Author Topic: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents  (Read 36580 times)

MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #100 on: September 23, 2016, 09:23:40 AM »
With regard to the house, are you sure that your parents will be able to get the money out even if they sell?

My sister was married to a Zimbabwean. They moved to the UK before they sold their property at Vic Falls. Once it sold the money went into their Zim bank account, no problems.

Except, they can't withdraw it. They have been back a couple of times and get the maximum amount out each time, but that's pretty minimal (maybe $1000 USD?. I can't exactly remember).

So yeah, just maybe look into whether the money can leave the country even if they do manage to sell, without them having to wait until El Presidento finally bites the dust (and assuming there isn't someone equally as corrupt and money-hungry waiting in the wings, which is a pretty big assumption.

Yes, it's pretty much impossible to get money out of the country at the moment. The daily limit is indeed USD$1,000. This is another issue altogether... We'll cross that bridge if and when we get there.

Captain FIRE

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #101 on: September 23, 2016, 09:31:35 AM »
So if they sold the house for $600k, between the two of them sending $1k each per day, it'd take almost a full year (300 days) to get all of the money out?

Ouch. 

And it doesn't seem as if even if they accepted an offer today that they'd have enough time for it to close to be able to get any money out.  They may never see that money.  You might want to plan accordingly, as if the house is a complete loss (because from this perspective, it sounds like it is).  I have to say, staying in the paid off house and simply paying their living costs is sounding more attractive.

I understand they used to work hard and make a lot of money and they've had setbacks due to the economy etc.  The issue is they appear - over a period of several years - to not be able to make the changes necessary to recover and begin moving forward again. 

Plan for the worst, hope for the best.

MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #102 on: September 23, 2016, 09:44:56 AM »
So if they sold the house for $600k, between the two of them sending $1k each per day, it'd take almost a full year (300 days) to get all of the money out?

Ouch. 

And it doesn't seem as if even if they accepted an offer today that they'd have enough time for it to close to be able to get any money out.  They may never see that money.  You might want to plan accordingly, as if the house is a complete loss (because from this perspective, it sounds like it is).  I have to say, staying in the paid off house and simply paying their living costs is sounding more attractive.

I understand they used to work hard and make a lot of money and they've had setbacks due to the economy etc.  The issue is they appear - over a period of several years - to not be able to make the changes necessary to recover and begin moving forward again. 

Plan for the worst, hope for the best.

Yes, it is a tricky situation. I think having the tenant for now is a good idea since selling is proving to be a challenge. The tenant is renting the place for business use, so she's a bit less sketchy than a regular renter. I'm hopeful that she will pay on time.

I realize that staying in the paid off house and giving them an allowance is an option. But like I said in my previous posts, in Canada they have the opportunity to work and not have to rely on an allowance from me (if all goes according to plan). This is indeed a huge risk I'm taking. They are lousy with their money, but they're good people and I'm hoping that having them closer will allow me to help them with their finances.

You are correct in that they haven't made any changes to alleviate their situation over the past decade. It's kind of the Zimbabwean way of thinking. The people keep hoping for change but not really doing anything to get to that point of change. This, however, is a story for another day/forum.

And I agree about planning for the worst. Worst case scenario is that they arrive with no money. In this case, they will just have to make do with my living room floor. Thanks for your input.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #103 on: September 23, 2016, 10:03:40 AM »
I realize that staying in the paid off house and giving them an allowance is an option. But like I said in my previous posts, in Canada they have the opportunity to work and not have to rely on an allowance from me (if all goes according to plan). This is indeed a huge risk I'm taking. They are lousy with their money, but they're good people and I'm hoping that having them closer will allow me to help them with their finances.

You are correct in that they haven't made any changes to alleviate their situation over the past decade. It's kind of the Zimbabwean way of thinking. The people keep hoping for change but not really doing anything to get to that point of change. This, however, is a story for another day/forum.
This, in a nutshell, is a classic setup for disaster.  The fact that you consider them "good people" does not mean that they will magically become more proactive, harder-working, or financially responsible when they arrive in Canada.

I'm sure you love your parents very much, and you want to help them, but I feel like your emotions are clouding your judgment.

MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #104 on: September 23, 2016, 10:25:25 AM »
I realize that staying in the paid off house and giving them an allowance is an option. But like I said in my previous posts, in Canada they have the opportunity to work and not have to rely on an allowance from me (if all goes according to plan). This is indeed a huge risk I'm taking. They are lousy with their money, but they're good people and I'm hoping that having them closer will allow me to help them with their finances.

You are correct in that they haven't made any changes to alleviate their situation over the past decade. It's kind of the Zimbabwean way of thinking. The people keep hoping for change but not really doing anything to get to that point of change. This, however, is a story for another day/forum.
This, in a nutshell, is a classic setup for disaster.  The fact that you consider them "good people" does not mean that they will magically become more proactive, harder-working, or financially responsible when they arrive in Canada.

I'm sure you love your parents very much, and you want to help them, but I feel like your emotions are clouding your judgment.

I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt here. Before being introduced to mmm, my DH and I were typical consumers with no savings and debt, but we were able to turn things around. We just needed a bit of motivation and some face punches. I know they are older and their capacity to change is lower, but I've read some journals on here of people in their 50s that turned things around once introduced to mmm and other similar lifestyles. I don't expect it to be a "magical" transformation, but more of a tough learning curve for them. High risk... yes, I know.

dougules

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #105 on: September 23, 2016, 10:59:05 AM »
So if they sold the house for $600k, between the two of them sending $1k each per day, it'd take almost a full year (300 days) to get all of the money out?

Ouch. 

And it doesn't seem as if even if they accepted an offer today that they'd have enough time for it to close to be able to get any money out.  They may never see that money.  You might want to plan accordingly, as if the house is a complete loss (because from this perspective, it sounds like it is).  I have to say, staying in the paid off house and simply paying their living costs is sounding more attractive.

I understand they used to work hard and make a lot of money and they've had setbacks due to the economy etc.  The issue is they appear - over a period of several years - to not be able to make the changes necessary to recover and begin moving forward again. 

Plan for the worst, hope for the best.

Yes, it is a tricky situation. I think having the tenant for now is a good idea since selling is proving to be a challenge. The tenant is renting the place for business use, so she's a bit less sketchy than a regular renter. I'm hopeful that she will pay on time.

I realize that staying in the paid off house and giving them an allowance is an option. But like I said in my previous posts, in Canada they have the opportunity to work and not have to rely on an allowance from me (if all goes according to plan). This is indeed a huge risk I'm taking. They are lousy with their money, but they're good people and I'm hoping that having them closer will allow me to help them with their finances.

You are correct in that they haven't made any changes to alleviate their situation over the past decade. It's kind of the Zimbabwean way of thinking. The people keep hoping for change but not really doing anything to get to that point of change. This, however, is a story for another day/forum.

