Author Topic: any way for my Mom to live on $600 a month?  (Read 14741 times)

wenchsenior

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Re: any way for my Mom to live on $600 a month?
« Reply #50 on: February 09, 2016, 03:53:56 PM »
We did attempt having my mother live with us at first, before we settled on buying a second place. I like hanging with her, and we have a lot in common. But after 20 years of it just being DH and me, it was quite stressful for three of us in a 1500 square foot house, particularly because she didn't have anything particularly to do. So despite the much larger financial burden, we are all happier with her living in her own place. HOWEVER, in the future, we anticipate that she might have to live with us again. I think it could be managed ok if the house or property was designed correctly...in other words, a truly separate apartment or suite, as opposed to all trying to manage in a typical starter home where only the small bedrooms are each person's private space. So we are aware that in another 5-10 years, a move to a bigger (or at least much differently designed) house might be necessary. So when we plan for our future, this is one thing we have to keep in mind, and I cannot assume we will be mortgage free in our later/retirement  years. To compensate, we are stockpiling extra cash to maintain flexibility.

FINate

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Re: any way for my Mom to live on $600 a month?
« Reply #51 on: February 09, 2016, 04:05:43 PM »
If they want help, you're fully entitled to help them on YOUR terms, beggars can't be choosers.  If she refuses to take steps to improve her situation and just asks for money, I wouldn't be helping at all.  If I ever considered helping a friend or family member financially, I'd be all up in their business and require them to jump through all sorts of hoops to show they give a crap before they'd get a dime.  I definitely wouldn't be helping if I wasn't already well on my way to achieving my own financial goals.

^THIS^ You know she has to make changes, otherwise you're just throwing good money after bad. This is your only real leverage to affect change. Require that the other two siblings move out, or pay market rent, that the house be sold, etc. Get her into something cheaper and with lower maintenance. Asking you to help with money or in other ways without making changes on her side is very one-sided.  I know it sounds harsh, but if she can't make certain changes (really there is nothing wrong with a condo/townhouse, demanding SFH is ridiculous) then my attitude would be that she must not really need the money.

Apples

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Re: any way for my Mom to live on $600 a month?
« Reply #52 on: February 11, 2016, 07:10:07 AM »
Good for you guys for having already thought through some ideas for a game plan.  Well done.  Seriously-my parents have friends that just stuck their heads in the sand until they made rash decisions on behalf of family members, and it doesn't work out well.

MrsPete

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Re: any way for my Mom to live on $600 a month?
« Reply #53 on: February 11, 2016, 11:19:41 AM »
No I think you SHOULD be judgemental.. You give her money for a specific purpose and she blows on some other waste of space Brother.. Excuse me?.. I'd hit the roof.
Yeah, when you're providing the money, you're allowed to be judgmental about how it's spent.  Perhaps instead of money, you should consider taking over her electric bill ... or bringing her groceries ... or covering her property taxes each year.  But don't hand the money to her -- pay the bill yourself so you KNOW the money is going where it should go. 

I was a social worker and adult protection is very different then child protection. Your Mom would have to be incompetent to attend to her own affairs which she is not or the adults would need to be physically abusing her or actually be stealing from her, etc.  Adults get to make their own decisions even if they suck.
Gotta agree.  Your mom is an adult, and unless she's been declared incompetent, she has every right to allow the two adult dependents to live with her.  I think every person on this board thinks it's a mistake, but adults are allowed to make their own mistakes. 

However, we also understand that you're caught in the middle:  You're also an adult and aren't required to clean up the messes created by other adults ... but this is your mother, and we all owe our parents something in return for all they've done for us.  It's not a comfortable line you're forced to walk. 


ooeei

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Re: any way for my Mom to live on $600 a month?
« Reply #54 on: February 11, 2016, 12:13:47 PM »

Yeah, when you're providing the money, you're allowed to be judgmental about how it's spent.  Perhaps instead of money, you should consider taking over her electric bill ... or bringing her groceries ... or covering her property taxes each year.  But don't hand the money to her -- pay the bill yourself so you KNOW the money is going where it should go. 

