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Should Mom be able to make it?
Old 08-17-2005, 10:46 PM   #1
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Should Mom be able to make it?

I would like to hear from you seniors all ready in retirement.* Here is my question:
My mother's only income is social security of $860 a month.* She has a retarded son, who also receives about $750 SSI.* So she has a monthly income of $1,610 NET.

I purchased a small house for her.* I pay the real estate taxes of aprox. $3,000 a year. I pay the homeowners fees, the house insurance and all house related repairs and needed items.* This is what she has to pay:

Electric* * *$140 (Sometimes higher in summer but lower in winder) Lives in FL>

Water* * * * * 45
Phone* * * * * 50
Cable TV* * * 55
Auto Ins* * $100
Car gas* * * 100
Med's* * * * * *45* *(Has a special deal where she gets them for $7.50 ea.)
Lawn* * * * * * 45
Macy's* * * * $100* (She has run up her Macys charge card to $2,000 and is now trying to* *pay it off.
* * * * * * * * *_______
* * * * * * * * *$680* fixed expenses

Balance left for food and miscellanious $ 930.00
She spends what I feel, is a great deal on food, and this in fact is where she says her money goes.* She doen't eat out, unless someone takes her out to dinner (Me!)
She claims she can't make it and every month around the 18th or 20th she comes to me stating she is out of money and will I lend her some to tie her over to the end of the month.* This has been going on for years, but only since my own income has dropped considerably, have I started to say No, I can't do any more.* My uncle pays for any car expenses she has as well, (tires, repairs etc.)* Don't you think she should be able to manage with her income with the other major expenses paid for her.* Or am I dreaming?* Love to hear from some of you on a budget.

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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?
Old 08-18-2005, 04:40 AM   #2
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by modhatter
I would like to hear from you seniors all ready in retirement.* Here is my question:
My mother's only income is social security of $860 a month.* She has a retarded son, who also receives about $750 SSI.* So she has a monthly income of $1,610 NET.

I purchased a small house for her.* I pay the real estate taxes of aprox. $3,000 a year. I pay the homeowners fees, the house insurance and all house related repairs and needed items.* This is what she has to pay:

Electric* * *$140 (Sometimes higher in summer but lower in winder) Lives in FL>

Water* * * * * 45
Phone* * * * * 50
Cable TV* * * 55
Auto Ins* * $100
Car gas* * * 100
Med's* * * * * *45* *(Has a special deal where she gets them for $7.50 ea.)
Lawn* * * * * * 45
Macy's* * * * $100* (She has run up her Macys charge card to $2,000 and is now trying to* *pay it off.
* * * * * * * * *_______
* * * * * * * * *$680* fixed expenses

Balance left for food and miscellanious $ 930.00
She spends what I feel, is a great deal on food, and this in fact is where she says her money goes.* She doen't eat out, unless someone takes her out to dinner (Me!)
She claims she can't make it and every month around the 18th or 20th she comes to me stating she is out of money and will I lend her some to tie her over to the end of the month.* This has been going on for years, but only since my own income has dropped considerably, have I started to say No, I can't do any more.* My uncle pays for any car expenses she has as well, (tires, repairs etc.)* Don't you think she should be able to manage with her income with the other major expenses paid for her.* Or am I dreaming?* Love to hear from some of you on a budget.

Auto insurance seems quite high and she should not be shopping at Macys.

JG
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?
Old 08-18-2005, 08:12 AM   #3
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?

Modhatter,

First I want to say that you are a wonderful person to take care of your mother like you do. You seem to be a very caring person and one that is looking out for your mother's best interest.

I find it hard to believe she is not making it on her income with the expenses you state. Have you listed all her expenses? Have you checked her credit card bills to see if she has something other than Macy's? $900 for food per month for two people is very high. I would look elsewhere to see where that money is going.

She should be able to make ends meet on her income and with you paying the house stuff and your uncle taking care of the car. My MIL does on just slightly more but she pays her own condo fees and taxes (she also lives in FL).
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?
Old 08-18-2005, 08:19 AM   #4
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?

I see lots of wiggle room in the budget - BUT unfortunately it's your Mom - used to the status quo - perhaps resistant to change.

