Author Topic: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents  (Read 4083 times)

Phoenix_Fire

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Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« on: January 24, 2018, 09:21:28 AM »
Current Situation:  40 yo male, long term girlfriend, we do plan on getting married, no kids yet we but want them.  Live in Phoenix, AZ, in a rental home with my GF and our dog.  All numbers below are solely for my finances (If we were to factor her income in that is $115,000 + 10-20% bonus).  I own a home, but my parents live in it along with my 22 year old brother who is a college student.  I pay the mortgage and all utilities for them ($1,192). 

Salary: $65,000/year or $5,416/month
Yearly total targeted spending:  $24,415  (spending in 2017 was $31k, hoping to reduce by tracking better and some changes noted below)
Yearly Savings with employer contributions:  $32,325 56.35% of after tax/medical insurance

Pre-Tax Deductions - Monthly:
H.S.A.: $225
401k: 27% = $1462.5 ($17,550/year Will bump up to max, waiting for raise/bonus to adjust accordingly, in April)
Dental Insurance: $10.38
Health Insurance: $62.01

Taxes - Monthly:
Fed:  $428.42
State:  $107.51
SS:  $317.48
FICA:  $74.25

Employer Contributions:
401k Match: 4.5% = $243.75
HSA:  $62.50

Monthly Take Home after all deductions:  $2,786.66

Total Monthly Expenses, Fixed and Budgeted:  $2,034.61

Monthly Fixed Expenses:  $1,584.61
Mortgage:  $806.17
     Mortgage Principal:  $266.34
     Mortgage Interest: $312.85
     Property Tax:  $162.31
     Property Insurance:  $64.67  (Liberty Mutual through Geico)
Utilities:  $385.34
     Electric Average:  $238.48 (range $132-$485 high was when sister was visiting
     with young children, kept house cooler)
     Water Average:  78.87
     Internet:  $67.99
Rent:  $300 (explained below)
Netflix:  $12.96
Amazon:  $8.25
Car Insurance:  $41.89  (Geico)
Cell Phone:  $30 (Project Fi)

Budgeted Expenses:  $450
Groceries: $150
Restaurants: $50
Gas/Car Maint:  $25
Vacation: $100
Misc:  $100
Gifts:  $25

Budgeted Saving:  $700
Capital One Savings: $200
Taxable Investment (Vanguard VTSAX): $500

Leftover Not Budgeted: $52.05 Ė Extra savings or expense as needed

Assets:  $217,766 (not including house)
401k: $152,991
Roth IRA:  $3,016  (American Funds, need to move to Vanguard)
Taxable Investment acct (Vanguard):   $10,043 (VTSAX)
Capital One 360:  $25,835  1% APY
BofA Checking:  $10,143  Need to move both BofA to Capital One
BofA Savings:  $10,004
HSA:  $5,743 ($1,000 in required cash, the rest in VIIIX)

House:  ~$200,000 equity
Mortage:  $103,222 @ 3.625 30 year fixed.  I had been paying 1/2 every 2 weeks with an extra $150 per payment on top, but have stopped that.  Only paying the required 1x per month.  More details below on renting out limitations.
Zillow estimate of house: $302,000

Car: 2006 Honda Civic 138k miles. I love my car.   

Debts/Liabilities: None other than mortgage.

Recent Changes, savings monthly
In December I switched Home Ownerís insurance, saved $79
Canceled Life Insurance, Saved $170, and received back $1,500 lump sum.
Stopped Roth IRA contributions, $50.  American Funds front load of 5.75% fee. Will move to Vanguard.
Moved from T-Mobile to Project Fi, saved $25, potentially up to $30 if I use less data.
Lowered Internet bill by $15 by calling them.

I also switched jobs at the beginning of September.  The new employer gives a bus pass, so my driving is very little.  I need to get a bike to ride to the bus station, about 1.5 miles away, or start walking it.  The new job was a $9k raise, lowered insurance costs by $2.8k, better 401k match.  On the downside, the job is pretty boring (IT Support).  There is also a Pension/Savings plan that I do not factor into anything.  They put 5% of my salary into a savings plan that grows at a minimum of 4.5% per year, compounded monthly (.38%).  There is also a potential bonus, that I donít plan on counting until/if I get it (evidently it has been paid something like 18 out of the last 20 years).  I have hedged that statement somewhat though by not currently maxing my 401k until after that comes out. 

Things to do:
Move IRA from American Funds to Vanguard
Probably move both BofA accounts to Capital One. It will be weird not having a physical bank, but I havenít needed to go into a bank in at least 3 years.

I currently have the large amount in cash because my GF and I would like to buy a house.  She has more savings as well, so we are covered on a down payment.  I am starting to put more into the Vanguard taxable account so that if it grows, great, but if it doesnít I still have close to $50k cash and whatever I need to pull out of the taxable account.   I contribute $300 a month to our rent, but she covers the rest and the utilities.  I probably pay a bit more than half on the groceries, but need to track that together.  I do almost all of the cooking as she gets home later, and I often run to the grocery store during the week if there are things that we need.  Turns out, I like cooking :-)

House: I bought my house in 2009 for $175k, using a program that gave me 22% down.  I put 3% down of my own.  As part of this, I cannot rent out the house for another 2 years.  If I were to sell it or rent it before the 10 year mark I would have to pay back nearly $40k.

My biggest issue, and it is a big one, is my family.  My parents, both 66, and my brother (22) live in my home.  As noted above, I pay all the bills there ($1,192 avg).  They moved in with me in 2010, about 9 months after I purchased it.  My brother was just starting high school, and I have another sister who was just starting college.  The option was either they would be homeless, or move to literally middle of nowhere Nebraska and live with my Grandmother in a small house.  So I offered to let them move in.  At first they helped with utilities (never covered completely, less than 1/3), but even that was tough, so I told them not to worry about it.  I think in some ways that was a mistake, telling them to not help with the utilities.

My mother had always been a SAHM.  She got a PT job and works about 15 hours a week.  My dad has a PT job, but it is all commission based, so really to me he has an expense, not a job.  He spends who knows how much time on it, and even puts mileage on his vehicle.  The sad part is he owned his own restaurant for 13 years, sold it, and then took a few years off instead of paying off the mortgage and finding another job.  That in turn led to foreclosure/bankruptcy.

My dad has started drawing SS, my mom hasnít filed yet.  I need to sit down with them and go over their finances, which will be incredibly awkward, as my family doesnít really talk about money/feelings.  Currently about 43% of my take home pay goes towards supporting them. 

And literally as I type this I get a text from my brother that mom is taking dad to the hospital because of tingling in different areas on the left side of his body along with nausea.  (This was a week and a half ago; turns out he had a small stroke.  He is doing well, and thankfully Medicare and supplemental insurance covered everything, including the 7 days at a rehab facility.  He is having problems with his left leg/foot, drop foot, but is getting better.  Now he has to use a cane, hopefully only temporarily.)  So much for me suggesting he get a job as a greeter at a big box or something similar.

