Author Topic: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents  (Read 36602 times)

MrsPotato

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HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« on: September 20, 2016, 12:56:43 PM »
Hi MMMers,

It's been a long time since I posted on this forum and I figured it would be great to come back here and vent/get some advice about a family/money issue I'm having. A bit of background, I'm 26, DINK married couple. Virtually no debt and about 100k in savings/investments. Rent a small one bedder, hubby cycles to work, I drive because I go home at lunch to walk my dog (very unmustachian, I know, but I like the daily escape from work and I love my dog to bits).

Anyway, the issue I am having is with my parents. They are what I would term financially irresponsible. Growing up, my dad had a successful business and always had money to blow. Picture Euro trips, shopping sprees, private schools, and fancy gadgets. They never had a savings ethic and so when the economy in my home country collapsed and my dad lost his business, we were basically reduced to having no income and having to downgrade and sell a lot of things to get by. I was lucky enough that they had enough money to send me to Canada for university and be able to stay here and start a new life. My older brother on the other hand, went to university in South Africa, and when he returned home with his degree, struggled to find permanent work. So that has left me as the only one in the family who is "successful", i.e. employed with a steady income stream. I've been sending money home to my family over the past two years, but I realized that this would be unsustainable and that they need to get their acts together and be independent again. So, I decided I would sponsor them to immigrate here and they arrive in November. They are still young, in their mid 50s, so they still have many working years left in them. But now that they are coming, I'm starting to doubt this decision as they haven't kept a single one of their promises over the last year. Here's a list of some of the issues:

1. My mum visited last year for my graduation. She really wanted to come because she missed my first graduation. I knew it was a bad idea financially since they had barely any income, but she said she had $5,000 put away that she could use for the trip (return flights from my country are $2,200 on average). I purchased her ticked online since they don't have wifi at home and she promised to pay me back when she arrived. She arrived a month later with $300 to her name, saying that she wasn't able to access the money due to issues with the bank but would wire it to me when she got back. It's been over a year and I haven't seen that money.

2. When we started their immigration application, I promised to pay for the application itself, but they would have to pay for their medical examinations and some additional fees associated with the process. When it came time to do the medical exams, they obviously had no money, even though they knew well in advance that they would need to arrange this money. They borrowed money from my aunt, which I had to repay as it was tuition money that was intended for her son (about $1,600).

3. When their application was approved, they decided they would like to arrive in Canada in November and start looking for work.  A good ticket sale was on, but they don't have a credit card to buy stuff online, so they asked me to purchase the tickets and would send the money the following week. Well it's been three weeks now and no money. This was $3,000.

4. As I said, my DH and I live in a small one bedder and we don't plan on upgrading our lifestyle any time soon. So, when they arrive they will need to get their own place. I booked them into a BnB that charges $1,300 monthly as they said they could afford that for the first few months while they get settled. This money is supposed to come from the sale of their furniture, cars, and rental income from their current home. So far, they have managed to sell a lot of stuff and have accumulated about $3,000, and someone has promised to buy other things amounting to $10,000. I really hope they are able to sell these things and that they actually intend on paying for their own accommodation because I can't afford it. But based on past experience, I'm doubful.

5. They figured it would be a good idea to send my older brother to university here in Canada to give him a better chance at life. Obviously, they don't have the income for that anymore, but my brother was able to pay a tuition deposit using savings he had stashed away while he worked for a few years (he's a true mustachian at heart; saves money and isn't much of a spender). His deposit was enough to cover the first semester of school and my parents promised to pay for the rest of the program by selling some of their assets (my dad's old business property). This sale hasn't happened yet as our home country's economy is practically dead and there's been very little interest in the property. My dad did get an offer, but he doesn't communicate well, and the few details he's provided us seem sketchy. Somewhere along the lines of the person wants to pay 20% now for the property and then the rest in instalments, blah blah blah...This makes me worry... A LOT. Oh, and I should mention that I paid for my brother's rent these last two months because my irresponsible parents put him on a one-way flight (paid for by another relative) to a foreign country with $300!

So all of these issues with them over the past year have made me question my decision to sponsor them. I will be financially responsible for them and they can't access any social services for the next 20 years, otherwise I have to pay it back. I'm fine with this arrangement, as it protects Canadian tax payers from elderly immigrant parents that put a strain on social services. However, at the time I was confident that they would get their acts together and start being responsible, now I'm not too sure about that. They have secured a tenant who will start renting the house in January for $1,300 so that should provide some income for them while they look for work, but I have no idea where they plan on getting the money for my brother's tuition, and whether they realize how serious not having retirement funds is. I should note that their house" is worth" $800k, but again, in that current economy, the house will not sell for that price.

Now, my dilemma is that I don't want to keep giving them money as I am enabling them, but being a Third World child, it's expected of me to take care of my parents. I just think that it's unfair that they have had decades to build their wealth and I've only been working for a few years and I'm expected to cough up my hard earned money to support them. This will definitely set me back on my plan to be FIRE by 40. The other thing is that they did spend $40,000 on me to study in Canada, and I'm only where I am because of that. So that's a huge thing I feel guilty about.

Is it fair to cut them off and ignore any further requests for money? Should I assist with my brother's tuition fees (about $10,000 outstanding)? Is it possible for middle aged people to change their ways? I can't imagine my dad taking me seriously if I sat him down and told him about saving, being frugal, investing, etc. My biggest worry is that they won't be able to support themselves and we'll have to get a bigger place so they can live with us, and that would be a nightmare to be honest. Housing where we live is ridiculously expensive as we're experiencing a housing bubble. Renting a bigger place is more expensive than buying, but we aren't in a position to buy a house anyway.

Any advice is VERY welcome.... Especially if you have been in a similar situation with financially irresponsible relatives.

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2016, 01:39:43 PM »
I think whatever you do you don't tell them all your financial details (income, savings amounts) b/c somehow their needs could balloon to absorb all of your money and you need to take care of you first.

I would budget for them - you can only give so much up to a certain amount total. You don't need to tell them how much that is. That you can afford to help them now but you won't be able to later or beyond a certain point.

Make sure everyone - brother too - is getting a job no matter how basic.

pbkmaine

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2016, 01:57:34 PM »
I would tell them that, because of all the money you have expended for them and your brother, you no longer have any savings and cannot afford to sponsor them.

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2016, 02:01:01 PM »
What does your spouse make of all this?  I reckon you've already paid out about $8k, which is 8% of your joint net worth, plus whatever you've sent to your parents in the last 2 years.

For the future, you have essentially committed to supporting two financially irresponsible parents in an expensive part of a first world country for the next 20 years.    Yikes.  Their rental income of $1.3 per month won't support them, particularly when taking into account management costs, repairs and currency fluctuations.  It is also a very poor return on investment (ie the 1% rule) if their property is worth anything more than $150k or so.  If they sold the property for anything over $700k and invested the money instead, they would have a reasonable income for life even if they didn't find jobs.    Then there is their business property as well.  I think you need to tell them that you sponsored them on the basis that this is a permanent move and that they need to sell everything in their home country so that they can be self-supporting by investing it in Canada at a far higher expected return, and that they should not expect to live in their home country again.

Your debt to your parents has been paid by sponsoring them to live in Canada: the value of that is priceless.  They have eight or ten times the wealth you do: don't give them any more money.

You say your brother is a worker and a saver: he sounds as though he will do all right once he is on his feet.  He needs a job, he needs student loans and he needs a course of study that will enable him to get a good paying job.  If you pay out any money to him, make it a business arrangement with a formal loan agreement at interest and a schedule for repayment - this could be both a good investment for you and a cheaper loan for him by cutting out the middle man.


MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2016, 02:19:13 PM »
I think whatever you do you don't tell them all your financial details (income, savings amounts) b/c somehow their needs could balloon to absorb all of your money and you need to take care of you first.

I would budget for them - you can only give so much up to a certain amount total. You don't need to tell them how much that is. That you can afford to help them now but you won't be able to later or beyond a certain point.

Make sure everyone - brother too - is getting a job no matter how basic.

Thank you for the response. I haven't told them how much we make/save per year, but they probably assume we're swimming in money... Sigh. I have told them that they need a minimum of $2,000 a month to live here (Hubby and I spend about $2,500 and this includes eating out and other luxuries). I'm not quite prepared to give them a monthly allowance as I'm planning on upping my savings rate next year, so that leaves no room for family allowances.

I just feel bad knowing that I do have money to spare but I'm not willing to. I've been helping my brother look for a job these past three weeks. No luck yet, but he's been applying to every position possible.

MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2016, 02:29:06 PM »
What does your spouse make of all this?  I reckon you've already paid out about $8k, which is 8% of your joint net worth, plus whatever you've sent to your parents in the last 2 years.

For the future, you have essentially committed to supporting two financially irresponsible parents in an expensive part of a first world country for the next 20 years.    Yikes.  Their rental income of $1.3 per month won't support them, particularly when taking into account management costs, repairs and currency fluctuations.  It is also a very poor return on investment (ie the 1% rule) if their property is worth anything more than $150k or so.  If they sold the property for anything over $700k and invested the money instead, they would have a reasonable income for life even if they didn't find jobs.    Then there is their business property as well.  I think you need to tell them that you sponsored them on the basis that this is a permanent move and that they need to sell everything in their home country so that they can be self-supporting by investing it in Canada at a far higher expected return, and that they should not expect to live in their home country again.

Your debt to your parents has been paid by sponsoring them to live in Canada: the value of that is priceless.  They have eight or ten times the wealth you do: don't give them any more money.

You say your brother is a worker and a saver: he sounds as though he will do all right once he is on his feet.  He needs a job, he needs student loans and he needs a course of study that will enable him to get a good paying job.  If you pay out any money to him, make it a business arrangement with a formal loan agreement at interest and a schedule for repayment - this could be both a good investment for you and a cheaper loan for him by cutting out the middle man.

My spouse hasn't commented much on the situation. He's also a Third World kid and gets the whole one must take care of their parents thing, the only difference is that he migrated with his parents 20 years ago and they've worked here ever since, so they are in a better situation. I guess he's waiting to see where I draw the line.

I agree that the rental income on their home is low. In the right economy it should bring $4k, but like I said, the economy sucks and there's very little cash flow in the country. They did get an offer on the house for $685k a year ago, but my dad refused it as he thought he could get a better offer. Now the economic situation has just gotten worse and there have been no further offer. This is something I'm still trying to get over. At the same time, I think it's better that they rent the house. My dad would never manage that amount of money well. He doesn't "believe" in investing.

My brother can't access student loans as he is an international student. So we just have to pay upfront somehow. He's studying to be an accountant; not sure how good prospects are in that industry, but I'm sure he'll do fine if and when he completes his program. I just don't want to have to support him in the process.

"Your debt to your parents has been paid by sponsoring them to live in Canada: the value of that is priceless.  They have eight or ten times the wealth you do: don't give them any more money." - Thanks for this. I really appreciate you saying this.

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2016, 03:06:08 PM »
i've been in a similar situation since I graduated college and it's a struggle that I can sympathize with.
I don't really have any advice as I'm still feeling my way through it.
But I do have some observations.  Hope they help!

1) Talking about finances with my parents rarely led to more responsible behavior.
They really did not want to sacrifice anything in their lifestyle until they had no choice.
every time we talked, it seemed like my words went in one ear and out the other.
they had to hit rock bottom first.
now they have improved a lot and they have cut back frivolous spending in many ways.

2) Positive reinforcement works really well on them.
I noticed them picking up little frugal habits over time and made sure to comment on how much smarter they were growing.

3) Giving them money didn't reduce the guilt feelings for me.
Fundamentally, I can always give more because I have so much more assets than my parents.

4) processing guilt takes time and a lot of discussion with my wife.
reading harry browne's book helped, although I cannot be as cold hearted as he seems to be.
I still have a lot to process because I'll probably retire before they do.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/82104.How_I_Found_Freedom_in_an_Unfree_World

5) I paid for parts of my brother's undergrad tuition and gave him free room during grad school.
no regrets there.

6) I budget a monthly amount for my parents. 
Both of my siblings plan to give the same amount and that works well for now.

MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2016, 03:25:01 PM »
i've been in a similar situation since I graduated college and it's a struggle that I can sympathize with.
I don't really have any advice as I'm still feeling my way through it.
But I do have some observations.  Hope they help!

1) Talking about finances with my parents rarely led to more responsible behavior.
They really did not want to sacrifice anything in their lifestyle until they had no choice.
every time we talked, it seemed like my words went in one ear and out the other.
they had to hit rock bottom first.
now they have improved a lot and they have cut back frivolous spending in many ways.

2) Positive reinforcement works really well on them.
I noticed them picking up little frugal habits over time and made sure to comment on how much smarter they were growing.

3) Giving them money didn't reduce the guilt feelings for me.
Fundamentally, I can always give more because I have so much more assets than my parents.

4) processing guilt takes time and a lot of discussion with my wife.
reading harry browne's book helped, although I cannot be as cold hearted as he seems to be.
I still have a lot to process because I'll probably retire before they do.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/82104.How_I_Found_Freedom_in_an_Unfree_World

5) I paid for parts of my brother's undergrad tuition and gave him free room during grad school.
no regrets there.

6) I budget a monthly amount for my parents. 
Both of my siblings plan to give the same amount and that works well for now.

Wow. Thank you so much for your input. Very insightful. I will definitely look into the book as it seems like a really good read.  I'll also consider the monthly allowance, as much as I don't want to. Maybe I can commit to taking care of one bill for them (e.g. health insurance). Lots to think about here...

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2016, 03:44:20 PM »
If they make assumptions about your income - then remind them that you scrimp and save and live in a one bedroom apartment to save money b/c the future is uncertain.

Lead by example when you can - let them know of your frugal efforts and dedication to income stability.

You don't need to share news of when you go out for fun.

Beware of connecting with them via social media.

You just need to compartmentalize your life until everyone gets a good solid footing and can support themselves but...

...on the other hand the inclination of family members to ask you for money might mean long term you need to maintain the division.

Every family is different. In my family for example no money is ever asked for or loaned. A rare and modest monetary gift perhaps.

I could go to my family to ask for help but I haven't and wouldn't unless I could not solve my problems no other way myself. There would be likely be various negative judgments laid upon me by those family members.

Financially I consider DW and I to wholly independent. In-laws would help but they are retired and are of modest means.

This isn't a bad situation and protects us from more distant family who are capable of working jobs but spend loosely. 

MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2016, 04:30:57 PM »
If they make assumptions about your income - then remind them that you scrimp and save and live in a one bedroom apartment to save money b/c the future is uncertain.

Lead by example when you can - let them know of your frugal efforts and dedication to income stability.

You don't need to share news of when you go out for fun.

Beware of connecting with them via social media.

You just need to compartmentalize your life until everyone gets a good solid footing and can support themselves but...

...on the other hand the inclination of family members to ask you for money might mean long term you need to maintain the division.

