Good vs. Bad Money

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Good vs. Bad Money

Post by Jason » Sat Mar 04, 2017 1:53 pm

I didn't really know what to call this topic. I don't even have a definitive thesis at this moment. But I have an idea and why not see if anyone else has one as well.

I have a client. She's a complete fucking idiot. But that being said, she once said something that stuck in my mind. She said: "I learned that there is such a thing as bad money." What she was referring to was money that was arguably hers, but that she didn't want either because of its source or the personal drama of getting it.

For instance, I find nothing so repulsive as heirs fighting over that which someone else built i.e. what is going on this moment with the Los Angeles Lakers.

So, my father died. And I know the second my mother left the hospice she made two calls. One to the life insurance company and the other to her attorney to remove me from her will.

My tax guy said that I owe it to myself to get a copy of the will in case my father wanted me to have something. I said its highly unlikely and even if he did, I don't want any of it at this point because I don't want to have to deal with the people involved and its not mine to begin with.

And it got me thinking. My parents did pay for my college education. But the money was dubious. They were involved in a cash business. It doesn't take away from the education because money is neither pure nor impure. It just is. However it is made.

I don't know. Its all fucked up. Most of you mofos are smarter than me so I'll see if any of you have anything to say on this topic.

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Re: Good vs. Bad Money

Post by C40 » Sat Mar 04, 2017 2:27 pm

Sorry about your dad and about how your mom's acting. I don't have any advice....

I've been surprised how common it is for this kind of thing. I've heard about families that (seem to) get along ok or even great, and then one or some of them make a greedy scramble when a family member dies.

I was talking to someone recently about this kind of thing.... She has kids from a first marriage and then divorced and remarried after the kids were mostly adults. She gets along really well with her husband and she said that whenever they have a disagreement, they've been able to talk it out logically and eventually come to an agreement they're happy with. But they still have a big disagreement about her will - about where her life insurance money would go if she dies before him. She wants some of it to go to him and some to her kids. He wants it all to go to him, and says that then when he dies, his money would go to her kids (he doesn't have any of his own). He has a good, but all that close relationship with her kids. He can't understand why she wouldn't give all her money to him, and he also totally denies any possibility of, if she were to die soon, him growing apart from the kids over the next 30+ years that he might live (which, if she died early, I'd guess the growing apart is very likely)

I find it odd that so many people are so unintentional about amassing their own capital, but that they place such a huge emphasis on getting the capital of a dead relative. It's like, their desire for money is too low to actually save it, but yet also high enough to backstab their family. It's crazy!

I do understand that most of these folks want the vacations and stuff the money could be spent on, and not so much the money itself. But the same logical craziness still applies.

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Re: Good vs. Bad Money

Post by Did » Sat Mar 04, 2017 2:32 pm

Deeply personal. That said, in some circumstances I agree with you.

I don't normally say this, but, as a former lawyer, I have seen how stressful it is to deal with conflict. And my personal response to all of this is to try and avoid it.

Let them have it. And I hope they fucking choke on it.

That sort of thing. Of course, it's all a matter of degree and the like. But in the current circumstances, if your mother is still alive, and she was with your father, then it is likely that his stuff is hers anyway. Not yours. I'd wait till she died and then contest the will if you were screwed.

NB This isn't legal advice.

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Re: Good vs. Bad Money

Post by Dragline » Sat Mar 04, 2017 3:00 pm

It isn't the money that's good or bad. It's the misplaced attachment of some "meaning" to it -- love, respect, spite, whatever. And inheritance provides a convenient way for people to measure the unmeasurable.

People erroneously think that death and wills provide closure. They only do for the one who died.

If you don't care about the will/inheritance, then just walk away. But if you are still telling this same story about how your mom screwed you out of an inheritance in a few months or a few years, then you did care so go do something about it now and find out what the real answer is so you can stop the endless speculations about who she called and what she did. What if you are wrong about what you suspect? The fact that you are posting this leads me to believe that these issues matter to you, but you are just trying to convince yourself that they don't or they shouldn't. It isn't good or bad money that's eating you -- its the "knowing" that's eating at you. So go find out.

As for where your parents' money came from, that was completely out of your control, so I would not worry about it.

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Re: Good vs. Bad Money

Post by Jason » Sat Mar 04, 2017 3:01 pm

Thanks for the advice. That was my thinking, because my mother is still alive, the money would have to been specifically earmarked for me and there was no way she was going to let that happen.

