Financial & high value “Gifts” to family members?

These people are in their 30’s. You can offer some financial advice and maybe Lillian’s excellent book A Cat's Guide To Money: Purrsonal Finance – Oh My Dollar!
But ultimately they are adults and get to be who they are. I vote for an equal split and some transparent communication.


IMO: Equal gifts, always. It’s not really a gift no matter the cost if it causes additional pain to your kids after you’ve passed, after all!

Also, as the more responsible sibling, I’d see it as parents enabling yet more irresponsible behavior for the other siblings and me losing out on getting assistance I probably will need in the future for things like putting my kid through college.


Yeah this has some resonance for me too.
My mom also gave me / had lots of “stuff” that she felt was antique and would be worth a lot of money some day, and also a lot of stuff at the time was pretty clearly junk (I think it was easier for her to give it to me than throw stuff away, and I didn’t learn boundaries until much, much later in adulthood). Pretty much across the board, I had hard time getting anyone to take these ‘antiques’ when the time came - but it did cause problems with my sibling who believed it was worth a lot. I would suggest making sure the person who you’re giving stuff to actually wants it, and it doesn’t just become an obligation.

And another vote for treating them as adults who have their act together.

When my parents were still alive, my mom would make comments from time to time that they were spending our inheritance. My standard response was I didn’t care about an inheritance, but I didn’t want them to show up destitute on my doorstep. I would encourage you to be transparent with both children about how you have prepared for your older age (pensions, retirement accounts, long term care contracts, POAs, wills, medical POA, etc.) AND what you want them to do in certain situations, where you want treatment and when you want them to pull the plug. Those conversations might or might not lead into discussions about how they plan for their future. But knowing that they do not have to worry about supporting you or providing care for you is a huge financial and emotional gift, even if you do nothing else.


Thank-you everyone for chiming in with your thoughts, ideas, opinions and experiences. It’s been very helpful for me. I’m going to think on it a bit.

I think I will ask second daughter a leading question or make a statement and see if the conversation opens up. I certainly don’t want her to think I think she’s financially illiterate, when in truth I have no idea where she sits in her knowledge. Having knowledge and having the means to save for retirement can be two very different things.




Something that worked well for my grandma seemed to be doing set amount gifts as things came up. She explained it as distributing her estate early to minimize the tax burden. Every few years she’d come up with a reason to give a gift under the taxable amount to some of the grandkids. Supposedly this was done evenly, although I’m unconvinced by that lol. But she’d do things like gift to someone once the bought a house, or went to college, or divorced and were restarting. I think cash gifts from an estate early can be a wonderful thing and don’t assume it would just benefit second daughter if you’ve got the flex to give to both over the years. My grandma was purposely very unpredictable with her giving, I think to ensure no one felt entitled or like they were waiting on their payday :woman_shrugging:

I hope that makes sense, lol. On a personal note, I have both understood but somewhat resented my parents bail outs of both brothers over the years. For better or worse it makes me resent the sibling more than the parents, if that makes sense.


So this just happened. We spent the day with second daughter and her husband. Ended up back here organizing my freezers. Didn’t clean them. I had forgotten about that! I let her take what she wanted. Second daughter also helped me sort through my home canned goods/basement pantry. She picked out a bag of goodies to take home.

We came upstairs to hear Hubby and son-in-law talking finances. There ensued a long conversation about how we came to be where we’re at and them talking about how they want to be set up. I strongly suggested talking to first daughter and her husband, as they are both money savvy, and are probably on this board! Turns out second and first daughter have already been talking!

First daughter wants to move out of the neighborhood they’re in, as it’s going downhill, but they can’t afford anything else. Plus they have a really sweet deal on rent courtesy of their landlord, who wants them to stay as long as possible. They are a “stabilizing influence” in the building. Their rent is about half the going rate.

I did a quick check of the real estate situation and realized they would be buying a mobile home in a park, or a row house. They cannot afford a house or condo. Things are complicated because neither of them drive.

Also, Second daughter does not like her job, which turns out to be a dead end job…unless you happen to drive. And she’s nervous about walking home alone at night these days. That’s saying something. She’s a tall girl.