Every family is different. In my family for example no money is ever asked for or loaned. A rare and modest monetary gift perhaps.

I could go to my family to ask for help but I haven't and wouldn't unless I could not solve my problems no other way myself. There would be likely be various negative judgments laid upon me by those family members.

Financially I consider DW and I to wholly independent. In-laws would help but they are retired and are of modest means.

This isn't a bad situation and protects us from more distant family who are capable of working jobs but spend loosely.

Thanks for the heads up regarding social media. It just dawned on me that they probably think we have lots of money because we go on vacation every year. Sigh... I realize now that there have been instances where I was too open about my life.

Regarding money and families, with my in-laws, we exchange monetary gifts here and there on special occasions. With my family, it's been a one-way thing as already mentioned in my original post. I will definitely talk to DH about this and make some changes.

MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2016, 04:38:09 PM »
+1 for the keeping your financials your own business.--- set boundaries and keep them at a distance until your relationship is healthier----  go to counseling about relationships. 

If you can't say no now you'll not be able to say no when they are at the door.... JUST SAY NO---- forget giving them a reason (we're being frugal, saving for something important, FIRE....) they likely don't care or won't listen and it only gives them a reason to continue asking since they know the money is there.....

Set boundaries.... the next time there's a trip/expense they need to pay for--- don't swoop in and save the day. Let them miss out-- you'tr not being a meany---it's their behavior that led to not being able to make the visit or whatever....

Consider this is far less about money than emotions/behavior.
... almost everyone knows a family member or friend who "will never be broke as long as they have a friend".......

THIS SPEAKS VOLUMES:
1. My mum visited last year for my graduation. She really wanted to come because she missed my first graduation. I knew it was a bad idea financially since they had barely any income, but she said she had $5,000 put away that she could use for the trip (return flights from my country are $2,200 on average). I purchased her ticked online since they don't have wifi at home and she promised to pay me back when she arrived. She arrived a month later with $300 to her name, saying that she wasn't able to access the money due to issues with the bank but would wire it to me when she got back. It's been over a year and I haven't seen that money.



Put the details in bold into other contexts and this will repeat itself again....it probably already has-- with you, other relatives, business concerns....

Setting boundaries is definitely something I need to work on. I'm a real pushover. Thank you for your insights... I have lots to meditate on. I haven't really taken the time to work on/reflect on my relationships with anyone other than my husband, but your comment made me realize that I need to talk to my mum on a less superficial level and leave money out of our conversations.

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2016, 05:13:50 PM »
I really feel for you.

Mooching behavior will expand to consume all resources supplied to it - and more.

The only way to stop them from mooching off you is not to let them, no matter how often they try.

Hope the graphic helps!


Personally, I'm very direct about really important things with people who are consistently a problem.  This is because people who are consistently a problem are either unable or unwilling to take subtle hints to change their behavior for the better.

So, based upon that worldview, this is the conversation I feel really needs to take place.  For reasons that will be apparent, it should most definitely NOT be in your home.   It should be someplace you can leave without any delay.

I understand you won't want to say anything like this:

"Mom, dad, we don't have room to put you up.   We don't have money to support you.  Remember the thousands of dollars I already spent on your behalf over the last few years?  (List them out in detail.)  Well, you have already spent what I had available to help you with."

"Because you have had a habit of routinely lying to me about money, and then expecting me to provide thousands of dollars to bail you out, I figured you would show up broke and expect the same treatment.  Instead, I've compiled a list of social services that are available to residents of this country who are indigent."

"I will be providing $X per month for Y number of months to help you get settled.  That is all there will ever be.  The Bank of Daughter will then be closed.   It is time to grow up."

"I understand that what I have told you, despite it being absolutely and completely true, will undoubtedly make you very angry.   I will leave now so that you have a chance to calm down and think about this."

"Let me know if you are willing to proceed together under those terms.  They are non-negotiable."

I had to have some very unpleasant talks with my parents about their completely unacceptable racism.   Phrases like "That is completely untrue, and I am ashamed of you when you say things like that." were part of those conversations.   Not fun.  Not one bit.   Didn't change their views but at least I rarely had to listen to them anymore.

That's probably the best you can hope for.   I sincerely someone wiser has a miracle cure for you.

God bless.




MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2016, 05:32:44 PM »
I really feel for you.

Mooching behavior will expand to consume all resources supplied to it - and more.

The only way to stop them from mooching off you is not to let them, no matter how often they try.

Hope the graphic helps!


Personally, I'm very direct about really important things with people who are consistently a problem.  This is because people who are consistently a problem are either unable or unwilling to take subtle hints to change their behavior for the better.

So, based upon that worldview, this is the conversation I feel really needs to take place.  For reasons that will be apparent, it should most definitely NOT be in your home.   It should be someplace you can leave without any delay.

I understand you won't want to say anything like this:

"Mom, dad, we don't have room to put you up.   We don't have money to support you.  Remember the thousands of dollars I already spent on your behalf over the last few years?  (List them out in detail.)  Well, you have already spent what I had available to help you with."

"Because you have had a habit of routinely lying to me about money, and then expecting me to provide thousands of dollars to bail you out, I figured you would show up broke and expect the same treatment.  Instead, I've compiled a list of social services that are available to residents of this country who are indigent."

"I will be providing $X per month for Y number of months to help you get settled.  That is all there will ever be.  The Bank of Daughter will then be closed.   It is time to grow up."

"I understand that what I have told you, despite it being absolutely and completely true, will undoubtedly make you very angry.   I will leave now so that you have a chance to calm down and think about this."

"Let me know if you are willing to proceed together under those terms.  They are non-negotiable."

I had to have some very unpleasant talks with my parents about their completely unacceptable racism.   Phrases like "That is completely untrue, and I am ashamed of you when you say things like that." were part of those conversations.   Not fun.  Not one bit.   Didn't change their views but at least I rarely had to listen to them anymore.

That's probably the best you can hope for.   I sincerely someone wiser has a miracle cure for you.

God bless.

Thank you for laying that conversation out so blatantly for me. I haven't been able to be so direct with anyone to be honest. The difficulty stems from our culture. We are taught to respect elders and that elders are always right. I've always had a problem with this, but I have never had a frank conversation with my parents about anything, as it would be seen as disrespectful. Same with my husband and his family. Your outside views on this are really helpful. I just need to suck it up and say no.

SwordGuy

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2016, 06:17:30 PM »
I'm glad it helped.

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2016, 06:21:03 PM »
Before you go any further, what level of support are you committed to if you sponsor their immigration to Canada?

MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2016, 07:54:19 PM »
Before you go any further, what level of support are you committed to if you sponsor their immigration to Canada?

To be honest, none. When we agreed that I would sponsor them, the deal was that they would sell their assets and move to Canada to retire and work part time. That didn't involve any financial support from me. In sponsoring them, I signed an agreement with the government that I would be financially responsible for them for the next 20 years. This means that if they access any social services, I receive a nice big tax bill to pay that back (this does not include health care; they can access that with no consequences). I have no issues with that, as they had agreed that they would not access welfare and would rather survive on their assets (if sold) or rental income from their home. So far, the sale of the house has not come to fruition... Hence my sudden concerns.

They already have their permanent residence. They just need to arrive here to activate it. The sponsorship process is a done deal. I hope this answers your question and that I understood it correctly.

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2016, 08:10:49 PM »
Oh, dear.

What kind of tax bill are you talking about ?

Because if nothing changes I think you will be paying it.

Better to plan for the worst and be happy than be surprised. :(

MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2016, 08:22:11 PM »
Oh, dear.