What amazes me is the fact that she's an unapologetic greedy pig, she still wants relations. It puts me in an untenable position. If I say anything about money, I'm the money grubber. So we have to avoid the whole topic which is frighteningly unnatural.

The thing I love about ERE is that it has a concept of "enough" which is counter to the culture we live in. And part of FU money is that I don't need your money or some dead relative's money. I got my own.

The painful part is that I loved my dad and not that I wanted anything, but it seems the passing of things between father and son just seems natural. Like isn't that the fucking point. But instead, I got Leona Helmsley as a mother. Being that I was alone with him (with my wife) when he died, I told him it was ok to move on and when he did, I removed the hospice band from his wrist and took it with me. That's all I have of him besides the memories.

My mother even refused to put an obituary in the paper because I think she thought they would charge her. I swear I hope when that bitch gets to hell, they make her wait on fucking tables.

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Re: Good vs. Bad Money

Post by George the original one » Sat Mar 04, 2017 3:37 pm

Legal battles over wills can sometimes suck the estate dry. Happened to a former coworker, where the only winners were the lawyers.

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Re: Good vs. Bad Money

Post by Sclass » Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:06 am

Yes there is bad money. Inherited wealth often goes bad like lottery winnings because the recipients aren't good stewards.

I'm tangled up in a multi decade version of your story. Part of me wishes I'd walked away. I did but I just didn't stay away.

I'm deeply conflicted about this and it tears at me everyday.

I came back for the money. I could have stayed away and been free of the family politics. But, I couldn't stand to see the family wealth going to the suck ups. They'd lose it over time anyway. So I justified my greed as loyalty and came back to the family fold. I'm deeply involved in our financial dealings now and the half siblings and step mother are terrified of me. They remember how mad I was when I abandoned everyone in my twenties. Now I'm old and I'm back. Poor babies are scared they won't be rich when daddy dies.

Not on my watch. I've been waiting for this a long time. :twisted:

Sadly I've sold my soul. If I could do it all again I would have stayed away. I had enough money on my own, what the hell was I thinking. Let them have the money. It is bad money and it will hurt them. That is why I was called back to help my daddy's babies.

Have faith in yourself. Make your own pile of good money. Hope that helps.

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Re: Good vs. Bad Money

Post by halfmoon » Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:26 am

Money has no inherent good or bad qualities; it's just a means of trade. We're really talking about emotional baggage. You can spend your life being angry with others over money or trying to control them with money, but you'll end up emotionally bankrupt. My sage advice:

@Jason: walk away. Nursing anger toward your mother or wondering whether your father loved you enough to leave something in his will is corrosive. Do you want to have a good, reasonably happy life? Then put your energy into the things that further that goal. Hatred and resentment won't make you happy; it won't make you morally superior; it won't change anyone else's behavior; and it most certainly won't cause someone who has wronged you to suddenly wake up and acknowledge their misdeeds. It will make those who truly love you (such as your wife) suffer.

@Sclass: see above. I would add that what you perceive as sucking up may have brought your father pleasure. In the end, all you need to reconcile is your own actions toward your father and how you feel about those actions.

My preachiness (is that a word?) comes from experience. DH and I lost a huge portion of our retirement savings to a relative's deliberate fraud years ago, and we were consumed with anger and resentment for a long time. We finally realized that a major aspect of our distress was wanting this person to perceive and internalize the wrong he had done. Utterly useless, because someone who is capable of doing wrong is probably incapable of remorse. Once we climbed down off the cross and began to focus on our own life again, we were much happier.

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Re: Good vs. Bad Money

Post by Sclass » Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:19 pm

I wholeheartedly agree. All money is green so to speak. I am burdened by emotion.

I haven't told the entire story though. I helped my old man mind the shop as a kid. My step and half siblings know nothing but spending the dividends of the money machine that my older brother and I helped assemble.

Step bro did become a heroin addict a decade ago. So the money was bad for him.

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Re: Good vs. Bad Money

Post by DutchGirl » Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:45 am

Jason wrote: What amazes me is the fact that she's an unapologetic greedy pig, she still wants relations. It puts me in an untenable position. If I say anything about money, I'm the money grubber. So we have to avoid the whole topic which is frighteningly unnatural.
She still wants relations, but do you? Give yourself a month-long vacation from your mother. No contact. See how you like it.

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