Author Topic: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE  (Read 26896 times)

bb11

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 505
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #50 on: March 21, 2016, 09:22:55 AM »
Threads like this make me so thankful to have parents and in-laws who are financially responsible.

Well, I know my in-laws are, and I assume my parents are.

Threads like this make me wonder if my dating criteria should include not only a financially responsible partner but their parents as well. I know mine are. I was always concerned about an ex-gf's parent, long-term, who was buying a house in their mid-50's after foreclosing on their last.

As someone with parents who are in godawful shape financially, I have to say your potential criteria sounds pretty crappy. I am pretty disgusted with the idea of people being judged by their parents. My parents are bums. Doesn't make me a bum, nor will I support them much because of their poor choices.

Both rent out small apartments. So this idea of "if they can't afford their home, sell it" doesn't apply. They don't own homes, and are already at the bottom of the rental ladder. My mom has had some extenuating circumstances and not made much income, so I have a little sympathy for her situation. If she needed a place to live I would hopefully be able to provide an extra room in my future home for her. My dad has made plenty of money and is just a complete idiot. Any help he'd get from me would be very limited.

Please don't judge people based on their parents.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5739
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #51 on: March 21, 2016, 02:09:52 PM »
It is obvious that some of you will take in parents that you don't want to for various reasons and many of them good ones. Utilize the local services that are available as i have said before and you won't need to live with them or pay for them.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6853
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #52 on: March 21, 2016, 02:15:13 PM »
In short: no

The long answer:
My parents are both dead (died in 2007 and 2011), no long term care needed.
My stepfather is in his late 60s and in poor-ish health (overweight, diabetic, back/knee problems).  He has many family members nearby, including my sis and BIL who are helpful.  He was also frugal, single till his 40's, and has a pension, SS, medicare, and enough money in the bank to go for a long time.  I don't see him needing to go into a facility.  That would eat into his savings, but honestly, if 10 years at $35,000 makes him happy, go for it (he has that much).

My in-laws are divorced.  FIL lives with girlfriend and her 90-ish mother.  He's in his 70s.  How long will he live?  Will he need care?  He used to joke that his kids were his retirement plan.  But maybe he shouldn't have cheated on his wife if that's what he really wanted.  He has 1/2 of a state pension and SS. Girlfriend worked and has done well for herself.

MIL lives with boyfriend (met after the separation).  They split expenses.  She has 1/2 of ex's pension, plus SS.  He was an engineer, so he's not poor either. 

Originally, SIL built a big house with the option of having her parents move in if they got older, but that was pre-divorce. Pretty sure that offer is off the table.

So, in short, if MIL ever needs help, she'll get it.  And her mom lived to be into her early 90s.  Could totally happen.  FIL?  Um...Going to go with no on that one, but will be willing to negotiate.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6853
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #53 on: March 21, 2016, 02:21:50 PM »
I think in some circumstances kids may have to help but with so many on this thread saying they help and on other threads I wonder how much is just enabling the parents to keep living the lifestyle they want but can't afford.  If people can't afford to live in their homes then they need to realize that and sell to free up some of the $ or maybe doing a reverse mortgage depending on how old they are.  It does not seem fair to me to burden your kids with your problems.  There are always solutions that don't involve other people giving you $.
And how much of this is cultural?  Our very good friends shocked me about 10-15 years ago when they admitted that they sent $300 a month to the wife's parents.  They are Chinese (though at the time, living in the US.)

It was expected.  My friend's sister also sent money to their parents.  At that point, parents were retired and they liked to gamble at the casinos.

Not sure how it's going now.  They divorced, mom moved back to China, dad got a girlfriend...haven't seen my friends in over a year, so I need my updates!!

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5739
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #54 on: March 21, 2016, 02:35:27 PM »
It probably is. I don't know one person that supports their parents at all and I have never known a person that would take it unless they couldn't pay for their meds etc and lived totally frugally. 

bb11

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 505
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #55 on: March 21, 2016, 03:05:48 PM »
It probably is. I don't know one person that supports their parents at all and I have never known a person that would take it unless they couldn't pay for their meds etc and lived totally frugally.

You must not know my parents. :)

I'm a native born white guy, family has been in the US for generations. It is not just a cultural thing. If you don't know anyone, one guess is you just don't know many poorer people? I know quite a few people who help out their parents.

wenchsenior

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2186
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #56 on: March 21, 2016, 03:07:00 PM »
I think in some circumstances kids may have to help but with so many on this thread saying they help and on other threads I wonder how much is just enabling the parents to keep living the lifestyle they want but can't afford.  If people can't afford to live in their homes then they need to realize that and sell to free up some of the $ or maybe doing a reverse mortgage depending on how old they are.  It does not seem fair to me to burden your kids with your problems.  There are always solutions that don't involve other people giving you $.
And how much of this is cultural?  Our very good friends shocked me about 10-15 years ago when they admitted that they sent $300 a month to the wife's parents.  They are Chinese (though at the time, living in the US.)

It was expected.  My friend's sister also sent money to their parents.  At that point, parents were retired and they liked to gamble at the casinos.

Not sure how it's going now.  They divorced, mom moved back to China, dad got a girlfriend...haven't seen my friends in over a year, so I need my updates!!

