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Need advice for helping parents
Old 06-26-2005, 10:46 AM   #1
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Need advice for helping parents

In a very short amount of time DH's mother will be out of money. Literally. There will be home equity but since the house is not selling at her ridiculous price that won't help much.

A little background.
FIL is in nursing home (at gov't expense) since he and MIL blew thru their money at alarming rates over the yrs. A dozen or more vehicles were purchased (8 within a 2-yr period) and then traded at huge loses 'cause FIL didn't like the current flavor and wanted a different one. Three lakehomes were sold completely furnished (no way was he going to move anything including beds and bedding) and money was lost on each and every one. MIL is now trying to sell the last lakehome but there are no buyers whatsoever. (she's finally come down on the price and b**ching about it all the time) And on top of that problem she went and bought a different house and took out a 'bridge' loan that is due in a few months. Hubby and two of his siblings have tried to talk to her about her finances but she just isn't getting it. DH even sat down with her to work out a "budget" but that was of no use. She is spending 2x to 3x their SS benefits each and every month. (we're not sure on what but casinos come to mind thanks to a daughter who likes to take mom out for a good time)

So...now MIL is panicking 'cause "she needs the money" from the sale of her home and is making everyone's life miserable. Of course we won't let her starve (we've decided on grocery store gift cards/no cash) but what else are we obigated to do?
We've lived below our means and saved for yrs in order to afford early retirement and do some things for us. How much of our financial security do we risk to help them out when they wouldn't help themselves for the last 10+ yrs?

I know there are lots of people out there in our position. What have you decided to help with if anything? Where do you draw the line??

Thanks


kz
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Re: Need advice for helping parents
Old 06-26-2005, 10:51 AM   #2
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Re: Need advice for helping parents

kz,

My sympathies.

How in the world are they losing money in RE right now? You'd think that a house - especially on water - would command a premium.
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Re: Need advice for helping parents
Old 06-26-2005, 11:29 AM   #3
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Re: Need advice for helping parents

First, don't let her access your resources!!!

The problem is her attitude about the use of her financial resources. She would spend yours if you permit that.

Have you considerd the posibility that she is senile and needs a consevitor(sp)?

If she is compentent then she needs to come up with a spending plan (a nice word for budget). When she is stressed out about money offer to help her work through her expenses and income to develop a plan.

You and your spouse should agree on the extent to which you would be willing to help her and what that might look like. The grocery card is a good start. There are reverse morgages for seniors who wish to stay in their home but need cash to do so. However, that money must go to basic living expenses only and if she is a spend-aholic she may not be able to do that.

Now, a word of caution. Years ago, in the State of Oregon, when a parent went on welfare the State obtained a support order against the children. Talk to an elder-law attorney.
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You've done your part, it's up to her.
Old 06-26-2005, 11:40 AM   #4
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You've done your part, it's up to her.

Sorry to hear about this, KZ. It sounds like she has a problem, not you. You're doing the right thing by tossing a lifeline (I like the idea of a grocery card) but it's up to her to take the next step.

She may be in dementia (she's certainly in denial) but any attempt to seek a conservator could be taken in completely the wrong manner by her and a host of legal assistants. Brat has a great suggestion to seek help from an elder law attorney to make sure that you guys aren't dinged for support that you may not want to give. Just the fact that you're buying her groceries should tell the courts that you're doing what it takes to help her keep it together until she gets her own act together.

Eventually she'll hit bottom (or foreclosure) and she'll be forced into the process of financial counseling. While she doesn't have to listen to family, she'll have to listen to the financiers or else turn over the property. It might take a wake-up call of that magnitude to get her to change her ways.

A reverse mortgage can only be used if she's 62 or over, but wait until she discovers 125% home equity loans from sub-prime lenders...
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Re: Need advice for helping parents
Old 06-26-2005, 11:58 AM   #5
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Re: Need advice for helping parents

Brat--

She is not senile. Actually, she is very coy at times. She pretends that she doesn't know what she (or someone else) is doing and then knows exactly what is going on.

