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Old 04-29-2010, 01:09 PM   #21
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Have you thought of suggesting to her that she returns to France. Since she was married to a French citizen, she should be able to get very generous welfare benefits in France until she can get back on her feet.
She has told us that because she is not currently married, and never became a French citizen; she would get no benefits.

In any event, they only lived in France for 5 years, and (another bad decision) she never learned to speak French.
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Old 04-29-2010, 02:08 PM   #22
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I was just going to suggest that one possible part time job for your sister was giving private French lessons but as she doesn't speak the language....

If Sister has traveled a lot, might she not seek employment with a travel agency, or big hotel with a lot of international travelers?

What is the zoning for the house that she owns? Could she rent out rooms? Could she become licensed to do domiciliary care to senior citizens in her home(if Georgia has such a program)? Or run the house as a B & B? Or sell furniture and other items out of the place on consignment or even open an antiques and interior design store in a portion of the premises? Can she cook French food(or what might pass for French food) and do event catering? I think there would be a certain marketing cachet to be had with any of these endeavors given that she is/was a titled Frenchwoman (of sorts).
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Old 04-29-2010, 02:36 PM   #23
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Interesting ideas, thanks.

The travel/hotel job would certainly fit, but she would need to accept that it's not going to pay $100k/year. Maybe about half of that. We will suggest it when she gets around to understanding that she really does need a job.

The other ideas are very innovative and appropriate. Problem is, they would need time and some money to get going. She needs to make about $60k minimum to support the mortgage and herself; and she needs to make it right now. Again, we'll keep these in mind.
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Old 04-29-2010, 03:26 PM   #24
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The travel/hotel job would certainly fit, but she would need to accept that it's not going to pay $100k/year. Maybe about half of that. We will suggest it when she gets around to understanding that she really does need a job.
Or maybe 1/4 of that amount. In most places, I would be surprised if a fairly entry level professional job at a travel agency or hotel would pay more than $30k a year. Could be more if your sister were to go into sales in those fields and be compensated on a commission basis (and excel at that).

I have had a similar discussion with my BIL regarding what market salaries are like for someone of his skill set (this is not the same BIL I was talking about in the HELOC/my SIL is a gambling addict thread FYI).

During the good times he was earning $25/hr on a contract basis doing very high end construction work of a very specific type. Jobs have disappeared in this area (people aren't building million dollar mansions as often these days). He still thinks he can get $25/hr, whether independent contractor or W-2 employee. So when I show him some job that pays $15/hr plus benefits, he says he would not consider that a fair rate of pay. I just was honest with him that I thought the odds were very low of him finding a $50,000 a year job with his skill set (highly skilled in a niche construction field, no college education or computer skills). But the stability of an 8-5 job with guaranteed 40 hrs/wk and benefits and vacation time is worth something.

At some point, the individuals will have to recognize the reality of the current labor market, and take whatever they can find at whatever price employers are offering. I would hesitate to give money away to someone who has a very high cash burn rate like your sister. That would be like investing in a dot com around February 2000 that blows through their IPO cash as if it were a race to deplete one's coffers. Your sister doesn't seem to have a temporary cash flow issue as much as a long term unsustainable approach to finances.

Maybe consider taking a 2nd position on her house in exchange for financing the mortgage payments for a while until it can be sold. The realtor really has to know that it should be priced to sell ASAP too, since this is really a distressed sale.
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Old 04-29-2010, 11:38 PM   #25
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She just dropped the price to $375k. If it sells for $350k, she would get about $50k out of it. Not enough to retire on, but enough to keep her alive while she figures out what to do with her life and finances. We hope...
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Old 04-30-2010, 07:28 AM   #26
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I think the only way to help her is to let her hit bottom. As long as she thinks she has assets she will not face up to her situation. Once the house is gone and the money is gone she will realize that she will have to live off what she makes at whatever job she can get.
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Old 04-30-2010, 07:48 AM   #27
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The sad thing in this whole scenario is that your sister is 60 . That is a rough age to be trying to regroup and find a decent job.
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Old 04-30-2010, 09:26 AM   #28
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One of the best books I ever read was Sister Carrie, written in the early 1900's. I forgot the author (Theodore Dreiser?). It is about a once affluent banker who lost his job, and his slow decent into poverty. Of note was how he refused many jobs on his way down, because they were "beneath him."