I have heard that the combo of Chinese cultural (and sometimes legal) expectations of the young to take care of the old and the decades of single-child policy, have combined to create an incredible burden on the younger generation...where you frequently have a single grandchild trying to help support parents plus 1-4 grandparents simultaneously.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5739
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #57 on: March 21, 2016, 03:23:52 PM »
My grandparents were poor and they lived within their SS. As i mentioned earlier when my grandpa died his tiny pension went with him with no survivor options way back then. My grandma's SS was tiny so she did low income housing, etc and yes the kids helped with small amounts for meds, etc and took her out to eat.  But she hated taking it but had to because it is not good to choose between meds and food. That is the only time kids need to help parents.  I have a couple of good friends that live in senior low income housing and live on their small SS. Even though their kids are doing well they would never consider taking $ from them. It is something called pride. 

bb11

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 505
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #58 on: March 21, 2016, 03:55:17 PM »
My grandparents were poor and they lived within their SS. As i mentioned earlier when my grandpa died his tiny pension went with him with no survivor options way back then. My grandma's SS was tiny so she did low income housing, etc and yes the kids helped with small amounts for meds, etc and took her out to eat.  But she hated taking it but had to because it is not good to choose between meds and food. That is the only time kids need to help parents.  I have a couple of good friends that live in senior low income housing and live on their small SS. Even though their kids are doing well they would never consider taking $ from them. It is something called pride.

Yeah I'm not trying to argue it's a good thing. Just saying it happens, and it's not as rare as you think.

wenchsenior

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2186
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #59 on: March 21, 2016, 04:00:00 PM »
It probably is. I don't know one person that supports their parents at all and I have never known a person that would take it unless they couldn't pay for their meds etc and lived totally frugally.

You must not know my parents. :)

I'm a native born white guy, family has been in the US for generations. It is not just a cultural thing. If you don't know anyone, one guess is you just don't know many poorer people? I know quite a few people who help out their parents.

This is an interesting phenomenon, and I wonder if it will get increasing attention as family sizes shrink and as marriage becomes less common (both of which are happening) . A quick google pulled up a late 2012 Pew poll that was designed to examine the 'sandwich generation' of young Boomers and current Gen Xers.

Quote: "...roughly half (48%) of adults ages 40 to 59 have provided some financial support to at least one grown child in the past year, with 27% providing the primary support. These shares are up significantly from 2005. By contrast, about one-in-five middle-aged adults (21%) have provided financial support to a parent age 65 or older in the past year, basically unchanged from 2005." 

This indicates that about a fifth of the population does provide support to parents in some capacity, though of course it is unlikely that most of those provide the kind of ongoing support under discussion in this thread. I would have guessed that this percent might have increased following the  2007/08 crisis, but this indicates it has not.

Incidentally, I do personally know a fair number of people apart from DH and me who support parents financially in some capacity, but I know TONS [edit to note: "tons is not meant to be a technical term LOL"]  of people who support adult children in some kind of intermittent/ongoing fashion. So in that sense, the poll aligns with my personal experience.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2016, 04:04:15 PM by wenchsenior »

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5739
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #60 on: March 21, 2016, 05:07:37 PM »
I am surprised that the number is that high for kids supporting parents in some way.  Adult kids is more understandable, helping them get launched, an illness, disability, etc but you have to be careful to not get carried away with that either.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6853
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #61 on: March 21, 2016, 06:45:31 PM »
It probably is. I don't know one person that supports their parents at all and I have never known a person that would take it unless they couldn't pay for their meds etc and lived totally frugally.

You must not know my parents. :)

I'm a native born white guy, family has been in the US for generations. It is not just a cultural thing. If you don't know anyone, one guess is you just don't know many poorer people? I know quite a few people who help out their parents.
My whole family was pretty poor growing up.

But I think right now at my age, our parents benefitted from the "boom years" really when middle class jobs were plentiful.  Their houses were cheap, some of them had pensions.  They grew up poor so learned to live cheap.

babysnowbyrd

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 222
  • Age: 33
    • My Journal
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #62 on: March 22, 2016, 12:32:54 AM »


But there is such a strong sentiment that keeping old folks in their homes is important..

And I see the old folks here in my neighborhood of 2,000 - 4,000 sq ft Victorian homes that need far more upkeep than can be done on modest incomes, and think "bullshit." But its hard to stem the tide of the "stay in their own homes" mindset.

I think when most people think about keeping the elderly "in their homes" they mean in a home generally and NOT in a nursing home setting. At least I think that way. If you get someone to downsize into a size that fits better it's still "theirs." Or even an apartment can be "theirs."

I think the worst setting (and the ones people are trying to avoid when they talk about keeping the elderly "in their own home") are the understaffed facilities that charge a lot and provide basic survival needs but with little human caring. I've volunteered at a few places. In the industry in general staff at places like this are often overworked and burn out quickly.

marcela

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 685
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #63 on: March 22, 2016, 09:51:45 AM »
I'm very surprised by all of this. I have plans in place to help support my parents. They took care of me when I was growing up and continue to support me now in times of need (this past weekend my mom came up to help out when my husband had surgery). I can't imagine not being there for them the way they were there for me.
Part of it might have to do with being an immigrant. My parents sacrificed so much coming to the US so my siblings and I could have a better life, it would not be right to deny them help because that decision which turned out so well for me, did not have the same effect on them.
My husband and I have discussed moving my parents in with us eventually as needed and also providing some financial support to make sure they are comfortable. My parents are relatively frugal, but have had some bad luck in their lives that has limited their retirement assets. If I am in a position to help them, then I will.

bb11

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 505
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #64 on: March 22, 2016, 11:09:33 AM »
It probably is. I don't know one person that supports their parents at all and I have never known a person that would take it unless they couldn't pay for their meds etc and lived totally frugally.

You must not know my parents. :)

I'm a native born white guy, family has been in the US for generations. It is not just a cultural thing. If you don't know anyone, one guess is you just don't know many poorer people? I know quite a few people who help out their parents.
My whole family was pretty poor growing up.

But I think right now at my age, our parents benefitted from the "boom years" really when middle class jobs were plentiful.  Their houses were cheap, some of them had pensions.  They grew up poor so learned to live cheap.