And I agree about planning for the worst. Worst case scenario is that they arrive with no money. In this case, they will just have to make do with my living room floor. Thanks for your input.

My thoughts on the allowance weren't necessarily to send them packing back to Zimbabwe, although that was half of it.  The other side of it was that if your help is just barely getting them by in Canada on a very bare bones existence it might motivate them to get things together so they don't have to go back. 

Cassie

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #106 on: September 25, 2016, 01:50:52 PM »
I would give them a small allowance until the 40k is paid back.  I hope they find jobs fast.

LeRainDrop

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #107 on: November 03, 2016, 08:26:50 PM »
Hi, MrsPotato, just checking in and wondering how you're doing.  Anything new that you're willing to share with us?

MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #108 on: November 03, 2016, 08:42:11 PM »
Hi, MrsPotato, just checking in and wondering how you're doing.  Anything new that you're willing to share with us?

Hi there! My parents arrived safely on Nov 1st. My mum paid upfront for the two months at their BnB, so I was relieved about that. I still haven't been paid back the $3,000 for the flight tickets and haven't brought it up. I'll ask them about it when they are a bit more settled and not so jetlagged. We registered them at the immigrant serving agency here, and they will be meeting with a case worker tomorrow to help them with finding employment and integrating into life here. My mum is excited about finding a job and is willing to do any type of work. My dad is harder to communicate with, but seems interested in job hunting.

Thanks for checking in. I really appreciate it. I'll keep you posted with more updates over the next weeks.

LeRainDrop

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #109 on: November 03, 2016, 08:58:29 PM »
Oh, that's so good to hear!  Sounds like things are starting off on the right foot and there are lots of reasons to be positive and optimistic on how this will develop.  Continuing to wish you and you family all the best!

calimom

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #110 on: November 03, 2016, 09:09:10 PM »
What a tough situation for you! You're a good daughter. Wishing you and your parents the best as they settle into a new life in a new country. They're lucky to have you, and hoping your support is more emotional than financial.

MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #111 on: December 13, 2016, 03:05:39 PM »
Hi!

I just thought I'd come and update this thread. It's been exactly 6 weeks since my parents arrived. My dad is working full time in retail, while my mum has a part time job (28 hours a week) also in retail. My mum also has a second job lined up for January to top up her current hours. So far they are really happy here and have been actively making connections in the community. The immigrant serving agency here has been very helpful in terms of helping them apply for jobs, do some training (first aid, food safety), and getting them oriented to life in Canada. They also put a deposit down on an apartment and will be moving in at the end of the month.

My dad wants to go into the electrical trades. Not sure how practical that is given he's in his mid 50s. My mum is deciding whether she wants to do a course here as well. She mentioned home care aid, hospital unit clerk, and a few others in the health field. Again, she's in her early 50s. So we'll just see how all that goes. I'm honestly not sure how to advise them about going back to school.

I still haven't been paid back for their flight tickets, so I moved that balance to my low interest line of credit and have started paying it off slowly. I'm planning on paying it off spread out over 2017 rather than paying it off at once. If I do ever get that money back, it will be a welcome surprise. Since they arrived here, they haven't asked for any money. I did pay their first phone bill and for a few weeks worth of groceries (I offered). Other than that, I haven't had to give them any financial support. I hope it stays that way now that they are working.


zolotiyeruki

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #112 on: December 13, 2016, 07:57:25 PM »
Hi!

I just thought I'd come and update this thread. It's been exactly 6 weeks since my parents arrived. My dad is working full time in retail, while my mum has a part time job (28 hours a week) also in retail. My mum also has a second job lined up for January to top up her current hours. So far they are really happy here and have been actively making connections in the community. The immigrant serving agency here has been very helpful in terms of helping them apply for jobs, do some training (first aid, food safety), and getting them oriented to life in Canada. They also put a deposit down on an apartment and will be moving in at the end of the month.

My dad wants to go into the electrical trades. Not sure how practical that is given he's in his mid 50s. My mum is deciding whether she wants to do a course here as well. She mentioned home care aid, hospital unit clerk, and a few others in the health field. Again, she's in her early 50s. So we'll just see how all that goes. I'm honestly not sure how to advise them about going back to school.

I still haven't been paid back for their flight tickets, so I moved that balance to my low interest line of credit and have started paying it off slowly. I'm planning on paying it off spread out over 2017 rather than paying it off at once. If I do ever get that money back, it will be a welcome surprise. Since they arrived here, they haven't asked for any money. I did pay their first phone bill and for a few weeks worth of groceries (I offered). Other than that, I haven't had to give them any financial support. I hope it stays that way now that they are working.
Wow, that's awesome to hear!  I'm one of the many skeptics in the thread, and happy to hear things are going so well.

Goldielocks

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #113 on: December 14, 2016, 12:21:29 AM »
DH's grandpa switched from farming to a plumbing apprentice at age 45...   definitely possible, and it paid well until he retired 15 years later.

The key is that older trades persons may have worn out their bodies doing a specific type of work, and your dad will likely not be a distribution line man (up the electrical pole)...  but if he has had a somewhat physical life at a variety of tasks and his mind is sharp for the math involved, then go for it after saving for the tuition!

Terrific to hear that they got work so quickly.

totoro

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #114 on: December 14, 2016, 10:00:46 AM »
Great!  I have a friend that trained as a unit clerk at 49 and now has a ft job at the hospital that she really enjoys. 

dougules

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #115 on: December 14, 2016, 10:11:40 AM »
Good to hear things are going well.  It also sounds like Canada has a really good support system to get immigrants on their feet. 

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #116 on: December 15, 2016, 12:12:49 AM »
That's great that they seem to be doing well.  If your mom is looking at a health care aid, it can be a very physically demanding job depending on where you work. No matter what courses they take, look at technical schools geared towards a 6 month to 2 year study.  A unit clerk may be good.  other things depending on how involved she wants to get would be xray tech, or EKG tech.  both have fairly short learning cycles, and get reasonable pay with out a lot of physical demand.  As for your father, also consider (i think this is the technical name) power engineering where you maintaining boilers and such for large buildings and industrial areas.  lots of work in hospitals and schools.  Electrical courses would be good if he has the right aptitude for that, or has done it previously. 

Good luck!


MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #117 on: December 15, 2016, 08:59:06 AM »
Thanks everyone for the well wishes and advice! I'll keep you posted as they settle in even more.

elaine amj

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #118 on: December 15, 2016, 10:53:28 AM »
That's fantastic news!! So very happy your parents found jobs really quickly. Sounds like things are going well!