Good luck! Diplomacy 'turn out the lights - the party's over' may be difficult - if you can't convince her on the need to adjust.
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?
Old 08-18-2005, 08:29 AM   #5
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?

I've heard of a number of instances where elderly persons with religious tendencies are easy prey for televangelists, and they have been known to make excessive donations to those "worthy causes". I'd suggest you take a look at your mother's checkbook if you can and see if she's sending off money to the "the Lord wants me to have a new Rolls Royce, and only YOU can make it happen" fund.

There are plenty of other non-religious scammers out there too, so make sure she's not being manipulated by someone.

cheers,
Michael
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?
Old 08-18-2005, 09:07 AM   #6
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?

What does she do for fun? I know some elderly who have had difficulty making ends meet because they go to the casinos with friends to gamble.

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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?
Old 08-18-2005, 10:21 AM   #7
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
What does she do for fun?* I know some elderly who have had difficulty making ends meet because they go to the casinos with friends to gamble.

You must have met my MIL. Currently she spends approx. twice what she has coming in each month. We figure another month or two and she will be BROKE!!
Hubby tried to work with her on a budget but she ignored it. I think she didn't like the idea that she was "limited" to how much she could spend each month. Two more months and it won't matter. She owns her house (actually two homes but that's a whole story in itself) and her car. Of course her cable bill probably be the first to go and then gas for the car. We'll give her grocery store gift cards but that's the best we'll do.
Last year we showed the daughter in charge of her finances how to apply for help with her electric bill. Actually we did this on two occasions. Absolutely nothing was ever done about it even though she is well below poverty level and would have qualified.
Hubby has decided to wash his hands of it other than help with groceries.
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?
Old 08-18-2005, 10:47 AM   #8
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?

Yes, my mother would qualify for food stamps. After application they just send you what looks like a credit card and you swipe it at the grocery store. No one koows. She refuses to get it. No, she doesn't have any hobbies, and she was sending $40 a month to some religious organization, but now she stops that (so she tells me) Previously she was living with me and paying nothing except car insurance and her own phone bill, and she still couldn't make it.

I have talked to her till I'm blue in the face, but it does no good. I have three other able bodied brothers and sisters and no one will even try and talk to her (no less contribute) They say it's my problem, not theirs. (thats another issue of course)

My mother has always had expensive taste, whether she has money or not. She shops in stores I can't and won't shop in (Macy's) I go to TJ Max. I know her faults, and before when I had the money I could pay for them, but now I don't have it. In fact having to pay the expences I am paying now will make it very difficult for me to retire.

She has no other expenses other than what I stated. In fact when she needs ANYTHING major, I have to get it for her. Just bought a new mattress for my brother. I am having a very difficult time saying no to her. It really tears me up inside. I wish that weren't so.
But my main question on this board is don't you think she she should be able to live on what she gets now. Are there some of you out there that do? I don't want her to live in hardship in any way. That is not what I want. I want her to be able to live a comfortable life - Just a normal day to day life without extravagances.
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?
Old 08-18-2005, 11:01 AM   #9
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by modhatter
I have talked to her till I'm blue in the face, but it does no good.* I have three other able bodied brothers and sisters and no one will even try and talk to her (no less contribute)* They say it's my problem, not theirs. (thats another issue of course)

But my main question on this board is don't you think she she should be able to live on what she gets now.* Are there some of you out there that do?* I don't want her to live in hardship in any way. That is not what I want.* I want her to be able to live a comfortable life - Just a normal day to day life without extravagances.
Based on our bills she should be able to buy groceries for THREE families of her size.

Maybe you could explain to her that food stamps are paid for by your tax dollars, whether she uses them or not, and you'd like to cut out the federal govt as middleman. Failing that you could refuse to raise your contributions until she takes the food stamp step, but this whole situation has put you in the position of parenting your parents and it's making you the authoritarian bad guy.

Is there some sort of elder service that can help with this situation? I'm talking about a retired volunteer, heaven forbid a retired CPA or bookkeeper, who could sit down with her and go over her budget to find ways to live within her means. There are many things she won't tell you that she might share with someone her own age.
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?
Old 08-18-2005, 11:01 AM   #10
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?

