Author Topic: Do you help out your parents when you are trying to RE?  (Read 4612 times)

coffeelover

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Do you help out your parents when you are trying to RE?
« on: October 15, 2014, 01:41:33 PM »
I ask this because my mother is well how should I say, not responsible. She continuely makes bad decisions and it drives me nuts.


She quit her good money making job spur of the moment with no notice. Due to some health conditions she was able to get back on social security disability. It took some time for the paperwork to go through and she lost her house she was renting.

Her stuff ended up in a storage unit and she is now living with a friend. She kept saying how her phone was going to get shut off. Eventually it did.

I thought about paying the bill but to me she is wasting money. She smokes about 2 packs a day. I feel like if she was this dire then she can stop smoking. I say this as an ex-smoker. I smoked until 2012 when I quit completely cold turkey. So I'm a hater on the smokers now. :)

She only had about a thousand in savings to live off of when she quit.
I decided that paying her phone bill should not be a priority to me. She has free internet access in her friends home and she may even be renting from her, I'm not sure.
My mom doesn't give details out.

 I did offer our home as a temporary place in case she needed it. She doesn't want to move in with us and for that I am glad. We don't exactly have the best of relationships.

I just feel like paying for things we need is more important then paying for stuff for her. I feel wrong in this but my mom didn't raise me. She barely had any part of my life growing up and the part that she did have in our lives the memories are not so good.

So how do you help out family when they don't help themselves?



GardenFun

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Re: Do you help out your parents when you are trying to RE?
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2014, 02:07:38 PM »
Here's my initial thoughts:

- She is an adult.  She is able to work or get Social Security Disability.  Both of those options give her enough money to survive. 
- If she wants to change, you have made yourself available to help her work through any issues. 
- If she doesn't want to change but only complain, that is not your issue.

Until she is living on the streets, it is your job to be available but not to push her. 

Neustache

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Re: Do you help out your parents when you are trying to RE?
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2014, 02:10:43 PM »
If she lacks food, invite her over to eat.   If she lacks shelter, at the most offer a couch to stay on....but no, don't feel guilty about not paying her bills.  I don't have a cell phone....your mom doesn't need one, either.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Do you help out your parents when you are trying to RE?
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2014, 02:16:35 PM »
Under the circumstances you describe... hell, no.

Now, my father's best friend just died of brain cancer after two years of high-copay treatments and his widow is now facing bankruptcy. In those circumstances, God forbid, yes, of course I would.

thedayisbrave

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Re: Do you help out your parents when you are trying to RE?
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2014, 02:42:32 PM »
I'm with frugalparagon.  With your situation, it just sounds like if you start bailing her out now, it will snowball.  I wouldn't help her financially but that doesn't mean you can't help her in other ways (if you want). 


trailrated

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Re: Do you help out your parents when you are trying to RE?
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2014, 02:51:35 PM »
I think there are different degrees of helping out. If you were to be just giving her money that would not help the underlying cause of the problem (she is irresponsible with money, if you give her more money that is unlikely to change). However if you could somehow help her to be more responsible with money through books, conversation, etc. that would be an appropriate way to help and I would encourage that.

NoraLenderbee

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Re: Do you help out your parents when you are trying to RE?
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2014, 03:07:40 PM »
Every family is different and everyone has to navigate this issue for themselves. I'll just say this: No one is *obligated* to someone else simply because they share DNA.

MsRichLife

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Re: Do you help out your parents when you are trying to RE?
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2014, 04:58:56 PM »
About 10 years ago I was in this same situation with my parents. They'd gone bankrupt, separated and were living on welfare or money from odd jobs. I gave money when asked....a few times. In my father's case it wasn't paid back. All the while, they smoked and drank and had more than enough cars etc etc. I once paid for my mother for visit me when I was living overseas and she then went ahead and paid for her boyfriend to come with her. (I was dirty about that one). My Mum would also quit from jobs with no backup plan, because she didn't like so and so. Basically, my parents were acting like irresponsible children and I had become the adult in the relationship.