I really felt for your story. I too come from a 3rd World country and the expectations to support our parents is a big one. And one I'm still struggling to accept and manage. My mother is visiting me right now and she continues to be disappointed in my "un-filial" nature (we have an awesome relationship otherwise!). She's always been much, much better off than DH and I but currently all her $ is tied up in various properties. She needs to downsize and like your parents, she is having an impossible time selling her big house (worth about CDN$600k). So cash flow is very tight.

Therefore, I'm:
- footing all her expenses (mostly just small purchases, gifts, etc since she is staying with me) during her 2 month visit.
- She also bought my FIL a $50 rice cooker and my son a $100 bike (all with my money).
- Her birthday was also while she was here and I took her for a "frugal" ($400 for the both of us) one week trip to DC/NYC.

A few days ago, she asked me to give her $200 to spend on herself and gifts for folks back home (the gift cycle kills me - all these nice people sent gifts to me so now we have to give gifts back to them). Chinese New Year is also coming soon and its very traditional for adult children to give their parents pretty large sums of money (like $1000+). I was a rather un-filial daughter (living a simple life here, its hard for me to conceive of gifts with those sums) and I know my mother was disappointed (especially when her friends start bragging *sigh*). This year, I'm planning to give her US$500 (I usually give her $100-200). I also asked her if she needed me to send her a small amount every month to supplement her living expenses and she said she is managing for now (insert huge sigh of relief!).

I DON'T begrudge her the money at all. Just adjusting to the whole idea. And of course, its hard to live simply and then send money to parents to help them live the "lifestyle they are accustomed to". Then again, my Mom was ALWAYS super generous to us when she had the cash, giving us big gifts, paying for $$ flight tickets, etc.

I really do regret sharing too much of our financial situation (so close to FIRE I can taste it!) as I think she now feels I have plenty of money to support her. I have money - but just enough to support US! So now I am feeling guilt (coupled with a wee dose of resentment) that I should delay FIRE to be in a better position to support her. Alternatively, I kind of like the other suggestion on here - to pay her back for my university education. I'll have to think on that one. It sounds good in North American terms - but it may not fly well with Asian parents. They do not expect to be repaid, but do expect to be cared for in their old age. After all, part of the cultural mentality on educating your children is so they can provide for the family (including the elders) later. BUT, it may help mentally for DH and I to set aside that money for my parents. So maybe an extra $40+k in savings earmarked for parental support is not unreasonable. I should be able to manage that with one extra year of work.

MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #119 on: December 15, 2016, 11:04:49 AM »
That's fantastic news!! So very happy your parents found jobs really quickly. Sounds like things are going well!

I really felt for your story. I too come from a 3rd World country and the expectations to support our parents is a big one. And one I'm still struggling to accept and manage. My mother is visiting me right now and she continues to be disappointed in my "un-filial" nature (we have an awesome relationship otherwise!). She's always been much, much better off than DH and I but currently all her $ is tied up in various properties. She needs to downsize and like your parents, she is having an impossible time selling her big house (worth about CDN$600k). So cash flow is very tight.

Therefore, I'm:
- footing all her expenses (mostly just small purchases, gifts, etc since she is staying with me) during her 2 month visit.
- She also bought my FIL a $50 rice cooker and my son a $100 bike (all with my money).
- Her birthday was also while she was here and I took her for a "frugal" ($400 for the both of us) one week trip to DC/NYC.

A few days ago, she asked me to give her $200 to spend on herself and gifts for folks back home (the gift cycle kills me - all these nice people sent gifts to me so now we have to give gifts back to them). Chinese New Year is also coming soon and its very traditional for adult children to give their parents pretty large sums of money (like $1000+). I was a rather un-filial daughter (living a simple life here, its hard for me to conceive of gifts with those sums) and I know my mother was disappointed (especially when her friends start bragging *sigh*). This year, I'm planning to give her US$500 (I usually give her $100-200). I also asked her if she needed me to send her a small amount every month to supplement her living expenses and she said she is managing for now (insert huge sigh of relief!).

I DON'T begrudge her the money at all. Just adjusting to the whole idea. And of course, its hard to live simply and then send money to parents to help them live the "lifestyle they are accustomed to". Then again, my Mom was ALWAYS super generous to us when she had the cash, giving us big gifts, paying for $$ flight tickets, etc.

I really do regret sharing too much of our financial situation (so close to FIRE I can taste it!) as I think she now feels I have plenty of money to support her. I have money - but just enough to support US! So now I am feeling guilt (coupled with a wee dose of resentment) that I should delay FIRE to be in a better position to support her. Alternatively, I kind of like the other suggestion on here - to pay her back for my university education. I'll have to think on that one. It sounds good in North American terms - but it may not fly well with Asian parents. They do not expect to be repaid, but do expect to be cared for in their old age. After all, part of the cultural mentality on educating your children is so they can provide for the family (including the elders) later. BUT, it may help mentally for DH and I to set aside that money for my parents. So maybe an extra $40+k in savings earmarked for parental support is not unreasonable. I should be able to manage that with one extra year of work.

Thanks so much for sharing your story. I really do appreciate it and I'm glad I'm not the only one struggling to balance cultural obligations with western FIRE principles. I totally feel you about the gifts and spending money for your mum while she's here. When my mum visited for my graduation last year, I ran up a huge credit card bill buying her stuff.

I also understand your guilt because my parents were also very generous growing up, so it seems like I'm being stingy and mean with my money now.

Do you plan on sponsoring your mum to live here permanently in the near future? Or does she plan on staying in your home country forever?

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #120 on: December 15, 2016, 04:21:51 PM »
I agree with others that you should push them to sell the house.  The house will sell if they set the price low enough.  And the price would have to go pretty low before it makes sense o keep it as a rental at only $1300/mo.  (For instance, if they sold it for $300k, and invested that money in the stock market making around 7%, they would get $21k per year/ $1750/mo - way more than their rental income. If you went with the more conservative 4% withdrawal rate - they'd still have $1,000 a month, with none of the expenses related to maintaining a rental. )  You may need to show them these hard financial calculations.  Unless you expect that Zimbabwe is going to undergo a miraculous financial and real-estate resurgence in the next couple of years, they should lower the price and SELL.

MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #121 on: December 15, 2016, 04:28:56 PM »
I agree with others that you should push them to sell the house.  The house will sell if they set the price low enough.  And the price would have to go pretty low before it makes sense o keep it as a rental at only $1300/mo.  (For instance, if they sold it for $300k, and invested that money in the stock market making around 7%, they would get $21k per year/ $1750/mo - way more than their rental income. If you went with the more conservative 4% withdrawal rate - they'd still have $1,000 a month, with none of the expenses related to maintaining a rental. )  You may need to show them these hard financial calculations.  Unless you expect that Zimbabwe is going to undergo a miraculous financial and real-estate resurgence in the next couple of years, they should lower the price and SELL.