Sure, some people did. And then there's plenty like mine that spent all of their income their entire life. Both are in their 60's and don't have a dollar in savings or assets to their name. It took a sizeable inheritance to even get my dad back to zero, he was a couple hundred thousand dollars in debt. They will each be living off their small social security check.

Really all it takes is a look at the net worth percentiles, do a quick Google search. There is a very sizeable minority of the US elderly population with absolutely nothing saved at all. Many of these people were middle class and are used to living off $40-50k per year or more. Pretty tough to get used to those SS checks as the only income.

wenchsenior

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2186
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #65 on: March 22, 2016, 11:32:00 AM »

Quote
Really all it takes is a look at the net worth percentiles, do a quick Google search. There is a very sizeable minority of the US elderly population with absolutely nothing saved at all. Many of these people were middle class and are used to living off $40-50k per year or more. Pretty tough to get used to those SS checks as the only income.

Here's a terrifying and pertinent data point, just released a couple weeks ago by the Economic Policy Institute.

In 2013 the total median retirement (INCLUDING 401ks, IRAs, and Keogh plans) savings of families/households aged 50-55 were 8,000$.

And for those ages 56-61, approaching retirement? 17,000$  That is just unreal.

The paper also notes that the highest savings rates and accumulations occurred just prior to the financial crisis, but even then the medians for those age groups were a mere ~26K and 36K, respectively. 

Now, given these numbers, I suspect the phenomenon of supporting aging parents might increase during the next few decades.

Mr. Green

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1974
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Wilmington, NC
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #66 on: March 22, 2016, 11:58:25 AM »
I think the US culture of generations living separate from one another is vastly different than in many other countries. If you think about it from an efficiency perspective it absolutely makes sense for families to stay together. If Grandma and Grandpa live in the same house as Mom and Dad it means extra income (if the grandparents are working), it means more eyes to watch children, additional adults to teach children desired values, the elderly can more easily get help, etc. Obviously the way we build houses in the US is not conducive to this lifestyle but it makes sense. If there's one trait the US exudes, it's independence. That's not a bad thing because I think it's part of what made our country great, but at the family level I think our culture of independence is actually foolish.

babysnowbyrd

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 222
  • Age: 33
    • My Journal
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #67 on: March 22, 2016, 01:37:41 PM »
I think the US culture of generations living separate from one another is vastly different than in many other countries. If you think about it from an efficiency perspective it absolutely makes sense for families to stay together. If Grandma and Grandpa live in the same house as Mom and Dad it means extra income (if the grandparents are working), it means more eyes to watch children, additional adults to teach children desired values, the elderly can more easily get help, etc. Obviously the way we build houses in the US is not conducive to this lifestyle but it makes sense. If there's one trait the US exudes, it's independence. That's not a bad thing because I think it's part of what made our country great, but at the family level I think our culture of independence is actually foolish.

I agree here. Generations learn a lot of each other and I think it's detrimental long-term to always be so segmented with your peers.

ooeei

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1143
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #68 on: March 22, 2016, 02:03:33 PM »
I think the US culture of generations living separate from one another is vastly different than in many other countries. If you think about it from an efficiency perspective it absolutely makes sense for families to stay together. If Grandma and Grandpa live in the same house as Mom and Dad it means extra income (if the grandparents are working), it means more eyes to watch children, additional adults to teach children desired values, the elderly can more easily get help, etc. Obviously the way we build houses in the US is not conducive to this lifestyle but it makes sense. If there's one trait the US exudes, it's independence. That's not a bad thing because I think it's part of what made our country great, but at the family level I think our culture of independence is actually foolish.

It is very different.  My girlfriend is from an Asian family who came to America about a decade before she was born.  She was raised by her parents and grandparents, and currently her sister is looking into buying a house with her parents.  Their family recently somewhat fractured due to some issues (who wouldn't have issues after living in the same house for 20+ years?).  There are lots of positives to a shared household, but it certainly comes with its own challenges, especially if everyone isn't totally on board and clear on who is really "in charge." 

She always assumed she'd be supporting her parents as they get older, only recently has she realized that may not be the best plan.  The problem with the whole "support your parents' retirement" dynamic is the same one that you always run into where the maker and spender of the money are not the same.  There is very little incentive to cut costs!  In addition, your goals may not be aligned.  Her parents spend $ on new cars, big houses, waste all sorts of stuff, and "retired" early (not FI) while she drives an old car, budgets aggressively, and works hard (in hopes of FIRE).  There's nothing necessarily wrong with their lifestyle, but it makes no sense for her money to subsidize their spending habits.  They'll almost certainly have difficulties in retirement, and she'll feel guilty and want to help, but hopefully pointing these things out early will help reel in that emotion a bit.

The main thing that got her somewhat on board was asking if she expected our kids someday to pay for us.  She said she'd never wish that sort of burden on them. The problem is if we pay for her parents' habits and expenses, our goals will be set waaay back and we may not have a choice in the matter.  There's always a "sandwich" generation that gets a raw deal when you make this transition.  Her parents supported their parents, but now they also have to support themselves so our generation can break free.  I suspect someday we'll help them some to ease the transition, but it certainly won't be a blank check and will come with strings attached. 