I need to help them budget things and get signed up for food stamps anything else they might need.  I approached my mom about the food stamps over a year ago, but she was too embarrassed to do it.  Iíve told my dad that he should get job as a greeter at a big box store.  Anything he brings in from that is more than he does now.  I think he feels that is beneath him.  He is also a deacon at his church, which is completely volunteer work, but I think plays into potential embarrassment if a parishioner were to see him as a greeter.  If being a deacon were to pay anything at all, he would be in heaven, but unfortunately it doesnít.  I would guess that he spends about 30-40 hours a week on church related things.

Pride is a weird thing, itís difficult to take help from the government or a low paying job, but having your oldest son provide for you is ok.   

My current thoughts on the situation are to let them stay there for two years, and then rent out the house they are in, (current rental market would be $1,600).  I could use that money to cover the mortgage, and then possibly rent them a much smaller home that will have lower utilities and have to provide less out of pocket.  But thatís two years in the future.

When my GF and I eventually get married and have kids, if one of us were to stay at home it would be me.  If that were to be the case, I would want to have the finances in order so that she does not have to provide for my parents.

As far as my brother goes, once he graduates I will probably tell him he needs to pay $100-200 a month rent.  I donít want him to get too comfortable.  I also need to explain to him how money works and that he should keep his expenses low.  He eventually plans on becoming a physical therapist, or something in that field. 

Questions:

How am I doing?  I feel like overall Iíve got things pretty well lined up, but need to make sure to stay on top of it.  I should probably avoid looking at Amazon at all during Prime Day and Black Friday, as I notice that gets too easy for me to click and buy things (those are about the only times of year I get tempted).  I might have to up the vacation budget a bit, using any surplus from other areas.  My GF has been working a ton of hours, and really needs something to look forward to.  We usually split costs on that 50/50.

Any suggestions on how to approach talking to my parents about money?  Even if they canít help with the rent, covering at least the utilities would be helpful.  Given that my mom was a SAHM up until about 7 years ago, Iím guessing her SS will be on the lower side.  Without knowing the numbers, would she be better off waiting delaying to draw it? 

How about talking to them about moving into a smaller house in a couple of years?  Iím guessing itís best to have both conversations at the same time, but would that be overwhelming?  For those familiar with the Phoenix area, I would like to keep them in the NW part of the valley (Phoenix, Glendale, and Peoria).

My parents have never done a guilt trip to get me to take them in, they are extremely grateful for what I have done for them.  At the same time, they havenít done much to try and improve their situation, which is extremely frustrating.  They do not spend money on crazy things, but I think my mom needs help on budgeting groceries, and not buying any snack foods.  I see too much of that, but then I think any is too much in their situation.  Both of their vehicles are Hyundai Accents, 2006-8? And maybe 2011?  Not sure on the years. 

Has anyone been in a situation similar to mine?  Iím open to suggestions.  The status quo of not talking about it isnít working for me anymore, so it needs to be addressed, even if it is just laying everything out there on the table and what my thoughts are for 2 years from now. 

Is there anything I left out? Any other information that would be helpful to include?

Thanks for making it through all of this, that turned into quite the wall of text!



fuzzy math

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Re: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2018, 11:12:45 AM »
Definitely move away from your BoA acct. I haven't needed a bank in years. If there aren't any fees for one of your accounts you could always park $1k in the BOA acct or something to keep it open. cap 360 is not the highest savings rate out there. ally and synchrony are offering 1.4ish%, definitely worth looking into while you are wanting to kee0 higher levels of cash.

Your family expenses are definitely the biggest thing holding you back. I'm sure this isn't news to you. I hope you are claiming them as dependents on your taxes. Perhaps the threat of that alone is enough to have them consider changing their ways. My mother is horrible with her finances, and I've learned that no amount of talking with a person who doesn't want to change will make them suddenly want to change. I think your biggest question is whether you just want to continue to accept paying for them or whether you want to incentivize or de incentivize them living for free off you. Your brother at 22 should be paying rent right now (assuming he is getting loans and has a job he certainly has the ability to do so), as should your parents. If they are drawing from SS, there is money, it is just free for them to use on other things as long as you are the cash cow. Since you pay the bills you are in a position of power if you choose to wield it - if they want free or nearly free housing you can set forth the conditions under which they can stay there (applying for benefits, accepting finance help etc). Expect them to fight you on this.

How old are your parents? You may want to check into whether your mom can draw half of your dad's benefit and what that would do to the amount she may be eligible for.

Is your GF significantly younger than you? Being 40 with the vague idea of getting married and then having kids may present significant difficulties if she is also nearing 40. You may end up with expensive fertility treatments. Any particular reason you have not moved forward already if the intent is there?


Phoenix_Fire

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Re: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2018, 12:17:41 PM »
Parents are both 66, will be 67 this year.  Dad is collecting SS, mother is not yet.
My GF is 32.  She has been focused on her career right now, but we do need to have kid/s in the next couple of years.  We're aware that things will get more difficult the later we go.  I think I'm more aware of it being 8 years older. 

I'm torn on charging my brother rent while he is going to school.  He does work PT and has some student loans.  I need to find out just how many classes he has left. I would probably feel more comfortable charging him once this semester is done.  He doesn't have his own vehicle and as far as I know, no credit cards.  I want to encourage him to start putting some money into a Roth IRA or at least start investing some way.  I can't imagine how much different my life would be if I had started forcing the investing at his age. 

Cassie

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Re: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2018, 12:59:16 PM »
I would get your parents on a waiting list for low income senior housing. It could take a couple of years for them to get a apartment. Then they will only pay 30% of their income for rent.  I would also have them apply for anything else they qualify for (food stamps, Medicare, etc).  It is not your job to support them.

Chrissy

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Re: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2018, 06:56:58 AM »
Questions:

How am I doing? 

You're doing great!  You have a good networth, and are well on your way.  You have a good handle on expenses.

Any suggestions on how to approach talking to my parents about money? 

Try to back-door this.  You already know they're embarrassed, and they can't change how they handle finances even when facing homelessness.  Try approaching it as, in light of your father's recent health scare, how would they want you to proceed if they were both incapacitated?  Are they comfortable disclosing their accounts and giving you Power of Attorney?

Also, tell them you're thinking about getting married and having children, and you want them to be aware that the current living situation is probably going to change in the near future.  You'd like to hear their thoughts on that.

Given that my mom was a SAHM up until about 7 years ago, Iím guessing her SS will be on the lower side.  Without knowing the numbers, would she be better off waiting delaying to draw it? 

Have them log into their SS accounts online.  If your mother's only been working for 7 years, she will not qualify for her own SS.  You need 40 quarters of work history, which is 10 years.  She will qualify for half your father's, and she should take it as soon as she can, because (double check this, don't take my word for it) I think it doesn't go up if she waits.

How about talking to them about moving into a smaller house in a couple of years? 