AND I discovered neither of them has a pension. They are 35.

We stressed it was never too late to start. We started in our 40s, when I hit the panic button after reading “The Millionaire Next Door” in the 1990s. Still, I was fighting Hubby tooth and nail all the way…and he admitted it today.

I took second daughter aside and told her I had knew she didn’t want the jewelry, so if she opened a TFSA I had some I’d sell to contribute to it. This one needs a bit of encouragement. She kept saying she was lazy. I think she’s discouraged. She was quite open and good about discussing things, and letting her husband talk openly…which I think was good for all of us. It was a very good discussion.

Thank-you for all your input everyone!


Hm. I asked my dad to give me an income from his estate instead of any kind of lump sum. My sister thought she’d be fighting me all the time about money and changed it to a lump sum.

If she’d closed Dad’s estate teh way she was supposed to, we wouldn’t have fought. I had to threaten to sue her before she finally closed things. I’m sure, although I can’t prove it, that she charged an admin fee for each of the 12 years or so she kept it open, which diminished the estate a good deal I expect.

It’s one of the reasons we don’t talk.


This is making me so terrified because, last I heard, I’m the executor of my parents estate when the time comes :grimacing: hoping my brothers are sensible. Dreading having to interact with my sister again. Funfunfun. This is what I get for being the “responsible” kid :joy: (at least they realize that, and have apologized and made jokes to that extent. And they DID ask. I did agree and had a choice).


This is why we are working on dispersal of our “estate” before we die. It will be a lot easier for the kids that way. My dad left a mess when he died. My brother is still sorting it out. His second wife and her family are causing issues. Dad died in 2018.

We have also taken the executorship out of our children’s hands and given it to my sister, who has nothing to gain from doing it. We told her to take a cut for doing all the work, but she said she doesn’t want to. She is married to a very wealthy man. Still she might change her mind.

My kids don’t drive and have never owned property, and don’t ever intend to. So we needed someone who knew something about selling real estate and cars. I think if there’s ever a dispute my sister will handle it well. She’s a very practical, no-nonsense person.

We’ve left explicit directions as to what goes where, in a binder we store in the house. She knows the location. She has a copy of the wills too…just in case.

In the end, you can plan all you want. But the future is unknowable. If Dad realized the mess he left behind, I’d like to think he would have changed his will. Basically he left my brother babysitting his widow, a hoarder, who lives in a condo. Brother has to deal with the condo board and association over everything. He drew the line when Dad’s widow, who inherited over 85% of his significant estate, tried to get we kids to cover her condo “special assessments“! :pensive:


Is there a reason not driving is so set in stone? Ethical objection? Disability? Fear (though this can be overcome…)? Even if not a daily car user, having the skill and license to drive can be helpful.

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One DD claims they cannot afford a car (we would help there), nor to keep one on the road. They both work minimum wage jobs. I think there’s some fear there as well.

The other DD is pure fear and concern for the environment.

Both Daughters had driver’s ed through the public school system. Both times the same instructor was a jerk, taking them on busy streets their first time out in the car, and not giving them any instructions to speak of. Both of them were traumatized by the experience.

I took both of them to a huge parking lot in a nearby venue and asked them to drive and tell me what they knew. They knew the rules of the road alright, but the physics of driving and the hand/eye coordination were something else!

I had the daughter of an RCMP officer who ran a private driving school give DD#1 lessons after her public school experience. Her summation of the situation was that DD#1 “drove like a passenger”! She was up on the sidewalk while trying to make a right hand turn apparently. :pensive:

To be fair, this could be somewhat genetic. Their paternal grandmother had to give up driving because she was in so many accidents. When she knocked the driver side mirror off the car going into the driveway past the house, her DH became livid, and she never drove again. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

So yeah my daughters don’t drive. My one son-in-law doesn’t either. Once again it’s cost of buying and operating a vehicle. But also general distractability. I have one son-in-law who drives, and he has a host of health problems. Often he is unable to drive.

I don’t drive either. But that’s because DH prefers if I don’t I think, and I’m chicken to drive here. Drivers where we live drive fast over blind hills and around blind corners. Add winter snow and ice and even if I did drive, it wouldn’t be year round.