What kind of tax bill are you talking about ?

Because if nothing changes I think you will be paying it.

Better to plan for the worst and be happy than be surprised. :(

Basically, whatever they take out in social services, I have to pay back in full. So if, for example, they access housing supports or income supplements in any form, I get a nice bill from the tax man when I file my taxes the following year. I know for a fact that they are too proud to depend on any handouts, but 20 years is a long time and things could (will) change. I'm prepared for that, and I assume they would let me know if things got so bad that they needed social services. If that's the case, then I would rather help financially than have them do that.  This is a conscious decision I made when I agreed to sponsor them. I just thought that they would get their acts together when it finally came down to making the big move, since they are technically wealthier than I am.

LeRainDrop

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2016, 09:03:43 PM »
+1 for the keeping your financials your own business.--- set boundaries and keep them at a distance until your relationship is healthier----  go to counseling about relationships. 

If you can't say no now you'll not be able to say no when they are at the door.... JUST SAY NO---- forget giving them a reason (we're being frugal, saving for something important, FIRE....) they likely don't care or won't listen and it only gives them a reason to continue asking since they know the money is there.....

Set boundaries.... the next time there's a trip/expense they need to pay for--- don't swoop in and save the day. Let them miss out-- you'tr not being a meany---it's their behavior that led to not being able to make the visit or whatever....

Consider this is far less about money than emotions/behavior.
... almost everyone knows a family member or friend who "will never be broke as long as they have a friend".......

THIS SPEAKS VOLUMES:
1. My mum visited last year for my graduation. She really wanted to come because she missed my first graduation. I knew it was a bad idea financially since they had barely any income, but she said she had $5,000 put away that she could use for the trip (return flights from my country are $2,200 on average). I purchased her ticked online since they don't have wifi at home and she promised to pay me back when she arrived. She arrived a month later with $300 to her name, saying that she wasn't able to access the money due to issues with the bank but would wire it to me when she got back. It's been over a year and I haven't seen that money.



Put the details in bold into other contexts and this will repeat itself again....it probably already has-- with you, other relatives, business concerns....

Setting boundaries is definitely something I need to work on. I'm a real pushover. Thank you for your insights... I have lots to meditate on. I haven't really taken the time to work on/reflect on my relationships with anyone other than my husband, but your comment made me realize that I need to talk to my mum on a less superficial level and leave money out of our conversations.

Yes, yes, yes!  Sd did a great job laying it all out.  To help learn boundaries skills, I would recommend to you the book Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by psychologists Henry Cloud and John Townsend.

Do your parents have a problem with dishonesty in other aspects of their life, or just when it comes to "borrowing" money from their daughter?  What's in the past is pretty egregious, and by sponsoring them, you are taking on a huge responsibility and financial liability.  I think you really need to have the hard conversation with them now that you are not going to provide them any other financial support whatsoever, not even a "loan," and you can't take on the legal burden of sponsoring them.  Cancel the BnB reservation.  If for some reason they end up coming anyway, they can stay in one of those extended stay hotels that charges a couple hundred dollars per week.

I also get the fact that other cultures have different expectations, and the take-care-of-family pressure is probably, on the whole, less in my American culture than it probably is in your heritage culture.  I can't pretend to understand that difference because it is not what I've experienced.  That said, it stretches all credulity to believe that dishonesty and deceitful conduct towards one's children is a strong value in your culture.  Yet, sorry, but that is what you are getting from your parents.  Your parents are not truthful and they are not holding up their end of the bargain in exchange for your sponsorship.

MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #19 on: September 20, 2016, 09:42:03 PM »
+1 for the keeping your financials your own business.--- set boundaries and keep them at a distance until your relationship is healthier----  go to counseling about relationships. 

If you can't say no now you'll not be able to say no when they are at the door.... JUST SAY NO---- forget giving them a reason (we're being frugal, saving for something important, FIRE....) they likely don't care or won't listen and it only gives them a reason to continue asking since they know the money is there.....

Set boundaries.... the next time there's a trip/expense they need to pay for--- don't swoop in and save the day. Let them miss out-- you'tr not being a meany---it's their behavior that led to not being able to make the visit or whatever....

Consider this is far less about money than emotions/behavior.
... almost everyone knows a family member or friend who "will never be broke as long as they have a friend".......

THIS SPEAKS VOLUMES:
1. My mum visited last year for my graduation. She really wanted to come because she missed my first graduation. I knew it was a bad idea financially since they had barely any income, but she said she had $5,000 put away that she could use for the trip (return flights from my country are $2,200 on average). I purchased her ticked online since they don't have wifi at home and she promised to pay me back when she arrived. She arrived a month later with $300 to her name, saying that she wasn't able to access the money due to issues with the bank but would wire it to me when she got back. It's been over a year and I haven't seen that money.



Put the details in bold into other contexts and this will repeat itself again....it probably already has-- with you, other relatives, business concerns....

Setting boundaries is definitely something I need to work on. I'm a real pushover. Thank you for your insights... I have lots to meditate on. I haven't really taken the time to work on/reflect on my relationships with anyone other than my husband, but your comment made me realize that I need to talk to my mum on a less superficial level and leave money out of our conversations.

Yes, yes, yes!  Sd did a great job laying it all out.  To help learn boundaries skills, I would recommend to you the book Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by psychologists Henry Cloud and John Townsend.

Do your parents have a problem with dishonesty in other aspects of their life, or just when it comes to "borrowing" money from their daughter?  What's in the past is pretty egregious, and by sponsoring them, you are taking on a huge responsibility and financial liability.  I think you really need to have the hard conversation with them now that you are not going to provide them any other financial support whatsoever, not even a "loan," and you can't take on the legal burden of sponsoring them.  Cancel the BnB reservation.  If for some reason they end up coming anyway, they can stay in one of those extended stay hotels that charges a couple hundred dollars per week.

I also get the fact that other cultures have different expectations, and the take-care-of-family pressure is probably, on the whole, less in my American culture than it probably is in your heritage culture.  I can't pretend to understand that difference because it is not what I've experienced.  That said, it stretches all credulity to believe that dishonesty and deceitful conduct towards one's children is a strong value in your culture.  Yet, sorry, but that is what you are getting from your parents.  Your parents are not truthful and they are not holding up their end of the bargain in exchange for your sponsorship.

Thanks for the link to the book. I'm sure it will be great read! In terms of dishonesty in other life aspects, I would say no. They haven't lied about other things, but they just aren't very good at communicating things. My dad has always had control over the household finances and has managed them dismally. He has never been open with my mum regarding what he does with the money, and isn't open to suggestions about money management from anyone. My mum has been a SAHM for the last 15 years and hasn't mad very much income in her lifetime. This is a story that deserves its own forum post... But I'll let it slide otherwise I'll be in for an emotional time.

Based on the feedback I've received, I will definitely have a talk with them. It just seems like the type of conversation that I would need to have in person, and that would be in November when they arrive. I'll see if my mum contacts me at all this week so I can start laying down the foundation for this big talk. I think she is avoiding me because they haven't paid back the money for the flights. I will also cancel the BnB if I don't hear anything positive in the next few weeks.

RetiredAt63

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #20 on: September 21, 2016, 06:32:24 AM »
Before you go any further, what level of support are you committed to if you sponsor their immigration to Canada?

To be honest, none. When we agreed that I would sponsor them, the deal was that they would sell their assets and move to Canada to retire and work part time. That didn't involve any financial support from me. In sponsoring them, I signed an agreement with the government that I would be financially responsible for them for the next 20 years. This means that if they access any social services, I receive a nice big tax bill to pay that back (this does not include health care; they can access that with no consequences). I have no issues with that, as they had agreed that they would not access welfare and would rather survive on their assets (if sold) or rental income from their home. So far, the sale of the house has not come to fruition... Hence my sudden concerns.

