Wedding Woes

Open a new account and have a sit down with your parents ASAP.

Dear Prudence,

When I was a kid, my dad opened my checking account for me. Recently I discovered $500 had been transferred to an unfamiliar account. I found out from my dad that he needed to borrow money to give to my mom so she could go to the grocery store and that he would put the money back that afternoon.

I don’t know what is worse—realizing that for all these years, my dad has had access to my bank account, seeing how much I make and what I spend, or the fact that my parents need money to buy groceries. While letting them use $500 for a single day won’t destroy me financially, I am concerned they needed it in the first place. They are in their 70s, semiretired, and have lived in the same house for 25 years. It’s too big for them, but they refuse to move to something smaller. Should I change my account, like my brother did when he got married? Should he and I see if our parents need to change their spending habits? And why $500 for the grocery store?

—My Parents’ Financial Trouble

Re: Open a new account and have a sit down with your parents ASAP.

  • Open a new account and have the hard, awkward conversation with your parents. If they’re “borrowing” aka stealing your money, you have to ask them what is going on. $500 isn’t small and could be a sign something bigger is going on. But open a new account and transfer the funds. 
    STARMOON44MissKittyDangershort+sassy
  • Depending on the bank, you could keep that account and remove his access but might be just easier to open a new account.

    Definite conversation needed. Is there bigger issues? Do they not know how to budget?
    LW could offer help about figuring out the situation - maybe assume easiest of lack of budget skills - and go from there.
  • It's not that surprising that dad had access to the funds - what's surprising is what he did.

    So LW is going to need to close the account, make a new one and talk to his parents. 

    Also, $500 for GROCERIES?   Maybe it's time to cut back on the Veuve and the foie gras? 

    This is going to be where there's going to need to be an uncomfortable conversation:
    -What was done was completely unacceptable.  I am assuming that this is a guy in his 30's or 40s.   This was theft even if it was legal.   
    -If this is what's needed to get through an alleged routine purchase then it's time to sit down with a financial adviser, look into their complete retirement plan and examine what the next steps need to be including downsizing their home.

    If income is only going to go down soon then he's going to have to tell them that he isn't there to bail the parents out. 
    MissKittyDanger
  • banana468 said:
    It's not that surprising that dad had access to the funds - what's surprising is what he did.

    So LW is going to need to close the account, make a new one and talk to his parents. 

    Also, $500 for GROCERIES?   Maybe it's time to cut back on the Veuve and the foie gras? 

    This is going to be where there's going to need to be an uncomfortable conversation:
    -What was done was completely unacceptable.  I am assuming that this is a guy in his 30's or 40s.   This was theft even if it was legal.   
    -If this is what's needed to get through an alleged routine purchase then it's time to sit down with a financial adviser, look into their complete retirement plan and examine what the next steps need to be including downsizing their home.

    If income is only going to go down soon then he's going to have to tell them that he isn't there to bail the parents out. 
    Bolded. 1 Yes.

    Bolded 2 - lol I'm wondering if they only buy once a month, have a bigger family than what LW has mentioned or they shop at expensive stores. For us, $150 at one store could easily cost us $200+ at another

    I have access to my mum's accounts but unless I talk to her first, I don't touch it {ie; when I've asked her to buy me something, I request she uses the acct I can easily access so I can transfer money or when she offers to buy large item for us and I just pay her back every pay}
  • banana468 said:
    It's not that surprising that dad had access to the funds - what's surprising is what he did.

    So LW is going to need to close the account, make a new one and talk to his parents. 

    Also, $500 for GROCERIES?   Maybe it's time to cut back on the Veuve and the foie gras? 

    This is going to be where there's going to need to be an uncomfortable conversation:
    -What was done was completely unacceptable.  I am assuming that this is a guy in his 30's or 40s.   This was theft even if it was legal.   
    -If this is what's needed to get through an alleged routine purchase then it's time to sit down with a financial adviser, look into their complete retirement plan and examine what the next steps need to be including downsizing their home.

    If income is only going to go down soon then he's going to have to tell them that he isn't there to bail the parents out. 
    Bolded. 1 Yes.