The only problem with that is it enables her to spend her money on something else, like alcohol or cable TV. 

It's like how lotteries get a good reputation because they're used to fund education.  They don't really increase the funding to education, they just pay for some of it so the government can spend that money elsewhere.

partgypsy

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Re: any way for my Mom to live on $600 a month?
« Reply #55 on: February 12, 2016, 09:00:03 AM »
Just to give everyone an update. I talked to my lil brother, who lives in a less than 2K place with 6 people (blended family, no free bedrooms). I live in a 1500 square feet house, no free bedrooms. In fact part of the reason I like this house is that my extended family wouldn't want to move in ; )
My Mom told me she owes 100K. She told my lil brother she estimates she is 150K in debt, and only 20K left on the heloc that she can draw. Brother advised her NOT to use the heloc to pay off cc (which is what she was doing) and use that remaining amount to survive until she sells the house. So she has gotten to the point where yes she has absolutely no money to use to fix up the house, even cosmetically, which will reduce what any offers are. I'm not sure how she went through 50-100K in the last 2 years, unless she was minimizing how much she was in debt before.

Brother advised her after selling to try to find a 2 bedroom apt to rent farther out (since she insists on providing other siblings with a place to stay). Hopefully she can stretch whatever money she gets for another 3-5 years (more if one or more sibling contributes, doubtful). Lil brother knows of a religious organization that takes in seniors if they turn over their ss check, so that is a possible last case option for mother at least.
Lil brother and I are in agreement that we cannot jeopardize our own family situations and houses to "save" them. Mother is angry that my brother married (and so doesn't have extra room in his house for them). She is angry at me for having my youngest go to private school for her learning disabilities since that ties up money they imagined they should have.
All my pleas, suggestions and offers to help (in other ways) over the years have fallen on deaf ears and so need to separate a little.

pachnik

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Re: any way for my Mom to live on $600 a month?
« Reply #56 on: February 12, 2016, 09:31:47 AM »
Lil brother and I are in agreement that we cannot jeopardize our own family situations and houses to "save" them. Mother is angry that my brother married (and so doesn't have extra room in his house for them). She is angry at me for having my youngest go to private school for her learning disabilities since that ties up money they imagined they should have.
All my pleas, suggestions and offers to help (in other ways) over the years have fallen on deaf ears and so need to separate a little.

+1 that you and your younger brother won't jeopardize your own families.  You two are in a hard situation but I think this is the right course.  I've got a family member who feels entitled to other family member's money too.  Pretty unpleasant thing.  But there are a lot of people out there like that.

FINate

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Re: any way for my Mom to live on $600 a month?
« Reply #57 on: February 12, 2016, 09:54:37 AM »
Lil brother and I are in agreement that we cannot jeopardize our own family situations and houses to "save" them. Mother is angry that my brother married (and so doesn't have extra room in his house for them). She is angry at me for having my youngest go to private school for her learning disabilities since that ties up money they imagined they should have.
All my pleas, suggestions and offers to help (in other ways) over the years have fallen on deaf ears and so need to separate a little.

+1 that you and your younger brother won't jeopardize your own families.  You two are in a hard situation but I think this is the right course.  I've got a family member who feels entitled to other family member's money too.  Pretty unpleasant thing.  But there are a lot of people out there like that.

I agree, I think you're doing the right thing. You've done what you can at this point. Good job defining your boundaries and sticking to them. Prepare yourself for attempts to test these boundaries in the coming months, either guilt trips and/or more pleas for cash.