They already have their permanent residence. They just need to arrive here to activate it. The sponsorship process is a done deal. I hope this answers your question and that I understood it correctly.

This is what I was asking.  You are already committed and it is a big commitment. I think it is perfectly reasonable to expect your parents to get their financial house in order given this level of financial commitment on your part.

Making Cookies

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #21 on: September 21, 2016, 08:54:34 AM »
If they make assumptions about your income - then remind them that you scrimp and save and live in a one bedroom apartment to save money b/c the future is uncertain.

Lead by example when you can - let them know of your frugal efforts and dedication to income stability.

You don't need to share news of when you go out for fun.

Beware of connecting with them via social media.

You just need to compartmentalize your life until everyone gets a good solid footing and can support themselves but...

...on the other hand the inclination of family members to ask you for money might mean long term you need to maintain the division.

Every family is different. In my family for example no money is ever asked for or loaned. A rare and modest monetary gift perhaps.

I could go to my family to ask for help but I haven't and wouldn't unless I could not solve my problems no other way myself. There would be likely be various negative judgments laid upon me by those family members.

Financially I consider DW and I to wholly independent. In-laws would help but they are retired and are of modest means.

This isn't a bad situation and protects us from more distant family who are capable of working jobs but spend loosely.

Thanks for the heads up regarding social media. It just dawned on me that they probably think we have lots of money because we go on vacation every year. Sigh... I realize now that there have been instances where I was too open about my life.

Regarding money and families, with my in-laws, we exchange monetary gifts here and there on special occasions. With my family, it's been a one-way thing as already mentioned in my original post. I will definitely talk to DH about this and make some changes.

If you must, explain that your savings account is nearly drained and you are working to rebuild your savings so no, you can't help with semi-frivolous topic #37. Little lies to protect yourself.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2016, 09:03:53 AM by Joe Lucky »

zolotiyeruki

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #22 on: September 21, 2016, 09:16:44 AM »
Basically, whatever they take out in social services, I have to pay back in full. So if, for example, they access housing supports or income supplements in any form, I get a nice bill from the tax man when I file my taxes the following year. I know for a fact that they are too proud to depend on any handouts, but 20 years is a long time and things could (will) change. I'm prepared for that, and I assume they would let me know if things got so bad that they needed social services. If that's the case, then I would rather help financially than have them do that.  This is a conscious decision I made when I agreed to sponsor them. I just thought that they would get their acts together when it finally came down to making the big move, since they are technically wealthier than I am.
This is just my opinion, based on the facts you've posted...

Given this fact, and their pattern of behavior, I personally would not offer to sponsor them, and would rescind that offer immediately.  Simply put, your parents have a habit of making promises to support themselves, then "borrowing" money from you, and never repaying it.  This falls directly into the "I'll gladly pay you tomorrow for a hamburger today" category.  I can only imagine that if they immigrated, they would either A) continually ask you for financial support, or B) rely on welfare ("supports"), in which case you get the bill.  Or both.  Either way, the result is the same--you foot their bill.  You have zero guarantee that once they arrive, they'll go back to work and support themselves, and if they don't change, there is a very high probability that the opposite will happen.

Until your parents actually change their behavior, I'd recommend that you quit supporting them financially, and abandon the whole immigration sponsorship.  And they won't change their behavior until their current situation becomes painful enough to motivate them to change.

frugaliknowit

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #23 on: September 21, 2016, 09:54:00 AM »
I would strongly advise them to sell all of their overseas assets and bank the money before they come.  The rental will be a big headache, especially with currency issues.  It will give them a lot more flexibility and will help "firewall" you from having to bail them out (like when the tennant doesn't pay...).

totoro

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #24 on: September 21, 2016, 09:54:13 AM »
Well, they are your parents, they did pay $40,000 to send you to Canada to be educated, they are experiencing difficulties in their home country and they do have fairly significant assets too which at some point can hopefully be liquidated to give them a boost in Canada.  Plus with both you and your brother here it would be a shame to have your parents a $2200 flight away later in life when they are not as healthy as now if you all get along.  And if you have kids (not sure if you plan to) grandparents can be a huge blessing.

I do think this is about communicating expectations and setting boundaries.  I'm not sure how hard the times are for RE in your home country but selling the house is a pretty key step if they are permanently relocating even if it is much less than it would have been last year - coming without funds seems foolhardy.  You only have the deal of the day and if today it is $600,000 that is a pretty significant nest egg and protection from dependence on you plus freedom for them. 

I think you need to sit down with your parents and tell them in a loving way that you are really worried that you don't have the means to subsidize their lives but you have taken on this responsibility and it is very stressful for you.  They are not going to want this for you and probably don't realize the impact and also have some shame/avoidance about their own financial losses.

As for your father's poor money management skills, I think this does need to be addressed given your legal responsibility for their future should he fritter the money away.  I would insist in a kind way on a plan for the funds that will preserve capital and provide a safety net - almost like a bond.  In Victoria they could buy an apartment in Fairfield for $300,000 or a cheaper one in another area.  If you want to go in on a multi-family house with you that could give you and your partner a big boost up in getting into the market.  Look for a win win if possible.

Anyway, big hug and I hope you can communicate your feelings and concerns to them successfully and set boundaries where appropriate.   You've probably already accessed the Victoria Immigrant & Refugee Society and Intercultural Society resources but, if not, this was a help when my MIL came to live with us.


Bicycle_B

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #25 on: September 21, 2016, 10:20:29 AM »
Basically, whatever they take out in social services, I have to pay back in full. So if, for example, they access housing supports or income supplements in any form, I get a nice bill from the tax man when I file my taxes the following year. I know for a fact that they are too proud to depend on any handouts, but 20 years is a long time and things could (will) change. I'm prepared for that, and I assume they would let me know if things got so bad that they needed social services. If that's the case, then I would rather help financially than have them do that.  This is a conscious decision I made when I agreed to sponsor them. I just thought that they would get their acts together when it finally came down to making the big move, since they are technically wealthier than I am.
This is just my opinion, based on the facts you've posted...

Given this fact, and their pattern of behavior, I personally would not offer to sponsor them, and would rescind that offer immediately.  Simply put, your parents have a habit of making promises to support themselves, then "borrowing" money from you, and never repaying it.  This falls directly into the "I'll gladly pay you tomorrow for a hamburger today" category.  I can only imagine that if they immigrated, they would either A) continually ask you for financial support, or B) rely on welfare ("supports"), in which case you get the bill.  Or both.  Either way, the result is the same--you foot their bill.  You have zero guarantee that once they arrive, they'll go back to work and support themselves, and if they don't change, there is a very high probability that the opposite will happen.

Until your parents actually change their behavior, I'd recommend that you quit supporting them financially, and abandon the whole immigration sponsorship.  And they won't change their behavior until their current situation becomes painful enough to motivate them to change.

As an outsider, it honestly seems like Zoot is right. 

If you're on the hook for all of their benefits, couldn't that add up to tens of thousands of dollars per year?  As in, potentially a total of over half a million dollars (housing, medical, etc)?  Have you determined what that figure could be?  Wouldn't it destroy your ability to FIRE?  Once they're here, you've lost control, eh?