The budget didn't work because she doesn't want to acknowledge how little money she can actually spend each month. (head in sand)

Reverse mortgage was one of the options hubby and I recommended but the daughter (who happens to be a elder-law atty) handling her finances didn't think it was a good idea. Ugh! (She could have stayed in the house she likes and wouldn't have all these problems now)

We've tried to cover ourselves against any problems with the state by NOT putting our name on the title to the new home although the other siblings did. We didn't want any liability by doing that. (I suggested this to hubby with valid reasons and he accepted my concern)

One plan we've talked about is to match the lowest amt. any of the other children are willing to give to MIL. Of course we can't predict what will happen but we don't see any of them coming thru with many dollars because of past issues. (like promises of money for college and then breaking that promise) Or in the case of one daughter who spends paycheck to paycheck even though she earns a comfortable living.

Oh...and they lost money on all previous RE because they wanted something else NOW and sold out at ridiculous prices in order to get wanted they wanted!! (FIL is extremely selfish)

They've always had an attitude that "the gov't will take care of me". They even opted out of SS when given a choice yrs ago so needless to say they don't get much in benefits.

I'm just so frustrated. I'm a planner and a budgeter and this is so hard to deal with. Hubby is getting more frustrated by the minute and I hate to see this happening. Thanks for letting me vent.

kz
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Re: Need advice for helping parents
Old 06-26-2005, 12:16 PM   #6
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Re: Need advice for helping parents

What would the consequences be if you did nothing to help them?
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Re: Need advice for helping parents
Old 06-26-2005, 12:31 PM   #7
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Re: Need advice for helping parents

Trust me, Whalamole, the thought has crossed my mind.

She is behind on property taxes but that certainly is not something we will help out with. Sorry to sound so uncaring but we would have LOVED to live on the lake like they did but decided not to so we could save money for a comfortable retirement. Thus paying for someone else's property taxes who lived the good life is out of the question.

I have to admit medications to an extent (besides food) would be a consideration. But that's about it.

kz



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Re: Need advice for helping parents
Old 06-26-2005, 12:46 PM   #8
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Re: Need advice for helping parents

Quote:
Originally Posted by kz
Trust me, Whalamole, the thought has crossed my mind.

She is behind on property taxes but that certainly is not something we will help out with. Sorry to sound so uncaring but we would have LOVED to live on the lake like they did but decided not to so we could save money for a comfortable retirement. Thus paying for someone else's property taxes who lived the good life is out of the question.

I have to admit medications to an extent (besides food) would be a consideration. But that's about it.
Then a followup question... do you think that you have the right to request a change in her behavior for exchange for helping her out?

It seems like she hasn't learned her lesson at all, and by helping her, she may think that now you are somehow responsible for that help for the rest of her life. Plus who knows how she'll spend that money.

Personally, I think you do have the right to ask her to clean up her act.
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Re: Need advice for helping parents
Old 06-26-2005, 01:26 PM   #9
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Re: Need advice for helping parents

Based on the above it appears that tough-love is the smartest course. Since your SIL is an elder-law attorney maybe a sibbling meeting would be appropriate to establish a course of action.
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Re: Need advice for helping parents
Old 06-27-2005, 07:47 PM   #10
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Re: Need advice for helping parents

I think a sibling meeting is definitely in order.

And, yes, I'm sure we have the right to ask her to change her ways if we help her out but I can tell you that will NEVER happen. She will never go for it. We'd have to tell her "No, you can't afford that" and she'd do it anyway. It will be interesting to see what happens when the money is gone. Really interesting.
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Re: Need advice for helping parents
Old 06-27-2005, 08:03 PM   #11
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Re: Need advice for helping parents

Quote:
Originally Posted by kz
In a very short amount of time DH's mother will be out of money. Literally. There will be home equity but since the house is not selling at her ridiculous price that won't help much.

A little background.
FIL is in nursing home (at gov't expense) since he and MIL blew thru their money at alarming rates over the yrs. A dozen or more vehicles were purchased (8 within a 2-yr period) and then traded at huge loses 'cause FIL didn't like the current flavor and wanted a different one. Three lakehomes were sold completely furnished (no way was he going to move anything including beds and bedding) and money was lost on each and every one. MIL is now trying to sell the last lakehome but there are no buyers whatsoever. (she's finally come down on the price and b**ching about it all the time) And on top of that problem she went and bought a different house and took out a 'bridge' loan that is due in a few months. Hubby and two of his siblings have tried to talk to her about her finances but she just isn't getting it. DH even sat down with her to work out a "budget" but that was of no use. She is spending 2x to 3x their SS benefits each and every month. (we're not sure on what but casinos come to mind thanks to a daughter who likes to take mom out for a good time)

So...now MIL is panicking 'cause "she needs the money" from the sale of her home and is making everyone's life miserable. Of course we won't let her starve (we've decided on grocery store gift cards/no cash) but what else are we obigated to do?
We've lived below our means and saved for yrs in order to afford early retirement and do some things for us. How much of our financial security do we risk to help them out when they wouldn't help themselves for the last 10+ yrs?

I know there are lots of people out there in our position. What have you decided to help with if anything? Where do you draw the line??

Thanks


kz
No advice but here is where I am and what I plan to do.

My Dad is 87 and Mom is 85, both have slipped a lot over the past year
(falls, memory loss, etc) and neither has any financial expertise
whatsoever. It is too late for me to intervene now even if they would be
be agreeable or understood what was needed (doubtful). Unfortunately,
I am now just waiting for the inevitable disaster. I won't have long to wait.

JG
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Re: Need advice for helping parents
Old 06-27-2005, 10:04 PM   #12
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Re: Need advice for helping parents

kz, I'm really sorry to hear this story -- as a planner myself I know how frustrated and unhappy you must be. It's just not fair to have people squander their money and then expect others to bail them out.

On the other hand, it was THEIR money, was it not? They had a right to spend it any way they wanted, and with that right came the responsibility to spend wisely. They have not done so. To my mind you have no debt to them whatsoever, and you would be generous to provide groceries and money for medication. This is probably what I'd do with my family,and they have been warned that this will be the case.

Having said all that they did raise your DH, which was a tremendous benefit to you, I'm assuming!

It seems vital to me that you have a clear understanding with HIM, who is the most important one here. The worst possible outcome would be to let this issue come between the two of you. If he wants to chip in a little more, then it might be worth it for harmony over the long run.

Whatever happens, the best of luck to you,
Caroline




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Re: Need advice for helping parents
Old 06-28-2005, 08:28 AM   #13
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Re: Need advice for helping parents

Thanks, Caroline. You have some very valid points.

Yes, it was their money to spend. And we know we can't undo some of the idiotic purchases (such as 8 cars within 2 yrs) so we just have to live with it.

This would never come between us. I'm probably the one who is willing to do a little more than he is 'cause his frustration level with his parents is pretty high right now. He has such a hard time with their attitude of "the gov't and/or the kids will take care of us". I'm sure alot of it stems from all the broken promises he heard over the years.

But the good news is we have learned so much thru this experience and have made steps to secure our financial future.

And, yes, he is a tremendous benefit to me.
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Re: Need advice for helping parents
Old 06-28-2005, 06:33 PM   #14
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Re: Need advice for helping parents

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
Maybe this is how retiree spending declines with age.* At some point you run out, you don't spend any more, and the average spending declines...

Go to the time-out corner Nords.
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Re: Need advice for helping parents
Old 06-28-2005, 06:44 PM   #15
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Re: Need advice for helping parents

Quote:
Originally Posted by ex-Jarhead
Go to the time-out corner Nords.
OK, I deleted my post. Your turn!
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