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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: MrsPotato on September 20, 2016, 12:56:43 PM

Title: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: Making Cookies 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: pbkmaine 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: former player 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.

Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: tonysemail 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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...
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: Making Cookies 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. 
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: SwordGuy 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.



Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: SwordGuy on September 20, 2016, 06:17:30 PM
I'm glad it helped.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: RetiredAt63 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?
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: SwordGuy 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. :(
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: LeRainDrop 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 (https://www.amazon.com/Boundaries-When-Take-Control-Your/dp/0310247454/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474426874&sr=8-1&keywords=boundaries+by+cloud+and+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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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 (https://www.amazon.com/Boundaries-When-Take-Control-Your/dp/0310247454/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474426874&sr=8-1&keywords=boundaries+by+cloud+and+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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: RetiredAt63 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: Making Cookies 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: zolotiyeruki 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: frugaliknowit 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...).
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: totoro 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.

Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: Bicycle_B 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!
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: totoro 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: SunshineGirl 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."   
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: tonysemail 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: AlanStache 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? 
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: Miss Piggy 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.).
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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).
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: SKL-HOU 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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).
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: SKL-HOU 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?
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: Miss Piggy 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: mskyle 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: honeybbq 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?

Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: totoro 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.

Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: former player 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: totoro 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. 
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: zolotiyeruki 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: ShoulderThingThatGoesUp on September 21, 2016, 01:32:36 PM
$900/month in social services bills sounds like less than what you might be paying to keep them off social services because they'll find ways to fritter away some of what you give them on nonessentials.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: totoro on September 21, 2016, 01:48:30 PM
OP I think it will be fine. Even the worst case scenario is not too bad and your brother can help out later.  Best case which seems likely is that they will find jobs, bring their money over and buy a place and everything will settle down for you all.  There are some significant cultural differences between mmm philosophy and what works in Zimbabwe and your parents will adapt.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: mozar on September 21, 2016, 01:51:30 PM
Here's what I would  do. I would cancel their BnB and offer to let them live with you for a small amount. As long as its OK with your landlord I would do that. Since you are legally responsible for them for 20 years you just might have to live with them for 20 years. Based on your description of them I doubt they will will be able to pay for housing on their own. This is the cheapest option.
You can get a room divider and a bed for them. And don't offer them any more money. They won't like being in a one bedroom apartment with 2 other people so that might motivate them to get out on their own.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato on September 21, 2016, 02:01:45 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.

Thanks for clarifying this.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato on September 21, 2016, 02:08:52 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.

Yes, the tickets are booked and paid for, so I can't cancel them, otherwise I lose $3,000.  I prefer them staying elsewhere to be honest, hence why I told them from the get-go that they would need to find their own place and I booked the BnB in advance so they can have somewhere to live while they find a more permanent home. They agreed that $1,300 would be reasonable for the first couple of months. My mum has started looking into home support jobs, but I 'm not sure if my dad has started looking into what job options he has. Mum has a master of public policy degree and dad has a trades certificate. I am aware though, that entering the job market as an immigrant with no Canadian work experience is challenging. They know that too, but my mum is willing to start from the bottom.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: Miss Piggy on September 21, 2016, 02:14:35 PM
Often, even with already purchased tickets, tickets can be changed.

Honestly, I think you would be wise to insist that they come to Canada only AFTER they sell their Zimbabwe house. Otherwise, as you said, they have very little cash flow. They are taking a huge risk with this renter...what if that falls through, or the renter doesn't pay rent, etc.?
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: Captain FIRE on September 21, 2016, 02:19:19 PM
Here's what I would  do. I would cancel their BnB and offer to let them live with you for a small amount. As long as its OK with your landlord I would do that. Since you are legally responsible for them for 20 years you just might have to live with them for 20 years. Based on your description of them I doubt they will will be able to pay for housing on their own. This is the cheapest option.
You can get a room divider and a bed for them. And don't offer them any more money. They won't like being in a one bedroom apartment with 2 other people so that might motivate them to get out on their own.

You may want to consider this.  Yes, it's not fun but this would reinforce how urgent it is that they find jobs and support themselves.  This makes it uncomfortable for them and puts pressure on them, in a way saying "I can't keep paying for your BnB" doesn't.

Question: You plan to FIRE in your 40s/at age 40?  What do you think your parents will expect from you then?  Given your culture, it seems to me they'll expect you have plenty of money to support them and they won't need to work further.  They likely may get mad as well that you were hoarding this money instead of helping them over the past 15 years as well.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato on September 21, 2016, 02:19:46 PM
Here's what I would  do. I would cancel their BnB and offer to let them live with you for a small amount. As long as its OK with your landlord I would do that. Since you are legally responsible for them for 20 years you just might have to live with them for 20 years. Based on your description of them I doubt they will will be able to pay for housing on their own. This is the cheapest option.
You can get a room divider and a bed for them. And don't offer them any more money. They won't like being in a one bedroom apartment with 2 other people so that might motivate them to get out on their own.

