"It was," she says, "a very hard conversation to have." My friends DeeDee and Mel had to tell their daughters that there was no longer an inheritance for them.
DeeDee and Mel had invested the lion's share their hard-earned money with Bernie Madoff. Now it was gone. Gone, too, was the lifestyle they were used to. They still had their 401ks--much diminished though they were by the 2008 crash--and social security. But, where they were used to being generous with their grown daughters--"we always liked sharing with them what we had accumulated"--that is no longer possible.
"When we told them," DeeDee says, "they were wonderful. They said, 'Mom, Dad, we don't need your money. If you need anything, let us know.' "
"As a parent," DeeDee goes on, "that's a very hard thing to digest. You always think it will be the other way--that you can give to them, that you'll be there to help them out if they need it. This is a whole new revelation. How do you process it? It's very difficult. We seem to be surviving."
Her bottom line: "Leveling with the kids was hard but I'm glad we did it."