As a previous poster said, subsidized housing.  Start looking for a facility now.

They should come down to one car.

I'd talk to your brother and sister now about the reality of the situation.  Your parents have no money, your father had a stroke.  You will all need to subsidize their old age, which is happening now.  You, personally, are already subsidizing them to the tune of $# rent and $# utilities.  Can your sister split that with you now?  They should each expect to put forward a set amount once your folks move to subsidized housing--in your brother's case, his contribution can wait until he's got a good job.

Phoenix_Fire

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Re: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2018, 07:50:27 AM »
Cassie & Chrissy, thank you.  I do need to start looking at low income housing. 

Chrissy, thanks for suggesting using the health scare, that sounds like a perfect opening.  While we were in the hospital with my dad, I asked my mom if she had signed up for Medicare and Supplemental.  She has only done the Medicare, so this will be part of the opening to talk about everything.  Are they comfortable disclosing accounts and savings? Probably not, due to how little they have.  It still needs to be discussed though. 

I think bringing up the marriage and kids might have an impact on them.  They know that I want to have a family, and have always wanted kids.  I need to verbalize how supporting them has impacted that.  I do want them to know that in 2 years, the situation will be changing, whether it's getting them into low income housing or moving them into a smaller house. 

I will look into the SS and have them login.  If it doesn't go up for the spousal SS, then there is no reason for her to wait. 

While I don't disagree that going down to one car would be best, there are a couple of things that make it difficult.  My brother uses the car occasionally.  Weekends and some evenings.  My dad does a lot of volunteer work at their church, which is about 9 miles from them.  My mom's work is usually in the afternoons.  My mom didn't drive until I was about 19 years old, and public transportation was horrible.  I don't want to put her back in a position where she has to stay home.  Personally, I think my dad should do less at the church and find something that actually pays him a bit. 

Siblings: 
Sister 1: 36, lives in Maine, SAHM, twins, 7 years old, one with autism.  Currently going to school to become a nurse.  I don't know how to ask for her to help when it is her spouse currently bringing in all of their money.  Maybe once she has a job of her own it will be easier. 

Sister 2: 26, moving back to Phoenix, engaged, fiance just deployed to Afghanistan. She had moved to DC area in August, and 1 week after getting there they found out he was being deployed.  She is a massage therapist, has around $10k in student loans and a car payment. When she was coming back, she asked if she could move back in with her St Bernard and his German Shepherd.  I told her yes, but without the German Shepherd and she would need to cover utilities.  His parents who live here also could have taken his dog.  She is choosing to get an apartment and keep them both with her.  I'm guessing she made about $50k per year before moving to DC.

Brother: 22, single, student, works PT in a restaurant.  My talk with him is going to be, get a haircut, apply at any and all Physical Therapy places that are close by, and start getting experience while finishing school.  Also want to talk to him about saving and investing and living below your means. 

Money was always tight while Sister 1 and I were growing up.  My parents had their best years in terms of income while sister 2 was a teenager, and went out to eat a lot more with her.  By the time brother was a teenager, money was already gone.  Sister 2 is the biggest spender out of all of us, and I think it's partly because she saw the most spending.

I need to have a talk with all of them though and tell them exactly how much I am spending each month on supporting our parents.  It shouldn't all be on me indefinitely. 

Any other suggestions or thoughts are welcome! I've found that reading other case studies that outside sources can have a clearer way of viewing things.  When you're close to it, it's easy to be blinded by emotions, which do matter, but can influence things too much.

Thanks, putting this out there is therapeutic in a way.

Cassie

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Re: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2018, 01:23:42 PM »
If you can find enough services no one should have to support them. I know a few people that live just on SS and do fine due to cheap housing, etc.

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2018, 01:04:12 AM »
First, I'm sorry you're in this situation - this is just tough.  It's especially tough when you have to take responsibility and have these hard conversations with your own parents. 

So, I commend you for doing what's more difficult than usual. 

I'll second a lot of the great tips here.  Look into senior housing immediately.  Many have waitlists but only charge a portion of their income.  That was the first thing that came to mind. 

Second, nail down SS, food stamps, whatever other benefits they may qualify for.  Great practical tips from @Cassie & @Chrissy

Get a Medicare gap policy, too - they may lose eligibility if they didn't do it soon (and costs may increase more), so I would do that soon.  That's not something to wait on. 

One thing I'm curious about: what does your GF say about all this?  I can't imagine she's a fan of you supporting your family this extensively. 

I would read this book about boundaries.  (I'm sure you can find it at your local library.)  I think it's especially applicable to your situation. 

You're dead on about being blinded by being close to situations - that's why I have people in my life I go to with things of this nature to ensure I'm doing what is good. 

Before I begin the facepunches, know that I respect what you're doing and have lost close family as well; you're dealing with a tough situation. 

So now, for the facepunches: you're 40 and wanting to start a family of your own.  But how well can you really do that with three dependents chewing up almost half of your income? 

If I were your girlfriend, I would have some serious hesitations about your situation.  I would bet you that she has them, whether she has voiced it or not. 

I can't imagine living with someone - even family - without contributing or trying to pay my own way at all.  You mention your dad has pride, and I'm going to challenge that and say that yes, and there's more going on there, too.

You need to step up on the action plan and act on it - and I think you know that, which is why (to your credit) you're here asking about what you should do.  There are some things here that just need to stop. 

It's awesome that you're willing to sacrifice so much for your family, but you really need to have some hard conversations with them.  Your dad is driving all over, giving his time away, using your funds for charity?  I love giving too - in fact, I encourage others here to do it - but you give out of your own abundance, not out of someone else's wallet.  Dad needs to provide for his family before trying to give to others, and right now, even though it's a huge ego hit to man, he's unable to do so (temporarily) and has to face reality as to his finances. 

Another thing that needs to stop: your parents can't afford two cars.  They can't afford a place to live.  Get them on their own plan, and if they do stay with you, they can all share a car.  Dad is giving his time to something other than supporting his family, and using your money, while asking for you to also support his car so he can go do charity?  No.  Even in the Bible, you take care of your family first, then others.  (1 Tim. 5:8.)  That needs to be confronted. 

Ditto your father's job.  A job that's an expense - and runs up car costs - isn't a job, it's charity under another name.  That may be a tough conversation to have, but someone needs to have it. 

Your parents need you to have these hard conversations with them about how they're supporting themselves now.  You can do it in a gentle and loving way, but be prepared for pushback, if not fighting, and it may be painful.  See the book above for strategies about how to talk through some of these things. 

You have to ensure you can take care of yourself and your newly-starting family first, and then help the others around you. 

On that note, your other siblings need to chip in.  Everyone chips in.  You say one sister has no job of her own, but she's married, which means she contributes to her family and they share things together - so she needs to be a part of the conversation to.  Plus, it can be easier to go to your parents if you all have a joint plan and are united in what to do (if that is possible).  This isn't your problem alone, and you know that.  They also share the responsibility - to the extent all of you are responsible for maintaining your parents.  (They probably have a plan they could execute that would make them self-sufficient, with low-cost housing plus benefits - they just need to be pushed in that direction.) 