The real estate market is VERY bad in Zimbabwe. Nobody is buying anything. The house price has been reduced but no offers have been made. The other issue is that the banking sector is slowly collapsing. Before the daily withdrawal limit was $1,000, now it's $50. Wire transfers outside of the country are no longer permitted unless you're an importer and need to buy goods. It's really quite a mess.

Thanks for your advice though. The house will stay on the market until a buyer comes along, but things seem to be going from bad to worse. At least with the rental income, it is deposited directly into their Zimbabwean bank accounts and they can use their debit cards to swipe for purchases or pay rent here.

milliemchi

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #122 on: December 15, 2016, 06:37:20 PM »
Maybe someone already brought this up, but...

Mid-fifties is not young when you emigrate to a foreign, first-world country.  It does not help being in Canada if you are not plugged into the economy.  In mid-nineties, my country saw a lot of emigration, to US and Canada. My generation did well, but the parents did not. Getting a job was difficult, there was employment discrimination, being over forty, not having experience or credit history, speaking with an accent and all.  There is culture shock that needs to be absorbed before they will even be valuable as employees at the western level. That gets exponentially more difficult with age. If they try hard, they will probably land a minimum-wage job. Will your father accept that, after running his own business and apparently doing really well? Some people, especially those supported by others, are 'above' or 'too proud' to work menial jobs, after having college degrees, expensive lifestyles and whatnot. When your father was making all that money, did they hire other people to clean their $800,000 house? Drive them around? Did they cook for themselves, or did they eat out a lot? Will they be grateful to you for the 'opportunity' to work as cleaners, drivers, cooks...?  When they expressed a desire to come to Canada, they likely did not have hard, underpaid, disrespected work in mind. They were probably expecting to restore the prosperity they once experienced in the home country. My guess is that they will be very unhappy in the best realistic scenario, and likely resenting you for 'misleading' them.

I think you are expecting too much from your parents. I wish you good luck.

On a different topic, a house is only worth what people are willing to pay at that moment. There is no such thing as a house being worth $800K, but selling for $600K (if it's been on the open market). Given the economy, your parent's house is probably worth much, much less than the $600+ they were offered last year.

MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #123 on: December 15, 2016, 07:42:18 PM »
Maybe someone already brought this up, but...

Mid-fifties is not young when you emigrate to a foreign, first-world country.  It does not help being in Canada if you are not plugged into the economy.  In mid-nineties, my country saw a lot of emigration, to US and Canada. My generation did well, but the parents did not. Getting a job was difficult, there was employment discrimination, being over forty, not having experience or credit history, speaking with an accent and all.  There is culture shock that needs to be absorbed before they will even be valuable as employees at the western level. That gets exponentially more difficult with age. If they try hard, they will probably land a minimum-wage job. Will your father accept that, after running his own business and apparently doing really well? Some people, especially those supported by others, are 'above' or 'too proud' to work menial jobs, after having college degrees, expensive lifestyles and whatnot. When your father was making all that money, did they hire other people to clean their $800,000 house? Drive them around? Did they cook for themselves, or did they eat out a lot? Will they be grateful to you for the 'opportunity' to work as cleaners, drivers, cooks...?  When they expressed a desire to come to Canada, they likely did not have hard, underpaid, disrespected work in mind. They were probably expecting to restore the prosperity they once experienced in the home country. My guess is that they will be very unhappy in the best realistic scenario, and likely resenting you for 'misleading' them.

I think you are expecting too much from your parents. I wish you good luck.

On a different topic, a house is only worth what people are willing to pay at that moment. There is no such thing as a house being worth $800K, but selling for $600K (if it's been on the open market). Given the economy, your parent's house is probably worth much, much less than the $600+ they were offered last year.

Hi. I'm not sure if you read my most recent comments. My parents are working already in retail which is minimum wage. They both like it and are happy for the opportunity to work. They aren't proud people and actually grew up really poor, so they are familiar with that kind of life. Canada is a welcome change for them and they like it so far.

And yes, the house is worth what a buyer is willing to pay and the price has been reduced. We're just playing the waiting game.

milliemchi

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #124 on: December 15, 2016, 07:47:32 PM »
Maybe someone already brought this up, but...

Mid-fifties is not young when you emigrate to a foreign, first-world country.  It does not help being in Canada if you are not plugged into the economy.  In mid-nineties, my country saw a lot of emigration, to US and Canada. My generation did well, but the parents did not. Getting a job was difficult, there was employment discrimination, being over forty, not having experience or credit history, speaking with an accent and all.  There is culture shock that needs to be absorbed before they will even be valuable as employees at the western level. That gets exponentially more difficult with age. If they try hard, they will probably land a minimum-wage job. Will your father accept that, after running his own business and apparently doing really well? Some people, especially those supported by others, are 'above' or 'too proud' to work menial jobs, after having college degrees, expensive lifestyles and whatnot. When your father was making all that money, did they hire other people to clean their $800,000 house? Drive them around? Did they cook for themselves, or did they eat out a lot? Will they be grateful to you for the 'opportunity' to work as cleaners, drivers, cooks...?  When they expressed a desire to come to Canada, they likely did not have hard, underpaid, disrespected work in mind. They were probably expecting to restore the prosperity they once experienced in the home country. My guess is that they will be very unhappy in the best realistic scenario, and likely resenting you for 'misleading' them.

I think you are expecting too much from your parents. I wish you good luck.

On a different topic, a house is only worth what people are willing to pay at that moment. There is no such thing as a house being worth $800K, but selling for $600K (if it's been on the open market). Given the economy, your parent's house is probably worth much, much less than the $600+ they were offered last year.

Hi. I'm not sure if you read my most recent comments. My parents are working already in retail which is minimum wage. They both like it and are happy for the opportunity to work. They aren't proud people and actually grew up really poor, so they are familiar with that kind of life. Canada is a welcome change for them and they like it so far.

And yes, the house is worth what a buyer is willing to pay and the price has been reduced. We're just playing the waiting game.

I'm sorry, you're right, I did not actually read through the whole thread. I was too quick to add my 2c and move on. I'll try to do better next time. I am really glad to hear the good news on your parents. Good luck!

elaine amj

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #125 on: December 16, 2016, 08:08:16 AM »
Thanks so much for sharing your story. I really do appreciate it and I'm glad I'm not the only one struggling to balance cultural obligations with western FIRE principles. I totally feel you about the gifts and spending money for your mum while she's here. When my mum visited for my graduation last year, I ran up a huge credit card bill buying her stuff.

I also understand your guilt because my parents were also very generous growing up, so it seems like I'm being stingy and mean with my money now.

Do you plan on sponsoring your mum to live here permanently in the near future? Or does she plan on staying in your home country forever?