I'm thinking that if they arrive without the cash to pay for the BnB, I'll cancel it then and they will come to my place and have to sleep in my living room (They/I would have to pay for the first night only, in the case of a last minute cancellation). I'll leave the reservation open just in case they do keep their word and arrive with the required funds. It's difficult to get such good deals on short term accommodation here, so I'd prefer I kept that option option. Thanks for the advice!
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: AlanStache on September 21, 2016, 02:22:21 PM
I suspect OP's parents could come up with 2k for plane tickets even if the OP canceled the travel accommodation, the reward for getting to Canada is to great and it sounds like there is no way to keep them out.  Canceling the tickets will only upset them, they will still get to Canada and OP will still be responsible.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato on September 21, 2016, 02:26:30 PM
Here's what I would  do. I would cancel their BnB and offer to let them live with you for a small amount. As long as its OK with your landlord I would do that. Since you are legally responsible for them for 20 years you just might have to live with them for 20 years. Based on your description of them I doubt they will will be able to pay for housing on their own. This is the cheapest option.
You can get a room divider and a bed for them. And don't offer them any more money. They won't like being in a one bedroom apartment with 2 other people so that might motivate them to get out on their own.

You may want to consider this.  Yes, it's not fun but this would reinforce how urgent it is that they find jobs and support themselves.  This makes it uncomfortable for them and puts pressure on them, in a way saying "I can't keep paying for your BnB" doesn't.

Question: You plan to FIRE in your 40s/at age 40?  What do you think your parents will expect from you then?  Given your culture, it seems to me they'll expect you have plenty of money to support them and they won't need to work further.  They likely may get mad as well that you were hoarding this money instead of helping them over the past 15 years as well.

I agree. If they don't have the funds, they will sleep on my living room floor. But I will wait to cancel the BnB until their arrival.

I don't know what my parents expect from me in the future to be honest. I am happy to care of them in my home once they are old (75 years plus), but at the moment I prefer that they live their lives independently of me. I will talk to them to ask what expectations they have of me now that you have mentioned it.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato on September 21, 2016, 02:34:31 PM
Often, even with already purchased tickets, tickets can be changed.

Honestly, I think you would be wise to insist that they come to Canada only AFTER they sell their Zimbabwe house. Otherwise, as you said, they have very little cash flow. They are taking a huge risk with this renter...what if that falls through, or the renter doesn't pay rent, etc.?

Yes, the tenant poses quite a big risk. But it is unlikely that the house will sell with the current market conditions. It's been on the market for 2 years and only one offer was made (which my dad should have accepted, but he was too proud), and one other family viewed the house half a year ago but never followed up.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato on September 21, 2016, 02:45:10 PM
OP I think it will be fine. Even the worst case scenario is not too bad and your brother can help out later.  Best case which seems likely is that they will find jobs, bring their money over and buy a place and everything will settle down for you all.  There are some significant cultural differences between mmm philosophy and what works in Zimbabwe and your parents will adapt.

Thank you for  the reassurance and positivity regarding the whole situation. I really want my parents to live a better life here and be successful. And yes, it's so hard reconciling MMM ideas with my cultural background. As much as I love my parents, I can't see myself working for decades just to take care of them, but at the same time, I feel greatly responsible for them and their well-being.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: marion10 on September 22, 2016, 06:19:15 AM
I want to offer some perspective as a 50 something- I know I would find it very stressful to move to a new culture and adapt. I think it unrealistic to expect them to be self supporting in a month and be able to work for decades-until they are in their 70s. I do not know if your parents are deliberately lying to you or just having difficulty accepting the new reality of their situation. I want to think the former.  I do not know their skill set- is your mother used to working outside the home? But it will take a while to find employment, I am sure.  This is not the situation they planned for either.  For me, making  sure my parents had a decent standard of living would take precedence over FIRE at40.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: TOgirl on September 22, 2016, 06:48:45 AM
If I can add something to the conversation that might be helpful:

I'm not in the same province as the OP, but I do work in Social Services in another large province with widespread immigration, sponsorship, and sponsorship default issues. I actually work beside the people who collect the sponsorship default debt. It's not horrible. It happens all the time. You have a long time to pay it back, even as it accumulates, and payment plans are often worked out with sponsors who are repaying voluntarily. The worst part of it is that you are not allowed to sponsor any other individuals until the debt is repaid in full.

In my province, there are different clauses for sponsorship default - if you can't support them and they live independently from you - they get full social assistance rates, if you can't pay for them but they DO live with you - they are entitled to basic living costs only, NOT accommodation costs...so your debt owed in the end would be less.

