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Old 02-16-2012, 01:45 PM   #21
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I think you need to decide 1) Do I WANT to help? (not just "do I feel guilty if I don't help?" 2) If so, how much every month would I be willing to send mom... $25?, $50?, without being significantly impacted OR resenting her. 3) Sit down with mom and plan a budget. My guess is that she CAN live on her income if she follows a budget. Tell her you will pay $XX per month and no more toward her budget. If she comes up short, don't bother to call, because you will NOT help her exceed her budget.

I know it sounds easy for me to say. I've never been there, but at some point, you have to do what is right for you AND mom. Clearly, mom is not doing what is right for her OR for you. YOU must take the control if you commit any of YOUR money to mom, INC.

Good luck with this.

Just my $.02 worth and probably not worth that. YMMV
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Old 02-16-2012, 01:47 PM   #22
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I may indeed be cold, but I think parents have a responsibility to children, but not the reverse, unless the parents ARE responsible for their children. People choose to have children, or should. If they cannot take care of children, including educating them, they should not have them. They should not have more children than they can care for.
Children do not choose to have parents. I am a bit indignant because of a situation I know in which the parents did not do squat in helping child with higher ed--who did it all with working and scholarships--then parents retired early. In my opinion, child does not owe parents anything as their lack of foresight seems to be coming back to bite.
Perhaps a bit on the crabby side today...
Objectively true, but much easier said than done based on my experiences with coworkers over the years. I've watched other people truly suffer through similar situations and most ended badly despite the best intentions of the enablers. Earlier I mentioned a coworker who went bankrupt trying to save two of his three young adult children from drugs and associated criminals, sadly all for nought in the end. I feel for the OP like everyone else...
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Old 02-16-2012, 02:12 PM   #23
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Sorry, my point is how do I deal with helping someone who will never learn but keeps begging me bail her out?
Just say no?
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Old 02-16-2012, 02:55 PM   #24
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2035,

Looks like your mooching mom is in the camp of believing that "money in the bank is money wasted."

Family members can be pretty good at laying a guilt trip on another member, wearing them down after all, "How can one not help a family member, especially your mom?"

When the situation comes up, I have to remind myself several things (which makes it easier to say "No"). 1) It is more difficult for you, than on your mom. After you say "No", you may feel guilty for not giving a bailout, but for her, she will just move on to someone else who she can mooch from. 2) What rule is it that because you didn't blow your money that it's your role to bail her out. That's not fair to you to be her personal bank. 3) What if the roles were reversed? If you came to her and said, I'm in a financial bind, can you help out? Would she help or say "Sorry, Charlie!"

If those reminders down work, the bring it the big gun and say "I don't have the money." I have a brother who emailed me about a year ago, saying "Can I spare some $ to help him with his property taxes?" I had to remind him that since I'm a retired person, I have to watch my budget so closely just to put food on the table -- okay, exaggerated a bit, but you get the idea. He hasn't asked again, so that must have worked.
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Old 02-16-2012, 04:03 PM   #25
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Hi Folks,


Sorry, my point is how do I deal with helping someone who will never learn but keeps begging me bail her out?

Anyone else in this position?
I can't comment on your specific situation because in our case the needy parent hasn't been financially irresponsible and doesn't ask for help. In fact, she's done surprisingly well all facts considered.

DW's mom finished raising four kids after DW's dad died young. Three kids got through college, including DW, and seem to be doing fine. The fourth moved to the west coast right after highschool, got a fed gov't job, married another fed gov't employee and both are now retired with fabulous pensions. So, not much room for going back and knocking the job their mom did in getting them launched.

At 85 yo, MIL is living off about $13k SS and a reverse mortgage. All savings are depleted. She gets by and is living in a nice condo and still drives. But we're (kids and kids-inlaw) all glad to help her out.

Here's what works for us:

1. Two local kids, DW and a brother, check on her everyday via phone and once a week or so in person.

2. I do basic maintenance on her car paying for small parts and incidental costs myself. Major issues (recently got new tires for example) are shared by all four kids. I email amounts and checks arrive promptly.

3. Major bills (some recent dental work for example) are usually split among the four kids.

4. We handled setting up the reverse mortgage on her condo and I'm now working on getting her on SNAP (food stamps). DW's local brother is searching for any other programs where we can get her aid. We're careful to not let any money gifted to her be in an account where it could disqualify her for aid.

5. We keep a list of things she could use and everyone stays on the lookout for a deal or opportunity to get those items. An out of town son recently got a new flat screen TV and instead of selling the existing almost new one, he brought it when he came to visit over the holidays.

So with a little sweat equity and creativtiy, I think we're doing a lot for the old gal without anyone jeopardizing their own financial status. In total, each kid probably got hit for just over $1k in 2011, which was a high year due to the dental work. DW and me and her local brother did invest some time. The two out of state kids sent extra things.

It's a very satisfying project. I feel good about it. It's not often that doing so little yields so much reward. I wish your situation could be more like ours.
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Old 02-16-2012, 04:14 PM   #26
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What blows me away are those who say that they don't want to plan for the possibility of living to extreme old age, because their kids would take care of them in that unlikely event. And yet, they might resent having to help their own parents under similar circumstances.