I've invited her to spend at least 6 months of the year here (for Ontario's health insurance) but she doesn't like the idea of a semi-nomadic life. She LIKES her life in her home country (although she misses my brother and I a lot). She has good friends, many many sisters and brothers who all spend a lot of time together (and travel together regularly), and overall a fulfilling life. And of course, she sure misses her maid when she is here! (she always ends up doing a ton of cooking and cleaning). Plus, I'm sure her money goes a LOT further back home than it would here in Canada.

I'm going to see what I can do to manage to get her here again next year though. She's 68 and traveling is getting harder for her. But my kids are 14 and 15 now so only another 3-4 year window before they're grown and in college, etc. We're planning to fly home to visit in 2018.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #126 on: December 16, 2016, 08:41:09 AM »
Posting to follow.

I have financially irresponsible in-laws and am always looking for tips to deal with the guilt part of it.

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #127 on: December 16, 2016, 10:51:59 AM »
I feel a little late to the party - but I wanted to mention to things:

1. I have a client who went to community college for HVAC (Heating and Air) training at 50 and did fine. He got hired right out of his program and worked for a couple of years, then started his own successful HVAC business.

So maybe looking at programs that don't require a full apprenticeship but have good employment potential would be a good idea for your dad.

2. Has your brother looked into whether he can transfer any of his South African university credits to his Canadian university?

When I did this (Canada to USA), I had to jump through some hoops, but my school had a special department that helped international transfers, which was accessible even to students in your brother's situation who aren't necessarily transfer students, but have credits from another country. Ultimately, I lost some credits and spent some fairly considerable time chasing it down, but was able to sub in my foreign credits for a lot of general education and electives.

MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #128 on: December 16, 2016, 11:01:26 AM »
I feel a little late to the party - but I wanted to mention to things:

1. I have a client who went to community college for HVAC (Heating and Air) training at 50 and did fine. He got hired right out of his program and worked for a couple of years, then started his own successful HVAC business.

So maybe looking at programs that don't require a full apprenticeship but have good employment potential would be a good idea for your dad.

2. Has your brother looked into whether he can transfer any of his South African university credits to his Canadian university?

When I did this (Canada to USA), I had to jump through some hoops, but my school had a special department that helped international transfers, which was accessible even to students in your brother's situation who aren't necessarily transfer students, but have credits from another country. Ultimately, I lost some credits and spent some fairly considerable time chasing it down, but was able to sub in my foreign credits for a lot of general education and electives.

Hi there. It's never too late to provide some advice as I always appreciate it! The HVAC story has me very hopeful. Thanks!

In terms of my brother using his previous degree for credits, the option is/was there and he could have received credits for more than half of his current program. The only reason we chose not to do that was for immigration purposes. Getting a post grad work permit here is dependent on the length of one's program, so if you do an 8 month program, you get an 8 month permit, whereas if you do a program longer than 18 months, you can get a 3 year work permit. So we opted for him to just do the whole program to increase his chances of getting a longer work permit that will provide him with adequate time to explore his options for applying for permanent residency.

SKL-HOU

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #129 on: December 16, 2016, 11:47:59 AM »
In college, I had a female classmate who was about 50-55 going to school for mechanical engineering. She was a geologist but she wasn't doing well with that so she went back to get her ME degree. She ended up with an excellent job after graduation.

I had a coworker who was 62, who had finished getting her mechanical engineering degree at 61. She went on and off for several years but being a single mom to 3 kids, she never could find to fully commit. She finally took a year off from work and finished and worked as an engineer.

Neither were immigrants but the point is if they are willing, the age shouldn't matter.

MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #130 on: December 16, 2016, 11:52:12 AM »
In college, I had a female classmate who was about 50-55 going to school for mechanical engineering. She was a geologist but she wasn't doing well with that so she went back to get her ME degree. She ended up with an excellent job after graduation.

I had a coworker who was 62, who had finished getting her mechanical engineering degree at 61. She went on and off for several years but being a single mom to 3 kids, she never could find to fully commit. She finally took a year off from work and finished and worked as an engineer.

Neither were immigrants but the point is if they are willing, the age shouldn't matter.

Thanks! This is very encouraging!

Bicycle_B

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #131 on: December 19, 2016, 09:42:39 AM »
Hi!

I just thought I'd come and update this thread. It's been exactly 6 weeks since my parents arrived. My dad is working full time in retail, while my mum has a part time job (28 hours a week) also in retail. My mum also has a second job lined up for January to top up her current hours. So far they are really happy here and have been actively making connections in the community. The immigrant serving agency here has been very helpful in terms of helping them apply for jobs, do some training (first aid, food safety), and getting them oriented to life in Canada. They also put a deposit down on an apartment and will be moving in at the end of the month.

My dad wants to go into the electrical trades. Not sure how practical that is given he's in his mid 50s. My mum is deciding whether she wants to do a course here as well. She mentioned home care aid, hospital unit clerk, and a few others in the health field. Again, she's in her early 50s. So we'll just see how all that goes. I'm honestly not sure how to advise them about going back to school.

I still haven't been paid back for their flight tickets, so I moved that balance to my low interest line of credit and have started paying it off slowly. I'm planning on paying it off spread out over 2017 rather than paying it off at once. If I do ever get that money back, it will be a welcome surprise. Since they arrived here, they haven't asked for any money. I did pay their first phone bill and for a few weeks worth of groceries (I offered). Other than that, I haven't had to give them any financial support. I hope it stays that way now that they are working.
Wow, that's awesome to hear!  I'm one of the many skeptics in the thread, and happy to hear things are going so well.

Another former skeptic here.  So happy they are off to a good start!  And that you have manageable methods for paying off the flight ticket balance.  Best of luck with everything.

MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #132 on: February 17, 2017, 11:20:10 AM »
Hi All,

Just coming in with another update. My dad got a new full-time job as a calibration technician with an electrical energy management company. He already had the experience in the field, though not formal (he did all the electrical wiring in our house and is a jack of many trades), so they were happy to take him on. He started at the end of January and likes it a lot. It's a bit of a commute (45 minutes on the bus) but the bus route is convenient.

My mum is still working at Walmart and loathes it, but she's happy to be working and being able to pay bills. She is still applying for various jobs as they pop up but nothing yet.

I've spoken to them about saving and planning for retirement. I gave them information about investing in a Tax Free Savings Account/TFSA (equivalent of an IRA) and other retirement vehicles, as well as example investment portfolios. They don't have any money to save at the moment but will open TFSAs this month. I'll be filing their taxes soon and if they get any tax returns, that will be going straight into savings.

