t have to worry about us financially. I think we learned a lesson on this from watching those changes in the retirement landscape.

 

I find it pretty abysmal, though, the state of retirement for many people in general. And from people whose salaries can bear it. I often wonder if the cost of education is the main robber of retirement savings - it feels like it. Because my observation has been that those people who can save and don’t often have massive loans for either themselves or their kids.

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The cars, clothes, vacations, extracurriculars, ski equipment & season passes, etc. don't really bother me.

 

What DOES bother me is that I was able to apply to any college I wanted without consideration of cost. I didn't have to face the choice of 2 years at community college & then 2 years at a state college vs. hoping for a merit scholarship. If Stanford cost the same now in inflation-adjusted terms we could afford to send our kids. But it is now prohibitively expensive and UCLA residential is the same as Stanford was back then.

That bugs me too. I paid out of state tuition when I went to college. It was doable with some scholarships, some work, and some small student loans. When we got the opportunity to move back to our alma mater’s state a decade ago, I was thrilled because it meant our kids could get in state tuition if they went there. Turns out that in state tuition is now more than out of state tuition was when we were there, and the same scholarship I got (half of whatever in state tuition was in any given year) is now capped at a set amount, which is currently around a third of in state tuition. And I hear that legacy admissions, even for the honors program that I was in, are less of a thing anymore. That’s depressing.

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I am not.  We do very well, but no I'm simply nowhere near as wealthy as my parents.

 

Does anyone have the case where the males (brothers, male cousins etc.) get extra family support in various ways than the females/daughters in the family. This is blatant in my foo and extended close family.  The older I get the madder I get about it.  The education is the same up through college and then the women are on their own and men are drawn into family business and family finances etc..  

 

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Well I mentioned in the other thread that my parents made ok money but there were 7 of us and they spent their money on our education. We all went to private school for highschool and the younger siblings went from 4th grade on. We always had access to multiple computers and internet in the home but glued our shoes together when they started breaking. It was a weird set of priorities but one I completely understand now.

 

We will likely never be able to afford private school,not that I want to, and dh makes less than either of my parents did. But we are certainly better with our money than my parents were.

Edited by hjffkj
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Me!

 

It's awful. The feelings of guilt are strong.

I figure I feel guilty because I care about my kids and want to make the best choices for them, and that more money wouldn’t make them happier. Not sure it’s true but oh well!

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I am not. We do very well, but no I'm simply nowhere near as wealthy as my parents.

 

Does anyone have the case where the males (brothers, male cousins etc.) get extra family support in various ways than the females/daughters in the family. This is blatant in my foo and extended close family. The older I get the madder I get about it. The education is the same up through college and then the women are on their own and men are drawn into family business and family finances etc..

I don’t have that experience but I’ve seen it and it makes me spitting mad. Females aren’t less worthy of personal investment than males.

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I am not. We do very well, but no I'm simply nowhere near as wealthy as my parents.

 

Does anyone have the case where the males (brothers, male cousins etc.) get extra family support in various ways than the females/daughters in the family. This is blatant in my foo and extended close family. The older I get the madder I get about it. The education is the same up through college and then the women are on their own and men are drawn into family business and family finances etc..

That is awful. We don't have that. in our case my parents likely don't help equally but more so they help where the need is. For example, when our dryer broke right before our youngest was born my dad bought us one. If the same happened to my brother who makes twice as much as dh and has on occasion quit his job simply because he could live off savings he wouldn't buy him one because the financial need isn't there.

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Oh and dh is certainly making less than his parents did. I think he is effected by it more than I am because we didn't live rich. We had private school but were clearly viewed as the poor kids of those schools. By all looks of it we didn't have money. When we went anywhere we camped or stayed in cheap motels. We never did Disney. New clothes at the start of school didn't happen. Any more expensive trips were funded by my grandmother. She paid for semesters abroad for some, cross-country trips to visit cousins for others.

 

Dh on the other hand, regularly went to Disney. Got new clothes at the beginning of the year and likely throughout it if he wanted. When things broken they were replaced immediately. Cars were never drove until they were falling apart and then some because they were always leased. Shoot his parents got him a car. we shared a car until we could afford to buy our own. I joke with him that he was a Lunchable kid while I was a brown paper bag lunch kid.