I'm going to be blunt: talking is unlikely to be enough.  You suggest talking to people about moving out later, but in my experience, it's going to take some concrete things on your part - more than just asking people to do things they are unwilling to do about situations they are unwilling to confront. 

Your parents may live in denial until you force them to face things by dictating some boundaries: they need to contribute ___ amount or move out by ___ date. 

That's exactly why someone above said it won't be easy.  I would expect your family to push back, and it may be hard for your to maintain your boundaries, even though those boundaries are healthy and are intended to protect yourself from manipulation/being taken advantage of. 

Next, you need to explain to the other bro that it's a tough situation, but it is time for him to make his own way in life.  You all can help him, too, but I would be conscious of how much you're helping him and what you're implying you are committed to by letting him live off of you indefinitely (the status quo).  It will be a shock to him if he's in the middle of school and you suddenly ask him to switch what he's doing, so it's better to have him face reality now. 

No more open-ended offers of help.  From here on out, I would clarify when you are helping someone what you are helping them with - and I would be hesitant to trust your own ability to make boundaries and give ANY further help, given the situation you now find yourself in.  "You can stay for six months, and only six months, and you must contribute $__/month for utilities."  Etc.  Make it concrete.  (And I would recommend against letting them stay with you once you unravel the present situation.)  Otherwise, you allow your family to think you'll support them indefinitely, and they seem happy to let you do it. 

From your post, it sounds like you have really struggled with placing boundaries with your family - asking them to contribute, for example - which implies that having them live with you may be a bad idea.  In fact, rereading it, that seems to be a theme: your parents and your brother all live with you.  Your sister who's engaged asked to move in with you too.  But then she went elsewhere when you put up a boundary and said no to the dogs, and that she would have to contribute.  You can only change yourself, so I would take some time evaluating yourself - which works best in the context of community (and counselors) who can help you see through these things - and then deal with whatever is preventing you from asserting boundaries with your family. 

Your parents are living in denial: they can no longer support themselves without making some serious changes.  From what you've said, I wonder if there's not some emotional manipulation (of you) going on as well.  I would strongly suggest you seek outside counsel on this on an ongoing basis - maybe a counselor, or close friends - who can advise you as you walk through this situation.  Your parents are facing several tough things, and it sounds like finances have long been a big challenge for them, which leaves you in the tough position of now having to have those awkward conversations with them that they may well fight, put off, or resist in order to remain in a state of denial. 

I would take a moment to get your plan and your boundaries together, then begin having these conversations.  You may find some creative ways to push things forward (e.g. they can keep their cars, of course, if they find a way to support themselves via benefits or otherwise, senior housing, etc.).  They actually have options - they just have to use them, and it sounds like they're going to live off of you until you force the issue.  They are your dependents now until you put them on a path of independence again.  You won't be free until then either: you've given your family a blank check, more or less. 

Anyway, that's my friendly kick in the pants to help you move ahead with a tough situation.  I don't envy you any of it, but (like all conflict) it's an opportunity to grow.  Good luck to you with it. 

latecomer

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Re: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2018, 02:50:36 PM »
This is my first post, I'm a long time lurker. I'm a retired pastor with a less-than-robust retirement fund, and I'm 3 years older than your parents.

You have gotten some great advice.

I want to address your father: he has major health issues (young to have a stroke!).  I also believe that they need to get down to one car, and I'm all for him giving up his so-called 'job'. 

But the deacon thing: 30-40 hours a week seems excessive, but I would cringe at asking him to give it all up.

Maybe it would be fruitful to talk to his Pastor about this? To see how he's fitting in there (only once did I have someone volunteer at the church that many hours, and it was a problem), to see his/her take on reducing hours -- how would that be? To get the Pastor in your corner would go far in more easily reducing the time he spends in that job. And the Pastor may give you some insights on your father from his perspective.

Taking away all of his meaningful activities sounds harsh to me.  And I agree that it's time to set boundaries for your immediate family's future.

But I just wanted to add this perspective.

Good luck with all of this!

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2018, 04:52:28 PM »
Welcome to the forums, @latecomer !!  Glad you posted and added your perspective, especially given your experience.

I am throwing this out there - by way of friendly discussion - because I don't know that there's a clear answer on it without knowing your dad, op, and @latecomer may be right; I don't know. 

Personally, I would hesitate before surveying a third party much or mentioning your concerns at least (which may be more than @latecomer implied) because you mentioned that you think your dad's pride is an issue.  If it is, he may bristle a lot if you ask things about this, especially if you then begin asserting boundaries around the topic of his time/work.  That may make him think you're being freer with your words with others than you actually are.  It's at least a concern I would be aware of.

Anyway, I sent you a PM (and am sending @latecomer one) re: an additional thought I had about it all. 

My heart really goes out to you - it's a tough situation. 

Phoenix_Fire

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Re: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2018, 06:48:28 PM »
FWP, thank you very much for the in depth response and the private message. I read both this morning and have been pondering them both, but have been to busy today to respond in depth, though I will in the next couple of days.

In regards to my brother, his knowledge of money/finance is null. I feel that my parents have safely let him down in this regard. I had a good talk with him yesterday about school and applying at places in the field he wants to work in while going to school and encouraging  him.  When that party of the conversation was done I told him that we needed to talk soon about money, and he got an incredible deer in the headlights look. I told him that I wanted to sit down with him sometime soon and talk to him about how money works. He looked incredibly relieved and then asked me how do credit cards work......

At that point I was literally thinking that my parents have failed. I explained that you pay the balance of each month, and he asked if you have to write a physical check each time. I explained that you can pay online, and that you can set up automatic payments for pretty much everything. He also mentioned he wants to open a savings account when he gets his federal refund as he only had a checking account right now. I told him how best bet will be an online savings account for better interest and asked him if he had any fees on his checking...$5 per month for paper statements. Told him to change that. He asked some other questions, and I have him some answers and told him to let me know when he had time for us to go over in more detail. Agreed him how much savings he had if he was comfortable sharing and he had to think for a moment, then said about $600.

So I've got some work to do with him, but he seemed so relieved to have me talk to him about it.

On the parents front I'm working on a list of things that need to be addressed and discussed.

I'll reply in more detail in the next couple of days. I truly do appreciate the responses and well wishes.

Thanks to you as well Latecomer.

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2018, 09:12:27 PM »
Thanks, Phoenix.  (And yeah, that was a long post - far longer than most of mine here, b/c your situation spoke to me.) 

Awesome of you having that talk with your brother.  Sounds like you know how to be gentle and ease into the conversation.  You'll have to be firm eventually (less so with him), but you're on the right path for sure. 

