Connect with us

Company

My daughter-in-law will only have a second child by surrogacy — and wants to use $200K of my son’s inheritance to pay for it

Published

on


My son, 35, has been married for 3 years with one child. He recently came to me with what I consider to be a stunningly unusual dilemma.  

He wanted my counsel on the idea of a second child, something he desires greatly  He was married in 2017, and the first child was born in 2019.

It turns out that his wife, 35, is very reluctant not, as she claims, to have another child, but to bear another child. She says she would agree to surrogacy at a cost exceeding $200,000. She claims this is her right, as a feminist, and that she is entitled to control what happens with her body.

At this point, I was at a total loss. It’s something I can’t even imagine physically, emotionally, socially, or financially.  


This does NOT seem to be a good use of money for a healthy couple who have not had trouble conceiving.

This does NOT seem to be a good use of money for a healthy couple who have not had trouble conceiving, and seems to indicate a significant lack of judgement and sensitivity.

My son inherited a decent amount of money at 30 (about $1 million), an amount that once might have sounded like a lot, but what is now basically the ability to purchase a house and fund education for children.

In our family, we have always adhered as closely as possible to the rule “never dip into capital.”

Yet he has already dipped into capital by covering his wife’s $250,000 in college and credit-card debt before they were even married — a pretty heroic rescue!  

After the fact, I was shocked to learn that she had received a full scholarship in a perfectly good university (tuition, room and board), but turned it down in favor of NYU, with zero financial aid. She had no particular plan for repaying this debt — in fact, her initial ambition following college was to be a yoga instructor.

Not surprisingly, that did not pan out terribly well. They now live near San Francisco, where both are employed in tech-ish jobs — my son is a data scientist, and my daughter-in-law has a job involving social media.  

Their compensation is decent (hers possibly much as $100,000, his maybe $130,000), but not spectacular, certainly not in expensive northern California. I’m fairly sure my son’s job (an established company) has a better future than hers (a “startup” that is teetering due to COVID-19).


On top of this, my daughter-in-law’s parents are indigent, unemployable and completely dependent upon them.

On top of this, my daughter-in-law’s parents are indigent, unemployable and completely dependent upon them. As of now, they are living with them and providing daily child care for their daughter — better than paying both a nanny and the parents’ expenses in a separate domicile — but a tough situation in a small apartment. The parents are only in their late 50’s.

But wait, there’s more. My daughter-in-law is objecting to my son’s desire to obtain a post-nuptial agreement, designed to segregate what is left of his inheritance from marital assets; in fact, she has indicated that she will only feel they are “true partners” if he allows her to share equally in his assets.

So far, my son has resisted, and seems determined to hold the line on this; she has reluctantly agreed, but has yet to see a lawyer. I’m not optimistic that a lawyer will be helpful in this case. But my understanding is that in California, assets brought into a marriage are excluded in a divorce settlement, particularly in a short-term marriage.  

Finally, she is very determined to buy an expensive house which, to me, seems like an end run around the postnup, as once that capital goes into a home purchase, it becomes a “marital asset.”

Despite this history, which makes her sound like an unrelenting gold digger, she is a nice person, loves and cares for her daughter and, I hope, my son. She just seems to have an astonishingly casual attitude toward money — if it’s there, spend it! (Or, in the case of college, even if it’s not there.)

I realize that there are all kinds of problems here not just the cockamamie surrogacy one, but I would appreciate your perspective and wisdom on the tricky financial intricacies here.

Sincerely,

Concerned Mother-in-Law

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

Dear Concerned,

The gods will judge us for the choices we make. They will also judge us for judging others for the choices they make. The best way forward is to think carefully about the former, and do as little as possible of the latter.

With that in mind, let’s assume that her parents are good people, and that your son and daughter-in-law are happy to help her parents, unless we have any other reason to suspect otherwise. Child-care can cost up to $22,000 a year in San Francisco, so it’s also a blessing to have them to help take care of their child while they are at work. Multigenerational households are not unusual in many cultures. Working in a start-up can be lucrative, and having studied at a prestigious university can open doors, whether it’s through smoke and mirrors or not.

I agree with the first part of your daughter-in-law’s position. It’s her body and her choice. Whether or not she considers herself a feminist, she and she alone gets to choose whether or not she wants to bear another child. All people should have agency over their own bodies, despite constant interference in this most basic of civil rights. One thing I know for sure: Childbirth and reproductive rights and finances are not two separate issues that exist in isolation of each other. They are not. The cost of surrogacy can range from $90,000 to $130,000 in California, and much less in other states.


If your worst fears are realized about their gulf in priorities, the bounds of this marriage will be tested to breaking point.

