A Person With $100K in a Trust Fund

Logan Sachon: When did you first learn about your trust fund?

Lori Palmer: I think it was always something my grandmother said to me at my birthday “And I put some money in your trust fund.” Which meant nothing to me for a long time.

I didn’t really know how much was in the account until I was in my mid-twenties. There is $100K. (Which makes me nervous to say. Mentioning the dollar amount freaks me out.) Kanye West’s “Gold Digger” was really big at the time and I remember singing it to my then-boyfriend, because he was the gold digger. I now realize that it’s nowhere near that kind of money.

LS: Tell me about your upbringing, money-wise.

LP: I was raised totally lower middle class. I think that’s why the trust concept never really penetrated my brain — growing up my parents didn’t have a lot of money. It’s not something that was talked about, but my sister and I are snoops. We had the power turned off on us, I know the bank started the process of foreclosing on our house. It was poor money management on my parents’ part.

Because there was no talking about money directly in my family, I think I just lived in fear of it all the time. As a kid, it just never occurred to me to ask my parents for money. I once paid $15 for a t-shirt with all quarters. Which I didn’t realize was a weird thing until I went to college. I can now recognize that my parents are a safety net that I can use, but it did not occur to me when I was younger.

LS: So besides this trust, you’re financially independent.

LP: Yes. My grandmothers did pay for my college, but it was important to me to never ask them for anything post-college. I didn’t want to feel beholden to them.

I am also the kind of person who deals with parts of my life and then informs my family “So I moved!” “So I am single!” “So I have been dating someone for a year!” My way of dealing with money might be more the way I also deal with my family.

LP: Do you have control of the money?

LS: I do not have control of the money. I will get a quarter when I hit 35, then another quarter at 40, and the remainder at 45. I am currently 31. It has been in existence for 16 years, and I just found out when it pays out.

I called the broker to find out about the terms of the trust. They told me I had to call up the executor to get the terms. My mom is set up as the executor of the trust and wants nothing to do with it. It almost seems like my mom is mad at my grandmother for making her the executor. But I called my mom, and she maintains she has no paperwork on how the trust was set up. So I called up my grandmother to ask her if she did. She told me to call my mom. Finally, my grandmother sent me the legalese that set up the account. That’s when I found out the payout dates.

I don’t really feel like the trust is mine. I want to be involved, but am I going to war with my grandmother over it, no.

LS: Do you think about that first payout date?

LP: If my grandmother who set up the account is still alive in when I get part of the trust in four years, which she will be cause women live long in my family, I have a feeling I won’t really get control of it. She will just decide to reinvest it.

LS: Do your friends know about your trust fund?

LP: Some do and some don’t. The majority don’t. There are two people I have actively talked to about it, because I am trying to figure out what I want to happen when I die. So I’ve asked them if they have a plan, or if they know lawyers. I feel so morbid when I say that! I am still young but should something happen, I want to know that things are taken care of.

My current boyfriend knows about it. I also know if we were ever going to get married that I would ask him for a pre-nup because of my trust fund. My parents are divorced which is influencing part of that. He has no interest in anything about my trust, and I don’t think he would ever try to stake a claim on it, but it is something I think about.

It is an amazing gift. Mostly I look at it as part of my retirement (I still hold onto the dream), or a deposit on a house.

LS: I’m interested in why it’s so hard to talk about it.

LP: I don’t want to come off as an entitled jerk. On the flip side, I support myself, have a decent amount of savings, a retirement fund set up, and I’ve started investing (investing is super boring). So maybe I should not feel so bad about myself.

Previously: My $10,000 Safety Net (Thanks Gran)