Not sure if this helps, but I wish you the best.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: h2ogal on September 22, 2016, 08:55:47 AM
I really feel for you in this situation.  Family is all we really have in the end, and I can tell you are a kind and responsible person and you may not be able to live with yourself if you turn your back on your parents.   

I agree with Marion10:
Quote
I want to offer some perspective as a 50 something- I know I would find it very stressful to move to a new culture and adapt. I think it unrealistic to expect them to be self supporting in a month and be able to work for decades-until they are in their 70s.

I also wonder how easy it will be for them to find a rental apartment if they have no income or credit history.

I think you need a contingency plan for the worst-case scenario:
- Assume they never sell/successfully rent the old house
- Assume your parents are unable to find/keep full-time work
- Assume they are unable to get credit or rent/lease a home on their own without a co-signer.

If the worst case came to pass what would you be willing to do?   Where would you draw the line?   Thinking about that ahead of time, instead of in the urgency of the moment will help.

I have a sibling who has MS and has no family besides me.  Although at this time she still is earning income from work, if/when her disease progresses, she may need support.   If my sister needed help I would move her right in with me, add a room on to the house, etc.  I would make sure she always had food, shelter, medical care, and some fun times and companionship.  However, I would not incur any credit/liability for example co-sign for a lease on an apartment or co-sign a loan.

I have a general rule to NEVER loan money to Family or Friends.   I will GIVE them what I can afford to give at the moment, with no expectation of repayment.   

When I am asked for a loan (usually by my sons), I always say something like, "no, I cant loan you money for an apartment deposit...but you can crash here while you save up for it."   or "sorry, I cant commit to co-signing for your house - I need my credit to be perfect for a business loan I am applying for soon.   But I can give your some cash as a gift towards the down payment."  or "no, you cant charge that motorcycle part you saw online on my credit card...I have a low limit and need it to cover travel expenses. But if you have the cash now, I can help you put it on a debit card in your name that you can use online."         


Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato on September 22, 2016, 09:19:17 AM
I want to offer some perspective as a 50 something- I know I would find it very stressful to move to a new culture and adapt. I think it unrealistic to expect them to be self supporting in a month and be able to work for decades-until they are in their 70s. I do not know if your parents are deliberately lying to you or just having difficulty accepting the new reality of their situation. I want to think the former.  I do not know their skill set- is your mother used to working outside the home? But it will take a while to find employment, I am sure.  This is not the situation they planned for either.  For me, making  sure my parents had a decent standard of living would take precedence over FIRE at40.

Thank you for your response. I agree with you about adapting to a new country/country. I'm young and I still struggled adapting to life here. It is tough and I expect it to be even tougher for them. I don't expect them to be self-supporting within a month. The BnB I reserved for them is for two months, and I'm going to help them find an apartment during that time. The plan is for them to have enough funds for at least the first 6 months here, and within that time period find a place to live, get jobs, and settle down. And I'm more than willing to help them settle by taking time off from work and driving them around, etc.

My mum does have some work experience. She worked for the government many years (decades) ago and in the last two years she worked for a non-profit org as a project officer. Other than that, she has mostly been a stay at home mom.

I also want the best for them and would never want to see them struggle. I'm just worried that I'll end up sacrificing my plans/life for other people. My DH and I have already given up on the idea of having kids because of our financially irresponsible parents. We know for sure that at some point we'll have to take care of both sets of parents because of their lack of financial planning/forward thinking, and involving kids in all of this would be unaffordable/unrealistic. What else do I have to sacrifice just so that my family is "comfortable"? FIRE at 40 is not something I'm willing to give up.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato on September 22, 2016, 09:22:20 AM
If I can add something to the conversation that might be helpful:

I'm not in the same province as the OP, but I do work in Social Services in another large province with widespread immigration, sponsorship, and sponsorship default issues. I actually work beside the people who collect the sponsorship default debt. It's not horrible. It happens all the time. You have a long time to pay it back, even as it accumulates, and payment plans are often worked out with sponsors who are repaying voluntarily. The worst part of it is that you are not allowed to sponsor any other individuals until the debt is repaid in full.

In my province, there are different clauses for sponsorship default - if you can't support them and they live independently from you - they get full social assistance rates, if you can't pay for them but they DO live with you - they are entitled to basic living costs only, NOT accommodation costs...so your debt owed in the end would be less.

Not sure if this helps, but I wish you the best.

Thank you for your detailed response. This makes me feel better, but at the same time I don't like the idea of owing debts to the province. I would prefer to help them financially than have them access any services to begin with. But this is good to know in case they do access these services in the future without telling me. Thanks for your well wishes!
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato on September 22, 2016, 09:32:17 AM
I really feel for you in this situation.  Family is all we really have in the end, and I can tell you are a kind and responsible person and you may not be able to live with yourself if you turn your back on your parents.   