And so to you son. He too has a choice to make on how to spend his inheritance, or not. I understand that his wife may wish to explore the financial requirements of surrogacy, but inheritance is deemed separate rather than marital property for a reason. This is money that the bequeather wished your son to have and use as he sees fit. If his inheritance is seen as a jar on the mantel that can be dipped into at will, it will soon fritter away to nothing. If your daughter-in-law’s financial requests are part of a larger pattern, of course it worries me that your son’s inheritance may drained at the request.

Ultimately, it’s a much bigger conversation than surrogacy or even your daughter-in-law’s student debt. And that too is where my concern lies. Your daughter-in-law must weigh up the pros/cons of having a child by surrogacy, assuming your son agrees to pay for it, with the pros/cons of having another child at all. Your son must balance his desire for a second child with the cost of surrogacy. We can’t answer those questions for them. If your worst fears are realized about their gulf in priorities, the bounds of this marriage will be tested to breaking point.

Maintaining his $1 million as separate property, given the highly emotive issue they are grappling with, seems like a wise and fair move to me. Your son may say, “Your body, your choice. My inheritance, my choice.” Sometimes, such directness and bluntness is required. It’s not a pretty or easy conversation, whatever way you decide to embark upon it. But it’s better than they both draw lines in the sand now — without apology — on how far they are willing to compromise, and what their expectations and plans are for how they see their family and finances moving forward.

Delaying such conversations rarely leads to a better result.

The Moneyist:When my parents died, my sisters and I split their estate. I chose a painting that may be worth $50,000. Should I tell them?

Hello there, MarketWatchers. Check out the Moneyist private Facebook
FB,
+0.04%

 group where we look for answers to life’s thorniest money issues. Readers write in to me with all sorts of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or weigh in on the latest Moneyist columns.



Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Company

I lost my job at 55 and started my own successful business. I now constantly get texts from friends and former coworkers asking how I did it. What do I do?

Published

on

By


I read your column regularly. I never thought that I would reach out to you with my own issues. But I was wrong. I’m hoping you can help on how best to handle this situation.

In 2016, I lost my long-term job. The company simply went through serious changes, and my position was no longer needed. They were great to me when I worked there, and they gave me a small severance package. I was 55 at the time. I was more than a bit anxiety ridden as I wasn’t in a position to retire, and I was concerned about the prospects of being rehired at this age. The good news is that I was a saver, had no debt and always lived frugally. My husband’s job carried the benefits.


‘I woke up every morning at 4 a.m. to research, research, research how best to use my resources and ended up starting a small business.’

I woke up every morning at 4 a.m. to research, research, research how best to use my resources and ended up starting a small business. Once I started, I made mistakes, messed things up but I kept educating myself more and more. There were tough times that were not easy to get through, but I was determined, and kept going.

After about 18 months, it was working! Everything fell into place, and the train finally started going down the track! Now, I wake up each day and think, ‘I own a small business!’ My hubby even took early retirement to partner with me. While we are not making $1 million, we crossed over into six digits over the past few years.

We run our business out of a home office. I offer a service based on my knowledge from my prior job that I lost. So what is the problem? Several times a month, friends and prior co-workers reach out to us to ask how they too can get started in what we do.

This is just one example of the text I woke up to this morning:

“We are thinking about starting our own business as a husband and wife team like you. We want to discuss this with you, and learn from your experiences. What day and time would be good for you? Early morning or late afternoon? Can you come to our house?”

These requests send me to the moon and back, and I’m not totally sure why. I’m struggling with being a good human being and helping them vs. asking myself why would I want to train my competition to take business away from ourselves?

I liken these friends and former colleagues to the kids at school who march right to the head of the lunch line to get their food, without waiting in line like the rest of us.

My husband and I built relationships across the country and locally, but we do not live in a town where there is enough business for all of us.

Quentin, I hope you can help me sort through how best to decline these requests or tell me if I am wrong? We will retire in 6 years, and we hope to sell the business at that time.

Enjoying My Second Act (& Want It To Last)

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

Dear Second Act,

Your life and business is not a blueprint for anyone. Your path is your own. Your timing was right for you. You did your boots-on-the-ground research, and it’s paying dividends. And you’re correct: Never underestimate your own ability to build relationships. Not everybody has that skill.

That text sounds like an aggressive sales pitch: a strong-armed approach with a smile. No. 1: If they are asking you to do them a favor, regardless of what that favor is, suggesting you do it on their terms is a no-no. If these friends are not willing or able to get off their sofa and come around to your home or meet you close to your house or business, how do they expect to start their own business from scratch, and go above and beyond to build both a reputation and a business?


‘Pushy people tend to know they’re being pushy. They just don’t care.’

