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Old 05-29-2009, 02:49 PM   #61
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I wonder if your MIL would get her TV fix on Hulu?
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Old 05-29-2009, 02:56 PM   #62
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Selling the house and moving to an apartment might be complicated because of the pets and she will never agree to give them up.
That's $6000 a year! Are there *that many* critters or does she just pamper them half to death? If this can't be cut back much, I'm afraid I see little hope.
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Old 05-29-2009, 03:00 PM   #63
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FireDreamer, I don't want to scare you but your MIL is doomed. She might be beyond help. You may better think of how to not get dragged down with her. You need to talk with your wife to work out between yourselves. This has the potential to strain the marriage.
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Old 05-29-2009, 03:23 PM   #64
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I wonder if your MIL would get her TV fix on Hulu?
I doubt it. Her internet connection seems very slow to me so I don't know how well Hulu would work for her. But that's the thing, there are so many free stuff on the internet nowadays that one could probably find endless sources of entertainment with a simple computer and an internet connection. I know that If I was in her situation, I'd ditch the newspaper and cable for sure.
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Old 05-29-2009, 03:25 PM   #65
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I doubt it. Her internet connection seems very slow to me so I don't know how well Hulu would work for her. But that's the thing, there are so many free stuff on the internet nowadays that one could probably find endless sources of entertainment with a simple computer and an internet connection. I know that If I was in her situation, I'd ditch the newspaper and cable for sure.
That's always an important consideration before cutting an entertainment expense. You want to make sure it's not going to be replaced by activities that are even more expensive.
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Old 05-29-2009, 03:32 PM   #66
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That's $6000 a year! Are there *that many* critters or does she just pamper them half to death? If this can't be cut back much, I'm afraid I see little hope.
There are about 11 critters. Most are rescue, older and with some health problems. The "good" news (from a budget POV) is that a year rarely goes by without at least one them dying from old age. I also convinced her not to replace the pets as they die, so the number of critters will go down rapidly. In five years she'll probably have only have 3-4 pets left. The bad news is that as pets get older they require more expensive care and food (senior diet). But right now she buys very expensive specialty food and this is one area where I think she could cut back. My 18 year old cat did just fine on generic food and I think her pets will too.
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Old 05-29-2009, 03:47 PM   #67
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There are about 11 critters. Most are rescue, older and with some health problems. The "good" news (from a budget POV) is that a year rarely goes by without at least one them dying from old age. I also convinced her not to replace the pets as they die, so the number of critters will go down rapidly. In five years she'll probably have only have 3-4 pets left. The bad news is that as pets get older they require more expensive care and food (senior diet). But right now she buys very expensive specialty food and this is one area where I think she could cut back. My 18 year old cat did just fine on generic food and I think her pets will too.
I wonder if she will take any of your warnings of impending financial problems seriously, as long as she is able to persuade you to let her keep all 11 critters. I would urge you to insist that her present assets can only support $600/year for her pets, and that if she needs more for them she can use rent from her roommates, salary from a part time job, or whatever. That would motivate her to find a way to increase her income.
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Old 05-29-2009, 03:54 PM   #68
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That healthy food for the pets will only serve to prolong their lives and expenses. Cutting back to unhealthy cheap pet food should assist with unexpectedly long pet longevity.

I don't recall seeing anyone else mention one obvious solution: get a sugar daddy.
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Old 05-29-2009, 03:55 PM   #69
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As you know there is no easy answer to this problem. However, I would create a budget like W2R's, even worse. Maybe down to 18 grand or so. Then figure out where the real hot spots are. My guess the pets and the house i.e. neighborhood are two. I would cut the pets back even more. Sit down and try to get her to agree to a two year trial, settle for one year. Play off adding things back to the area she desires most, pets and such, but everything is compared. 'If you want to keep the paper, you will have to get rid of two of the cats' Everything has a price, and you can't afford everything. I also would not have this conversation without my wife there. Also, have an grim estimate of where she will be when the money runs out. The old fram filter, 'pay me now or pay me later'.