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In a way.  My parents (both sets) are very well off now, and my in-laws are in very good financial shape, also.  But all of that happened while DH and I were growing up.  

as an adult, I can look back and see changes in lifestyle/upbringing along the way as finances got more secure.  What's a little challenging now is that my parents assume that DH and I are living at their current financial level, rather than the more modest places they were in the career building, family building phase of life.

 

Time will only tell where DH and I land on the financial spectrum in our later years.  We are certainly far from struggling now and are very grateful.  But, I'm also home full time, we have more children than either of our FOO, and we are planning to homeschool, which will keep me home indefinitely.  That will certainly play a big role in our financial future.

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This is an interesting question because I grew up very thrifty and it took a while before my parents got on their feet financially.  But then they divorced and I lived with my single mom who never made much and my dad went on to become upper middle class.  Did I feel the impact of my dad's wealth?  Sometimes, but he wasn't overly generous.  

 

My dh has a similar story but lived with his DAD from about middle school on and he was somewhat spoiled.  When he lived with his mom, though, in his earlier years (they divorced when he was 3 or 4 and I was 12 when my parents divorced, btw) they were in apartments and mostly scraping by like I was with my mom.  

 

We live on dh's income (almost always from more than one job) and are only now becoming financially secure in our mid-40s, but we will NEVER reach the affluence of our fathers, I don't think.  But we are better off than my mom and nearly better off than dh's mom salary-wise when she was at the end of her career with no one else to care for but herself.  Interesting question.

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I don't know how we compare net worth wise.  My parents had some expensive hobbies - horses, a lot of Florida acreage, a second home, gun collecting, boats.  I feel like we are poorer but DH makes a higher relative income, but I think that's because the things I enjoyed as a child cost much more now - private schools, music lessons, sports, going to the symphony & the theater, vacations. I suspect we will have a much higher net worth when DH retires, but that's pretty speculative.  We have more in the stock market and less in concrete assets like land.  One good crash could wipe it all, though historic returns might make us better off in the end.

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Its interesting about all the pension references. I think this has skunked my parents, who were in the first generation where the bulk of employees didn’t have significant pension options. Their parents all did, and didn’t save much for retirement. But my parents and their ilk tried saving but underestimated or didn’t do it well enough and MANY don’t have enough to retire.

 

My dad didn't have a pension but he benefited from the huge run up in real estate and also stocks since the late '70's to fund my parents' retirement. Plus the fact that my maternal grandfather had a pension with survivor's benefits for my grandma led to a much larger inheritance for my mom than she would otherwise have gotten. We're not talking a huge amount but it definitely is helping my folks out.

 

Some of that money may trickle down to us later in life but my parents could well live another three or four decades and who knows what could happen in that time. They could potentially need all their savings to pay healthcare costs or nursing home care, etc.

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Me!

 

It's awful. The feelings of guilt are strong. 

 

I don't feel guilt. I feel anger. Anger at restrictive zoning laws that drive up housing costs unnecessarily. Anger at trial lawyers driving up malpractice insurance costs for physicians who have to practice "defensive medicine" as a result. Anger at pharmaceutical companies who spend huge sums advertising medications and then price-gouge consumers for them. Anger at university administrators who don't care that tuition hikes are pricing out the middle class. Anger at politicians who raise taxes on the middle class in order to fund tax cuts for millionaires and trust fund babies.

 

I could go on all day but it's hard to stay within forum guidelines about avoiding politics...

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Its interesting about all the pension references. I think this has skunked my parents, who were in the first generation where the bulk of employees didn’t have significant pension options. Their parents all did, and didn’t save much for retirement. But my parents and their ilk tried saving but underestimated or didn’t do it well enough and MANY don’t have enough to retire.

 

On the other hand in my generation almost nobody has a pension AND we have seen the pitfalls of parents who have no retirement savings. So we have a really excellent and rigorous retirement set up. It cuts into to day to day spending habits, but our kids won’t have to worry about us financially. I think we learned a lesson on this from watching those changes in the retirement landscape.

 

I find it pretty abysmal, though, the state of retirement for many people in general. And from people whose salaries can bear it. I often wonder if the cost of education is the main robber of retirement savings - it feels like it. Because my observation has been that those people who can save and don’t often have massive loans for either themselves or their kids.