No. 2: Pushy people tend to know they’re being pushy. They just don’t care. They may need you to acquiesce to their requests for the reassurance that others can and will bend to their will OR perhaps they simply have their eye on their goal and everyone else are minions (with a lower case “m”). You don’t need to worry about their psychology, of course, but you do need to be just as tough and push back. If people ask me what to do with their money, I say: “I don’t even recommend Broadway plays.”

And that lunar feeling you have when you get those texts? It’s your boundaries bending and creaking. It’s the Old You and the New You doing battle: guilt and people pleasing vs. self-protection and no-can-do. Remember, saying “no” does not make you a bad person. You could pick a book and say, “I read this. The rest was luck and timing. Good luck!” But my guess is someone who thinks that you hold the key to their success will not be so easily put off.


‘You learned a valuable lesson not to discuss your affairs with other people.’

That brings me to No. 3: The clearest, fiercest response is often times no response. Find that muscle. It’s one you can exercise over and over again. As a friend once told me when I had to make a big financial decision: “Take the emotion and personalities out of it. It’s just business.” This is your business. You have nurtured it and you have worked hard at it. Trust your instinct. Protect it. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. Is your gut saying no? Then don’t go.

You have learned a valuable lesson not to discuss your affairs with other people. Make it known that you do not like to talk about business when you’re off the clock. Try a new approach to conversations at dinner parties or chats over the garden fence with friends or neighbors. If they ask you about your business and how it’s going, tell them: “Good, thanks.” If they persist, say: “My first and last rule of business is I never discuss business with friends, and I never mix business with friendship.”

Delete that text without replying. Do the same for other texts. Flex that “no reply” muscle and keep flexing it. It gets easier. Don’t be held hostage to the “reply” button on your phone, and do get acquainted with the ability to say “no.” After a while, you will likely come to enjoy it.

The Moneyist:‘Warren Buffett and Harry Potter couldn’t get those two retired early’: Our spendthrift neighbors said our adviser was ‘lousy.’ So how come WE retired early?

Hello there, MarketWatchers. Check out the Moneyist private Facebook
FB,
-1.39%

 group where we look for answers to life’s thorniest money issues. Readers write in to me with all sorts of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or weigh in on the latest Moneyist columns.

By submitting your story to Dow Jones & Company, the publisher of MarketWatch, you understand and agree that we may use your story, or versions of it, in all media and platforms, including via third parties.



Source link

Continue Reading

Company

My husband and his brother inherited a property. Our son moved in. We paid $60K in taxes and repairs. Do we split it 50/50?

Published

on

By


My husband and his brother inherited their family home. When they were able to take possession, our son and his family needed a place to live. His brother was quite willing to let them move in and, in lieu of paying him rent for his 50%, my husband and I would be responsible for all upkeep, repairs, taxes, etc.

The house is probably 90 years old, and needed quite a lot of work before they could move in. We spent approximately $20,000 to make it livable. After four years the house caught fire and, with the help of a crooked contractor, it took another $30,000 of our money to repair all the damage.

Now comes my concern: If my husband and his brother had sold the house when they first inherited it, they would have split proceeds 50/50. It would definitely have been sold, because we didn’t want to be landlords to anyone other than our son. But now six years later, we have paid well over $60,000 in repairs and taxes. This amount is well over what we had planned on, but it was a chance we took.

According to old tax records, the house was probably worth $45,000, and now is worth over $100,000, and growing. The future sale and split of the house proceeds was never discussed. My husband is all for splitting it evenly. I’m the one with the issue because of all the money we spent in improvements.

I understand his brother took nothing at beginning, and I’m all for his getting 50% of the original value plus some extra, but I just don’t feel like he should get half of the current value. The house would certainly never be worth what it’s worth now if we hadn’t done all the work on it. Unless the house continues to increase in value, we will never recoup our investment.

May I have your opinion on this problem? On paper, this makes me look petty but my mind is unsettled over this.

Upset Wife

Dear Upset,

Sometimes, the clue is in the question: “In lieu of paying him rent for his 50%, my husband and I would be responsible for all upkeep, repairs, taxes, etc.”

You are aggrieved that you walked into this money pit with both eyes wide open in order for your son to save money in the short term. It seemed like an attractive prospect at the time, and I can see why: Your brother-in-law is easygoing, so why don’t your son and his family live in the house for a while and give it a new lick of paint when needed, a scrub-scrub here and a scrub-scrub there, and make sure it’s ticking over while they live there rent-free? Everyone wins, right? Well, not quite.

You, your husband and your son and his family win. Your brother-in-law, alas, did not get much out of that deal. But being Mr. Nice Guy, he said, “Be my guest.” Literally. Why would he want to charge his nephew rent? He decided to forgo the money to be made from a potential rental property or quick cash for the sake of family. What’s the point in having a house if you can’t help other people out? Plus, it would be looked after. And it was. But then there was a fire.