They are receiving rent money from the tenant back home, but the banking sector is slowly crumbling and there are new rules popping up every week. The latest is that money can't be transferred out of the country unless you have connections or are an importer, and visa debit cards from certain banks no longer work outside the country. So they have the money sitting in their account with no way to access it. Before, they could at least use their Zimbabwe bank cards to pay for things like groceries/rent/bills/etc, but that no longer works. We've discussed having the money used to do maintenance on the house (there are quite a few things that need fixing) while we wait and see how things progress with the banking sector, but the Zimbabwe situation is getting worse by the day. Did I mention that the government introduced a new "currency" to help ease the cash crisis? They basically converted all USD accounts into this new "bond note currency" that is only recognized in Zimbabwe (this is after they raided nostro accounts of all foreign currency so now the banking sector has no actual money). Supposedly it's equivalent to the USD and your money is still considered USD while it's in the bank but when you withdraw it at the ATM, you receive bond notes. This is a bad summary of the situation but I figured I would let those who are interested know just how crazy the Third World can get.

Anyway, this was just a happy update about their progress so far. We are all feeling hopeful about the future and are happy to be together.

Rimu05

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #133 on: February 17, 2017, 02:05:54 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.

Yikes, I come from a similar culture and my mom was in the position that you were but fortunately, she is very responsible. However, she's pretty much footed a lot of the family bills for years until my grandpa passed. She's barely been able to save despite being very frugal.

She paid for my Uncle's college, grandpa's medical bills, etc. Even though there were 8 siblings.

It's a good thing your parent's are putting in effort. I safely say the first world sobers one up. I'm lucky my mom took on these burdens so I wouldn't have to.

Good luck op. Also #Africanproblems - People in your home country for ever asking for money like you are rich.

SwordGuy

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #134 on: February 18, 2017, 01:00:02 PM »
Also #Africanproblems - People in your home country for ever asking for money like you are rich.

Based on my experience living and working in Ethiopia for over a year, you are rich by their standards.

You live in a residence with a roof.  Check.
You live in a residence with solid, weather-proof walls on all four sides.  Check.
You live in a residence that has lockable doors.  Check.
You live and work someplace with electricity 24/7.  Check.
You live and work someplace with access to running, clean water 24/7.   Check.
Miracle of miracles, the water is actually delivered to your home and place of business!  Check.
You have indoor plumbing.  Check.
You have enough food to eat.  So much, in fact, that getting fat is a real problem.
Your retirement plan is not to trudge 3000 feet up a mountain to carry a load of firewood on your back that's (by volume) 3 times your size back down to the city a couple of miles away until you die.

I could go on, but I'm pretty sure the point was made by 1/3 thru the list.

I am so very lucky to have been born a citizen to a middle-class, American citizen family.   Talk about winning the lottery!


Bicycle_B

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #135 on: March 01, 2017, 08:06:32 PM »
Friend of Ethiopia here - generic white USer, but 7 years helping friend from Ethiopia build a nonprofit there... 

it's still a thing that everyone could assume you're rich enough to send them lots of money, when you're not.  It can be seen as an ethical responsibility back home, could prevent your stash building here, or even your breaking even here... plus "capital needs" for business ventures that exceed your investment capacity... these are real regardless of how much nicer your first world mustache lifestyle is.

Zimbabwe sounds like the economy is imploding and the money will never emerge from it.  OP, so glad you got your parents to your new country.  Even more so that they are prospering and paying their way.  It sounds like your dad really found a good job to start out.  I am very happy for you!
« Last Edit: March 01, 2017, 08:09:39 PM by Bicycle_B »

MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #136 on: March 02, 2017, 09:01:00 AM »
Friend of Ethiopia here - generic white USer, but 7 years helping friend from Ethiopia build a nonprofit there... 

it's still a thing that everyone could assume you're rich enough to send them lots of money, when you're not.  It can be seen as an ethical responsibility back home, could prevent your stash building here, or even your breaking even here... plus "capital needs" for business ventures that exceed your investment capacity... these are real regardless of how much nicer your first world mustache lifestyle is.

Zimbabwe sounds like the economy is imploding and the money will never emerge from it.  OP, so glad you got your parents to your new country.  Even more so that they are prospering and paying their way.  It sounds like your dad really found a good job to start out.  I am very happy for you!

Thanks for the well wishes!

Yes, a lot of us Africans and other Third Worlders feel responsible for everyone back home and it can be detrimental. Many of my friends send a large chunk of their paycheques home every month and never get ahead in life here. I really don't know what the solution is, but I'm so thankful that my family is here now and are working/making their own money.

elaine amj

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #137 on: March 02, 2017, 02:55:17 PM »
SO happy to hear your parents have good jobs and settling in. Especially with the rapidly declining situation in Zimbabwe :(

I was very hopeful about my FIRE plans but my mother's cash flow issues are getting worse, not better. I talked to her about moving here to live with me for at least half the year. But after spending 2 months with me last year - she told me she really likes her life at home. And that she'd prefer to only come here to visit. DH and I talked briefly as it is possible we may have to delay FIRE plans in order to help supplement her lifestyle. It's frustrating as she used to have plenty of money until she went on a wild spending spree when she remarried. Unfortunately my stepfather passed away just 5 years later and she has in debt and like your parents - is having a lot of difficulty selling her big house.

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #138 on: March 02, 2017, 05:25:00 PM »
elaine, is your Mom going to be starving or homeless if left to her own devices?  If not I would say that the fact she went on a spending spree is hardly your problem.  What country is she in? It is fine that she likes her life if she can afford it. My parents never expected us kids to support them and I don;t expect that from my kids either. I know other countries have different customs but I can't imagine being responsible for adults that make bad choices.

elaine amj

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #139 on: March 02, 2017, 06:24:15 PM »
elaine, is your Mom going to be starving or homeless if left to her own devices?  If not I would say that the fact she went on a spending spree is hardly your problem.  What country is she in? It is fine that she likes her life if she can afford it. My parents never expected us kids to support them and I don;t expect that from my kids either. I know other countries have different customs but I can't imagine being responsible for adults that make bad choices.

In our culture, it is very much expected for children to send their parents money. Even if parents are well off. And no - she won't be destitute if I don't help (no chance I would ever let it get that bad!). But things will be tight. When I think about it from a cultural perspective, I do feel guilty that I am not indulging/supporting her more now that we have the means to do so. It's not nice hearing Mom say she can't do such and such because she doesn't have the money - especially when she has always been super generous with us when she had the means. I feel like I should be generous in return now.


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MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #140 on: March 03, 2017, 09:01:37 AM »
SO happy to hear your parents have good jobs and settling in. Especially with the rapidly declining situation in Zimbabwe :(

I was very hopeful about my FIRE plans but my mother's cash flow issues are getting worse, not better. I talked to her about moving here to live with me for at least half the year. But after spending 2 months with me last year - she told me she really likes her life at home. And that she'd prefer to only come here to visit. DH and I talked briefly as it is possible we may have to delay FIRE plans in order to help supplement her lifestyle. It's frustrating as she used to have plenty of money until she went on a wild spending spree when she remarried. Unfortunately my stepfather passed away just 5 years later and she has in debt and like your parents - is having a lot of difficulty selling her big house.