Josiecat

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Re: any way for my Mom to live on $600 a month?
« Reply #58 on: February 12, 2016, 10:04:44 AM »
So mom essentially felt entitled to your money?  She probably assumed that you and your siblings would swoop in like Superman and save her.  Wow.  It's time for her to face reality.

partgypsy

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Re: any way for my Mom to live on $600 a month?
« Reply #59 on: February 12, 2016, 10:57:41 AM »
Well, she is really delusional. One of the long standing issues I (and my other siblings have) is how the older son was treated differently than the rest of the kids. He would steal our money and personal belongings, also destroy our stuff and other things in the house, and when we would tell our Mom she would say "just hide your stuff better." He would physically threaten us if we came across him doing illegal stuff in the basement or things against the rules (his friends were constantly breaking into and crashing in our basement. In my teens I didn't feel comfortable walking around in my pajamas downstairs), in addition to yelling and other outbursts. He has physically harmed my sister. I used to have nightmares.
When I talked to Mom within the last week, she again started up complaining how Dad left and otherwise this would have never happened, this bad situation, I pointed out one of the reasons why he left, is that you two could not agree on rules and discipline for the house (my other siblings and I wanted rules enforced, while my mother interrupted and undermined any attempts). She said, "oh I didn't want to be too tough on him, because I felt bad for him, for the bullying". I said "the bullying?" "Yes, you kids bullying him." Incredulous. She is so brainwashed by him (he is the victim who is the "good guy") I cannot help her.
 

MrsPete

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Re: any way for my Mom to live on $600 a month?
« Reply #60 on: February 12, 2016, 11:14:16 AM »

Yeah, when you're providing the money, you're allowed to be judgmental about how it's spent.  Perhaps instead of money, you should consider taking over her electric bill ... or bringing her groceries ... or covering her property taxes each year.  But don't hand the money to her -- pay the bill yourself so you KNOW the money is going where it should go. 

The only problem with that is it enables her to spend her money on something else, like alcohol or cable TV. 

It's like how lotteries get a good reputation because they're used to fund education.  They don't really increase the funding to education, they just pay for some of it so the government can spend that money elsewhere.
Isn't she spending it on alcohol or cable TV now?   

I'd have a hard time saying, "No, mother, I won't buy you food."  I think I'd buy food and let the rest fall out as it will. 



wenchsenior

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Re: any way for my Mom to live on $600 a month?
« Reply #61 on: February 12, 2016, 11:34:56 AM »

Yeah, when you're providing the money, you're allowed to be judgmental about how it's spent.  Perhaps instead of money, you should consider taking over her electric bill ... or bringing her groceries ... or covering her property taxes each year.  But don't hand the money to her -- pay the bill yourself so you KNOW the money is going where it should go. 

The only problem with that is it enables her to spend her money on something else, like alcohol or cable TV. 

It's like how lotteries get a good reputation because they're used to fund education.  They don't really increase the funding to education, they just pay for some of it so the government can spend that money elsewhere.
Isn't she spending it on alcohol or cable TV now?   

I'd have a hard time saying, "No, mother, I won't buy you food."  I think I'd buy food and let the rest fall out as it will.

Yes I think the more crucial question is usually 'can I or will I help at all?' and then figuring out the type of help. Once that is established, I think it's far healthier to let the rest ride. The reason is that the psychological strain and the time-sink of trying to control or micromanage the fine details of someone's life is IMO far more trouble than it's worth. People are mostly going to do what they want and what they can get away with. Unless you live with them (and often not even then), it's almost impossible to control everything someone does and trying might cause them to be even more uncooperative.

I mean, we COULD try to micromanage every $ that my mom receives in SS, in exchange for giving her a house, car, and paying all her utilities. For example, my mom is a smoker, it's one of her greatest pleasures, and she's never going to quit as long as she has $ to buy cigs. Objectively, it's a huge waste of money. Now, we could try to prevent her from ever buying cigs as a condition of proving support, but it would be really difficult to enforce. Trying to micromanage would suck up all my time and energy in potential conflicts and make us all miserable, so we don't.  We control only what we efficiently can (set bills that come to us, and making sure she doesn't run up credit card debt). It's not 'fair', maybe, but my priority is efficiency and minimizing drama, not wringing every last drop of guilt and punishment and self-righteousness out of the situation.

partgypsy

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Re: any way for my Mom to live on $600 a month?
« Reply #62 on: February 12, 2016, 12:11:43 PM »
Yeah, well just thinking about the past dredges up memories that I'd rather not get into, and the only way I got past it was moving somewhere else and living my own life. My parents weren't there for many big milestones of my life, but at the same time at least there was mutual understanding that we lived separate lives and not to expect something from me.
I fundamentally disagree with the way she lives her life (codependent relationship); giving her anything beyond token amounts rubs me the wrong way. I both can't, but most importantly am not willing to do it. I can't change her, but I don't have to subsidize it. She has had many opportunities to improve her situation that she refused.