Yeah, sadly, that's not a surprise - his ignorance - but that has to be disappointing.  I'm sorry.  (Part of why I kept saying it's tough - that's a tough thing.  For both of you.)  Yet it also gives you this unique opportunity to be a bit of a parent/influence for him and set him on far firmer footing than he would ever find when wandering about the world on his own.  (Can you even imagine what his college friends would tell him about credit cards?)  It's great that he's listening to you and open to that.  You've opened the door to some awesome opportunity there - I almost envy you that. 

I've experienced the blessing of coaching relatives and some close around me before and it's incredibly rewarding.  (Probably why I find myself on here so much, and writing about finances so much - I love helping people all that I can in these areas so that they can live their best possible lives.)  It's really great to see how they do as life moves on. 

If at all possible, you may want to see if he's up for the Dave Ramsey course at some point - it's the education he never got but desperately needs.  Then he'll get it both from you - a basic financial education - as well as from an outside authority/source. 

You're killing it with him.  I'm sure he has some fear there given your parents' situation now.  He has to have had his confidence in their financial wherewithal shaken, and in what he thinks he knows about money as well.  So this is an ideal opportunity for you to be there for him in ways that will be great for you both. 

Glad you're moving ahead - look forward to hearing more.  And once again, I'm sorry about the whole situation; it's tough.

rockeTree

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Re: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2018, 04:59:35 AM »
I think it’s a great time for you to make a move on this. Mom, dad, I’ve been thinking a lot about your living situation with dad’s stroke. Timmy will be finishing college soon and moving out and won’t be able to look after you, and I’ve always planned to sell this house once the ten year waiting period on the mortgage was up. It’s been a help to me to have family stay here and keep an eye on it during this period, but since gf and I are marrying and starting a family soon we need to simplify our finances.

We don’t have to do anything drastic now, but I am going to help you get on a list for elder housing. It will be affordable for you and I’ll feel better with you living in a setting where more help and social services will be available when you need it. We also need to get living wills and maybe powers of attorney for all of us, so if there’s another health scare we know what kind of care everyone wants and who they want to help make decisions if they can’t.

I would pitch it as a slow transition to make everything easier for them as they age. Incidentally this will at least greatly lower and may eliminate much of your family expense. (And if you don’t sell the house after they’re out say a realtor told you the time wasn’t right and to wait)...


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Phoenix_Fire

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Re: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2018, 09:30:33 AM »
Here are the points that I want to hit with my parents that I have come up with so far.  If there are others that you think should be addressed please feel free to add.

Mom - sign up for SS, find supplemental/medigap insurance if even possible. Not sure if she is past the six month period or not.

Mom - how much do you actually make per month? Could you get a second part time job in the mornings/early afternoons? She currently does therapy work with a teen who has a pretty mild case of autism/ aspergers.

Dad - any type of part time work that actually pays. Are there any office jobs at the church that pay?

Dad - if he wants to continue ďworkingĒ at the place he has been, he needs to track his time, and the mileage driven to figure out how much he is ďmakingĒ. My personal feeling is that he probably makes less than minimum wage or is losing money, plus it is paper work heavy which he finds very stressful. I wonder if this led to the stroke because he had recently started working hareder on it, and when he puts a lot of time in with them he gets horrible migraines.
I would prefer he get a job where he has more interactions with people that are younger and outside of church, but I canít force a specific job.  I have told him I thought it would be beneficial to him to do that though and will bring it up again.

Both - sign up for food stamps. Donít want to? Ok, but can you ask sister 1 for help then as well? If you donít feel comfortable I can. Mom, youíre emabaarrassed because you have heard how your sisters and their husbands talk about people on government assistance? How about asking them to assist then? I am willing to bet that they will be in favor of you getting that government assistance.

Both - low income senior housing, sign up for it.  I havenít looked into this too much yet, but it does appear that previous posters are correct about a wait list.

What are current savings?

Do you have a credit card? Not sure if I should approach this one. I know the answer is no, and they are probably better off not getting one.

How much car insurance do you have? Which provider and how much does it cost?

Do you have a budget? How much is being spent on food? I know they donít go out, so that is good. What types of food are you buying? I see what I consider to be too much snack food, but then I think any is too much given their situation and recent health scare.  Hard to dictate what food gets eaten though.  Can you cut back on them though?

I think that rockeTree is right about also discussing power of attorney and living wills.

Housing for now: Move out January 2020 as that puts us past the holidays and then I can either rent or sell the house depending on market and needs. If senior housing opens up before then great, they can move out sooner.


As far as discussing it with others I talk to my GF about it, and she has been unbelievably supportive. Granted she did know what the situation was before we started dating, I made that clear to her, didnít want her to feel tricked. She agrees with me, and with all of you, how do my parents allow their son to take care of them like this and then be too proud to reach out for other assistance?  Iíve told her that all of my recent changes to my finances referenced into the OP are because I know that if one of us stays home it would be me and I donít ever want her to have to support my parents. If we can get them to a spot where only the occasional help is needed and it falls on all of the siblings (not just me) then we will be in a much better position.

I will have more responses to the previous posts as time permits. Again, thank you all for the kind thoughts, well wishes, and advice. I am extremely grateful for the responses I have received and the different points of view. I will definitely let you all know how various conversations go, because if anyone can learn anything from my situation and avoid some of the frustrations that would be great.


ginjaninja

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Re: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2018, 10:12:34 AM »
Small contribution to make here.... I use CapitalOne 360 and they have a Money Market account that is 1.4% interest if you have more than $10,000.  I opened one and switched my savings to that account because of the rate and it was super easy with an existing CO account.  If you fall below the $10k the interest rate is still decent.  Super easy change you can make right now. 

As far as utilities go at the house, because that is directly related to their usage, in the short term maybe say something along the lines of "I will pay for $XX in the utilities, whatever you go over with usage will be up to you to cover."  It might help with your budget in the short term, but some of the other suggestions will likely have a bigger impact. 

Another thing to think about: you have had a lot of time to craft everything that you want to talk about with them.  They have not wanted to think about what is going on so it might be a shock to lay it all on them at once.  I would focus on the bigger hitting items and keep it concise to have results.  Even though I just suggested utilities I would hold off on telling them about life style changes (cutting back at work, snack food they eat, etc.).  This will likely just lead to a defensive response and they might not be willing to help with the important changes when they feel threatened/attacked.  If you start with the Will and PoA it will put you in a good situation to start talking about these things and making a plan going forward.  I have seen too many families torn apart by not having these in place properly. 

So I would go in this order:

Step 1: Get PoA and Will's in order.  This needs to be done ASAP, especially with the recent health scare.  No exceptions.  It really is not that expensive either, I have LegalShield and they have prepaid legal services.  Will's and PoA are included.

Step 2: Make a plan, show them how much you are contributing and that you want to start a family and this is really getting in the way.  Show them what you might be able to contribute in the future and let them figure out the rest and where any deficit will be.

Step 3: Ask them what changes they can make: asking other family members for support, getting on GVT assistance, moving to lower cost housing, how much is dad's work costing him, can they get other jobs?  If the ideas come from them it is more likely to go over well and they are more likely to buy in to your plan.  Lay it all out, it will change the tone of the conversation from telling them what to do to working together to have the best future for all of you. 