My approach would be to go with her to arrange for food stamps, and make sure her house is paid off (or get her into a low cost paid off condo if it isn't). I'd take her to a senior center and see what they could do for her, too. Then I'd have her utility bills and property tax sent to me, and that's about all. She would have food, shelter, and utilities taken care of.

I'd spend time with her when I could. She probably wants that as much as anything.
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Old 02-16-2012, 04:44 PM   #27
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Sorry, it is all invested.

Mooching is a sickness and unfortunately, you have become an enabler.
This.

I'd read the Millionaire Next Door and think about the section of the book that describes wealth transfer and results of the surveys they did on the impact this kind of enabling has on peoples happiness levels.
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Old 02-16-2012, 06:20 PM   #28
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What a tough issue this is. Glad I never had to deal with it. My parents and DW's parents always managed finances well. DW's mom is still with us and still refuses to spent the corpus of here savings. She only uses the interest. BTW, she's 90 yo! Go figure.

The closest issue to this I've encountered is with a lady who sometimes cleans our house. I hired her when DW was having chemo. Now it's like have another child who can't keep a job and who can't manage her finances. I hire her to clean and paint rental property and clean our house, at premium. Yet, she is always out of money and being evicted.

I finally convinced DW that her "issues" with money were not our problem. DW has given her money as a gift several times. I hope that's over. Interestingly, this lady's mom is quite well off, but refuses to help her in any way. I suspect there is some history there that I don't know about. So what can be done with people with this kind of problem.

Unfortunately, if you didn't learn it young, LBYM that is, it apparently is very difficult to learn later in life. It sounds like your mom didn't learn it. It would rip my heart out to have to deal with this with my mom. I like the suggestions that take care of her very basic needs, food-utilities-rent, and a budget plan. Unfortunately, whatever you provide will become part of her expected subsistence, so maybe this should also be regulated according to some form of measured scale of her basic needs.

You obviously can't let her starve, but if she expects your assistance, then she owes you an accounting of what she spends and on what. Good luck. It sounds like you'll need it.
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Old 02-16-2012, 06:32 PM   #29
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I'm a woman! (((blushing))) :-)

I'm definitely going to consider all the great advice given here and the seeking professional guidance on this matter. Everyone here has been so helpful!
So sorry!

(from another woman )

Good luck!
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Old 02-16-2012, 07:45 PM   #30
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Ask mom what she needs the money for- then politely offer to assist her in finding and applying for qualified assisted services. If they say she has too much in assets/income, that should be her wake up call. If she needs assistance, she can get it. If she has a dependency (gambling, drinking etc) then no amount of money will help.
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Old 02-16-2012, 08:52 PM   #31
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Tell her next time she asks for money, you're putting her in 'THE HOME'. And not the good one, but the one you seen on 60 minutes.

Or...

Show up on a Saturday with yard sale signs and start hauling her stuff out on the lawn and selling it to pay you back.

Or...

Tell her to have the pink slip for the car signed and ready to be picked up when you deliver the 'loan'. If repayment isn't made on time, you will repossess the car. In fact, taking away the car might keep her from over spending. Call DMV and report she's getting to be a hazard and they'll take care of it for you.
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Old 02-16-2012, 10:47 PM   #32
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At 85 yo, MIL is living off about $13k SS and a reverse mortgage. All savings are depleted. She gets by and is living in a nice condo and still drives. But we're (kids and kids-inlaw) all glad to help her out.
...
So with a little sweat equity and creativtiy, I think we're doing a lot for the old gal without anyone jeopardizing their own financial status. In total, each kid probably got hit for just over $1k in 2011, which was a high year due to the dental work. DW and me and her local brother did invest some time. The two out of state kids sent extra things.

It's a very satisfying project. I feel good about it. It's not often that doing so little yields so much reward. I wish your situation could be more like ours.
Thanks for sharing this great example of what "family" is all about. I hadn't really thought about what a gift it is to be able to work together as a family to support our parents who are in turn appreciative. I'm sad for OP who instead seems to have drawn a bum hand.
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Old 02-17-2012, 07:02 AM   #33
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Tell her next time she asks for money, you're putting her in 'THE HOME'. And not the good one, but the one you seen on 60 minutes.

Or...

Show up on a Saturday with yard sale signs and start hauling her stuff out on the lawn and selling it to pay you back.

Or...

Tell her to have the pink slip for the car signed and ready to be picked up when you deliver the 'loan'. If repayment isn't made on time, you will repossess the car. In fact, taking away the car might keep her from over spending. Call DMV and report she's getting to be a hazard and they'll take care of it for you.

Just mention that Bruno the kneecap breaker will be over.
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Old 02-17-2012, 07:49 AM   #34
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Perhaps a bit on the crabby side today...
Welcome to my world ...

When my parents were alive, they always put themselves first, over their childern.

As they (and I) grew older, I found that I had no desire or need to worry about their welfare, and had no problem at all "divorcing" them (as they did each other, after many years of marriage).