I agree with Marion10:
Quote
I want to offer some perspective as a 50 something- I know I would find it very stressful to move to a new culture and adapt. I think it unrealistic to expect them to be self supporting in a month and be able to work for decades-until they are in their 70s.

I also wonder how easy it will be for them to find a rental apartment if they have no income or credit history.

I think you need a contingency plan for the worst-case scenario:
- Assume they never sell/successfully rent the old house
- Assume your parents are unable to find/keep full-time work
- Assume they are unable to get credit or rent/lease a home on their own without a co-signer.

If the worst case came to pass what would you be willing to do?   Where would you draw the line?   Thinking about that ahead of time, instead of in the urgency of the moment will help.

I have a sibling who has MS and has no family besides me.  Although at this time she still is earning income from work, if/when her disease progresses, she may need support.   If my sister needed help I would move her right in with me, add a room on to the house, etc.  I would make sure she always had food, shelter, medical care, and some fun times and companionship.  However, I would not incur any credit/liability for example co-sign for a lease on an apartment or co-sign a loan.

I have a general rule to NEVER loan money to Family or Friends.   I will GIVE them what I can afford to give at the moment, with no expectation of repayment.   

When I am asked for a loan (usually by my sons), I always say something like, "no, I cant loan you money for an apartment deposit...but you can crash here while you save up for it."   or "sorry, I cant commit to co-signing for your house - I need my credit to be perfect for a business loan I am applying for soon.   But I can give your some cash as a gift towards the down payment."  or "no, you cant charge that motorcycle part you saw online on my credit card...I have a low limit and need it to cover travel expenses. But if you have the cash now, I can help you put it on a debit card in your name that you can use online."       

I think I may have to co-sign an apartment lease with them since they won't have any credit history. Unfortunate, but it is what it is. I really appreciate all the advice about not loaning money to family and strategies for responding to requests for money. It's been a real learning curve for me. My contingency for plan for if things don't go according to plan is to take them in. We have limited space but we'll just have to make it work somehow. I've learned my lesson, and I will not be loaning them any money from now on.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: Goldielocks on September 22, 2016, 09:34:14 AM
I think this will work out.

One of the biggest helps you can give now, is to line up entry level jobs for them, starting two weeks after they arrive. I say entry as it will be hard to get your contacts to pay more than minimum wage, but it is a huge boost-- and they can make their own alternatives after arrival.


Even lining up interviews to get them started would be a 1000x more help than just money.

Get the SIN or work permit number setup the day after they arrive, too.

You don't need to co sign, secondary suites don't all need that here.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: zolotiyeruki on September 22, 2016, 09:36:56 AM
Thank you for your response. I agree with you about adapting to a new country/country. I'm young and I still struggled adapting to life here. It is tough and I expect it to be even tougher for them. I don't expect them to be self-supporting within a month. The BnB I reserved for them is for two months, and I'm going to help them find an apartment during that time. The plan is for them to have enough funds for at least the first 6 months here, and within that time period find a place to live, get jobs, and settle down. And I'm more than willing to help them settle by taking time off from work and driving them around, etc.

My mum does have some work experience. She worked for the government many years (decades) ago and in the last two years she worked for a non-profit org as a project officer. Other than that, she has mostly been a stay at home mom.

I also want the best for them and would never want to see them struggle. I'm just worried that I'll end up sacrificing my plans/life for other people. My DH and I have already given up on the idea of having kids because of our financially irresponsible parents. We know for sure that at some point we'll have to take care of both sets of parents because of their lack of financial planning/forward thinking, and involving kids in all of this would be unaffordable/unrealistic. What else do I have to sacrifice just so that my family is "comfortable"? FIRE at 40 is not something I'm willing to give up.
Two thoughts come to mind, in reference to the bolded sections above:
1) If past history is any indicator, your parents will arrive with no money.  I think it would be wise to ensure they sell the home before making the trip, to make sure they actually *have* money to support themselves for those first few months.
2) I want the best for my children, so I *do* want to see them struggle.  I don't mean to imply that your parents are immature, but that human nature is such that without discomfort, there is no motivation to change.

One of the biggest helps you can give now, is to line up entry level jobs for them, starting two weeks after they arrive. I say entry as it will be hard to get your contacts to pay more than minimum wage, but it is a huge boost-- and they can make their own alternatives after arrival.

Even lining up interviews to get them started would be a 1000x more help than just money.

Get the SIN or work permit number setup the day after they arrive, too.
I like this advice.  Get them started on the right foot right away!
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: Captain FIRE on September 22, 2016, 09:39:57 AM
What else do I have to sacrifice just so that my family is "comfortable"? FIRE at 40 is not something I'm willing to give up.