Step 4: Follow through, have open conversations and continue to have fun and loving your parents.

Good luck with everything, family matters are the hardest.  Keep us posted! 

« Last Edit: January 30, 2018, 10:43:21 AM by ginjaninja »

BabyShark

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Re: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2018, 11:45:00 AM »
Mostly posting for support and to say it sounds like you've got a great plan in place!

Josiecat

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Re: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« Reply #16 on: January 30, 2018, 12:42:02 PM »
I suggest Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University for everyone involved. 

former player

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Re: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2018, 01:04:50 PM »
Your father's stroke does give you an opportunity here.  I wonder whether perhaps the bigger opportunity is your wish to progress the relationship with your girlfriend to marriage and children?  The desire for that, and to own a home for your future family, should be an obvious point at which your existing family can expect things to change.

I would saying to them "I hope my life will be changing soon to include all these good things: a wife, a family, a home of my own.  I can't do that while also paying everything on this big house in which you are all living, so I'm going to have to sell it next year when the payback period expires.  That gives us all a year in which to work out what your next steps are in finding somewhere else to live.  Have you got any ideas on where you can start with that?"

You then have a start to the conversation that is going to have to take place which is anchored in good things (your happy future) rather than sad things (your father's stroke and your family's lack of money).  You are making it a positive rather than a negative, and framing it as a brainstorming exercise which opens up options rather than removing them.

Good luck.


Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2018, 06:01:44 PM »

Another thing to think about: you have had a lot of time to craft everything that you want to talk about with them.  They have not wanted to think about what is going on so it might be a shock to lay it all on them at once.  I would focus on the bigger hitting items and keep it concise to have results.  Even though I just suggested utilities I would hold off on telling them about life style changes (cutting back at work, snack food they eat, etc.).  This will likely just lead to a defensive response and they might not be willing to help with the important changes when they feel threatened/attacked.  If you start with the Will and PoA it will put you in a good situation to start talking about these things and making a plan going forward.  I have seen too many families torn apart by not having these in place properly. 


Love what you're doing and where you're going with it.  Even better that your lady is on board. 

I'll second that quote above.  You may want to stick to the most important things first.  Circle back to the smaller things later - or don't.  (Works the same way in marriage.)  E.g.: what they eat won't matter (for you, financially) if they no longer live off of your cash. 

You have a great list.  I would think about it in terms of what boundaries you want to put in place for yourself (and them), and then the specific items you want them to do.  For you, it's important that they begin contributing in some way and begin moving towards sustainability.  Maybe that means that mom gets a job, they both apply for benefits, and so on.  They apply for housing for sure.  But the bigger picture is that you need them to move towards independence/quit being dependents because you're also moving towards having a family. 

I would focus on the big picture, then get into details, and err on the big-picture details.  Nail some of those down, then circle back later on the next level of details.  If you hit it all at once, it may well overwhelm them.  Things I might avoid on first go: credit cards, insurance policy, specific food purchases, and so on.  But this is your thing: if it goes well, maybe you do go through all of those things. 

I would also anticipate pushback and an unwillingness to get into any of this or maybe even talk about it at all.  From what you've said, they may be unwilling to even acknowledge that this is a problem, and probably push it off by saying things will get better, the next check will come in, they will start looking (but they don't), or so on.  You may have to force this conversation eventually.  I hope not, and it may well go well - that's what I'm hoping - but I say that just so that you're mentally prepared in case it doesn't go as expected.  (I would enter with very limited expectations for the first talk.  But that's easier to say than it is to do.) 

Sounds like you have a good plan.  Like @former player's suggestion too about framing it in terms of (1) the stroke, and (2) you moving forward with your life, so you need to get them on more secure footing.  Like everyone else, I also commend you for dealing with a really tough situation head on.

Phoenix_Fire

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Re: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2018, 11:04:20 AM »
Thanks again to all for the great advice.  I agree that the health issue opens the door to make starting the conversation easier.  I also agree that my wanting to get married and have a family will be what has the greatest impact on moving things along.  I think at this point that I want to try and schedule a talk with them for February 10/11 (this weekend is already booked).  I want to give them a little heads up on the talk, that we need to talk about finances and legal stuff so that they do not get completely blind sided.  I think bringing it up out of the blue would immediately put them on the defensive.  The only point that I need to talk to my mom about sooner is the Medigap coverage, since I don't know when she signed up for that, and it does indeed have a 6 month window for guaranteeing coverage and after that it either goes away or can go up.

Tackling a few issues at a time is most likely the way to go, unless the conversation goes well and they want to cover more.  I agree, telling them what foods to purchase is a bad idea.  That can come into play if they ask for suggestions on ways to lower expenses. 

Talking about things like this just doesn't happen in my family, so that is going to be a huge challenge.  The not talking about it though is why we are in the situation we are in now.  I am hoping that by talking to them together we can work it out.  My dad has always tended to difficult to talk to on personal issues, and my mom has the fear of being looked down on for using food stamps (even though it's a debit card now). 

Something that hadn't occurred to me until just now for some reason is that we need to get them signed up for the low income senior housing because if something happens to me they are screwed, especially once I am married.  My money and house would not be going to them.  Well, the house might right now, as I don't have a will, but I do need to get one made out as well. 

Framing the conversation around my future family will be what moves the conversation along I think.  They both want grandkids from me, they love my GF and want to see us get married, but have some how not made the connection in their mind that the current arrangement limits me.  I do need to get better about boundaries and expressing my concerns or pushing back/saying no when it is needed.  Luckily, putting this out there, getting feedback and reinforcement from everyone, is making it easier for me to get there mentally. 

I keep rereading the responses here.  It helps make things more concrete in my head and is taking away from my worries and is giving me confidence.  Time to start researching the Low Income Senior Housing situation here and what exactly needs to be done to get on the food stamps, as well as PoA and wills.

I'm extremely grateful to all of you.  There has been at least one thing I have taken away from each person, and usually more.

Phoenix_Fire

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Re: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2018, 09:18:58 AM »
So Sunday was the day.  I finally had ďThe TalkĒ with my parentsÖ

I had talked to my dad in Thursday and asked if he knew when mom had signed up for Medicare, he wasnít sure.  Any progress on her signing up for SS? Nope.  Ok, how about I come over on Sunday and we talk about things all together.  He let my mom know that I would be over to talk.

Sunday comes; my GF and I have lunch/dinner with my parents and brother.  I talk to brother and we figure out a time on Wednesday that he has a break in classes and I can take lunch and talk to him about finances, credit cards, savings, etc.  My GF then went upstairs to do some work and let me talk to my parents. 

The three of us sit back down at the table, and I kind of dive in.  I bring up dadís health scare and that Iíve been thinking about it a lot, and we need to talk about these things because we never do.  I donít know how much you make, how much things are costing, and we need to make sure things are covered.  If you want, we can go over all income coming in and try to budget things out.