    Bolded 2 - lol I'm wondering if they only buy once a month, have a bigger family than what LW has mentioned or they shop at expensive stores. For us, $150 at one store could easily cost us $200+ at another

    I have access to my mum's accounts but unless I talk to her first, I don't touch it {ie; when I've asked her to buy me something, I request she uses the acct I can easily access so I can transfer money or when she offers to buy large item for us and I just pay her back every pay}
    Still - if you're hard up for cash $500 and calling it "Groceries" isn't passing my smell test.   And since they stole it from the LW it would  make me ask my parents more questions about what they're doing.  

    Normally you don't get to question how others spend their money but once they start to steal from you I think all pleasantries go out the window. 
    charlotte989875short+sassyMissKittyDanger
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Yeah, I doubt the $500 was actually for groceries. 

    cupcait927kerbohlCharmedPam
  • cupcait927cupcait927 Western NY wine country member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Yeah $500 definitely wasn't for groceries. And LW should be concerned about his parents. If they're resorting to stealing money from their adult child, they're desperate. LW does need to move his money into his own account, but also needs to have a heart to heart with dad about what's going on.
  • Yeah $500 definitely wasn't for groceries. And LW should be concerned about his parents. If they're resorting to stealing money from their adult child, they're desperate. LW does need to move his money into his own account, but also needs to have a heart to heart with dad about what's going on.
    Or they aren't accountable.   If they refuse to downsize their house they are probably not listening to reality and will need someone aside from their child to tell them that they're going to be SOL fast. 
    charlotte989875cupcait927
  • If the LW's parents are in their 70s, I'm assuming LW is in their 30s-40s and finding it pretty weird they even still have the same checking account as from when they were a teenager.  I suppose that's a moot point.  It just struck me as odd.

    No doubt they should close this one and get another account!  I can't speak for all banks.  But I worked at Bank of America in another lifetime, lol, and there was no way to take someone off of an account.  It just needed to be closed.  Though the LW seems upset their dad could "see what they make and what they spend money on".  Just because the dad could, doesn't mean he did.  

    On the good side, unless the LW doesn't usually pay much attention to their bank account, it sounds like this was a one-off thing.  But that doesn't make it okay and then it begs the question of, "What changed?", "Why now?"  I think the LW and their brother should definitely have a talk with their parents about what is going on financially.  There isn't much they can do if the parents don't want to discuss it.  But at least they can try.
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    charlotte989875VarunaTT
  • If the LW's parents are in their 70s, I'm assuming LW is in their 30s-40s and finding it pretty weird they even still have the same checking account as from when they were a teenager.  I suppose that's a moot point.  It just struck me as odd.

    No doubt they should close this one and get another account!  I can't speak for all banks.  But I worked at Bank of America in another lifetime, lol, and there was no way to take someone off of an account.  It just needed to be closed.  Though the LW seems upset their dad could "see what they make and what they spend money on".  Just because the dad could, doesn't mean he did.  

    On the good side, unless the LW doesn't usually pay much attention to their bank account, it sounds like this was a one-off thing.  But that doesn't make it okay and then it begs the question of, "What changed?", "Why now?"  I think the LW and their brother should definitely have a talk with their parents about what is going on financially.  There isn't much they can do if the parents don't want to discuss it.  But at least they can try.
    FWIW, DH still has an account linked to FIL.  It started so FIL could make easy deposits to the account back when DH was in college (and before deposits were made much easier) and it still worked even after DH got his first out of college job and started to have his check directly deposited.   Well, fast forward nearly 2 decades and he has the same job.   Plus, the bank doesn't charge for ATM withdrawals which makes things much easier.

    We also have a joint account - but it's just one he never closed and never needed to. 
    charlotte989875short+sassy
  • If the LW's parents are in their 70s, I'm assuming LW is in their 30s-40s and finding it pretty weird they even still have the same checking account as from when they were a teenager.  I suppose that's a moot point.  It just struck me as odd.

    No doubt they should close this one and get another account!  I can't speak for all banks.  But I worked at Bank of America in another lifetime, lol, and there was no way to take someone off of an account.  It just needed to be closed.  Though the LW seems upset their dad could "see what they make and what they spend money on".  Just because the dad could, doesn't mean he did.  