This is entirely up to you.  All I can do is repeat what said earlier, that I am VERY skeptical that based on the cultural customs you've described, your family will take FIRE well.  Normal people find it hard, without cultural expectation of supporting their family.  As long as you are prepared for that shit storm (and worst case scenarios that they stop speaking to you and utilize Canada supports to the fullest extent to get back at you), then go full steam ahead.

Have you told your parents you are not having kids because of your concerns about needing to support them, as evidenced by (insert full history of things you've paid for and they haven't paid back).  This might get them to understand in a way they haven't yet.

Once your brother is on his feet, would he agree to help them?  As in, would he split any Canada tax bill you get with you?

Finally - nurture your relationship.  Make sure that even though he's ok with it now, he continues to remain ok.  Taking on this financial responsibility by sponsoring your parents is huge.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato on September 22, 2016, 09:40:39 AM
I think this will work out.

One of the biggest helps you can give now, is to line up entry level jobs for them, starting two weeks after they arrive. I say entry as it will be hard to get your contacts to pay more than minimum wage, but it is a huge boost-- and they can make their own alternatives after arrival.


Even lining up interviews to get them started would be a 1000x more help than just money.

Get the SIN or work permit number setup the day after they arrive, too.

You don't need to co sign, secondary suites don't all need that here.

Thanks for this. Yes, we'll get their SIN numbers asap, and they don't need work permits as they're arriving as permanent residents. In terms of lining up interviews for them, I'm not sure how to go about that. I don't have any contacts to be honest. I work for a relatively small company and I've never been good at networking (I'm very introverted and struggled for years adapting to Canadian culture). But the plan is to go to immigrant service providers and employment agencies to get them started.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato on September 22, 2016, 09:52:36 AM
Thank you for your response. I agree with you about adapting to a new country/country. I'm young and I still struggled adapting to life here. It is tough and I expect it to be even tougher for them. I don't expect them to be self-supporting within a month. The BnB I reserved for them is for two months, and I'm going to help them find an apartment during that time. The plan is for them to have enough funds for at least the first 6 months here, and within that time period find a place to live, get jobs, and settle down. And I'm more than willing to help them settle by taking time off from work and driving them around, etc.

My mum does have some work experience. She worked for the government many years (decades) ago and in the last two years she worked for a non-profit org as a project officer. Other than that, she has mostly been a stay at home mom.

I also want the best for them and would never want to see them struggle. I'm just worried that I'll end up sacrificing my plans/life for other people. My DH and I have already given up on the idea of having kids because of our financially irresponsible parents. We know for sure that at some point we'll have to take care of both sets of parents because of their lack of financial planning/forward thinking, and involving kids in all of this would be unaffordable/unrealistic. What else do I have to sacrifice just so that my family is "comfortable"? FIRE at 40 is not something I'm willing to give up.
Two thoughts come to mind, in reference to the bolded sections above:
1) If past history is any indicator, your parents will arrive with no money.  I think it would be wise to ensure they sell the home before making the trip, to make sure they actually *have* money to support themselves for those first few months.
2) I want the best for my children, so I *do* want to see them struggle.  I don't mean to imply that your parents are immature, but that human nature is such that without discomfort, there is no motivation to change.

One of the biggest helps you can give now, is to line up entry level jobs for them, starting two weeks after they arrive. I say entry as it will be hard to get your contacts to pay more than minimum wage, but it is a huge boost-- and they can make their own alternatives after arrival.

Even lining up interviews to get them started would be a 1000x more help than just money.

Get the SIN or work permit number setup the day after they arrive, too.
I like this advice.  Get them started on the right foot right away!

This is some pretty tough advice. There is no way for me to ensure they sell the house. I (they) have no control over the market and like I said, it's been up for sale for two years. I'm not sure I'm okay with having them struggle. Living in Zimbabwe alone is a major "discomfort". I don't want to go into detail about what life is like there, but to have them struggle in Canada would be very hard for me to deal with. But I do acknowledge that I need to stop being a pushover and draw a line somewhere. I've honestly taken in all the advice I've been given, and I will not loan them any more money. Rather, I will help them in non-financial ways as advised.  Thanks for your feedback, I really appreciate it!
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: tonysemail on September 22, 2016, 10:01:39 AM
I have a general rule to NEVER loan money to Family or Friends.   I will GIVE them what I can afford to give at the moment, with no expectation of repayment.   

agreed.  this was a hard lesson for me too.  it's twisted, but at least for my parents, loans to non-family were more important to pay back compared to loans to family.  SMH.
The irony finally hit me a few years back.
For them, they like borrowing from kids because they can always default on a loan and we'll still talk to them.
Whereas I think of myself more as the lender of last resort ... after all other options were exhausted.


