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My son, 23, pays me rent. He has saved $10,000 living with me. Is it wrong to ask him to leave when he hits 26?

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Dear Moneyist,

I have a 23-year-old son who lives at home and he works a full-time job. He pays $300 a month, which I put in a savings account. Is it unreasonable to tell him that, once he turns 26, he will need to move out? It makes me uncomfortable that I have to tell him this.

I feel like it is wrong, but a part of me knows that he needs to explore life and I don’t want to hinder him. He is a good young man, but he also needs to learn. I also talk to him about money management, savings and investing, but the investing I am learning myself so I can’t really teach.

He has saved $10,000 and it’s in a money-market account. What can he do to help maximize the money he has saved? And how should I invest the money he is giving me so when he does leave, he will have something to fall back on? He doesn’t know I am saving the money.

Thank you for your help and attention in this matter.

Unsure Mom

The Moneyist:My sister became my late father’s power of attorney, took out a reverse mortgage on his home, and drained his equity. What can I do?

Want to read more?Follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitterand read more of his columns here.

Dear Unsure,

This is an opportunity for him, and you can present it as such.

Start by asking questions. “Where do you see yourself in three years? Are you happy in your job? How would you like to progress?” It may be that he decides to take advantage of this time at home to further his education, or save up for a down payment on a home to buy or a deposit on one to rent.

And then you can tell your son where you would like to see him in three or five years’ time. “You’ve worked hard and saved enough to have your own place soon. Have you thought about where you’d like to live? Rents are falling so we should take a look and see what’s out there.”

There’s no perfect way into this conversation. Any inelegance brought about by our own awkwardness can be eased by good intentions, honesty and directness. It’s a balance, and a trade off. You don’t have to get there in one conversation, but start the ball rolling now.

The Moneyist:My wife and I have 3 kids. I also have 3 kids from a previous marriage. How should we split our house among these 6 children?

I don’t even recommend Broadway shows to people, let alone what they should do with their money. You could seek out “higher quality” dividend growth stocks, consider alternative assets and asset classes, ensuring to diversify your portfolio and reduce all your exposure to equities.

You could continue on the road you’re on, play it safe and hold your money in cash (for now), but with interest rates so low, savings account are not making money, or look into gold, real estate and other commodities. If you’re considering value stocks, check out these industries.

These are options NOT recommendations. As MarketWatch columnist Mark Hulbert wrote: “The odds of making money over this turn-of-the-year period are close to three-out-of-four, which means that there is a one-out-of-four chance you will lose. So don’t throw caution to the wind.” Amen to that.

Proceed cautiously. Do not expect quick gains.

Hello there, MarketWatchers. Check out the Moneyist private Facebook
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Quentin Fottrell is MarketWatch’s Moneyist columnist. You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions at qfottrell@marketwatch.com. By emailing your questions, you agree to having them published anonymously on MarketWatch.





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My husband doesn’t get along with my son. I brought most of the wealth into our marriage. How do I split my estate?

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Dear Quentin,

How do couples typically handle their estates in a second marriage? My husband and I have been married for seven years, and it is the second marriage for both of us. I have one adult child from my previous marriage; he has no children.

I brought the majority of our wealth to our marriage, including almost $1 million in my 401(k) and a nice home that is almost paid off; otherwise, we have no debt. My husband and I bought a second home together. We work hard to fund our new 401(k)s, and own a successful business together.

I am turning 65 this year, so estate planning is long overdue. My husband is five years younger than me, and we are both in very good health. We have two issues facing us: I see our retirement as living very comfortably on the monthly income generated by our 401(k)s, pension, Social Security, etc., and leaving whatever may be left to my son.


‘The other issue is that my husband no longer gets along with my dear son at all, and feels no obligation to get along with him.’

I am not interested in scrimping, but I want to be able to have enough money to last us until age 90 (or beyond) by not touching the principal. My husband is more interested in dipping deep into our savings, and living it up in retirement while we are young enough to enjoy it.

The other issue is that my husband no longer gets along with my dear son at all, and feels no obligation to get along with him, to the point that neither one wants anything to do with the other. As far as he is concerned, my son doesn’t meet his expectations, and so deserves nothing from me and certainly nothing from him.

I want my estate planning to be fair to both my new husband and my son. How do people typically handle this type of quandary? I think that I need to create some type of trust to pass on my share of our estate to my son. My pre-marriage assets involved my son as I pursued my graduate degree through night school and worked long hours throughout his childhood.

Second Wife

You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions related to coronavirus at qfottrell@marketwatch.com.

Dear Second Wife,

Don’t allow your husband’s feelings toward your son to influence your estate planning.

Your relationships with your husband and your son and your own plans for retirement are all fair game when making decisions about your estate, but your husband and son’s fractured relationship is their business, not yours. You worked hard for this money, and your son is your legal heir. Any effort by your husband to spend all of your savings and fritter away any inheritance that you intended to leave to your son should be resisted at all costs.

You have worked too hard your entire life to compromise your plans for a comfortable retirement where you have money set aside for long-term medical care insurance, unforeseen emergencies and/or your son. If you jointly own your home, you can leave your half to your son in your will, and specify it can only be sold after your husband passes away.

If you own the home, you can give your husband a life estate. Your son would pay capital-gains tax on the value of your home when he sells it, and not when you bought it. You could also make your son the beneficiary on your life-insurance policy, and/or gift him a certain amount of money per year to see how he manages and spends that money.

Figure out what is fair to yourself first before moving on to what is fair to your husband and your son. It’s OK to put your needs first. I caution against your dipping into savings at a rate that is beyond your own risk tolerance.

Ultimately, you are entitled to leave all other separate property to your son when you die — and, along with a financial adviser, set up a trust with that in mind for you, your husband and your son. Not necessarily in that order.

The Moneyist: ‘I cut his hair because he won’t pay for a haircut’: My multimillionaire husband is 90. I’ve looked after him for 41 years, but he won’t help my son

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These money and investing tips can help you make a place for crypto in your portfolio

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Don’t miss these top money and investing features:

These money and investing stories, popular with MarketWatch readers over the past week, can give you a better understanding of bitcoin and other cyrptocurrency, and help you figure out if digital currency has a place in your portfolio alongside stocks, bonds and other traditional assets.

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