The house is another option. If you purchase the house from her now, i.e. take over the payments, insurance and such, but you get ownership now. This really drops her assets down and allows you to drop the LTC. If the house is free and clear, then you may be buying an asset cheap. She becomes the bank and you pay her. As you listed no house payment, you all could agree on almost any payment. I have not really thought this part out, but it seems like an asset your wife would get now rather than later. As long as it is good shape, your retirement funds are protected. Heck, you can always use a little real estate in you portfolio.

Good Luck.
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Old 05-29-2009, 03:56 PM   #70
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You might as well face it, sooner or later she's moving in with you. Take this time to add a MIL apartment with separate entrance to your home. Or if not doable, sell both homes and buy one that accommodates her (again keeping her separate). Use her home sale money for the improvements. Then she can keep her LTC insurance to protect the rest.
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Old 05-29-2009, 04:00 PM   #71
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You might as well face it, sooner or later she's moving in with you. Take this time to add a MIL apartment with separate entrance to your home. Or if not doable, sell both homes and buy one that accommodates her (again keeping her separate). Use her home sale money for the improvements. Then she can keep her LTC insurance to protect the rest.
It may be time for a preemptive strike against this happening (unless it is desirable). Buy or borrow one of those cheap pop-up camper trailers and proudly park it out back of your house. Excitedly call her over to your house on Christmas, Mother's Day, or her birthday, and show her the new in-laws suite that you kindly bought for her to live in if she ever needs a place to stay. Ensure her that she is more than welcome to stay as long as she likes. In the pop up camper out back.
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Old 05-29-2009, 04:11 PM   #72
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If she has 11 critters, I can almost guarantee she will not be able to take in a boarder or two. I would not want to live in a home with that many. Here my son has a python that stays in his room, a cat that is old and lives upstairs, and Maggie the Princess English Bulldog. When any move out or on there will be none till I am old enough to want to stay home all the time!
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Old 05-29-2009, 04:15 PM   #73
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I think the main thing that is needed is for her to realize her financial situation - realize that money won't suddenly appear on her doorstep just because she is accustomed to her lifestyle. I get the feeling she is refusing to accept the fact that she is now responsible for her actions (with no bailout) and she will have to suffer the consequences of any financial actions (or non-actions in her case). I say this because she doesn't seem to be receptive to the help you are trying to offer.

To me, the best thing to do is to let her assume all her financial responsibilities. I don't know if your wife will agree, but I would tell her not to expect any financial help from you or from your wife. (After all, she has enough money to manage on her own and she is choosing to overspend and there is no reason someone else has to pick up the tab.) (You may end up helping anyway, but your MIL should not expect it and should not plan her budget with that in mind. She is on her own like everyone else.)

You could still break down the numbers for her (her budget/her asset breakdowns and when she would run out of money if she followed her spending patterns.). She needs to face that and realize what she is facing. From what you said, she never was involved in the family finance and she is still playing by the same old rules ("someone else always taking care of it." rule.) I say this because you mentioned that she tries to justify her spending even to you (as if you were her husband who brings back the bacon, who can say "OK, I will give you more money.") If she asks for help in how she could rebudget, then give her advice - options she can pursue etc, but she herself needs to feel nobody is going to bail her out. - It's time for her to rise up to the occasion. Maybe she is still counting on the alimony to arrive on her doorstep, I don't know.

OK, I may sound tough, but my take is she is responsible now for her finance, not you or anybody else and she can do this. I hope she will end up feeling empowered with the notion that she is now in the driving seat for her life.

I did my mom's budget lately and she has enough, as long as she doesn't overspend. Fortunately, my mom realizes that she cannot count on me for any overspending and she lives within her means. I am putting aside some money for her every month, but that is not part of her budget - just gift money. If my mom was like your MIL, I will not help her at all. I live within a tighter budget than your MIL's easily, so I don't see why I should help at all.
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Old 05-29-2009, 04:18 PM   #74
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I think the message is clear: It's time for MIL to get real. Her situation is unsustainable and she has to make drastic changes. Period. No more excuses. DW and I are willing to help, but she would have to drop her expenses considerably before we would consider stepping in. Right now we just don't feel like she is making nearly enough sacrifice.