I ask mom when she first signed up for Medicare, a few months after she turned 65 (now 66.5). Ok, we need to look at supplemental insurance for you, with dadís recent health scare, this is important.  She makes some excuses that when she signed up she tried to use the same person that my dad did for supplemental, but never heard back.  Grrrrr, but ok, canít change the past, itís done.  She pulls out a flyer she received from someone cold mailing about supplemental and is going to contact them.  Good, some sort of acknowledgment that this does need to move.  *(Side note, any recommendations on seniors signing up for supplemental insurance?)*

I ask her about SS, and she says that she has always hit a block in it.  Ok, we can sit down together and take a look at it, we can do that today. 

I bring up that one of the other things I have been thinking about is that GF and I would like to get married and have a family, to which both parents are in agreement, they would like to see that happen.  I donít want my GF to ever have to worry about having to support them, and if we were married and anything ever happened to me, then it would all go to her and any children we might have, and so we should get them signed up for some low income senior housing.  There is most likely a long wait list on that, and we have 2 years before I have to make a decision on selling or renting out the house.  But it would be good to make a plan and at least be on the list and decide what to do when it opens up.

I went over the mortgage and utility costs, so they know for sure now that it averages about $1200 a month.

I bring up SNAP (food stamps) and that we should look into that.  Do you have any idea how much you spend on food each month?  Mom replies with a stressed out worried look on her face, too much but working on bringing it down.  ďFoodĒ does include all cleaning/misc/dog food that you get at the grocery store.  Again, I say, I donít know how much you make, if you want, we can go over all income coming in and try to budget things out. (I have probably said this a couple more times in the conversation up to this point).  Dad gets up, walks out of the room and comes back a minute later with a large binder that has their financials and tells me how much SS income he gets.  Progress!!!

I pull up a spreadsheet on my phone that I had premade, and start entering in numbers.  Then I say letís enter these in the assistance calculator, though at this point Iím pretty sure that the SS income pushes them too high.  This though leads me to getting some concrete numbers for yearly income for both of them.  They do not qualify for food assistance.  This is a relief to me.  Plus, one of the questions was household savings.  They have $7k!  Huge relief.  We are on a good track.

I download the spreadsheet I made to their computer, and plug in the numbers for them:

Before Changes      
Budget   Monthly   Annualized
Income      
Dad's SS   $1,318   $15,816
Mom's SS      $0
Dad's work   $307   $3,684
Mom's work   $500   $6,000
Total Income   $2,125   $25,500
      
Expenses      
Cellphone   $155   $1,860
Car Insurance   $387   $4,644
Supplemental Insurance   $280   $3,360
Gas   $173   $2,076
Food   $600   $7,200
Dog Medication   $25   $300
Miscellaneous   $250   $3,000
Subtotal Expenses   $1,870   $22,440
      
Gross Margin   $255   $3,060



The food and miscellaneous arenít great, but this conversation and follow ups should help. 

We try to sign into SS site, and my mom goes through the security questions too quickly, not paying attention that some of the credit history questions include past accounts.  Locked out for 24 hours.  Thatís ok, you can try again tomorrow, and I can come over if necessary.  She does have a statement from May 2017 stating what she will receive ($714).  When my dad has his business, they put her on payroll for 11 years, so that helped tremendously.  I estimate that based on growth, she should be around $756 a month now. 

That car insurance sure seems high at $387 a month. Yes, even for including my 22 year old brother on it.  Theyíve been with Progressive 11 years.  Have full coverage on a 2006 and 2012 Hyundais.  Letís look at Geico.  Enter in all information, keeping coverage the same, but dropping comprehensive, collision, and roadside (wtf, itís $10 a month and you have AAA, they didnít realize it was on there).   New rate with Geico: $150.  BAM! $237 savings a month!  I tell them that they can think about it and switch later if they want to. Mom says, can we do it now with you here in case we have any problems?  Sure, done.  Dad seemed hesitant to lose the full coverage, because you know, that 2012 that they bought a year ago was $7k.  Guess what, $2,800 a year in savings is worth it, especially when you have $7k in savings.  My mom is down with paying the full amount up front so that they saved $5 a month, and sets up the automatic renewal. 

Time to talk about cell phones.  They are on T-Mobile, 3 phones, $155 per month.  I bring up the senior plan I have showed them before, $60 unlimited for 2 seniors.  We can put brother on his own prepaid plan.  They agree that they will go take care of that this week.  Even if they continue to pay for his plan that is $50 savings per month. 

I show my mom that if she gets SS at $756 minus the same $140 for Medicare taken that dad does, and gets signed up for supplemental at the same rate as dad (will probably be higher though), what their new income and savings will be.

After Changes      
Budget   Monthly   Annualized
Income      
Dad's SS   $1,318   $15,816
Mom's SS   $616   $7,392
Dad's work   $307   $3,684
Mom's work   $500   $6,000
Total Income   $2,741   $32,892
      
Expenses      
Cellphone   $105   $1,260
Car Insurance   $150   $1,800
Supplemental Insurance   $280   $3,360
Gas   $173   $2,076
Food   $500   $6,000
Dog Medication (seizures)   $25   $300
Miscellaneous   $250   $3,000
Subtotal Expenses   $1,483   $17,796
      
Gross Margin   $1,258   $15,096

Holy crap! They will have potentially up to $1,258 in savings per month. 

My mom mentioned that her hours fluctuate, right now she probably brings in $350 a month, and it goes up in the summer.  She also doesnít think it is going to get renewed (the autistic kid she works with is doing great, and she doesnít think he needs assistance anymore).  She brings up that she thinks she would like to work at Kohlís and I encourage her to apply before the other job goes away. 

Dad for some reason was brought up to look down on ďmenialĒ labor.  Too bad, because he has always been happiest when working with his hands.  He also gets caught up on the ďgreatĒ commission he gets from a sale, around $800ÖGRRRÖHe doesnít make enough of them though, and despite what he says when confronted about it, he finds it extremely stressful.  This is going to take some more work.  He is doing really well though after his stroke.  He can move around pretty well without a cane now, and my mom is now cooking more of a ďMediterranean dietĒ for them. 

As we were going through all of this, I could see some of the stress fade away from them.  I think when I showed them what the savings would be at if mom starts collecting SS made a huge difference.  At the end I received a couple of big hugs and thank yous.  I know they have always been grateful for the help I provide, but have been clueless about how to improve their situation.  There will be more sessions, and I think I will talk to them about monthly or quarterly follow ups for a bit. 


Their homework now is:   
Cancel the Progressive insurance today
Get signed into SS and most likely sign up
Switch T-Mobile plans this week
Sign up mom for supplemental insurance
Sign up for senior housing
Look at insurance options for brother.  He is 22 and uninsured.  *(Any pointers in this area are appreciated)*


At this point, I have not brought up them paying anything for utilities or rent.  I wanted to focus on getting things squared away financially so that they will see they can help.  They were interested in the mortgage and utilities, so I am hoping they will bring it up, but I will in a month or so if they do not.  I want to keep the positive momentum going for now.  I did bring up wills and power of attorney, and they agreed that they need to revisit this.  Anything they have is probably about 20-30 years old.  I feel we are on a good path forward at this point.