Thank you, Elaine. It really is tough for those of us from different cultures. I hope she's able to sell her house eventually and possibly downsize. Does she have a pension/savings at all, or is she still working?

elaine amj

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #141 on: March 03, 2017, 09:47:59 AM »
Thank you, Elaine. It really is tough for those of us from different cultures. I hope she's able to sell her house eventually and possibly downsize. Does she have a pension/savings at all, or is she still working?

No longer working but she still does have some savings. Thankfully her situation is not so dire - just frustrating that so much of her money is tied up in her house...which has been on the market for 2 years now.

So happy for you that your parents are able to be self-supporting now.

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #142 on: March 03, 2017, 12:10:41 PM »
When a house can't be sold in a reasonable amount of time it is priced too high. Seems like she needs to sell and should bite the bullet. Why you would feel guilty for not giving her more $ when she went on a spending spree is beyond me. So she can't do some things because she wasted her $. Those are natural consequences. I hope everyone in your generation breaks this cycle by not burdening your kids when adults with supporting you. I do understand helping when some one is destitute.  After my Grandpa died all my Grandma had to live on was SS even though they never wasted their $. So she went to very nice low income senior apartment but still could not afford her med co-pays, etc and the 2 daughters bought those and other things she needed. My parents also took her out to eat and on vacation.  When my Dad died my Mom's standard of living decreased because the pension was reduced. She tightened her belt and would not take a dime from us kids. She did let us buy her dinner sometimes or pay for a vacation as a xmas gift. She even bought everything ahead of time for her own funeral and paid for the sit down dinner afterwards by telling us to sell her car once she was gone. I intend to do the same for my kids. 

MrsPotato

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #143 on: March 03, 2017, 12:44:13 PM »
When a house can't be sold in a reasonable amount of time it is priced too high. Seems like she needs to sell and should bite the bullet. Why you would feel guilty for not giving her more $ when she went on a spending spree is beyond me. So she can't do some things because she wasted her $. Those are natural consequences. I hope everyone in your generation breaks this cycle by not burdening your kids when adults with supporting you. I do understand helping when some one is destitute.  After my Grandpa died all my Grandma had to live on was SS even though they never wasted their $. So she went to very nice low income senior apartment but still could not afford her med co-pays, etc and the 2 daughters bought those and other things she needed. My parents also took her out to eat and on vacation.  When my Dad died my Mom's standard of living decreased because the pension was reduced. She tightened her belt and would not take a dime from us kids. She did let us buy her dinner sometimes or pay for a vacation as a xmas gift. She even bought everything ahead of time for her own funeral and paid for the sit down dinner afterwards by telling us to sell her car once she was gone. I intend to do the same for my kids.

This obviously makes sense in the First World and if we do have kids, we don't intend on relying on them for our retirement, but rather we would plan to leave them with a nice large inheritance. Unfortunately, living in the Third World sometimes doesn't offer the luxuries of a defined or guaranteed pension. I'm not sure what country Elaine comes from but I can give you my perspective. For example, in Zimbabwe, many people in my parents' generation lost their savings when the economy collapsed and the currency was devalued in 2008. In addition, people who paid into the government pension system for decades now get a measly payment of less than $100 per month and sometimes that money isn't even paid out on time and pensioners can go for months without receiving their money. I guess this is why so many back home put all their money into a house because financial assets weren't/aren't safe at all for them. So for many back home, they need to have a constant source of income and if savings/pensions aren't reliable, the burden unfortunately falls on the kids (if they don't have rental income from other properties). Of course, the elite are able to stash their money in offshore accounts where it's safe, but for the average person, this is not a possibility. So we (Zimbabweans) never really had a culture of saving after that because why save when it can all disappear over night?

In addition the an unstable economy, there are other nuances in our culture regarding taking care of one's parents that are difficult to explain to First Worlders. For example, our African parents will spend every cent they have to ensure that we get a good education in the hope that we will be more successful than them. We don't have a student loan system or "free" education for elementary and high school, so all levels of education are footed by the parents. So after all of our parents' hard work to get us where we are, it only seems natural to repay that debt. Of course I can always argue that I didn't ask to be born, but that doesn't solve anything. I have changed my mindset about this, though, and I plan to provide my parents with more emotional support than financial, but when the time comes when they can no longer work and take care of themselves, I'll be happy to take them in.

I understand that it is difficult for you to wrap your head around our cultural differences, but the Third World is a whole different beast and you would have to have grown up there to fully appreciate the lengths parents go through to see their children succeed. I'm very thankful to be living in the First World where I can actually plan for the future and things are relatively stable. And the only reason I'm here is because my parents paid for my university fees to get me started. Yes, they made bad financial decisions along the way, but I also wouldn't know what to do if for example the Canadian economy collapsed and our currency became worthless like what happened in Zimbabwe.

I will also say that I've received some great advice in this forum regarding putting my foot down etc, and it has helped me shape my current/future approach to my parent's situation.

Cassie

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #144 on: March 03, 2017, 01:13:23 PM »
Mrspotato:thanks so much for taking the time to thoroughly explain this to me. I have a mindset for living that is not feasible for a 3rd world country. I never realized that people had to pay for school for their kids. People in some countries have a lot to be grateful for and I guess I should not take that for granted. That is terrible about both the $ and the country giving it's seniors very little to live on.  I am glad that your parents are doing so well:))

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #145 on: March 03, 2017, 01:31:23 PM »
@Cassie, no problem. I guess I should have explained from the get-go why we have different expectations regarding our child/parent relationships in our culture. However, I realize that these cultural differences do not excuse irresponsible behaviour and not learning from past mistakes. Going forward it's going to be interesting to see how my husband and I balance cultural expectations and 1st world FIRE principles. I definitely will not depend on my kids if I ever have any, but at the same time I would probably pay for their university tuition the same way my parents did for me. Thanks for your kind words and having an open mind :-)

Bicycle_B

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #146 on: March 03, 2017, 04:39:59 PM »
Mrspotato:thanks so much for taking the time to thoroughly explain this to me. I have a mindset for living that is not feasible for a 3rd world country. I never realized that people had to pay for school for their kids. People in some countries have a lot to be grateful for and I guess I should not take that for granted. That is terrible about both the $ and the country giving it's seniors very little to live on.  I am glad that your parents are doing so well:))

Cassie, I'm so glad that you followed up with this last comment.  It's so difficult to grasp the situation in another country.  It took me years and an in-person visit just to realize how much I hadn't learned. Even later, it began to dawn on me how much effort my African friends sometimes had to put into explaining things to me, despite my best efforts.  So, it's wonderful to see how quickly and fully you responded.

