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Posts tagged with: getting out of debt

I’m a Trust Fund Baby!

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I’ve been asking my parents, who are in their late 70’s, for years to set up some sort of trust or will but they have always insisted it was morbid and ignored me. Later this month, my father is undergoing an extensive surgery and he called me last night and asked if I had a minute to chat. He wanted to let me know that he met with an attorney and set up a trust. ‘Kiddo, I know I don’t have much, but I don’t want you to suffer like me.’

Why the change of heart? My grandmother died several years ago and her estate, as tiny as it is, has not been settled. She owns a small cabin in the woods. Half the kids want to sell. The other half want to keep. My dad said he didn’t care which upset both sides. Even though there is very little money involved, the fighting has been awful, and relationships have been destroyed.

My parents don’t have a lot of money, no retirement, and very little equity in their home. So why did I push so hard for a trust (or at the very least, a will)? First, because California requires probate unless you have a trust. This drags out the difficulty during an already difficult time. And second (and most important), because I want to honor what they want to do with what they have. I don’t care who gets what, just tell me what you want me to do. What would they like us to do with their house? Their cars? The contents of their house? What about his business? The attorney suggested we all get together and mark the items we want in their home and have discussions on things that are wanted by more than one child. While none of us are the money-grubbing types, we are sentimental, and I could see us struggling to figure out who got mom or dad’s wedding rings or my dad’s pipe collection that smells just like him when you open it. I want to honor their wishes and I can’t do that if I don’t know what they are.

We talked for an hour as he carefully explained what was in the trust and how he would like things handled. I felt so much better knowing what he wanted.

My husband and I set up a trust over ten years ago even though we were deep in debt. In the crazy off chance that we both died, we wanted our families to know exactly what to do with our kids. We also made sure we carried enough life insurance so the kids wouldn’t be a financial burden and outlined exactly how the money should be spent. Morbid? Yup. But a loving thing for parents to do? Yup. We revisit and revise when needed and we still carry enough life insurance to ensure they aren’t a financial burden. We’ll do this until the youngest is out of the house.

You don’t have to be old to write a will. If you are an adult, you should have one. It’s one of the best ways to show people you love them. Make their burden light by not asking them to guess your wishes.

Is Grad School a Good Idea?

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First off, I know I’m going to tick off a lot of folks by talking about the free college thing again while giving zero information as to why. Let’s put it this way, there are lots of reasons someone might not want to tell you why they are getting something for free – especially when it’s a big thing for ‘free’. Divorce, loss, death, military, disability, etc. Seriously folks. Lots of reasons. It’s a part of my life that I’m not open to talking about. Just understand it exists. Sorry. I hate that.

I’m bringing it up again because there’s something I didn’t share. I qualify for it as well. Tuition. Any school of my choice. Any degree of my choice. The ‘event’ that qualified me for it didn’t happen until after I graduated from undergrad, so I had to pay for that, but I’ve been debating graduate degree lately.

Here’s the problem. I don’t know if I want it. Yup. I just said that. People go hundreds of thousands into debt for it and I’m like…meh. Something about looking a gift horse in the mouth. But here’s why, it would be a 1-2 year commitment with lots of late nights attending classes and studying plus the cost of books. Sure, I’d get my MS but for what? I’m really happy with the job I have now. I don’t work crazy hours. The team that works for me is a reasonable size and I don’t lose a lot of sleep over them. I get paid enough to pay my bills, invest for retirement, and have a little extra. Sure, I don’t have nice clothes or take crazy vacations but that’s not my jam anyway. My boss is talking about moving me into a role to supervise more people and all I can think is…Ack. No!

Mo Money. Mo Problems.

I applied for a graduate program at the local college, though I may look closer into one online since that’s a bit easier, and my husband is SUPER supportive but I’m so torn. I’m applying because it’s free, not because I have any desire for it. I know it’s a bit of a weird situation but I’m wondering what the BAD readers would do. Get a degree even though you are happy where you’re at? Or decide to forgo the degree and enjoy a margarita? Better yet, be home each day to hug my kids and play tickle monster. That’s pretty appealing. When is enough, enough when it comes to work and money? What are your thoughts?

As some background, the benefit never expires. I could wait until I’m just about dead to use it.