Boy, I dont know...I think it is great for you to help out your brother and mother, but appears that you do need some help getting to your mother. At 19k and no house payment or property taxes, they should be able to make it easily. Are you married? and is this causing grief with your spouce (I think it could). Unless you are extremely wealthy, I think I would leave the problem go. She is apparently getting the idea that she can spend and you will just bail her out (I dont see any reason why she would need to budget).

How about just spend more time with your brother (taking him out to the zoo and to eat). He probably cares more about that stuff than money anyway.
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?
Old 08-18-2005, 11:58 AM   #11
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?

No, I'm not wealthy and I'm not married, so I don't have any external issues with someone else.* I used to make a good living (about $100,000 a year) but that has all changed in the last few years.* Now my income has shrunk to only $35,000 a year, so the money I spend on her upkeep comes now from the money I am saving for retirement.

I have even gone to the extreeme of showing my mother my W2.* Thinking maybe she doen't believe me when I tell her I don't have the income anymore, but she knows of course that I have money saved for retirement, so it seems to be a mute point.

The problem is that in my trying to hold my ground with her has now caused a riff in our relationship. If I tell her I can't do it, she gets very angry with me, hangs up on me, and goes into a deep depression.* I am angry and upset of course, but then I mellow and think about the fact that she may not have that much longer to live and don't want her spending her last year miserable. (She is 85 yrs. old)

Another expense she does have that I forgot about are her bounced check fees.* She always bounces at least two checks a month ($60)

To answer anther person, my sister is an accountant and I have asked her to try and sit down with her and make up a budget.* However, my mother takes offense at that suggestion, and tell her and me that she won't be treated like a child.* It is a difficult situation.* And yes, I do spend time with my brother and take him out.
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?
Old 08-18-2005, 12:21 PM   #12
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?

Modhatter, your situation makes me very thankful that both my parents and DW's parents successfully managed their limited but adequate finances until very near the end of their lives. I wish you the very best as you struggle to find your way through a very difficult situation.

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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?
Old 08-18-2005, 12:36 PM   #13
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?

It may come to the point you just say "No." Given the results of your efforts you may need to say to Mom, "Enough already!" You are enabling her to avoid making tough decisions. It is her choice.

Your sibblings may have come to this conclusion.

One thing you could ask of them is that if Mother demonstrates fiscal discipline for 90 days what reward would they be willing to help you with? Obviously money is not on the list; but maybe a gift card to Macy's, a movie, or a trip to a beauty salon.
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?
Old 08-18-2005, 01:06 PM   #14
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?

modhatter, my next door neighbor is a pretty independent 95 year old lady who sure looks like she's good to go for a few more years.* Can you bail out your mother for another 10+ years?

Maybe the thing to do is to cut her loose, and once things get bad enough you can then make a case that she is no longer competent, and you can then petition to be made the legal guardian.* But it does sound like as she's got little incentive to shape up so she "won't be treated like a child".

As some folks say in my area, "bummer, dude".* *

Best of luck, because it sounds like you are going need it.

cheers,
Michael

(ADDED: I think at this point I'd start to be getting more concerned about your brother's situation if your mother is allegedly "caring" for him. It might be best if you talk to SSA and see if you can be made representative payee for your brother's SSI. At least that would remove his money from the ability of your mother to squander it.)
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?
Old 08-18-2005, 01:12 PM   #15
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?

I'm afraid I'll be facing this situation in 10-20 years or so with in-laws.

Just keep in the back of your mind that every dollar you give to her is one less dollar you can invest for yourself. Are you willing to retire 2, 5 or 10 years after what you could retire at if you did not have to support your spendthrift mother? Your life is yours and hers is hers. Make sure not to waste your life on supporting her delusions about money.

Maybe tell her you will give her X dollars per month, a fixed amount. It can be cash, or you can give gift cards, or pay one or two of her bills or whatever. But let her know the amount you are willing to pay (if any). Tell her you can help her figure out how to make ends meet if she wants help. If you are controlling the purse strings, you have a certain amount of power and influence.
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?
Old 08-18-2005, 01:28 PM   #16
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by modhatter
If I tell her I can't do it, she gets very angry with me, hangs up on me, and goes into a deep depression.