At some point in my mid-late 20's I stopped financially assisting them. I told them I was more than happy to help them with their budgets, or to quit smoking/drinking or whatever they needed, but the handouts had to stop. I felt awful and guilty about it for a few years, but think it's been for the best. While I was enabling them, they never sorted themselves out.

coffeelover

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Re: Do you help out your parents when you are trying to RE?
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2014, 06:39:43 PM »
About 10 years ago I was in this same situation with my parents. They'd gone bankrupt, separated and were living on welfare or money from odd jobs. I gave money when asked....a few times. In my father's case it wasn't paid back. All the while, they smoked and drank and had more than enough cars etc etc. I once paid for my mother for visit me when I was living overseas and she then went ahead and paid for her boyfriend to come with her. (I was dirty about that one). My Mum would also quit from jobs with no backup plan, because she didn't like so and so. Basically, my parents were acting like irresponsible children and I had become the adult in the relationship.

At some point in my mid-late 20's I stopped financially assisting them. I told them I was more than happy to help them with their budgets, or to quit smoking/drinking or whatever they needed, but the handouts had to stop. I felt awful and guilty about it for a few years, but think it's been for the best. While I was enabling them, they never sorted themselves out.

Thanks for your story.

So I have to ask have your parents turned into responsible adults now?

MsRichLife

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Re: Do you help out your parents when you are trying to RE?
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2014, 07:37:25 PM »
Thanks for your story.

So I have to ask have your parents turned into responsible adults now?

Not totally, but they are better than they were. They had to learn some hard and painful lessons before they changed their ways. Having very little income to get by on means they've had to adopt Mustachian tendencies through necessity.

My Mother has recently received an inheritance. (Actually, she and some of her siblings contested a will and won....It was nasty business) I feel that with a bit of cash at her disposal I could easily see her slipping back into bad spending habits. I helped her put most of the money away on the mortgage and superannuation so she can't really touch it, but she still has $30K that I think will probably disappear pretty quick.

My Dad gets by. He has given up smoking a few times but keeps falling off the wagon. I don't think he gambles anymore, mostly due to lack of funds. He helps my sister out by caring for her kids a day each week and she gives him a bit of cash. She may well be bailing him out still...who knows. I honestly wouldn't trust him to look after children, but that's her business.

In short, I don't think they are capable of massive change at their age, but they are somewhat more responsible than they were 10 years ago. Unfortunately, they did have to hit rock bottom before things improved and that was not nice to watch.

Bob W

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Re: Do you help out your parents when you are trying to RE?
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2014, 07:41:26 PM »
No

tofuchampion

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Re: Do you help out your parents when you are trying to RE?
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2014, 07:58:35 PM »
No. 

My parents have never asked for anything, but I have a feeling it will happen eventually.  They are in their late 50's, living paycheck to paycheck, with absolutely no savings, not even a small e-fund.  I'm assuming there are no retirement accounts, either.  They have had some difficulties in life, but they also have been very irresponsible and sometimes just stupid. 

So in 10-20 years, when they realize they can never retire, and their medical bills are mounting (they are both very overweight, eat horribly, don't exercise, and have some chronic health issues already), they might come to me.  Or when something happens and they lose their rental home.  My dad has lost jobs in the past due to shooting off his mouth and basically being a stubborn asshole; it could happen again, and they have nothing to fall back on.  Then again, they don't know I'm frugal by choice, they just think I'm poor, so they might go to my older brother.

Anyway, if they come to me, I would offer to help set up a budget, review expenses, and that kind of thing, and they could potentially stay with me if needed, but I would absolutely not give money.

Perhaps if they had ever been willing to help anyone else, or at least treat people (including their children) fairly, I would think differently.  But this is not the case, and I don't believe in rewarding bad behavior.  They were physically and emotionally abusive during my entire childhood, made me repay them for what they (unwillingly) spent when I had mental health issues as a teen, etc.  They made my life hell and I don't owe them a dime.

BlueHouse

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Re: Do you help out your parents when you are trying to RE?
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2014, 03:20:51 PM »
Yes.  And it basically turns into me subsidizing my brothers' extravagant lifestyles.  When I give my mom money to ease her budget a little, she turns around and gives some gift to one of my brothers.  She paid for a plane ticket for one of them for a job interview in another town and found out a week later that his wife flew cross-country to go to the beach for a month while my brother was on his job interview. I think she's starting to see the trends, but she's just so kind-hearted that she always wants to see the best in people.   And I'm learning that I can't really attach strings to my gifts to her.