I am baffled as to how Canada is better given their irresponsibility.  Costs are 70% higher according to Numbeo (http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_countries_result.jsp?country1=South+Africa&country2=Canada ... my crutch since I don't know the facts.)  Plus there's a huge responsibility - 20 years of "public" benefits that are really "you will pay for anything that the Canadian govt feels a person should have".  If you're going to pay back the filial responsibility at a high rate of 5x or 10x, which is fine, isn't it better to limit it to amounts you can control?

If you are willing to spend $20,000/year, you can support them in South Africa.  If you're not, you probably can't support them in Canada.  Better to triage these ugly facts now.  Courage!

totoro

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #26 on: September 21, 2016, 10:33:57 AM »
They already have their permanent residence. They just need to arrive here to activate it. The sponsorship process is a done deal. I hope this answers your question and that I understood it correctly.

For those advocating reversal of sponsorship the OP has already indicated that it is a done deal.  You cannot withdraw sponsorship after permanent residency has been granted.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2016, 10:35:36 AM by totoro »

SunshineGirl

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #27 on: September 21, 2016, 10:45:16 AM »
I REALLY think you're screwed unless you insist they sell the house before they come. You have leverage because you're paying for their tickets over, right? Enlist your brother's help.

You can say, "I've spent a ton of money helping you guys out in the last couple years, and I just can't keep doing it. You said ("promised") you'd sell the house before you came, and you need to do that. I've called the airline company and postponed your flights until the house is settled. The economy sucks, yes, but it might never get better, and at this moment, the house is worth XX. It doesn't matter anymore what it used to be worth. It just needs to be sold. I'm sorry to be harsh about this, but that was the deal we had, and you need money in the bank before you come."   

tonysemail

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #28 on: September 21, 2016, 10:46:47 AM »
I agree with totoro.  It's an immensely complicated topic and full of bad emotions.
You'll have to live with your decisions for better or worse.
Make sure your behavior matches your values.
Sometimes, a good test is to ask whether the 10 years older version of you would approve.

For example, you can choose to tell white lies about your finances or you can be brutally honest.
My parents make small choices to omit facts or be partially truthful and it always stings later when I uncover the truth.
I choose to behave differently than my parents and thus, I find myself practicing a policy of financial transparency.

p.s. I've been temporarily disowned by my parents previously.
So I guess be aware of that possible outcome.

AlanStache

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #29 on: September 21, 2016, 10:53:34 AM »
Sorry OP, I know it is hard.

If they are going to be coming and you are on the hook for them no matter what could you back out of helping your brother with University unless your parents liquidate property in the old country and/or get jobs; or maybe you could offer to match what your parents contribute to his schooling?  This really sucks for him but you need to figure out who you can and who you are required to support. 

Have you spoken to your brother about your parents?  If he is going into accounting could you show him all the expenses and tell him that you cant support all that, would he get on board with helping make your parents more responsible? 

MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #30 on: September 21, 2016, 10:54:58 AM »
Well, they are your parents, they did pay $40,000 to send you to Canada to be educated, they are experiencing difficulties in their home country and they do have fairly significant assets too which at some point can hopefully be liquidated to give them a boost in Canada.  Plus with both you and your brother here it would be a shame to have your parents a $2200 flight away later in life when they are not as healthy as now if you all get along.  And if you have kids (not sure if you plan to) grandparents can be a huge blessing.

I do think this is about communicating expectations and setting boundaries.  I'm not sure how hard the times are for RE in your home country but selling the house is a pretty key step if they are permanently relocating even if it is much less than it would have been last year - coming without funds seems foolhardy.  You only have the deal of the day and if today it is $600,000 that is a pretty significant nest egg and protection from dependence on you plus freedom for them. 

I think you need to sit down with your parents and tell them in a loving way that you are really worried that you don't have the means to subsidize their lives but you have taken on this responsibility and it is very stressful for you.  They are not going to want this for you and probably don't realize the impact and also have some shame/avoidance about their own financial losses.

As for your father's poor money management skills, I think this does need to be addressed given your legal responsibility for their future should he fritter the money away.  I would insist in a kind way on a plan for the funds that will preserve capital and provide a safety net - almost like a bond.  In Victoria they could buy an apartment in Fairfield for $300,000 or a cheaper one in another area.  If you want to go in on a multi-family house with you that could give you and your partner a big boost up in getting into the market.  Look for a win win if possible.

Anyway, big hug and I hope you can communicate your feelings and concerns to them successfully and set boundaries where appropriate.   You've probably already accessed the Victoria Immigrant & Refugee Society and Intercultural Society resources but, if not, this was a help when my MIL came to live with us.

Thanks so much for your response. I'm struggling to find the fine line between being firm in what I can provide to them and being unnecessarily mean. The hardest part for me is communicating the message effectively. I'm close with my mum and can chat with her just fine, but I don't have much of a relationship with my dad, so it's harder to talk to him. This is where it matters most, because he controls their finances. But, I've been given great advice so far, and I now at least have a starting point.

Real estate back home is tough. We currently use the US dollar (and other currencies) but cash flow is low and no one is willing to part with their US dollars at this time. So I doubt the house will sell for at least another year. I did let them know that they will need at least $20,000 for the first 6 months while here to get settled etc, and a minimum of $2,000 per month after that. So, the plan was to sell as much as possible to put together that money, and then hope a buyer for the house comes along soon. If they do sell the house, buying an apartment or duplex here sounds like a good idea, but I wouldn't want to share a multifamily home with them at this point, given their financial track record.

Oh, and I had completely forgotten about the Victoria ICA for resources, so thanks for this reminder. I'll forward the website to them as I'm sure it will be a great place for them to start in terms of looking for employment and integrating to a new life.

Miss Piggy

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #31 on: September 21, 2016, 10:59:33 AM »
Question: You mentioned that your parents' house could be worth up to $800,000. (Let's assume/home that's a decent guesstimate, and it sells in a reasonable time.) Do they own their house outright, or do they owe money on it? That would make a huge difference in this whole conversation. I get the feeling they may still owe money on it, since it sounds like they are really struggling (no internet, no credit cards, etc.).

MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #32 on: September 21, 2016, 11:01:13 AM »
I agree with totoro.  It's an immensely complicated topic and full of bad emotions.
You'll have to live with your decisions for better or worse.
Make sure your behavior matches your values.
Sometimes, a good test is to ask whether the 10 years older version of you would approve.

For example, you can choose to tell white lies about your finances or you can be brutally honest.
My parents make small choices to omit facts or be partially truthful and it always stings later when I uncover the truth.
I choose to behave differently than my parents and thus, I find myself practicing a policy of financial transparency.

p.s. I've been temporarily disowned by my parents previously.
So I guess be aware of that possible outcome.

I've always been a transparent person, but I'm concerned that if I'm transparent about my finances, they will feel that I have more than enough money to support them. If I told them we have 100k in savings, they would most likely insist that I support them since I have the resources. They don't quite get why we need to save money at such a young age as they never had a savings ethic.

MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #33 on: September 21, 2016, 11:11:15 AM »
Question: You mentioned that your parents' house could be worth up to $800,000. (Let's assume/home that's a decent guesstimate, and it sells in a reasonable time.) Do they own their house outright, or do they owe money on it? That would make a huge difference in this whole conversation. I get the feeling they may still owe money on it, since it sounds like they are really struggling (no internet, no credit cards, etc.).

They own the house outright. They just have very little cash flow. No internet/credit cards is common in my country (sketchy government, unreliable banking system, 90% unemployment).

SKL-HOU

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #34 on: September 21, 2016, 11:14:14 AM »

I've always been a transparent person, but I'm concerned that if I'm transparent about my finances, they will feel that I have more than enough money to support them. If I told them we have 100k in savings, they would most likely insist that I support them since I have the resources. They don't quite get why we need to save money at such a young age as they never had a savings ethic.