As for MIL moving in with us. That's a big no-no. DW would go insane within a week.
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Old 05-29-2009, 04:19 PM   #75
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I don't recall seeing anyone else mention one obvious solution: get a sugar daddy.
We are working on that...
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Old 05-29-2009, 04:29 PM   #76
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DW would go insane within a week.
Might be cheaper just to bail MIL out...
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Old 05-29-2009, 04:35 PM   #77
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I think the main thing that is needed is for her to realize her financial situation - realize that money won't suddenly appear on her doorstep just because she is accustomed to her lifestyle. I get the feeling she is refusing to accept the fact that she is now responsible for her actions (with no bailout) and she will have to suffer the consequences of any financial actions (or non-actions in her case). I say this because she doesn't seem to be receptive to the help you are trying to offer.

To me, the best thing to do is to let her assume all her financial responsibilities. I don't know if your wife will agree, but I would tell her not to expect any financial help from you or from your wife. (After all, she has enough money to manage on her own and she is choosing to overspend and there is no reason someone else has to pick up the tab.) (You may end up helping anyway, but your MIL should not expect it and should not plan her budget with that in mind. She is on her own like everyone else.)

You could still break down the numbers for her (her budget/her asset breakdowns and when she would run out of money if she followed her spending patterns.). She needs to face that and realize what she is facing. From what you said, she never was involved in the family finance and she is still playing by the same old rules ("someone else always taking care of it." rule.) I say this because you mentioned that she tries to justify her spending even to you (as if you were her husband who brings back the bacon, who can say "OK, I will give you more money.") If she asks for help in how she could rebudget, then give her advice - options she can pursue etc, but she herself needs to feel nobody is going to bail her out. - It's time for her to rise up to the occasion. Maybe she is still counting on the alimony to arrive on her doorstep, I don't know.

OK, I may sound tough, but my take is she is responsible now for her finance, not you or anybody else and she can do this. I hope she will end up feeling empowered with the notion that she is now in the driving seat for her life.
You nailed it. I think that she still lives on cloud 9. Money still grows on trees, and somehow, she'll always have enough. I think it's time for her to realize that the money tree has been hacked down.

DW and I have never even hinted that we would bail her out. She has tried several times to fish for information about our financial situation but we keep it for ourselves. I am certain she expects us to help, but so far, every time she brings up the subject we have simply shut down the conversation. When she starts whining about having to cut back, we shut it down. When she laments that we can afford things that she can no longer afford, we shut it down. I think that she has started to realize that we are not going to bail her out afterall. Hopefully it will give her the motivation to make drastic changes.
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Old 05-29-2009, 04:35 PM   #78
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Might be cheaper just to bail MIL out...
That was my thought as well...
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Old 05-29-2009, 04:46 PM   #79
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There's another issue here that we haven't discussed.

If she wants to, both you and she know that she can simply refuse to "get with the program" and live within a budget. She could then gleefully run right through that $170,000 before she is 72, at that rate. When she is destitute at 72, one might expect her to play the guilt card:

"But dear, you just wouldn't believe the sacrifices I made when you were a baby. I changed your every diaper, went without things I needed, and put up with your crying, sacrificed my career. And now that I am in my old age, and need YOUR help, you are going to throw me out on the street? How could I have raised someone so heartless?" and so on.

She has the trump card and is in the position of power, here, not you. You cannot make someone change or do something they simply refuse to do.

Maybe Bikerdude's idea of selling both houses and buying a house with an attached MIL apartment, with a separate entrance, is something to consider. The extra money from her house might take her to age 80 or so before she runs out of money.
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Old 05-29-2009, 04:50 PM   #80
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You know, somewhere in the budget was an entertainment figure that included classes and stuff.

Can you find a suitable "Take care of your $$" class somewhere in the area?
Maybe something intended for widows?

Buy her a Suzy Orman book. Record her program for your MIL.

If she has been in clueless lala land about finances, this is about the level she is at.

ta,
mew

Oh, and really push the 'if you want to live in less straightened cirumstances, get back into court to get that divorce agreement revised' idea. If you can make the connection between "let it go" and "Be poor", I'll bet she can get motivated!!
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