While education debt can certainly play a role, I think there are also lifestyle choices involved. While we never had much education debt, we did have many years of very low income due to a PhD, ABD, and PharmD between us plus very few years with two full-time incomes due to homeschooling. But, we have always lived way below our means, including never buying up for housing when we were in a position to and socking away lots of money for retirement. Travel is probably our main indulgence. We have also been quite lucky in that since we bought our house 18 years ago, none of our subsequent jobs have involved a commute requiring a car. So between never buying a new car and only needing one vehicle and no commuting costs, that has meant some pretty big savings.

 

When my husband was in academia making the same as he did straight out of college with a BS, none of his same age colleagues could believe that we were maxing out his retirement contributions when I wasn’t working at all and they all had two full-time incomes. And many of them had parents helping them out while our parents were never able to (not that we expected or needed it). Lifestyle choices can make a huge difference. Luck and timing also come into play.

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I didn't grow up wealthy by any means, but definitely more stable and secure.  I took music lessons, baton lessons, played sports, etc.  But when I was growing up we moved exactly one time - when I was 2yo - for my father to take the job he held for well over 30 years.  He also retired with a full pension, etc., back in 1998.  Whereas, dh and I have moved many times for jobs and it always feels like we lose ground a little, even though the pay increases.  Factor in the crashes of the late 80's/early 90's  (?), and the most recent one, and the fact that we have twice as many kids as my parents had ...  and the fact that pensions seem to be a thing of the past ...  and I don't know what all else.

 

Dh grew up much poorer and has far exceeded what his family did.  But he always seems to still 'feel poor', if that makes sense.  And I've never seen anyone panic about money like he does.  I really wish he would let me take over all the money stuff.  I love planning and I have the time, and it might decrease his stress if he would just let me do it.  But I doubt that'll ever happen.  Unless he dies, of course.

 

Overall, I'd say life has just been more unpredictable than it was growing up for me, financially and otherwise.  And probably will be until I die.   

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Growing up we were solidly upper middle class. I definitely am not living better or equal to what I experienced growing up. If I think about it, it upsets me greatly that I was not able to give my kids the experiences I had growing up.

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We aren't anywhere near where my parents were/are, although it's not as noticeable on a day-to-day basis, because my parents lived frugally, so that's normal to me. But my parents are in millionaire-next-door territory, while I'm thrilled our savings can now cover six months' expenses. We only live as close to what I had growing up as we do because of my parents' generosity - they cover dance lessons, they buy holiday clothes, they give us their old cars, they give generous presents for Christmas and birthdays, they take us on vacations. (And that we are blessed with very good insurance.) And I'm really grateful for it.

 

But I have no earthly idea what we'll do re: college unless my parents help. (although our income is low enough the kids would qualify for need-based aid. Which feels weird, since my parents' income/assets were such that I wasn't anywhere near qualifying for need-based anything.). It bothers me, to be so far from giving my kids what my parents gave me on that front. And it's a little weird to listen to my sister's vacation stories (she's single with a good income, and travel is her only real indulgence) and hear my kids talk about wanting to go with her somewhere, and know that there's just no way we could afford those sorts of trips. (Although as kids we never went on those kinds of trips, either.) I kind of have to aggressively prevent myself from being jealous, sometimes.

Edited by forty-two

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My parents definitely had more money growing up than we have now, but because my dad was a mentally ill narcissist, my brother and I never saw a penny of it. We didn't get to do any sports or activities, never took vacations, didn't get a penny for college...

 

Dh and I don't have as much money, but we prioritize the kids and their needs and education, so they're better off even if his income is technically less.

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Growing up we were solidly upper middle class. I definitely am not living better or equal to what I experienced growing up. If I think about it, it upsets me greatly that I was not able to give my kids the experiences I had growing up.

This

Thanks to stupidity on dh & my part when dh had a good job. And thanks to closures which caused tons of people to lose jobs we are way worse off than when I was growing up.I

 

I am thankful we have a home and food and vehicle. I still feel like I am walking a tight rope over the grand canyon when things go wrong.

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Growing up we were solidly upper middle class. I definitely am not living better or equal to what I experienced growing up. If I think about it, it upsets me greatly that I was not able to give my kids the experiences I had growing up.

Awe, I’m sorry :grouphug: Different doesn’t mean bad - there is a LOT to be said for being the mom who sits and reads with her kids, enjoys watching them play, and helps them follow their interests. Throwing money at the kids with travel and activities is one way to parent, but I’m not sure it means much without the involvement and love of the parents too. That’s the magic ingredient and it doesn’t take money to provide it :)

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