The other thing I noticed is that standing up to the authority figures is very rare, even if they're not making any of the money they get to choose how to spend it (and are not often making the best financial decisions, which is why they don't have their own money...).  It's very hard for an 80 year old man from that culture to get told he is wrong about wanting to buy a house instead of rent, and even today that's a discussion the aunts and uncles are afraid to have with him. They've come very close to buying a house because he thinks renting is stupid, even though he's paying for a very small portion of it monthly.  Luckily another opportunity presented itself so that bullet is currently dodged.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2016, 02:06:25 PM by ooeei »

partgypsy

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3394
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #69 on: March 22, 2016, 02:56:14 PM »
It's not that I haven't given my mother money (and will continue to give small amounts in the future) but I do not intend on supporting my mother, cold-hearted as that is. My own children will come first, plus the fact is, her situation has to do with her bad choices and could have been entirely avoided, but she refuses to listen. Plus both parents inherited money from their respective sides of the family that could have also gone towards retirement but instead is long spent.  And both times my mother retired she cashed out her retirement money versus getting a monthly check. I will do things instrumentally to help my Mom (like make phone calls, organize things for her) but not financially. Both I don't have the money for it, and do not feel it is my responsibility.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2016, 02:58:26 PM by partgypsy »

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5739
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #70 on: March 22, 2016, 03:15:25 PM »
There is a difference between helping parents and giving them a check. When my Dad had a major stroke we bought the house next door. For 14 years I helped with him and she watched my kids so I could finish college.  She broke her ankle and I cooked all their meals, errands, cleaning, etc. It was a win-win for all of us.  However, we did not live in the same house or exchange $. I enjoy my privacy and would not want to live with my parents or any of my kids. Yes my adult kids have moved in when hard times hit but not permanently.  YOu can help without enabling or jeopardizing your financial future. Ultimately independence if at all possible is a good thing for most people.

Villanelle

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2950
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #71 on: March 22, 2016, 04:53:31 PM »


There's definitely a cultural aspect to it, but for me, it's more about the reasons and choices that led to the situation.  If a parent had a severe, disabling accident that led to a need for assistance, I wouldn't bat an eyelash.  If they lived simply (but within reason, so I'm not talking 100% bare bones existence) with that assistance, my eyelashes would continue not to flutter.  But when it is conspicuous spending that led to the need for the money, then I have a problem.  Why should I give money to someone who has driven more expensive cars and lived in nicer homes and sat on a more expensive sofa than I ever have or will? And especially if they want to do those things while still requesting money from me? My money is spent in ways that align with my values, and that extends to if/when it is spent outside my immediate family.  I won't supplement someone else's volcano of wastefulness.  If they want that life, they can pay for it.  If they need food (and not because they spent all their grocery money on lottery tickets or QVC), I am happy to help.  If they need lottery tickets and QVC crap, they are on their own. 

bb11

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 505
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #72 on: March 22, 2016, 05:39:49 PM »


There's definitely a cultural aspect to it, but for me, it's more about the reasons and choices that led to the situation.  If a parent had a severe, disabling accident that led to a need for assistance, I wouldn't bat an eyelash.  If they lived simply (but within reason, so I'm not talking 100% bare bones existence) with that assistance, my eyelashes would continue not to flutter.  But when it is conspicuous spending that led to the need for the money, then I have a problem.  Why should I give money to someone who has driven more expensive cars and lived in nicer homes and sat on a more expensive sofa than I ever have or will? And especially if they want to do those things while still requesting money from me? My money is spent in ways that align with my values, and that extends to if/when it is spent outside my immediate family.  I won't supplement someone else's volcano of wastefulness.  If they want that life, they can pay for it.  If they need food (and not because they spent all their grocery money on lottery tickets or QVC), I am happy to help.  If they need lottery tickets and QVC crap, they are on their own.

+1

I doubt you'd find many people on here who would disagree with you.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5739
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #73 on: March 22, 2016, 05:46:21 PM »
I have seen a number of these threads on this forum and many people do continue to support or subsidize parents that continue to make bad choices and I don't get it.

dodojojo

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 597
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #74 on: March 23, 2016, 09:22:50 AM »
My dad's retirement is the 800 pound gorilla on my FIRE back.  I love him and he worked hard all his life raising two kids so I don't begrudge budgeting parental support in my FIRE plans.  The sticking point is his refusal to do things that will HELP his retirement and the fact that he, even though impoverished, supports my sponge of a brother. 

He has some savings, but certainly not enough for a 20-30 year retirement.  He plans to retire next year whereupon his SSA benefits will be LESS than his current rent.  As a low-income senior, he totally qualifies for low-income senior housing....but has refused to apply for it.  It infuriates me and nothing I say can budge him on this subject.  How do you plan on paying a rent total that supersedes your SSA income?  I'm talking math and he's reverts to emotional attacks such as, "Oh, you're just worried you have to support me?"  Shit like that...But yeah Dad, I could support you to the tune of an extra $500-1,000 a month for years on end or you can get a decent senior apartment that you're totally qualified for.

I think the refusal to apply for housing is dread of change and the fact my sponge brother would have to find his own housing as he couldn't follow my dad into the senior apartment. 

This hangs over me a like a dark cloud as his retirement is next year and every time I try to reason with him, he stops the conversation.  I dread it because I fear it will devolve into two awful scenarios: 1) I support my dad by making up the difference between his SSA and rent plus additional for living expenses.  And I resent it forever especially as I know a large part of that also supports my sponge brother.  Or 2) I refuse to help.

I know the overwhelming advice will be for #2...but emotionally, I can't cut off my dad.

iris lily

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3331
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #75 on: March 23, 2016, 09:35:19 AM »
My dad's retirement is the 800 pound gorilla on my FIRE back.  I love him and he worked hard all his life raising two kids so I don't begrudge budgeting parental support in my FIRE plans.  The sticking point is his refusal to do things that will HELP his retirement and the fact that he, even though impoverished, supports my sponge of a brother. 