I cannot imagine my parents ever "insisting" that I support them. In your case, do not tell them about your savings. I think it is even okay to lie. You can tell them you cannot afford a bigger place and that's why you live in a 1 bedroom. You can even tell them you walk to work because you cannot afford a car. Also, say they come to Canada and have no money and start taking benefits. Would they continue after the first year after you show them the bill you were sent because of them? I am thinking that might be an eye-opener. After all they are not doing this to get at you or anything, they are just irresponsible but in the end I am sure they have your best interest at heart (I say that because why else would they pay for your schooling at the time). So I doubt you really would be stuck for 20 years of paying benefits back.

MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #35 on: September 21, 2016, 11:14:50 AM »
Sorry OP, I know it is hard.

If they are going to be coming and you are on the hook for them no matter what could you back out of helping your brother with University unless your parents liquidate property in the old country and/or get jobs; or maybe you could offer to match what your parents contribute to his schooling?  This really sucks for him but you need to figure out who you can and who you are required to support. 

Have you spoken to your brother about your parents?  If he is going into accounting could you show him all the expenses and tell him that you cant support all that, would he get on board with helping make your parents more responsible?

I've spoken to my brother about the situation. He basically told me that it was stupid of me to buy their tickets as I would never see that money again. My brother is decent in that he hasn't asked me for a single penny. I just stepped in to help when I realized that my parents only gave him $300 when he came here. He's aware that I can't support him, and is trusting my parents to help him out (not sure how wise this is).

SKL-HOU

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #36 on: September 21, 2016, 11:16:27 AM »
If I were you, I would support your brother before supporting parents. It sounds like he has a decent work ethic and if you were to loan him money for school, he would pay it back. Am I wrong?

Miss Piggy

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #37 on: September 21, 2016, 11:17:14 AM »
They own the house outright. They just have very little cash flow. No internet/credit cards is common in my country (sketchy government, unreliable banking system, 90% unemployment).

Okay, that's good news.

MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #38 on: September 21, 2016, 11:23:56 AM »

I've always been a transparent person, but I'm concerned that if I'm transparent about my finances, they will feel that I have more than enough money to support them. If I told them we have 100k in savings, they would most likely insist that I support them since I have the resources. They don't quite get why we need to save money at such a young age as they never had a savings ethic.

I cannot imagine my parents ever "insisting" that I support them. In your case, do not tell them about your savings. I think it is even okay to lie. You can tell them you cannot afford a bigger place and that's why you live in a 1 bedroom. You can even tell them you walk to work because you cannot afford a car. Also, say they come to Canada and have no money and start taking benefits. Would they continue after the first year after you show them the bill you were sent because of them? I am thinking that might be an eye-opener. After all they are not doing this to get at you or anything, they are just irresponsible but in the end I am sure they have your best interest at heart (I say that because why else would they pay for your schooling at the time). So I doubt you really would be stuck for 20 years of paying benefits back.

I drive a Toyota that's just about as old as I am, so that should hopefully make them realize that I can't afford luxurious things, LOL! In my heart I truly believe they have my best interests at heart, but this is difficult to reconcile in my brain based on how they break their promises all the time. I'm certain that they wouldn't go on welfare as they are aware how it would affect me. My worry is that they don't realize just how expensive Canada is, and how important it is to have a retirement nest egg. Coming from Zimbabwe, one doesn't (can't) really plan on retirement given the sketchiness of the economy/government, so their mentality is VERY different and may take years to get them thinking from a First World perspective.

MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #39 on: September 21, 2016, 11:25:20 AM »
If I were you, I would support your brother before supporting parents. It sounds like he has a decent work ethic and if you were to loan him money for school, he would pay it back. Am I wrong?

Yes, he would pay it back. He has always paid me back the few instances I've loaned him money.

MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #40 on: September 21, 2016, 11:28:44 AM »
I REALLY think you're screwed unless you insist they sell the house before they come. You have leverage because you're paying for their tickets over, right? Enlist your brother's help.

You can say, "I've spent a ton of money helping you guys out in the last couple years, and I just can't keep doing it. You said ("promised") you'd sell the house before you came, and you need to do that. I've called the airline company and postponed your flights until the house is settled. The economy sucks, yes, but it might never get better, and at this moment, the house is worth XX. It doesn't matter anymore what it used to be worth. It just needs to be sold. I'm sorry to be harsh about this, but that was the deal we had, and you need money in the bank before you come."

Thanks for your input. I told my dad that selling at even $400k would be great, especially since that it's US dollars and he'd be exchanging that for Canadian dollars. I'm going to put a bit more pressure on them and see what happens over the next month.

MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #41 on: September 21, 2016, 11:35:43 AM »
Basically, whatever they take out in social services, I have to pay back in full. So if, for example, they access housing supports or income supplements in any form, I get a nice bill from the tax man when I file my taxes the following year. I know for a fact that they are too proud to depend on any handouts, but 20 years is a long time and things could (will) change. I'm prepared for that, and I assume they would let me know if things got so bad that they needed social services. If that's the case, then I would rather help financially than have them do that.  This is a conscious decision I made when I agreed to sponsor them. I just thought that they would get their acts together when it finally came down to making the big move, since they are technically wealthier than I am.
This is just my opinion, based on the facts you've posted...

Given this fact, and their pattern of behavior, I personally would not offer to sponsor them, and would rescind that offer immediately.  Simply put, your parents have a habit of making promises to support themselves, then "borrowing" money from you, and never repaying it.  This falls directly into the "I'll gladly pay you tomorrow for a hamburger today" category.  I can only imagine that if they immigrated, they would either A) continually ask you for financial support, or B) rely on welfare ("supports"), in which case you get the bill.  Or both.  Either way, the result is the same--you foot their bill.  You have zero guarantee that once they arrive, they'll go back to work and support themselves, and if they don't change, there is a very high probability that the opposite will happen.

Until your parents actually change their behavior, I'd recommend that you quit supporting them financially, and abandon the whole immigration sponsorship.  And they won't change their behavior until their current situation becomes painful enough to motivate them to change.

As an outsider, it honestly seems like Zoot is right. 

If you're on the hook for all of their benefits, couldn't that add up to tens of thousands of dollars per year?  As in, potentially a total of over half a million dollars (housing, medical, etc)?  Have you determined what that figure could be?  Wouldn't it destroy your ability to FIRE?  Once they're here, you've lost control, eh?

I am baffled as to how Canada is better given their irresponsibility.  Costs are 70% higher according to Numbeo (http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_countries_result.jsp?country1=South+Africa&country2=Canada ... my crutch since I don't know the facts.)  Plus there's a huge responsibility - 20 years of "public" benefits that are really "you will pay for anything that the Canadian govt feels a person should have".  If you're going to pay back the filial responsibility at a high rate of 5x or 10x, which is fine, isn't it better to limit it to amounts you can control?

If you are willing to spend $20,000/year, you can support them in South Africa.  If you're not, you probably can't support them in Canada.  Better to triage these ugly facts now.  Courage!

The social benefits do not include healthcare. They are entitled to healthcare just like any other Canadian citizen or permanent resident. Canada is meant to be a better option for them as they are still young (mid 50s) and the country would provide them with an opportunity to work for a few decades and be independent again. Back home there is 90% unemployment and the economy contracts every year and the government is sketchy, so it's hard to run a business.