I think the best medicine is reality, and your maintaining good boundaries so you are not sucked into the downward spiral. I say this to myself as well, because we have a couple of relatives in similar positions. I have decided what I will and will not do. I will offer food and a temporary place to stay. Every year we grow a good garden, and do lots of canning. I will not offer money.

There is a saying that comes to me these days:
"Money is relative; the more money, the more relatives."
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Old 05-01-2010, 10:47 AM   #29
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Hopefully she has a work record in the US and can qualify for SS... if she doesn't she needs to get some sort of job. She will need about 10 years of work paying into SS to qualify.
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Old 05-01-2010, 01:29 PM   #30
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That's a shame what happened to your sister. I have a younger brother and if he ever needed it, he could come crash at my apt for as long as he needed to. I wouldn't want to commit to giving money, but shelter and food I could give. I haven't read the rest of the thread yet, but maybe letting her stay at your house until she finds a job might be something to consider.

If you have a nice house it might back fire though. She might not want to ever leave. For myself, I live in a one bedroom apt. So, my brother would be in a sleeping bag on the living room floor. I doubt he would want to stay longer than necessary.

Hope things work out for the best.
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Old 05-01-2010, 01:46 PM   #31
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The sad thing in this whole scenario is that your sister is 60 . That is a rough age to be trying to regroup and find a decent job.
Unemployment is high. Many areas have displaced homemaker programs to help find jobs and get training. I don't know what is in Georgia. I did find this site for "middle Georgia:"
MGWIS Resources for Dislocated Workers and Displaced Homemakers
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Old 05-01-2010, 02:40 PM   #32
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Martha-
Thanks for the info, I'll send it to her.
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Old 05-01-2010, 04:08 PM   #33
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I have no idea about the property she is selling. However, I do live south of Atlanta. It is depressing how poorly very nice properties are just sitting on the market these days. I know Fayette and Henry County. I am seeing more listings lately and hope they sell. If the home is in Clayton County do not expect it to sell for any sane price - school district issues there have clobbered the market beyond belief.

I wish her well - she no doubt has difficult times ahead. I do not envy you the task of negotiating proper boundaries that will be needed for both of you to navigate these next few months.
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Old 05-01-2010, 04:25 PM   #34
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She's in Morgan county. Not sure if that's good news or bad news.
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Old 05-01-2010, 05:05 PM   #35
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Sorry,no idea about Morgan county. It is far Atlanta burbs . I do know that with the way gas prices have been higher the last few years more folks who might have considered a long commute are looking at the depressed home prices closer to Atlanta. This shift away from long commutes means in the general downturn, some far off communities have been hurt badly.
You might do an online search and look at simalarly priced homes in the area to see if you think her home is priced to sell.

According to this link it looks a bit like Morgan has rebounded a bit in 2010 compared to surrounding counties. Still off peak of course.

Morgan Home Prices and Home Values - Zillow Local Info
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Old 05-01-2010, 05:23 PM   #36
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Almost all cities have rent-assisted over 60, or 62, or 65 housing. Much of it is very nice, in nice neighborhoods. I think the deverloper gets a certain long period of tax abatement in return for keeping the rents and the rent increases low.

She is probably not going to find many members of the nobility there, but she will be safe and her expenses will be under control. If it were me I would place getting a job, getting rid of the house, and moving moving into cheap rental housing at the top of the list.

With what she can get from her house, cheap rent, and a job so she can support herself until taking SS at age 70 she should be fine.

You're going to like the new her.

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Old 05-01-2010, 05:52 PM   #37
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I don't have any info on senior housing in GA. In PA, you have to be 62 years of age or handicapped or disabled. Your income and assets also have a cap in applying for such housing. Typically, one pays one third of his/her income. They also take into consideration out of pocket medical expenses in calculating the rent. A 62 year old senior can have a car in this housing and can still work provided their income does not exceed certain limits. This housing can vary greatly. I would recommend that a senior living alone seek out "senior" housing, not "family" housing. Also visit and take a look at the places, talk to residents. Some places are very nice, as nice as any rental apartment in which I have ever lived. Others, not so much so. You really have to visit and get a feel for the place. Even park outside on a Sat. evening in good weather and watch the comings and goings if you do not have anyone to guide you to the "nicer" places.
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