At least I feel that I (and DW) are doing better with our son...
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Old 02-17-2012, 09:02 AM   #35
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The reverse mom strategy.
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This is going to hurt me more than it does you but no, I can't give you any money.
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Old 02-17-2012, 09:26 AM   #36
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Ask mom what she needs the money for- then politely offer to assist her in finding and applying for qualified assisted services. If they say she has too much in assets/income, that should be her wake up call. If she needs assistance, she can get it. If she has a dependency (gambling, drinking etc) then no amount of money will help.
I agree with this more than the people who say pay basic needs etc. etc.

Why? Because money is fungible... as long as she knows her food and shelter will be taken care of, she can do as she pleases with her own money, including gambling. Any kind of assistance without her changing is enabling her...

I have seen this in one of my friends sisters. She always gets into trouble even though she has a good job and wants others to bail her out. But when it is suggested that she look at her spending etc. etc., she just does not want to go there. So, her whole family has refused to help her anymore (they did for many years, but as mentioned she got into trouble again and again)... I do not know if she has been getting anything from her daughter who seems like a level headed lady...
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Old 02-17-2012, 10:26 AM   #37
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"Fungible" - what a great word!!!

I know several people like this. They are masters of transferring responsiblity for their life to other people. The name for them is 'crazy makers'. You will go crazy trying to help them, or they will make you doubt your own sanity as they manipulate you into a massive state of congitive disonance.
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Old 02-17-2012, 11:42 AM   #38
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2035,

Sorry to hear about your situation. I think DW and I are headed down a similar road with her biological father (to whom she is an only child). He abandoned her and her mother when she was 5 and showed back up in her life 20 years later once she was married and we had our first child (a few years ago). She still has a lot of resentment towards him, but feels he deserves to know his grandchildren.

It is a difficult situation, because on the surface he seems genuine with his interest in making up for lost time in her life. He repeatedly says he doesn't want to miss out on his grand-children's lives like he did hers (he admits fault there). On the other side of it, DW and I are starting to believe that his main motive behind trying to reconnect with our family is a safety net as he enters retirement completely unprepared. We're not the only ones on his side of the family who are starting to realize that.

Money is definitely a problem for him. He's been through bankruptcy, never saved a dime in his life, and is currently working a part time minimum wage job in his mid 50's (20-30 hours a week)... he moved in with his parents (both in their 80s) a few years ago because he couldn't afford his apartment anymore - although he owns many toys, including a 90's corvette that he clearly payed at least $5,000 for a couple years ago.

He has a lot of siblings (making it on their own) and his parents seem to resent the fact that he is living with them. I'm not too read into the situation, but I believe the consequence for him living with them now is that they are planning to leave him nothing in their will (they look at the food, room and board as early inheritance). This is something he was told coincidentally around the same time in his life that he tried to reconnect with us.

For my wife, dealing with him is almost like dealing with a child... he asks to come visit us every week and she has made it clear that we are extremely busy in our lives right now and devoting an entire Saturday to entertaining him takes away from our own family time. They've worked out a schedule where he visits about once every 4 to 6 weeks, but he continues to call weekly asking to come more often. In the last few years he's started displaying some dementia and social anxiety making his visits not very enjoyable for my wife (who feels like she is constantly repeating the same conversations with him over and over).

He always offers to take us out to eat, but recently we've started refusing to let him pay for us if we do. We are also setting aside any money he gives us for holiday's into a separate account that we plan to give back to him if/when he ever comes to us for money in the future - his health is not that great and he has no insurance. We plan to not contribute a dime of our own money towards his immature financial behavior (ie: why are you offering to pay your children $75 for a dinner at Outback when you have $0 in retirement and have parents begging you to find your own place and move out?).

Sounds cynical of us... but he has demonstrated absolutely no ability to live within his means and has spent his life mooching and living selfishly (walking away from his family when they needed him). We refuse to let him become a drag on our financial future. We've already dug the moat and are constructing the walls that say "no" when he comes asking for it in a few years.

Obviously our situation is a little different - my wife's feelings towards him makes it easier to enforce the tough love. Though I'd like to think that we'd be doing the same thing even if the history between him and DW was peachy. I agree completely with what other posters have said... if you have kids you are supposed to take care of them and not the other way around. The last thing I would EVER want to be is a burden on my own child. In an emergency, family is always there to help, but for situations like this...
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Old 02-17-2012, 11:42 AM   #39
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..a massive state of congitive disonance.
Love it!
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Old 02-17-2012, 12:34 PM   #40
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If mom is a master mooch, giving her a monthly allowance will only feed her sense of entitlement. I could see her eventually asking for cost of living increases.

Supporting her means that she is essentially trying to put you in the same position she is in, when you get to be her age. Will you have someone in the wings, ready to support you?

I would suggest sitting her down and telling her that she can have a one-time gift of XXX (whatever you feel you can afford). After that, the bank is closed. Knowing the well is dry may be enough to kick-start her into financial responsibility or at least make her willing to seek help.
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