I would like to say thank you to everyone who provided advice, well wishes, and support.  Having multiple people chime in was extremely helpful, and I am grateful for it.  I do not think this would have gone as well, or perhaps even at all if I hadnít had the different points of view on here.  This was one of the hardest conversations I have ever had to start, and because of the support I receive here it went extremely well.  I was prepared, and able to stay calm.  In the beginning it was hard, but I powered through, kept repeating myself to fill the space in the beginning, and got through it.  I realize that every situation is different, but if you are lurking, or have your own situation that you arenít sure how to address, try posting it here.  The community here is extremely helpful.  If you have shit that needs to be called out, they will. If you have people taking advantage of you, you will be told.  If you arenít sure how to approach a situation, there are people here who have had to do it before and can provide guidance.


TL;DR
It went extremely well!!!!!!!!!!


Thank you.  I will update again with how things progress and how my talk with brother goes.

ginjaninja

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Re: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2018, 09:32:01 AM »
Phoenix_Fire I am so so so happy for you!  This is such a great start for a happier future for you and your family.  I do not have any advice for the insurance questions, but I hope some others chime in here :)

Keep up the awesome work, it sounds like because of the way that you went about the conversation you and your family will avoid so much heartache and stress in the future.  This was such a great thing to read this morning, thank you so much for following up with us on what happened!

economista

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Re: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2018, 09:38:09 AM »
I'm so glad your talk with them went so well, and I hope the talk with your brother goes well too. 

marion10

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Re: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2018, 10:04:08 AM »
Remember if your mom cannot apply online, she can always physically go to a SS office.

rockeTree

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Re: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2018, 10:11:09 AM »
Wonderful! Hoping for the best for you all, it sounds like you did a very hard thing very well.


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former player

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Re: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2018, 11:02:00 AM »
That was obviously stressful to prepare for, but it is excellent work that will not just set up your parents for a better future but hopefully you and your girlfriend and the family you will make together as well.  Congratulations.

elaine amj

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Re: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« Reply #26 on: February 13, 2018, 08:00:49 AM »
So incredibly happy to hear your talk with your family went so well!! You are an amazing son and it sounds like your family is willing to learn how to take steps forward to help themselves. Like other posters have said, your marriage is going to be what is going to keep pushing them when things get tough.

It can be hard to help yourself. And it's hard when your pride is on the line. But as a Mom, I would push harder if it is for my kids ' well - being. And when it is something like my kids' happiness,  marriage, and future grandkids are at stake, that would be a huge motivator.

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Phoenix_Fire

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Re: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« Reply #27 on: February 13, 2018, 09:21:55 AM »
Thank you all for the warm responses.  I just got an update from my mom. 

Here is what was done yesterday:
Cancelled Progressive, receiving $260 back.
Signed up for SS (first check evidently takes 2-3 months, but she is signed up).
Scheduled a meeting for the Supplemental Insurance for Friday.

Dad thinks that he can be more diligent with his follow through on sales calls, so we shall see. If not, I will show him the basic math on minimum wage vs what he is doing.

Mom said that she is more grateful than words can express, that I helped them see the big picture and that they have been in a tunnel vision rut.

I think the combination of showing them where they were at, and making some changes that improve their situation, show them it is possible to not have to rely solely on me.  Throw in the housing situation and me bringing up my future plans, and they are motivated at the moment. Having a clear path forward helps so much.

Chrissy

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Re: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« Reply #28 on: February 13, 2018, 11:47:09 AM »
Your family is very luck to have you.

BrianT

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Re: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« Reply #29 on: February 13, 2018, 04:00:33 PM »
Apologies if someone already mentioned this before, but it's also very important that your parents were open to have this talk with you. I like to use an analogy where you can't help a person get up if he/she doesn't want to get up. It's great that they were willing to get up and open to their son's help.

I have in-laws that aren't open to it and it affects my finances. It's an on-going struggle!

Cassie

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Re: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« Reply #30 on: February 13, 2018, 04:18:41 PM »
Congrats on being a awesome son and your parents for being so willing to see the light!  A win-win for everyone:))

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« Reply #31 on: February 13, 2018, 10:52:03 PM »
Congrats on your conversation and that it is all going so well!  I'm really glad to hear that. 

RedwoodDreams

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Re: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« Reply #32 on: March 04, 2018, 11:41:21 AM »
Wow, fantastic progress--truly inspirational! Congrats! Your family is lucky to have you. Good for them too that they were open to discussions and making changes. I've noticed with my own elderly mother she is open to making changes but she freezes up when she has to do things online and she's worried about breaking something. If I show her how to do it or step her through it on the spot, it's much easier for her. I think sometimes we can forget that things just become generally harder as we age, there can be some embarrassment on their part, but if they see you approaching it in an upbeat and positive way, they know they can ask you for help and put aside their embarrassment at what they might perceive as their loss of independence.

On that note, I would stay away from the personal stuff like what they're snacking on. (Plus if they're starting to eat Mediterranean, they understand the health impact of food choices.) Help them get the scaffolding set up, and from there, the choices are theirs.

When you said your father had a binder I knew there was hope. :-)

Re: your brother's health insurance. This could be a good opportunity for him to take responsibility for figuring out his options. A big part of being a successful adult is resourcefulness and perseverance. He can start by going to the healthcare.gov exchange and seeing what he's eligible for in Arizona by using the online tool. He might be eligible for Medicaid? If he'll be in school a while longer, he can find out of he's eligible for insurance through his school. Give him ideas and let him start making calls. Each person he talks to will point him to the next person who can advise him. Don't do it for him!

It's great that he's going into Physical Therapy. No shortage of jobs there.

Thanks for sharing this very inspirational case study.


Phoenix_Fire

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Re: Case Study: Help a Phoenix to Fire while supporting parents
« Reply #33 on: March 05, 2018, 08:45:39 AM »
Thanks Redwood! 

Yes, it is still an ongoing process.  I am gently pushing here and there with questions to make sure that they are progressing.  They haven't switched phone plans because they all three need to go to the store at the same time, and that has been difficult, but brother is on spring break this week, so I pointed out that they can go at any point during the day without the normal class limitations. 

I decided not to get into what they are eating.  I think it will be more effective if I sit down with them again and go over their food budget if they are open to it.  Right now I'm just trying to build the foundation and hope that

Brother has been applying at several PT places.  If he can get on now with a paid position that would be great, because next semester he needs to do an internship, and it would be awesome if he's getting paid for it.   

Thanks for the tip on healthcare.gov.  I will point it out to him and have him look into the insurance through school possibility.  He does need to get used to navigating some of this on his own.