MrsP, thank you for explaining in such detail.  I'm sure it is a drain on top everything else you need to do but it really does help people like me who have only lived in the First World bubble. 
« Last Edit: March 03, 2017, 05:05:23 PM by Bicycle_B »

SwordGuy

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #147 on: March 03, 2017, 09:25:09 PM »
I understand that it is difficult for you to wrap your head around our cultural differences, but the Third World is a whole different beast and you would have to have grown up there to fully appreciate the lengths parents go through to see their children succeed.

I worked for a bit over a year in Ethiopia. 

For me, the epiphany was watching a crippled beggar pull himself down the road on the ground.  He didn't have a crutch and it didn't look like he could actually use one.

A wheelchair would have been worthless because the roads and sidewalks weren't in repair enough.   

To properly appreciate this you have to understand that a road in many parts of town was dirt with some gravel on top, with a healthy sprinkling of urine from donkeys, goats, and people, and feces from same.   

In the rainy season he would have to drag himself to his begging station in mud infused with feces and urine instead of just filthy dirt.

That might help 1st world folks understand why 3rd world parents will work so very hard to improve the lot of their children.

And why their children appreciate it.

elaine amj

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HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #148 on: March 03, 2017, 11:19:54 PM »
MrsPotato: u explained so many of the nuances so well :) And I think with your situation, it is even more challenging given the unstable economic climate in Zimbabwe.

From my perspective, I am a Chinese who grew up in Malaysia. Yes, there is a 3rd World poorer economy perspective - but what goes deeper for me are the roots of Chinese tradition. Part of honouring parents and respecting elders includes the financial perspective. Children are your Social Security and your retirement plan. My challenge isn't so much that my mother is destitute. Its that she was generous to me when she was supporting me (they paid big bucks for me to come to Canada for university) and as part of the cycle I am expected to be generous to her in her old age. Plus of course, there is the expectation that an elder should also share in a child's good fortune.

Check out this reddit with many Asians talking about how their parents "demand" monthly payments even if they are well off themselves. My mother has never demanded anything, but I know she would be thrilled, even if she didn't need a penny. https://www.reddit.com/r/AsianParentStories/comments/17doo8/do_you_give_your_parents_money/

Families are not considered as such separate, self-contained units as they are here. All my life, my mother expected that either my brother or myself would live with her always, even after marriage (neither of us had any idea). After all, she lived with her own MIL. So as u can imagine, finances can be very intermingled.

I intend to provide for myself in my old age and not burden my kids. But I cannot deny that at the back of my mind, I take comfort that if things go south, I should be able to rely on my kids to care for me.


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Letj

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Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
« Reply #149 on: March 04, 2017, 06:53:45 AM »
When a house can't be sold in a reasonable amount of time it is priced too high. Seems like she needs to sell and should bite the bullet. Why you would feel guilty for not giving her more $ when she went on a spending spree is beyond me. So she can't do some things because she wasted her $. Those are natural consequences. I hope everyone in your generation breaks this cycle by not burdening your kids when adults with supporting you. I do understand helping when some one is destitute.  After my Grandpa died all my Grandma had to live on was SS even though they never wasted their $. So she went to very nice low income senior apartment but still could not afford her med co-pays, etc and the 2 daughters bought those and other things she needed. My parents also took her out to eat and on vacation.  When my Dad died my Mom's standard of living decreased because the pension was reduced. She tightened her belt and would not take a dime from us kids. She did let us buy her dinner sometimes or pay for a vacation as a xmas gift. She even bought everything ahead of time for her own funeral and paid for the sit down dinner afterwards by telling us to sell her car once she was gone. I intend to do the same for my kids.

This obviously makes sense in the First World and if we do have kids, we don't intend on relying on them for our retirement, but rather we would plan to leave them with a nice large inheritance. Unfortunately, living in the Third World sometimes doesn't offer the luxuries of a defined or guaranteed pension. I'm not sure what country Elaine comes from but I can give you my perspective. For example, in Zimbabwe, many people in my parents' generation lost their savings when the economy collapsed and the currency was devalued in 2008. In addition, people who paid into the government pension system for decades now get a measly payment of less than $100 per month and sometimes that money isn't even paid out on time and pensioners can go for months without receiving their money. I guess this is why so many back home put all their money into a house because financial assets weren't/aren't safe at all for them. So for many back home, they need to have a constant source of income and if savings/pensions aren't reliable, the burden unfortunately falls on the kids (if they don't have rental income from other properties). Of course, the elite are able to stash their money in offshore accounts where it's safe, but for the average person, this is not a possibility. So we (Zimbabweans) never really had a culture of saving after that because why save when it can all disappear over night?

In addition the an unstable economy, there are other nuances in our culture regarding taking care of one's parents that are difficult to explain to First Worlders. For example, our African parents will spend every cent they have to ensure that we get a good education in the hope that we will be more successful than them. We don't have a student loan system or "free" education for elementary and high school, so all levels of education are footed by the parents. So after all of our parents' hard work to get us where we are, it only seems natural to repay that debt. Of course I can always argue that I didn't ask to be born, but that doesn't solve anything. I have changed my mindset about this, though, and I plan to provide my parents with more emotional support than financial, but when the time comes when they can no longer work and take care of themselves, I'll be happy to take them in.

I understand that it is difficult for you to wrap your head around our cultural differences, but the Third World is a whole different beast and you would have to have grown up there to fully appreciate the lengths parents go through to see their children succeed. I'm very thankful to be living in the First World where I can actually plan for the future and things are relatively stable. And the only reason I'm here is because my parents paid for my university fees to get me started. Yes, they made bad financial decisions along the way, but I also wouldn't know what to do if for example the Canadian economy collapsed and our currency became worthless like what happened in Zimbabwe.

I will also say that I've received some great advice in this forum regarding putting my foot down etc, and it has helped me shape my current/future approach to my parent's situation.

I appreciate your perspective because I too spent some formative years in the developing world and both parents are from such a culture. However, I do want to point out that those sacrifices are not unique to parents from the developing world. Americans, for example, sacrifice every day and forego spending money on themselves, including saving for their own retirement, to fund their children' s education and continue to support them well into adulthood. The difference is that they don't have the expectation that their children will take care of them in old age; they see their responsibility to their children as part of being a parent and don't expect that their children should sacrifice their well being to take care of them. Even if they're in dire financial shape, they rather survive on very little than burden their children. On the other hand, some parents from developing countries would shame their children and complain to anyone that would listen about all the sacrifice they made for their children and how ungrateful they are even if these children might be struggling themselves. They assume that once you appear successful or live in the West you have enough Money to share.
I understand, however, why such an undue burden is placed on children in those societies. There are usually no pension or reliable one and no entitlement programs and the safety system is the family.