I realize I'm taking a huge gamble by expecting them to actually sell the house, invest the money wisely, and find work here in Canada.

mskyle

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #42 on: September 21, 2016, 12:41:19 PM »
Sorry OP, I know it is hard.

If they are going to be coming and you are on the hook for them no matter what could you back out of helping your brother with University unless your parents liquidate property in the old country and/or get jobs; or maybe you could offer to match what your parents contribute to his schooling?  This really sucks for him but you need to figure out who you can and who you are required to support. 

Have you spoken to your brother about your parents?  If he is going into accounting could you show him all the expenses and tell him that you cant support all that, would he get on board with helping make your parents more responsible?

I've spoken to my brother about the situation. He basically told me that it was stupid of me to buy their tickets as I would never see that money again. My brother is decent in that he hasn't asked me for a single penny. I just stepped in to help when I realized that my parents only gave him $300 when he came here. He's aware that I can't support him, and is trusting my parents to help him out (not sure how wise this is).

So, I don't think you're stupid to have bought your parents those tickets, but I think you have to accept that any time you spend money on your parents, chances are you're not going to get that money back. Your parents have shown you that they can't or won't have realistic conversations about money with you, and it's time to recognize that any time they get vague or handwavy about how they're going to pay for something, chances are that things are not going to work out the way you would like.

I think with a lot of people, of all cultures, we want our family and our parents to be something that they're not necessarily capable of being. But we have to work with what we've got, and wishful thinking about how everything would work out fine if your parents would just get their act together isn't really helpful.

Good luck! Honestly I think you will all be fine in the end but you need to make decisions that are appropriate for the kind of people your parents actually are, not the kind of people you wish they were.

honeybbq

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #43 on: September 21, 2016, 12:46:02 PM »
" I will be financially responsible for them and they can't access any social services for the next 20 years, otherwise I have to pay it back. "

This statement alone horrifies me. You'll be on the hook for 2 aging parents' medical bills?


MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #44 on: September 21, 2016, 12:48:40 PM »
" I will be financially responsible for them and they can't access any social services for the next 20 years, otherwise I have to pay it back. "

This statement alone horrifies me. You'll be on the hook for 2 aging parents' medical bills?

Social services to do not include healthcare. They are entitled to provincial healthcare just like any other Canadian resident/citizen. So no, I will not be on the hook for medical bills. If this was the case, I definitely would not have sponsored them.

MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #45 on: September 21, 2016, 12:51:38 PM »
Sorry OP, I know it is hard.

If they are going to be coming and you are on the hook for them no matter what could you back out of helping your brother with University unless your parents liquidate property in the old country and/or get jobs; or maybe you could offer to match what your parents contribute to his schooling?  This really sucks for him but you need to figure out who you can and who you are required to support. 

Have you spoken to your brother about your parents?  If he is going into accounting could you show him all the expenses and tell him that you cant support all that, would he get on board with helping make your parents more responsible?

I've spoken to my brother about the situation. He basically told me that it was stupid of me to buy their tickets as I would never see that money again. My brother is decent in that he hasn't asked me for a single penny. I just stepped in to help when I realized that my parents only gave him $300 when he came here. He's aware that I can't support him, and is trusting my parents to help him out (not sure how wise this is).

So, I don't think you're stupid to have bought your parents those tickets, but I think you have to accept that any time you spend money on your parents, chances are you're not going to get that money back. Your parents have shown you that they can't or won't have realistic conversations about money with you, and it's time to recognize that any time they get vague or handwavy about how they're going to pay for something, chances are that things are not going to work out the way you would like.

I think with a lot of people, of all cultures, we want our family and our parents to be something that they're not necessarily capable of being. But we have to work with what we've got, and wishful thinking about how everything would work out fine if your parents would just get their act together isn't really helpful.

Good luck! Honestly I think you will all be fine in the end but you need to make decisions that are appropriate for the kind of people your parents actually are, not the kind of people you wish they were.

Thanks for this very realistic approach. I honestly just need to come to terms with the type of people they are, rather than the idea I have of them in my mind. You spelling that out is very helpful. I never looked at it that way.

totoro

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #46 on: September 21, 2016, 12:56:39 PM »
No, this is Canada and we have universal healthcare.  As stated above Canada does not charge permanent residents for medical care other than the small monthly premium.   What you are on "the hook" for is if they go on social assistance ie. public welfare assistance perhaps known as SA in the US. 

The sponsor must undertake to provide the sponsored family members with:

•Food, clothing, shelter and other basic requirements of everyday living; and
•Dental and eye care and other health needs not covered by public health services available to all Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
The obligation to provide for the essential needs of the sponsored person(s) will only arise if the sponsored person(s) are unable to provide for these needs on their own.

The welfare/SA rate in British Columbia for a family of two under 65 is about $900/month.   This is the likely worst case scenario the OP is facing should they have no funds or ability to support themselves - along with necessary dental and eye care.  I don't think it needs to go there ever given their asset base back home.


former player

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #47 on: September 21, 2016, 01:02:10 PM »
I would suggest that you cancel the B and B: booking it 1) creates the suggestion that you might be willing to take on financial responsibility for their accommodation, 2) potentially gives them overinflated ideas about the lifestyle and accommodation they will be able to afford (someone else to provide breakfast for them for a month!) 3) prevents them from having an immediate realisation of their future financial position and lifestyle in Canada.

You need to reset your parent's expectations, before and on arrival, to what is realistic.  Tell them now what their options for housing are and what they will cost, and that you will be happy to book something for them for their first month as soon as they have sent the money to cover it.

totoro

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #48 on: September 21, 2016, 01:16:37 PM »
I would suggest that you cancel the B and B: booking it 1) creates the suggestion that you might be willing to take on financial responsibility for their accommodation, 2) potentially gives them overinflated ideas about the lifestyle and accommodation they will be able to afford (someone else to provide breakfast for them for a month!) 3) prevents them from having an immediate realisation of their future financial position and lifestyle in Canada.

You need to reset your parent's expectations, before and on arrival, to what is realistic.  Tell them now what their options for housing are and what they will cost, and that you will be happy to book something for them for their first month as soon as they have sent the money to cover it.

The tickets are already bought and paid for.  They are, as I understand from the OP's post, coming.  Unless she wants them staying in their one bedroom with them the $1300/month bnb option is pretty good and very affordable for Victoria for short-term accommodation.  She has sponsored them and is already legally obligated to provide shelter for them if they cannot do so themselves.  They have permanent residency and are legally allowed to enter Canada and reside here.

In the OPs shoes I would keep the BnB unless she is prepared to have them in her house.  I would be looking for jobs for them now.  In Victoria there is always a need for infant/childcare and there are a lot of office assistant jobs here that can be a place to start from. 

zolotiyeruki

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #49 on: September 21, 2016, 01:21:25 PM »
They already have their permanent residence. They just need to arrive here to activate it. The sponsorship process is a done deal. I hope this answers your question and that I understood it correctly.

For those advocating reversal of sponsorship the OP has already indicated that it is a done deal.  You cannot withdraw sponsorship after permanent residency has been granted.
I missed that--thanks.  And YIKES, being in that situation would be downright terrifying.  Even without healthcare costs, your parents could very easily immigrate, then sit on their sofa all day for the next 20 years, and you would be paying all their bills.  And they have a pattern of taking advantage of you.  You are not just making yourself vulnerable, you are placing your entire NW in danger here.

I drive a Toyota that's just about as old as I am, so that should hopefully make them realize that I can't afford luxurious things,
Maybe I'm just jaded and cynical, but given what I've read in this thread, I not convinced your parents will adjust their expectations of standard of living based on your frugality.