My DH and I have already given up on the idea of having kids because of our financially irresponsible parents. We know for sure that at some point we'll have to take care of both sets of parents because of their lack of financial planning/forward thinking, and involving kids in all of this would be unaffordable/unrealistic.

I'm sorry to hear that you guys are so impacted by financial worries.  The only thing I would say is stay optimistic!
You're still quite young at 26 and if you're working in private sector, then you might be earning big raises in the next decade.
When I was 26, I had NO clue how much I'd be making at 36. 
Plenty of people have kids at the ages of 30-36, so see how things go the next few years and it may go a lot better than what your plan to FIRE says!
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato on September 22, 2016, 10:03:02 AM
What else do I have to sacrifice just so that my family is "comfortable"? FIRE at 40 is not something I'm willing to give up.

This is entirely up to you.  All I can do is repeat what said earlier, that I am VERY skeptical that based on the cultural customs you've described, your family will take FIRE well.  Normal people find it hard, without cultural expectation of supporting their family.  As long as you are prepared for that shit storm (and worst case scenarios that they stop speaking to you and utilize Canada supports to the fullest extent to get back at you), then go full steam ahead.

Have you told your parents you are not having kids because of your concerns about needing to support them, as evidenced by (insert full history of things you've paid for and they haven't paid back).  This might get them to understand in a way they haven't yet.

Once your brother is on his feet, would he agree to help them?  As in, would he split any Canada tax bill you get with you?

Finally - nurture your relationship.  Make sure that even though he's ok with it now, he continues to remain ok.  Taking on this financial responsibility by sponsoring your parents is huge.

I haven't told my parents (or his parents) that we aren't having kids because of them. That seems like a very mean/malicious thing to say. Both sets of parents want grandkids, and it would be awful to tell them that. I've thought about it, though.

My brother would definitely help with taking care of our parents. He's kind hearted and not as selfish as I am. I'm sure he would work til he's 65 for our parents. He is, however, jaded by the sums of money he lent them in the past while earning very little back home and never got back. But like me, he's grateful (feels guilty) that they paid for his undergrad degree and feels he owes a debt to them.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: SKL-HOU on September 22, 2016, 10:10:42 AM
Maybe you can ask them to send you the plane ticket money to put it towards BnB. You can tell them you don't have money to reserve it. At least that would ensure 1-2 months rent. Don't be afraid of white lies to get their money. You can hold on to the money to make sure it doesn't get spent on unnecessary things. Since they have sold a lot of their stuff, they should have money to send you for the tickets.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: SKL-HOU on September 22, 2016, 10:12:49 AM

I haven't told my parents (or his parents) that we aren't having kids because of them. That seems like a very mean/malicious thing to say. Both sets of parents want grandkids, and it would be awful to tell them that. I've thought about it, though.


You don't have to tell them in those words. You can tell them you aren't having kids because you cannot afford it. Maybe that will get them thinking about not being an extra burden on you.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato on September 22, 2016, 10:17:34 AM
Maybe you can ask them to send you the plane ticket money to put it towards BnB. You can tell them you don't have money to reserve it. At least that would ensure 1-2 months rent. Don't be afraid of white lies to get their money. You can hold on to the money to make sure it doesn't get spent on unnecessary things. Since they have sold a lot of their stuff, they should have money to send you for the tickets.

Yes, this is true. When I last spoke to my mum she told me that they had sold quite a bit of stuff and that someone else was going to buy their cars and other stuff for $10k.  So they should have the money to pay me back for the tickets. I know this sounds silly, but I haven't spoken to them since then because I'm waiting for my mum to contact me first. I feel that if I casually talk to her like we usually do, she will think I'm okay with the fact that they haven't paid me back. When I made the BnB reservation, I told them that I only made the reservation on their behalf and that they will pay cash when they arrive. I haven't been charged for the BnB at all.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato on September 22, 2016, 10:24:27 AM
I have a general rule to NEVER loan money to Family or Friends.   I will GIVE them what I can afford to give at the moment, with no expectation of repayment.   

agreed.  this was a hard lesson for me too.  it's twisted, but at least for my parents, loans to non-family were more important to pay back compared to loans to family.  SMH.
The irony finally hit me a few years back.
For them, they like borrowing from kids because they can always default on a loan and we'll still talk to them.
Whereas I think of myself more as the lender of last resort ... after all other options were exhausted.


My DH and I have already given up on the idea of having kids because of our financially irresponsible parents. We know for sure that at some point we'll have to take care of both sets of parents because of their lack of financial planning/forward thinking, and involving kids in all of this would be unaffordable/unrealistic.