She knows it is very serious (she has been calling the various members of family asking for money) but still in stage feeling if she pushes the right buttons someone will save them. This has happened in the past (esp with my Dad) but at this point in time no one has anything left to spare. Where she is and where reality lives, is so far off, any coming to terms with it is going to be very uncomfortable. I feel bad that they are suffering, but at the same time it is not my circus.   

wenchsenior

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Re: any way for my Mom to live on $600 a month?
« Reply #63 on: February 12, 2016, 12:15:28 PM »
Yeah, well just thinking about the past dredges up memories that I'd rather not get into, and the only way I got past it was moving somewhere else and living my own life. My parents weren't there for many big milestones of my life, but at the same time at least there was mutual understanding that we lived separate lives and not to expect something from me.
I fundamentally disagree with the way she lives her life (codependent relationship); giving her anything beyond token amounts rubs me the wrong way. I both can't, but most importantly am not willing to do it. I can't change her, but I don't have to subsidize it. She has had many opportunities to improve her situation that she refused.

She knows it is very serious (she has been calling the various members of family asking for money) but still in stage feeling if she pushes the right buttons someone will save them. This has happened in the past (esp with my Dad) but at this point in time no one has anything left to spare. Where she is and where reality lives, is so far off, any coming to terms with it is going to be very uncomfortable. I feel bad that they are suffering, but at the same time it is not my circus.   

It seems to me that your stance is the same one I would take (and to some degree, we have taken it with my husband's mother).

MayDay

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Re: any way for my Mom to live on $600 a month?
« Reply #64 on: February 13, 2016, 06:59:05 AM »
Frankly, I can't believe you are even entertaining the idea of letting her move in with you.  Ever.  Under any circumstances.  No matter what. 

We have a relative who is a financial mess.  We are ALWAYS available to help her with financial advice, a budget, planning, trying to find local resources that can help her, etc.  But she has shown time and again (as has your mom) that no amount of money will ever solve the problem, short of winning the powerball.  So that is off the table- it just doesn't help.  The exception would probably be a 100$ gift card to the grocery store every month. 

When said relative was calling, hinting for money (she never had the balls to ask outright) H's response every time was "I'd be happy to sit down with you and look over your finances and help you make a plan" or some variation on that.  Well she didn't want THAT!  She wanted money!  So the calls stopped pretty quickly.

There is only so much you can do.  You can't make your mom want to change.  You are not responsible for making sure she has housing/food/stability. 

Fuzz

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Re: any way for my Mom to live on $600 a month?
« Reply #65 on: February 14, 2016, 11:17:34 AM »
This is a tough situation. I'm sorry for you.

I think we all have to fight for our mental health sometimes--make sure you're taking care of yourself, your marriage and your family as you deal with your mom and sibs.

Based on your mother's attitude toward your brother, I would not let her live with you under any circumstances. I wouldn't let her stay with you for an indefinite period of time either. If she needs a place to stay between the time she gets kicked out of her house and the time she moves into a subsidized apartment, that's one thing. If she needs a place to stay "while she gets back on her feet" that's another thing.

You may want to consider writing your mom a letter outlining what you will do and won't do. Maybe all you say is that you have $x/month to help; she can't stay with you; and whatever other conditions there are. It's not even that important to send your mom the letter, although I probably would. The point of the letter is to write down the bright lines you will not cross. In the future, she is going to ask you to do something you should not do. Have a plan, any plan, for that moment. Otherwise, you're going to be giving mom $ that gets turned into booze and PS2 games for your deadbeat brother.