Every week, Danny M. Lavery and Nicole Cliffe discuss a Prudie letter. This week: the vacation cabin.
Nicole Cliffe: I think this person has to decide which things make them happy and do them with a good grace and then refuse to do the things they feel annoyed by. And when they are not doing shit that annoys them, they will probably have a better relationship with their siblings.
Daniel Lavery: I’m right there with you
Nicole Cliffe: Buy the cabin and rent it out!
Daniel Lavery: Don’t buy the cabin!!
Nicole Cliffe: And pick like two weeks a summer for your siblings
Daniel Lavery: I definitely think they should not buy the cabin
also, what are liquid funds?
Nicole Cliffe: lol Danny
Daniel Lavery: I know that’s like, an expression I could expect to hear on Succession
and people say things like “I’m not liquid right now”
but then my mind just goes hazy and silver
Nicole Cliffe: They sound like they ENJOY helping their parents, and by buying the cabin they are giving their parents actual money.
While still letting their parents enjoy and use the cabin in the next few years.
Daniel Lavery: my thought there was that it was self-defeating
Nicole Cliffe: And they do want their own kids to get to build those memories.
Daniel Lavery: like, they want to be LESS financially entangled with their family
and then they also want to buy a family cabin
my thought was, if you want to give your parents money, give them money
if you want to find a vacation home for your kids, do that
if you want to buy something to rent it out, do that
but trying to combine them all in one, when you already feel frustrated with your siblings’ expectations, is a bad idea
Nicole Cliffe: They clearly delineate between their parents and their siblings. And they want THIS property because of the happy memories
Daniel Lavery: i mean, sure??
but you can make memories in a lot of places
and there are a lot of cabins in the world
i just don’t think you could buy THIS cabin without signing up for a lot more of the kind of conversations with the siblings that you say you want to avoid
and i think it would mean the “ramen-yelling” conversation would become inevitable
Nicole Cliffe: They probably cannot both give their parents a cabin amount of money AND purchase a different property.
Daniel Lavery: yeah, I agree
which strikes me as fine!
like, pick one
Nicole Cliffe: I think it’s smart to say “you get two weeks a year, siblings, trash the cabin once and you get nothing.” And then stop having all these MEALS.
Like, each meal infuriates them
Daniel Lavery: yeah absolutely stop doing these dinners
Nicole Cliffe: bc it’s the sense of being mooched and not the scale
Daniel Lavery: or if you otherwise like them, start having people host dinners at their own homes and do a potluck thing?
but you need to say no calmly and politely first before you go to ramen-yelling
Nicole Cliffe: that is way less fraught
Daniel Lavery: my main goal is to help this LW never yell about ramen
Nicole Cliffe: yes agreed
Daniel Lavery: because that will not make any of your siblings magically rich
Nicole Cliffe: no more of that
Daniel Lavery: it will not get you what you want
Nicole Cliffe: absolutely not
Daniel Lavery: and then everyone will be mad at you
but yeah, just say “I can’t make the dinner next month” if you don’t want to go
I still think they shouldn’t buy their parents the cabin, but if they DO decide to, your advice is the way to go
Nicole Cliffe: I think that buying the cabin is the smartest way to meaningfully help the parents while also obtaining an appreciating asset
from which they will also be making money on an ongoing basis
Daniel Lavery: but just like…you can safely assume, I think, that your siblings will think you’re being stuck-up and you’ll have to deal with some avoidable fallout
Nicole Cliffe: I will not give up on the cabin!
Daniel Lavery: i still don’t know what liquid funds are, Nicole!!!
will you please tell me
Nicole Cliffe: Yes
It’s literally just money
A house is illiquid, you cannot use it to buy Pop-Tarts
Remember on the Simpsons?
Daniel Lavery: “Money can be exchanged!!!
for goods and/or services!!!”
THANK YOU for putting it in terms i can understand
Nicole Cliffe: THAT’S LIQUID ASSETS
Daniel Lavery: wait, then so the claim that they want to buy the cabin to give their parents more liquid funds….
if a house is a solid…
Nicole Cliffe: They will be obtaining an illiquid property, in exchange for giving their parents liquid funds, but they are transforming the cabin into a producer of liquid funds by renting it out
While still owning it as an asset
Daniel Lavery: *terrified, baffled* “I see. I am learning and retaining this information.”
Nicole Cliffe: Now, depending on upkeep and so on, it will require them to put some of the rental money into the extra wear and tear of having random people in it.
But that’s the way it works
It’s still a smart financial play.
Daniel Lavery: also, I mean, we have to imagine that for the short-term at least, any sort of rental income is going to be very ???
Nicole Cliffe: Yes.
Daniel Lavery: given that no one is doing a lot of non-essential travel this month
so some of this might be moot at this point
Nicole Cliffe: But also their parents may be really in need of liquidity right now
Daniel Lavery: it IS important to drink water
Nicole Cliffe: and have limited time to obtain money before they become too old
Daniel Lavery: (I’m sorry)
Nicole Cliffe: and I suspect their parents will accept a good but below market offer to keep it a place they can still go
so even if you have meh rental income; you also will not need to be constantly cleaning it and using a cut potato to pick up broken glasses
Daniel Lavery: a WHAT
Nicole Cliffe: Oh, it’s the only way
For the little shreds.
Cut a potato in half and smoosh it on the shards
Then throw out the potato
My friend and I tried to do this drunk once after a party with an onion bc we did not have a potato: it does not work
Cut the potato lengthwise for more surface area for the glass shards
Stop yelling about ramen
Daniel Lavery: WHY WOULD YOU WASTE A POTATO
I’m so upset about this
Nicole Cliffe: bc they’re so cheap, Danny
Daniel Lavery: you rubbed a CUT ONION ON THE FLOOR also, I love this
Nicole Cliffe: and emergency room visits are expensive
Daniel Lavery: that smell must have been powerful for days
Nicole Cliffe: I really did!
Daniel Lavery: but a broom! or a damp towel!
or a vacuum cleaner!
Nicole Cliffe: You will shred the innards of your vacuum!
Daniel Lavery: oh
i’m learning so much today
Nicole Cliffe: A broom will hide pieces in itself
Daniel Lavery: that sounds like an Emily Dickinson poem!
Nicole Cliffe: What a beautiful day
Daniel Lavery: “A broom—will hide pieces—in Itself.”
I think we have been as helpful to this letter-writer as we are going to be
Nicole Cliffe: I agree. BUY THE CABIN.
Daniel Lavery: DON’T BUY IT!!! your parents can have one house and still be fine
Nicole Cliffe: I knew the Simpsons line would work.