‘Your brother-in-law decided to forgo the money to be made from a potential rental property for the sake of family.’


— The Moneyist

You don’t say how the fire started. Was the stove left on? Did faulty wiring cause it? Or did a power line fall on the house in a storm? If it was your responsibility to take care of the property while your son and his family lived there, you are accountable for those first two scenarios. Even if it was an act of nature, you are responsible for ensuring that the home is insured. Of course, the main thing is no one was hurt. Still, as you say, upkeep (and that includes insurance) is your department.

You don’t fare well in the renovation vs. free rent argument, but you also raise a hypothetical argument to support your case: You should receive more than 50% of the proceeds from the sale of the house because your brother-in-law and husband would have sold the house (maybe; we’ll never know for sure) had your son not moved in. It was worth $45,000 then, and it’s valued at $100,000 now, so given your $60,000 in repairs and taxes, he should be happy with $22,500.

OK, I’ll play that game. Let’s peel back another layer of wallpaper and say, “If their parents passed away when they were much younger, they would have sold the house at an even lower price.” Or, “If their parents lived to be 99 1/2, they could be living in the house in 2021, and maybe you would make out like bandits because you would never have paid money to Uncle Sam and Sam the Contractor.” Let’s peel away even more layers: “If no one had been born, we wouldn’t have this problem!”

If you have to bend the laws of space and time to justify your proposal, splitting the proceeds 50/50 doesn’t sound like such a bad idea, after all.

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

The Moneyist: I married ‘the life of the party,’ but he’s different at home. He takes his money woes out on me — and calls me a ‘gold digger’

Hello there, MarketWatchers. Check out the Moneyist private Facebook
FB,
-1.39%

 group where we look for answers to life’s thorniest money issues. Readers write in to me with all sorts of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or weigh in on the latest Moneyist columns.

By emailing your questions, you agree to having them published anonymously on MarketWatch. By submitting your story to Dow Jones & Company, the publisher of MarketWatch, you understand and agree that we may use your story, or versions of it, in all media and platforms, including via third parties.



Source link

Continue Reading

Company

As the market nosedived last year, my older brother advised me to sell. I lost $80,000. How can I ever forgive him?

Published

on

By


Dear Quentin,

This time last year, when the market was nosediving, my older brother advised me to get out of the market, and go to cash to conserve my assets. It was only going to get worse, he proclaimed, and he had 40 years’ experience in the market.

Granted, it was an ugly drop. Following his lead, I said hello to a $80,000 loss, while thinking I’d say goodbye to an even worse disaster. That same downturn soon ended, and the market recovered. It took me months to get back into the market.

If I’d ignored his advice and stayed the course, I’d be way ahead instead of way behind. To this day, I’m behind $55,000, so I’ve recovered some. I don’t feel good about being led down this path. Perhaps I have no one to blame for listening but myself.

Any thoughts on this matter would be greatly appreciated.

The Brother

Dear Brother,

Accountability is everything. You can start forgiving your brother by forgiving yourself. But in order to do that, you must repeat after me: “I, and I alone, was responsible for buying these stocks while the going was good, and I, and I alone, am responsible for selling them.”

Intent also matters. Your brother, whether he has four years or 40 years of experience, did not mean you harm. He may have been feeling concerned himself, and projected that worry onto you. You didn’t say whether he sold stocks too. Regardless, rinse and repeat the above quote.


‘It was a hard lesson. But the fun part is figuring out what it is you have learned.’


— The Moneyist

You are responsible for making money, you are responsible for saving money, and you are responsible for investing money. When you ask for advice and give 100% of your decision-making over to that person, you are making a choice. You are also handing over your power.

It was a hard lesson. But the fun part is figuring out what it is you have learned. 1. Don’t sell your stock during tumultuous times based on fear. 2. Don’t give up your own agency. 3. Don’t torture yourself by counting every rise and fall. That is what got you into this situation in the first place.

The situation, by the way, is temporary — so you can now choose to suffer, or you can take an action and choose NOT to suffer. Close your laptop, call your brother and ask how he is doing, stick with it for the long haul this time, and take a walk and get in some steps.

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

The Moneyist: ‘Warren Buffett and Harry Potter couldn’t get those two retired early’: Our spendthrift neighbors said our adviser was ‘lousy.’ So how come WE retired early?

Hello there, MarketWatchers. Check out the Moneyist private Facebook
FB,
-2.23%

 group where we look for answers to life’s thorniest money issues. Readers write in to me with all sorts of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or weigh in on the latest Moneyist columns.

By emailing your questions, you agree to having them published anonymously on MarketWatch. By submitting your story to Dow Jones & Company, the publisher of MarketWatch, you understand and agree that we may use your story, or versions of it, in all media and platforms, including via third parties.



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending