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Aging and Broke
Old 12-31-2011, 12:53 PM   #1
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Aging and Broke

From today's WSJ

Aging and Broke, More Lean on Family - WSJ.com

The above link requires a subscription to the WSJ. Sorry about that. I assume the local public library will have a copy for those who are interested in reading it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_An...he_Grasshopper

No doubt some of these people lived well for many years,some well beyond their means. Then, like the grasshopper in the old fable, when hard times hit they had nothing to fall back on. And, no doubt, others worked and save, played by the rules, only to find the rug pulled out from under them despite their best efforts.
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Old 12-31-2011, 01:26 PM   #2
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This phenomenon may be new to Americans, but in most countries, specially third world, taking care of the oldies is a family responsibility.
I remembered my aunts and uncles, allocating money every month to take care of a grandparent. It is also a common thing for adult children to stay with their folks, when the folks becomes old and helpless, they turn to their kids.
The multigenerational home is coming close to our neighborhood.
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Old 12-31-2011, 01:35 PM   #3
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There is something to be said for the multi-generation family living under one roor, or next door to each other. Modern countries have made use of other means, such as SS, to provide for the older generations.

Also, please note that the article mentioned talks specifically about people who are older, but often a few years short of being senior citizens. They are willing and able to work, but can't find a job that will pay a living wage. This is sad.

I susupect some of these people were like the grasshopper and spent everything when times were good, perhaps even going into debt, and saving nothing for a rainy day. Now they reap what they have sown. But, others have had the rug pulled out from under them through no fault of their own. A look into their past spending habits would be interesting and help to put their situation in context.
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Old 12-31-2011, 02:37 PM   #4
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Or maybe it's more like if you have several siblings, some who play by the rules, LBYM, etc. and others who think money in the bank is money wasted. Then when it's time to "be responsible' and take care of the aging parents....well..guess who they turn to? Of course, the one who is responsible and "good with money and those sort of things".
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Old 12-31-2011, 02:45 PM   #5
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The linked article is subscription. It makes reference to a Pew Research study but not the specific one and browsing the Pew website does not help.
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Old 12-31-2011, 03:15 PM   #6
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There is something to be said for the multi-generation family living under one roor, or next door to each other.
I agree. When my mother's father died, my grandmother moved in with us, and she was great help, a good person to play Chinese Checkers with, a good babysitter, etc. My parents in turn owned a triplex with 3 large flats. My sister and her husband lived on the 2nd floor, and raised 2 daughters up there which was quite nice for the parents and for the grandparents, my parents.

OTOH, my own family moved clear across the continent, and we were much more on our own. Friends are great, but many hundreds of thousands of years have bred closer cooperation into families.

I have two married sons. One lives about a mile away (right down the street in fact). The other lives roughly 5 miles away. A bonus of this situation is that we have fairly frequent chance encounters, in addition to the planned ones.

There is an interesting book by a Russo-American named Dmitry Orlov, Reinventing Collapse. He saw Russia's collapse after the USSR caved in, from frequent family visits and business trips. His thesis is that America will also collapse, but that overall the the Russians were better equiped to handle it, for various reasons, not the least of which is their being accustomed to managing to live together in small places with other family members and sometimes non-family members. I don't post this to discuss his thesis, just his idea about today's Americans perhaps being less flexible than Russians were/are in confronting adversity.

I do think he is right regarding Americans' likely performance if things get tough. We sometimes resemble the princess, of the Princess and the Pea.

Ha
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Old 01-01-2012, 09:48 AM   #7
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We are about to be confronted with this. DW's father, now 85, will almost certainly have to make a major change this year. He's flat broke, owns a house that is facing some major expenses like a new roof, and his car is nearing the end of it's useful life.

We did a lot of work on the house five years ago with the plan/intention that he would sell it and move to a detached house in a continuous care facility nearby. He decided that he "couldn't move" and stayed.

Additionally, I finally sent the letter to the motor vehicle administration requesting that he be retested, as his driving is now to the point that I have no doubt remaining that he's dangerous. This was accompanied by much gnashing of teeth among family but all agreed there was little choice. I'd bet my next month's income that he cannot pass a driver's test. He lives in a suburban area where a car is a necessity.

Because of the continuing decline in house values the option of moving to the continuous care facility may be completely off the table. Or if the house did sell (a huge "if") there may not be enough to get even an apartment in the facility, which he previously rejected outright as a possibility.

That leaves him two other options: Move in with me and DW or another daughter and her husband. Neither option is appealing. He's okay in small doses but can be cantankerous.
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Old 01-01-2012, 10:33 AM   #8
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He's okay in small doses but can be cantankerous.
Hey, me too!

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Old 01-01-2012, 09:35 PM   #9
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He's okay in small doses but can be cantankerous.
Amazing! The very same thing applies to my DD's husband.
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