He has some savings, but certainly not enough for a 20-30 year retirement.  He plans to retire next year whereupon his SSA benefits will be LESS than his current rent.  As a low-income senior, he totally qualifies for low-income senior housing....but has refused to apply for it.  It infuriates me and nothing I say can budge him on this subject.  How do you plan on paying a rent total that supersedes your SSA income?  I'm talking math and he's reverts to emotional attacks such as, "Oh, you're just worried you have to support me?"  Shit like that...But yeah Dad, I could support you to the tune of an extra $500-1,000 a month for years on end or you can get a decent senior apartment that you're totally qualified for.

I think the refusal to apply for housing is dread of change and the fact my sponge brother would have to find his own housing as he couldn't follow my dad into the senior apartment. 

This hangs over me a like a dark cloud as his retirement is next year and every time I try to reason with him, he stops the conversation.  I dread it because I fear it will devolve into two awful scenarios: 1) I support my dad by making up the difference between his SSA and rent plus additional for living expenses.  And I resent it forever especially as I know a large part of that also supports my sponge brother.  Or 2) I refuse to help.

I know the overwhelming advice will be for #2...but emotionally, I can't cut off my dad.
Ah sweetie, thats so tough!

I thnk you will support your father in a small way--when he has taken advantage of all of the senior support services offered in your area. But not a penny before he does that.

Do you give him money now?

Its best to have the money talk with him about what yu will nt so before he comes to months behnd in rent.

ooeei

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1143
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #76 on: March 23, 2016, 09:46:25 AM »
My dad's retirement is the 800 pound gorilla on my FIRE back.  I love him and he worked hard all his life raising two kids so I don't begrudge budgeting parental support in my FIRE plans.  The sticking point is his refusal to do things that will HELP his retirement and the fact that he, even though impoverished, supports my sponge of a brother. 

He has some savings, but certainly not enough for a 20-30 year retirement.  He plans to retire next year whereupon his SSA benefits will be LESS than his current rent.  As a low-income senior, he totally qualifies for low-income senior housing....but has refused to apply for it.  It infuriates me and nothing I say can budge him on this subject.  How do you plan on paying a rent total that supersedes your SSA income?  I'm talking math and he's reverts to emotional attacks such as, "Oh, you're just worried you have to support me?"  Shit like that...But yeah Dad, I could support you to the tune of an extra $500-1,000 a month for years on end or you can get a decent senior apartment that you're totally qualified for.

I think the refusal to apply for housing is dread of change and the fact my sponge brother would have to find his own housing as he couldn't follow my dad into the senior apartment. 

This hangs over me a like a dark cloud as his retirement is next year and every time I try to reason with him, he stops the conversation.  I dread it because I fear it will devolve into two awful scenarios: 1) I support my dad by making up the difference between his SSA and rent plus additional for living expenses.  And I resent it forever especially as I know a large part of that also supports my sponge brother.  Or 2) I refuse to help.

I know the overwhelming advice will be for #2...but emotionally, I can't cut off my dad.
Ah sweetie, thats so tough!

I thnk you will support your father in a small way--when he has taken advantage of all of the senior support services offered in your area. But not a penny before he does that.

Do you give him money now?

Its best to have the money talk with him about what yu will nt so before he comes to months behnd in rent.

I agree with this strategy.  There's plenty of middle ground between "support my sponge brother" and "never help my dad no matter what".  Don't help him any more than he's willing to help himself, currently that's not much. 

sjc0816

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 246
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #77 on: March 23, 2016, 09:57:23 AM »
I think the US culture of generations living separate from one another is vastly different than in many other countries. If you think about it from an efficiency perspective it absolutely makes sense for families to stay together. If Grandma and Grandpa live in the same house as Mom and Dad it means extra income (if the grandparents are working), it means more eyes to watch children, additional adults to teach children desired values, the elderly can more easily get help, etc. Obviously the way we build houses in the US is not conducive to this lifestyle but it makes sense. If there's one trait the US exudes, it's independence. That's not a bad thing because I think it's part of what made our country great, but at the family level I think our culture of independence is actually foolish.

I agree here. Generations learn a lot of each other and I think it's detrimental long-term to always be so segmented with your peers.


Hmm. My MIL is in poor shape, financially....and refuses to be honest about it with us, so we aren't really sure what we are dealing with. FIL passed late last year and they were/are two of the most entitled people I've ever met. Luxury cars, trips, you name it....but without the income to support.  Not only this, but they've both battled depression and anxiety and are two of the most negative people I've ever met. We love my MIL, and she is a good grandmother to our kids.....but I can't imagine having to bring her in to our house and have that kind of black cloud around us 24/7. NOT the influence I want for my children at ALL.  So, I'm going to have to disagree about multi-generational living being beneficial for everyone, because it's just not the case here. DH and I are very nervous about MIL's future.

dodojojo

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 597
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #78 on: March 23, 2016, 10:18:28 AM »
Ah sweetie, thats so tough!

I thnk you will support your father in a small way--when he has taken advantage of all of the senior support services offered in your area. But not a penny before he does that.

Do you give him money now?

Its best to have the money talk with him about what yu will nt so before he comes to months behnd in rent.

I help on a request basis--for health costs, travel to see family etc.  I did help regularly when he was last unemployed. 

Have tried to talk to him but they all devolve into accusations that I don't want to help him, that I have abandoned him already (by moving away) and now I don't want to deal with him when it comes to retirement.  I'm convinced in his mind my financial support shows that I have not abandoned him.  Whereas my mindset is I love you, dad but why forego what you are qualified for?  I can understand if there were no government assistance available to him--then I can accept that my support really is the only option. 

There is a language barrier component but ultimately it's down mentality and emotional baggage.  And as I mentioned, if my dad moves into a senior apartment, my brother no longer has free housing.

