Part 7: Stuff you need to know, now that you know everything about investing (cont.)
Your parents are now old enough to get silly. And there’s not much you can do about it. Your dad may meet you at a restaurant one day wearing lime green slacks, matching color shoes, and a checkered blazer. Grit your teeth and try to enjoy the meal. Let him get flamboyant with his wardrobe if he wants. But refuse to stand next to him if he’s wearing shorts, sandals and dark socks.
Similarly, if your mother gets a tattoo and starts a garage band with the girls in her book club, just deal with it. No sense trying to talk to her out of it. She’s been waiting for twenty something years for you to grow up and leave the house so she could get back to her grunge roots.
These are the whacky years for your parents. Between age 45 and 70 (roughly), your mother will hit menopause, your father will have his midlife crisis, they will see their children move out of the house, their careers will be on the downswing, their sex life will lose steam (I know, TOO MUCH INFORMATION) and when they look in the mirror they will see a wrinkled person looking back at them.
Most of the things they do will be pretty harmless. Dad might buy a corvette so he can regain his youth. Not a big deal as long as he doesn’t take a second mortgage to pay for the car. Make sure he’s not driving the car down Main Street every night trolling for women. Mom won’t like that.
Mom might decide to see the plastic surgeon for a few minor procedures. If botox makes her feel better about herself, I wouldn’t worry too much. However, if she decides she wants to look like a Barbie Doll, you need to talk turkey with her. Do not, I repeat, do not let her start confiding with you about her sex life. Let her tell a shrink. If she can’t afford a shrink, tell her to go to happy hour at the local watering hole. Bartenders love to listen to these stories, and there are a lot more lady bartenders than there used to be.
What if your sixty something Dad thinks he’s smarter than the stock market, and decides to be a day trader? You can certainly tell him that he’s playing Russian roulette with his financial health, but you can’t force him to stop.
How about if your parents decide to retire at age 62, even though they have limited savings? You can tell them they need to work another eight years before they retire. You can show them how much higher their social security payments will be if they start collecting at 70 instead of 62. But they don’t have to listen to you. They might think they are going to die before they hit 70, so why bother waiting for a higher social security check that they will never collect.
There are lots of other reckless financial moves they could make, such as:
- Cash in the IRA and buy a monster truck or a boat.
- Start playing on-line poker for real money, because they are bored at home.
- Get a girlfriend/boyfriend.
- Lend your sister their life savings to help her buy a Radio Repair franchise. Never mind that nobody except hermits listens to radios anymore.