I'm sorry to hear that you guys are so impacted by financial worries.  The only thing I would say is stay optimistic!
You're still quite young at 26 and if you're working in private sector, then you might be earning big raises in the next decade.
When I was 26, I had NO clue how much I'd be making at 36. 
Plenty of people have kids at the ages of 30-36, so see how things go the next few years and it may go a lot better than what your plan to FIRE says!

Maybe we are being a bit dramatic about the kids thing. I just never want to be the type of parent that's not present for my child because I'm at work for 50 hours of the week. But yes, I'm optimistic about pay raises in the future as I've already received a promotion and I plan on steadily working my way up. And yes, when I'm 30 I'll probably have a different outlook on things and may even consider having children. I'm just trying to deal with my present reality and plan accordingly with what I have/know now. Thanks for the optimism!!!
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato on September 22, 2016, 10:25:32 AM

I haven't told my parents (or his parents) that we aren't having kids because of them. That seems like a very mean/malicious thing to say. Both sets of parents want grandkids, and it would be awful to tell them that. I've thought about it, though.


You don't have to tell them in those words. You can tell them you aren't having kids because you cannot afford it. Maybe that will get them thinking about not being an extra burden on you.

This seems like a better approach. I'll tell them the next time they inquire about grandkids :-)
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: K-ice on September 22, 2016, 10:27:46 AM
But like me, he's grateful (feels guilty) that they paid for his undergrad degree and feels he owes a debt to them.


This undergrad debt guilt has come up again.  Not just you but also your bro.

When your parents arrive why don't you have a frank discussion and say your are very grateful for their past support for your degree.

You would like to slowly pay back the $40,000 they "gave" to you over time.  Check this plan with DH too. It sounds like you are going to basically pay them back anyway. You might as well budget for it yourself and with them.

It begins with the bills you have recently accumulated, totaling xx, & probably a security deposit on their permanent rental etc.  (over $7,000 I think).


You would then be able to support them with an allowance of, IDK lets say, $500 a month until they get on their feet.

You do not have access to any more funds at this time, but if an emergency arises you would try to come up with money.

Once the $40K is gone they are on their own.  (Sure you are still tied to them due to the sponsorship but try not to focus on that.) 

It is great that your mom is looking for work. Your dad should look into ways for his trade to be accepted here. There are courses for immigrants to "upgrade". Would your Dad be good at Homedepot or something where his trade knowledge is an asset but no further Canadian training is required?   

If they are doing so well that they want to stop the "support/debt repayment" payments from you great.  Just keep what is left of your $40K debt in the back of your mind & share the value with the. Let them know you have always mentally put it aside to help in the future.

Let them know the entire situation has changed without the sale of their property and that you CANNOT FULLY SUPPORT them. They must find reasonably priced accommodation and BOTH find work.

But having family close is priceless. So I am wishing you all the best.


Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: Miss Piggy on September 22, 2016, 10:39:04 AM
Out of curiosity, not related to your actual question: The older brother who earned a degree in South Africa...is that the same brother who now wants to earn a degree in Canada? Is is original degree not marketable at all? How disappointing if that's the case. Or does he simply want to change direction and study/do something else? If he's thinking his degree is not marketable, what makes him think that? I mean, we have doctors in the U.S. who have bachelor's degrees from places all over the world, and those degrees were perfectly acceptable. (Granted, they then went on to more schooling.)  Large corporations in the U.S. are "all over" the diversity thing and many would be excited to interview an educated person from South Africa. Is the same not true in Canada? Like I said, I'm just curious.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato on September 22, 2016, 10:49:52 AM
Out of curiosity, not related to your actual question: The older brother who earned a degree in South Africa...is that the same brother who now wants to earn a degree in Canada? Is is original degree not marketable at all? How disappointing if that's the case. Or does he simply want to change direction and study/do something else? If he's thinking his degree is not marketable, what makes him think that? I mean, we have doctors in the U.S. who have bachelor's degrees from places all over the world, and those degrees were perfectly acceptable. (Granted, they then went on to more schooling.)  Large corporations in the U.S. are "all over" the diversity thing and many would be excited to interview an educated person from South Africa. Is the same not true in Canada? Like I said, I'm just curious.