I'm thinking about asking my dad's brother to talk some sense into him.  This uncle is financially savvy and has native language fluency.  I'm concerned it will anger (and embarrass--as saving face is a big deal in our culture) my dad if I take this to the rest of the family though.  And it will only harden his resistance to my recommendation.  My uncle knows about this issue already as we have discussed it but confronting my dad about it may be a step too far.

Daleth

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1201
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #79 on: March 23, 2016, 11:01:37 AM »
DH's parents saved up a healthy retirement and moved to Mexico a couple decades ago so they could retire early and live comfortably. DH found out a couple years ago - about a year before his dad passed - that the state-side relative responsible for their retirement accounts had completely drained their savings. 

Did they call the cops on the guy? I hope so.

iris lily

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3331
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #80 on: March 23, 2016, 11:29:44 AM »
Ah sweetie, thats so tough!

I thnk you will support your father in a small way--when he has taken advantage of all of the senior support services offered in your area. But not a penny before he does that.

Do you give him money now?

Its best to have the money talk with him about what yu will nt so before he comes to months behnd in rent.

I help on a request basis--for health costs, travel to see family etc.  I did help regularly when he was last unemployed. 

Have tried to talk to him but they all devolve into accusations that I don't want to help him, that I have abandoned him already (by moving away) and now I don't want to deal with him when it comes to retirement.  I'm convinced in his mind my financial support shows that I have not abandoned him.  Whereas my mindset is I love you, dad but why forego what you are qualified for?  I can understand if there were no government assistance available to him--then I can accept that my support really is the only option. 

There is a language barrier component but ultimately it's down mentality and emotional baggage.  And as I mentioned, if my dad moves into a senior apartment, my brother no longer has free housing.

I'm thinking about asking my dad's brother to talk some sense into him.  This uncle is financially savvy and has native language fluency.  I'm concerned it will anger (and embarrass--as saving face is a big deal in our culture) my dad if I take this to the rest of the family though.  And it will only harden his resistance to my recommendation.  My uncle knows about this issue already as we have discussed it but confronting my dad about it may be a step too far.

Your idea about bringing in your dad's brother mght be good, hard to know.

But this is really about you drawng boundaries, not about changing the mind of your father.

Your father will do what hes going to do. I  Can tell that his silly rantings avout you abandonng him are upsetting to you. So step back and stay put of his business, but find a way to ONE time, lovingly, tell  him where you draw the line in support.

And if he screams at you about you being afraid of him as a burdon, well yes,  true. You do have that fear and it is rational. 

You have to step back and let him make his mistakes. If he has develops a huge well of debt, you are under no obligation to pay it. You dont own it.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6853
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #81 on: March 23, 2016, 02:11:03 PM »
Ah sweetie, thats so tough!

I thnk you will support your father in a small way--when he has taken advantage of all of the senior support services offered in your area. But not a penny before he does that.

Do you give him money now?

Its best to have the money talk with him about what yu will nt so before he comes to months behnd in rent.

I help on a request basis--for health costs, travel to see family etc.  I did help regularly when he was last unemployed. 

Have tried to talk to him but they all devolve into accusations that I don't want to help him, that I have abandoned him already (by moving away) and now I don't want to deal with him when it comes to retirement.  I'm convinced in his mind my financial support shows that I have not abandoned him.  Whereas my mindset is I love you, dad but why forego what you are qualified for?  I can understand if there were no government assistance available to him--then I can accept that my support really is the only option. 

There is a language barrier component but ultimately it's down mentality and emotional baggage.  And as I mentioned, if my dad moves into a senior apartment, my brother no longer has free housing.

I'm thinking about asking my dad's brother to talk some sense into him.  This uncle is financially savvy and has native language fluency.  I'm concerned it will anger (and embarrass--as saving face is a big deal in our culture) my dad if I take this to the rest of the family though.  And it will only harden his resistance to my recommendation.  My uncle knows about this issue already as we have discussed it but confronting my dad about it may be a step too far.

Your idea about bringing in your dad's brother mght be good, hard to know.

But this is really about you drawng boundaries, not about changing the mind of your father.

Your father will do what hes going to do. I  Can tell that his silly rantings avout you abandonng him are upsetting to you. So step back and stay put of his business, but find a way to ONE time, lovingly, tell  him where you draw the line in support.

And if he screams at you about you being afraid of him as a burdon, well yes,  true. You do have that fear and it is rational. 

You have to step back and let him make his mistakes. If he has develops a huge well of debt, you are under no obligation to pay it. You dont own it.
+1

It's clear he doesn't want to talk about it, so don't.  If he brings it up, then just be clear that you aren't going to support your brother.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5739
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #82 on: March 23, 2016, 02:31:34 PM »
IL: has given you some great advice. I would be there emotionally for him if he wants it but not $ wise at all since he is not using the programs that are available. He will need to suffer the natural consequences of his actions. I know this will be tough but it is the right thing to do.

okits

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8895
  • Location: Canada
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #83 on: March 23, 2016, 09:10:20 PM »
Ah sweetie, thats so tough!

I thnk you will support your father in a small way--when he has taken advantage of all of the senior support services offered in your area. But not a penny before he does that.

Do you give him money now?

Its best to have the money talk with him about what yu will nt so before he comes to months behnd in rent.

I help on a request basis--for health costs, travel to see family etc.  I did help regularly when he was last unemployed. 

Have tried to talk to him but they all devolve into accusations that I don't want to help him, that I have abandoned him already (by moving away) and now I don't want to deal with him when it comes to retirement.  I'm convinced in his mind my financial support shows that I have not abandoned him.  Whereas my mindset is I love you, dad but why forego what you are qualified for?  I can understand if there were no government assistance available to him--then I can accept that my support really is the only option. 

