This makes me wonder, if mmm forum readers have self-selected, being from families that have psychologically traumatized them from financial insecurity? My father has his own story but this is about my mother. My parents divorced over 25 years ago, and in a couple years all the kids had flown the nest, she could downsize that big expensive house, which was the primary asset she got from the divorce.
My Mom, never recovered from the divorce, she is like Miss Havisham, except that she has a dysfunctional/co-dependent relationship with her oldest alcoholic son. Aside from short stints in other job areas, typically her only source of income was being a part time teacher (maybe 15K a year). Instead of selling the big suburban house to get some cash and also to get out from under the large carrying costs (including 7K a year property taxes) her son moves in with her, starts trashing it and living off her.
The first real estate boom, man she could have sold it for 400, 500K, and it was paid off! Instead she decides to open a HELOC. Basically she uses it as an ATM to cover the fact that her income is less than her expenses. Also, she retired 2 times. Both times instead of getting a pension, she opted for cash option, and spent the money. So her income is 550 a month.
The latest was that she was going to sell the house after retiring. She retired summer of 2014. No movement, in fact recently filled out paperwork to postpone paying her property taxes until the house is sold (but accruing interest). My sister also moved in at some point and aside from a 2 year stint, is also chronically under- or irratically employed and contributes little to housing expenses.
When the house was paid off, I estimated that between the 3 of them, as long as they were able to bring in 36K or so a year, they could cover their housing and other costs. But they couldn't do it, or were not willing to do it.
Mom periodically freaks out and calls me and asks for money, saying she is afraid she won't be able to meet the monthly (interest only) payments on her HELOC. Or that I should help her buy a house elsewhere (no thanks). I keep telling her, that's why she needs to sell the house.
My Dad who is usually the stoic one, called me practically in tears this weekend about the prospect of both his ex-wife and 2 of his children going to be on the street. He is in his 80's and still financially helps out the eldest, when he himself is on a limited income. He says he knows it's going to happen, and just he hope he dies before it happens. So basically, all of this is eventually going to fall in the laps of the two responsible children, who have jobs, spouses, children of their own to take care of. I'm not volunteering.
I've actually taking a little break from responding to those 3 members of the family, because it is like a broken record, and they never listen to anything anyone is telling them (it is always someone else's fault why their lives are so messed up, and calling on that threatens their world view). Literally there are times I get a frantic call from my Mom. when I get a chance to call, she cannot talk because she is playing a videogame, or they are about to eat their takeout/delivery food or their cable movie just started.