    On the good side, unless the LW doesn't usually pay much attention to their bank account, it sounds like this was a one-off thing.  But that doesn't make it okay and then it begs the question of, "What changed?", "Why now?"  I think the LW and their brother should definitely have a talk with their parents about what is going on financially.  There isn't much they can do if the parents don't want to discuss it.  But at least they can try.
    I still have the same account from when I was a kid. Well I guess not technically the same as i had fraud on it a few years back and ended up closing it and reopening. My parents had been on my account since they had to be on it when I was under 18 but they definitely never logged in or did anything with it. I do remember when I bought my old house I checked to make sure I didn't need them to sign off since I was taking a large sum of $ from the account and didn't know if there was a rule about account owners having to sign off. Fortunately nothing was required. 
    short+sassy
  • I wonder ... if LW wasn't so diligent on checking his account and hadn't confronted his father, would his dad have fessed up?  Or did his dad come to him first and that is how he found out?
    I was also side-eyeing the $500 for groceries, but I am one of those people who buys all their beef at once and it is usually a big bill ... 

    MissKittyDanger
  • kerbohl said:
    I wonder ... if LW wasn't so diligent on checking his account and hadn't confronted his father, would his dad have fessed up?  Or did his dad come to him first and that is how he found out?
    I was also side-eyeing the $500 for groceries, but I am one of those people who buys all their beef at once and it is usually a big bill ... 
    For just M and I, when we do CostCo and mostly meat shop, it's a fair sized bill.
  • Obviously not ok, but $500 for groceries is not weird to me. I've spent $400+ in my month-and-a-halfly/every-other-monthly Costco run. 

    MesmrEwemrsconn23
  • MesmrEweMesmrEwe member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited November 2019
    Obviously not ok, but $500 for groceries is not weird to me. I've spent $400+ in my month-and-a-halfly/every-other-monthly Costco run. 
    Same here - a "stock up the freezer/refill the cabinets" trip plus a incidentals (toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, etc.) and sadly, yes, over the $400 point in a major suburban metro area is not an unusual shopping experience.

    What amazes me is that the Dad still has access to the account!  A family member had an account set up with/for my nephew and even though he was still in high school his parent was no longer was able to access it the day he turned 18 even to do a transfer IN to the account without special paperwork being signed.  Either way time for a trip to the bank AND talk with the parents about finances and such!
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  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Obviously not ok, but $500 for groceries is not weird to me. I've spent $400+ in my month-and-a-halfly/every-other-monthly Costco run. 
    I have spent $300+, and more if groceries also includes a Target run. But I don't think that's quite right here. Dad said mom needed the money for a grocery run and he was putting it back the next day. If you're going to make this monthly Costco run, but payday is tomorrow, wouldn't you just put it off a day? I'm thinking if you need to "borrow" [read: steal] money to pay for groceries for one day, you'd just get what you need to get by for one day.

    And I'm back to this not adding up. Dad is not sharing the whole story. 
    banana468charlotte989875short+sassy
  • Obviously not ok, but $500 for groceries is not weird to me. I've spent $400+ in my month-and-a-halfly/every-other-monthly Costco run. 
    I have spent $300+, and more if groceries also includes a Target run. But I don't think that's quite right here. Dad said mom needed the money for a grocery run and he was putting it back the next day. If you're going to make this monthly Costco run, but payday is tomorrow, wouldn't you just put it off a day? I'm thinking if you need to "borrow" [read: steal] money to pay for groceries for one day, you'd just get what you need to get by for one day.

    And I'm back to this not adding up. Dad is not sharing the whole story. 
    Exactly.   You NEEDED $500 worth of groceries to make it to your next payday?  

    Nope.   It's not adding up here.   You put off buying that half a cow, warehouse club run or whatever.   So not only is dad stealing he's using groceries as a catch-all cover-up term because you don't buy $500 to get you through to your next paycheck unless you're Jim Bob Duggar. 
    charlotte989875short+sassy
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