There is a language barrier component but ultimately it's down mentality and emotional baggage.  And as I mentioned, if my dad moves into a senior apartment, my brother no longer has free housing.

I'm thinking about asking my dad's brother to talk some sense into him.  This uncle is financially savvy and has native language fluency.  I'm concerned it will anger (and embarrass--as saving face is a big deal in our culture) my dad if I take this to the rest of the family though.  And it will only harden his resistance to my recommendation.  My uncle knows about this issue already as we have discussed it but confronting my dad about it may be a step too far.

Could an effective argument be (say, from your uncle), "you paid taxes all those years, now you should take advantage of all the services you're eligible for so you get your money's worth!"  Saves face because his brother is positioning that approach as smart, not "only for poor people".

Some Cassie wisdom from a related thread: no one takes advantage of you without your permission.  Your dad might resort to emotional attacks but you hold the purse strings, so you ultimately decide when to pay up.  If he's spending your money to support your sponge brother and to forego income-geared seniors' benefits that doesn't happen without your consent (even if grudging.) Just tell him you're ready to discuss financial support when he's ready to help himself by using the program he's qualified for (or when your brother is paying his fair share.) Leave the subject alone until that constructive development takes place.

dodojojo

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 597
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #84 on: March 24, 2016, 06:56:04 PM »
Thanks to all for your advice.  There's the head and then there's the heart...Not supporting my dad would mean a significant break with my family and it's not something I want at this point.  There have definitely been times when I wanted to put my hands up and say, "I'm done!" with my dad and brother.

I'm not ready to roll over so I'm going to find ways to get my dad and I on the same page...however frustrating that may be.  Your suggestions certainly help and it's good for me to remember to at least attempt to put my foot down somewhat. 

Since the waiting lists for senior housing can be years long in southern California, I'd like to see if I can submit applications on my dad's behalf.  I'm sure all the paperwork is daunting so that's probably a disincentive. 

If anyone knows of a good centralized source for senior housing, I'd love to hear it.  Any tips too, of course.  I've contacted individual buidings on ad hoc basis but not much comes of it since there isn't much interest to follow up by a certain person...But perhaps I just take the initiative and apply for him.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5739
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #85 on: March 25, 2016, 12:50:10 PM »
That won't be enough separation-ugh!  I say senior housing is the answer.

Girlwithaplan

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 21
  • Location: Australasia/New Zealand
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #86 on: March 27, 2016, 05:24:32 AM »
Commenting so I can read whole thread later..

ender

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4864
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #87 on: March 29, 2016, 06:26:12 AM »
That won't be enough separation-ugh!  I say senior housing is the answer.

Maybe they have a very large acreage?  :)

Scandium

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2223
  • Location: EastCoast
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #88 on: March 29, 2016, 07:52:51 AM »
Recently had, and dropped this conversation quickly with MIL. Out of the blue she announced to my wife that she's retiring next year, age 66, and that she "has to, can't do it any longer!". She has what seems like a pretty lazy desk/admin job at the local school, 5 min commute and short hours. Seems perfect to keep her busy and also up her SS by 8%/year she can delay! But she's always pretty negative and "hate" the other ladies in her office, although they seem ok enough to me.. Her health is not great, she doesn't go to the doctor and will probably sit home watching TV all the time in retirement. So, worry about rapid physical and metal deterioration? Just cross fingers.

She should have a low, but ok (I think?) SS, and a pension from the school (Pennsylvania, if anyone knows anything..). I've tried to find out how much she might get put hard with only the vaguest idea of how much she makes ($25k? $35k?). Her house is big, old, dilapidated and worth little, but over $7k/year in taxes. Assume any suggestion of moving will be met will resistance. She spends little so might be ok with what she gets.

Basically our dilemma is: do we let her carry on and deal with her own stuff (money wise and no physical or social activity), and possibly end up having to bail her out of a huge mess years from now? Or do we suck it up and try to step in, advice and keep it from spiraling out of control, knowing we'd be the ones that have to help anyway so try to minimize the damage? My to BILs are unlikely to help much if any.

Guess I should be thankfull my parents live under a socialist regime with no personal responsibility required and will have a state pension. They'll have to cut their considerable spending in half, but they should have enough at least.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5739
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #89 on: March 29, 2016, 10:33:14 AM »
YOu can try to talk to her about things but if it is met with resistance than I would let her carry on. If/when she needs help you find her programs that can help.  My MIL at one point announced that when we were buying a house that it should have space for her and I said no. After raising kids and letting adult kids come back to live so they could finish college I was looking forward to time alone. She said it was working well for one of her friends and I said well that is not me. I was firm every time she mentioned it and she got the hint. 

pachnik

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1832
  • Age: 55
  • Location: Vancouver, BC
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #90 on: March 29, 2016, 10:37:25 AM »
YOu can try to talk to her about things but if it is met with resistance than I would let her carry on. If/when she needs help you find her programs that can help.  My MIL at one point announced that when we were buying a house that it should have space for her and I said no. After raising kids and letting adult kids come back to live so they could finish college I was looking forward to time alone. She said it was working well for one of her friends and I said well that is not me. I was firm every time she mentioned it and she got the hint.

Cassie, I just wanted to say that I've really admired your posts in the threads about paying for aging parents.  Lots of common sense + life experience + work experience in this field.  Good for you for standing your ground with MIL. 

I doubt very much that I will need to give my parents any financial support.  They are 79 now and doing fine financially.  They can afford to go to Hawaii and on a cruise every year.  I am really grateful that I don't have this problem. 

Parizade

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1038
  • Location: Variable
  • Happily FIREd
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #91 on: March 29, 2016, 11:01:08 AM »
I'm viewing this from the other side, really making an effort to ensure my son and his wife will never have to worry about supporting me.