However, my mother takes offense at that suggestion, and tell her and me that she won't be treated like a child.* It is a difficult situation.
No offense intended, but it sounds like she's learned how to get what she wants by behaving like one... our kid is always depressed after she throws a temper tantrum, too.

Unfortunately the consensus seems to be moving toward some sort of "tough love". That's not an easy thing to do, but letting the current situation deteriorate for a decade or more doesn't sound any better.
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?
Old 08-18-2005, 01:58 PM   #17
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?

Modhatter: First let me say your a very kind and woderful person, and also too generous. If your mother needs help that's one thing but if she is abusing your relationship to get what she wants, that's not right.

One of my children is lazy and expects me to pay his mortgage, and buy things he cannot afford. I finally said no and get a part time job. It's affected our relationship but by giving him money I am delaying the ultimate end. Which is he should work part time and his girlfriend should get a job. They like to sit around and watch cable all day.

I wouldn't mind helping him if he was in a pinch, but he just doesn't want to work harder to make more money. The bottom line is I don't want him or anyone taking advantage of me.

I would of never asked my mom or dad for money, but I guess I am from a different generation, or mabye a better generation.

Good luck with what you decide to do, but don't feel guilty about your decision.!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?
Old 08-18-2005, 02:59 PM   #18
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?

My son's ex-MIL was younger but also irresponsible. She always wanted some large thing from my son. He dodged those demands, and finally also stopped giving her cash infusions.

Within a year she had let everything completely fall apart. The situation opened my son's eyes to some less attractive aspects of his wife's character, and that was the beginning of the end to that marriage.

More often than we perhaps realize, there is real mental illness involved in these bizarre spending situations.

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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?
Old 08-18-2005, 08:18 PM   #19
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?

I think your right Ha Ha. I think it is a mental thing. I think my mother associates buying expensive things with her self worth. She insists on going to the fish market for her fish, where it costs considerably more than buying it at Costco. She buys the canned crab at Costco for $13.95 a can to make sandwiches with instead of tuna fish. I tell her she can't afford to be buying those things on her income. I can't afford to be buying those things on my income, but it falls on deaf ears I'm afraid.

I am not sure, but I think it has something to do with her feeling of self worth. She feels really good when she buys something expensive. I am just the opposite, I feel really good when I get a bargain and don't pay a lot of money for it. I don't think she will ever change. But I guess the consenses is that she should be able to make it OK on her income without having to pay any major or unexpected expences.

I think in her shoes myself, I would not have a problem, but I have not been in her shoes. To answer another poster, I am 63 now and have postponed my retirement all ready because of this issue. I am looking foward to it very much though. I wish it were sooner.
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?
Old 08-18-2005, 11:27 PM   #20
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Re: Should Mom be able to make it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by modhatter
I think your right Ha Ha. I think it is a mental thing. I think my mother associates buying expensive things with her self worth. She insists on going to the fish market for her fish, where it costs considerably more than buying it at Costco. She buys the canned crab at Costco for $13.95 a can to make sandwiches with instead of tuna fish. I tell her she can't afford to be buying those things on her income. I can't afford to be buying those things on my income, but it falls on deaf ears I'm afraid.
Understandably frustrating, but buying her a place to live is already quite generous.

With your uncle taking care of car expenses, the amount of money she has left over for other necessities seems completely adequate. My parents live on about that after fixed expenses and do ok. I would just say "sorry my income has dropped and I can't afford to help out as much." Let her figure out what she can afford. I'll bet after a few times of eating Ramen noodles until the end of the month or having to visit the food bank she'll understand that you really mean it. I learned that lesson at 18, and glad for it.

I guess there is a risk of ruining the relationship, but sounds like her current behavior is already doing that. I would not let her age be a huge factor - I had a sick uncle who used the fact that he was dying to manipulate family members for years (thankfully, not financially) before he finally passed away. His remaining life would have been far more enjoyable if the family had been firm up front.

Bottom line though is - yeah, your mom should be able to make it.
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