Because I know damn well they will be supporting her mother. Her father is very frugal and responsible, I'm sure he has prepared adequately for himself and his current wife. But her mother has never been very good at supporting herself, and has tried multiple marriages/divorces in an effort to find the white knight who will rescue her. She is only 50 so they won't feel compelled to take her in for awhile, but I feel it's only a matter of time before she expects to be fully supported by them.

The best I can do is ensure they won't have to worry about me too.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5739
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #92 on: March 29, 2016, 11:08:51 AM »
Pachnik: thanks so much for the kind words. We helped people with doing things for them instead of $. WE have packed and moved people, found resources, driven to appointments, ran errands, you name it and we have done it and not just for family but for friends with illnesses, disabilities, etc.  I just think there is a difference between enabling and assisting.  I would hate to see younger people risk their financial future because of needing to support parents that have been irresponsible when so many resources are available.  I spent more then one of my vacations flying across the country to pack and move my Mom when she was older. She was responsible with $ but she lived so long that money got tight and she couldn't do this herself and couldn't afford to hire it done. It was fun because we got to spend time together and I got to help her.  My Mom was so responsible that she made sure that she had enough $ for the funeral she wanted and all her burial costs, etc. Us 3 kids would have paid for it but she was proud.

RetiredAt63

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11364
  • Location: Eastern Ontario, Canada
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #93 on: March 29, 2016, 01:20:49 PM »
Just a general comment from the other side of the fence.  Many of you are talking about parents in their 50s/60s/early 70s.  We are not old and mentally feeble at that age.  If someone is retiring and seems to be OK, then let them manage their finances.  Of course this does not include situations where parents have already indicated they expect help/support/whatever, of course you need to plan ahead in those circumstances.  But people are generally healthy these days, a lot of you are borrowing trouble/crossing the bridge before you reach it/whatever metaphor you prefer. 

When the time comes that i can't manage on my own, I will value DD's time and emotional support a lot more than I will need or expect any money from her.  For most adult children, those  are the circumstances you need to be planning for, how will you be able to find the time and energy to do what needs doing?  Of course FIRE helps there, unless you are a huge distance away.

pachnik

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1832
  • Age: 55
  • Location: Vancouver, BC
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #94 on: March 29, 2016, 01:29:26 PM »
When the time comes that i can't manage on my own, I will value DD's time and emotional support a lot more than I will need or expect any money from her.  For most adult children, those  are the circumstances you need to be planning for, how will you be able to find the time and energy to do what needs doing?  Of course FIRE helps there, unless you are a huge distance away.

+1.  This is one of the reasons I am seeking FI.  They won't need my money but I want to be able to help them in other ways such as those outlined above by Cassie. 

Plus, I live across the yard from my parents.  :0

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5739
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #95 on: March 29, 2016, 01:41:07 PM »
We are 61 and are healthy but you never know. We had some good friends of ours where he got terminal cancer and she got Alzheimer's so we helped care for them to help them stay in their home until it was no longer possible.  They were only ages 64 & 66 and we had to place both of them in a home in Oct.  My Dad needed care by age 59. However, if they can take care of themselves let them. The time will come soon enough when help will be needed.

wenchsenior

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2186
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #96 on: March 29, 2016, 05:08:25 PM »
Just a general comment from the other side of the fence.  Many of you are talking about parents in their 50s/60s/early 70s.  We are not old and mentally feeble at that age.  If someone is retiring and seems to be OK, then let them manage their finances.  Of course this does not include situations where parents have already indicated they expect help/support/whatever, of course you need to plan ahead in those circumstances.  But people are generally healthy these days, a lot of you are borrowing trouble/crossing the bridge before you reach it/whatever metaphor you prefer. 

You are fortunate that you are not in any difficulty. Rest assured I doubt most of us are as patronizing toward our parents as it might be inadvertently coming across. I don't think any of us were planning on helping as early as some of us ended up doing. My father was spiraling into disaster by by his early 60s, and essentially nonfunctional by 70; and my mother was so clinically depressed and mentally dysfunctional by her 60s that she had dug a gigantic hole. Had someone asked me 20 years earlier at what point I would have anticipated having to actively step in to help my parents, I would have said for Dad: not until very old/never; and for Mom, not until mid-70s barring health crisis. No way I would have assumed help would be required at the relatively young ages they ended up needing it. It sucks. I hope you can stay independent as long as possible. I really hope I can, as well.

MrsPete

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3519
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #97 on: March 30, 2016, 07:59:23 PM »
Between my husband and I, we have two living parents.  Neither is wealthy, but both have paid-off houses, Social Security and pensions -- they should be okay in terms of financial needs.

What we're planning to provide them with is TIME.  Driving them here and there, helping with cleaning the house, etc. 

Runrooster

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 124
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #98 on: March 30, 2016, 09:35:33 PM »
I haven't read the entire thread, and fortunately my parents are in decent shape.  But I have a sneaky tactic for the mustachians with spendy parents: pretend to be needy.  If you know they are giving huge infusions to a sibling, ask for a comparable amount.  Then, save that money and give it back to them in 20 years, when they finally hit rock bottom with giving. 

Daleth

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1201
Re: Financially supporting aging parents during FIRE
« Reply #99 on: March 31, 2016, 07:50:20 AM »
I haven't read the entire thread, and fortunately my parents are in decent shape.  But I have a sneaky tactic for the mustachians with spendy parents: pretend to be needy.  If you know they are giving huge infusions to a sibling, ask for a comparable amount.  Then, save that money and give it back to them in 20 years, when they finally hit rock bottom with giving.

Hahahaha. That's brilliant.