Yes, this is the same brother. He has an undergrad degree in accounting, and is taking a post-grad diploma in accounting. This course meets the pre-requisites to become a CPA, which is his ultimate goal. The reason he's studying again is because it's easier to get permanent residency after being a student and gaining work experience here. As it stands, he doesn't have enough points (or funds) to immigrate to Canada directly. We have a points-based immigration system that is determined by skills, qualifications, years of experience, proof of adequate funds, etc. He presently doesn't meet the minimum criteria for economic immigration. It's also much harder for foreigners to get jobs while outside of Canada due to strict government rules regarding hiring foreigners over Canadians.  It's very hard to get a work permit if one is not in a very specialized industry. I hope that makes sense.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: Miss Piggy on September 22, 2016, 10:51:40 AM
Yes, this is the same brother. He has an undergrad degree in accounting, and is taking a post-grad diploma in accounting. This course meets the pre-requisites to become a CPA, which is his ultimate goal. The reason he's studying again is because it's easier to get permanent residency after being a student and gaining work experience here. As it stands, he doesn't have enough points (or funds) to immigrate to Canada directly. We have a points-based immigration system that is determined by skills, qualifications, years of experience, proof of adequate funds, etc. He presently doesn't meet the minimum criteria for economic immigration. It's also much harder for foreigners to get jobs while outside of Canada due to strict government rules regarding hiring foreigners over Canadians.  It's very hard to get a work permit if one is not in a very specialized industry. I hope that makes sense.

Makes perfect sense. Thank you for the explanation!
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato on September 22, 2016, 10:54:41 AM
But like me, he's grateful (feels guilty) that they paid for his undergrad degree and feels he owes a debt to them.


This undergrad debt guilt has come up again.  Not just you but also your bro.

When your parents arrive why don't you have a frank discussion and say your are very grateful for their past support for your degree.

You would like to slowly pay back the $40,000 they "gave" to you over time.  Check this plan with DH too. It sounds like you are going to basically pay them back anyway. You might as well budget for it yourself and with them.

It begins with the bills you have recently accumulated, totaling xx, & probably a security deposit on their permanent rental etc.  (over $7,000 I think).


You would then be able to support them with an allowance of, IDK lets say, $500 a month until they get on their feet.

You do not have access to any more funds at this time, but if an emergency arises you would try to come up with money.

Once the $40K is gone they are on their own.  (Sure you are still tied to them due to the sponsorship but try not to focus on that.) 

It is great that your mom is looking for work. Your dad should look into ways for his trade to be accepted here. There are courses for immigrants to "upgrade". Would your Dad be good at Homedepot or something where his trade knowledge is an asset but no further Canadian training is required?   

If they are doing so well that they want to stop the "support/debt repayment" payments from you great.  Just keep what is left of your $40K debt in the back of your mind & share the value with the. Let them know you have always mentally put it aside to help in the future.

Let them know the entire situation has changed without the sale of their property and that you CANNOT FULLY SUPPORT them. They must find reasonably priced accommodation and BOTH find work.

But having family close is priceless. So I am wishing you all the best.

This is very interesting advice. Very different from what others have said about not giving my parents any more money. I need to mull over this option a bit.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: markstache on September 22, 2016, 11:07:27 AM
Plenty of good advice. I'd like to help you get out of a psychological trap. The house is not worth $800k. The house is worth precisely what someone is willing to pay for it. Last year, that might have been something in the $600k range. This year, it might be less than that. If you hold on to the house with the idea that you could get $800k for it at some point in the future, you are speculating.[\b] Would your parents buy the house today for even $500k? If not, sell it for $500k. Hope this helps.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: dougules on September 22, 2016, 11:14:42 AM
Sorry, it sounds like you're in a tough spot.  It's awesome that you're trying to help your parents out. 

I'm assuming the country your parents are coming from is way lower cost of living than Canada, right?   How much would it cost to support them completely on a modest budget if they weren't in Canada?  An idea is to figure up that amount, and if you can swing it, tell them that you can give them that much every month forever.  Tell them Canada's expensive, and that's all you can do.  I also completely agree with letting them know how expensive it to have grandkids in Canada.

The point is if they don't find a way to support themselves in Canada, they would have to go back home where supporting them is less expensive.  (I'm assuming that wouldn't just mean a big bill from the government for support).  And it would be harder for them to get up in your business. 
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato on September 22, 2016, 11:15:55 AM
Plenty of good advice. I'd like to help you get out of a psychological trap. The house is not worth $800k. The house is worth precisely what someone is willing to pay for it. Last year, that might have been something in the $600k range. This year, it might be less than that. If you hold on to the house with the idea that you could get $800k for it at some point in the future, you are speculating.[\b] Would your parents buy the house today for even $500k? If not, sell it for $500k. Hope this helps.

I know; hence why I initially put the statement in quotation marks. I've been trying to tell them that for the longest time but they have their own ideas. To be honest, with the current economic situation, that house should really sell for $400k. I don't know how else to convey this to them... Sigh.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato on September 22, 2016, 11:25:00 AM
Sorry, it sounds like you're in a tough spot.  It's awesome that you're trying to help your parents out. 

I'm assuming the country your parents are coming from is way lower cost of living than Canada, right?   How much would it cost to support them completely on a modest budget if they weren't in Canada?  An idea is to figure up that amount, and if you can swing it, tell them that you can give them that much every month forever.  Tell them Canada's expensive, and that's all you can do.  I also completely agree with letting them know how expensive it to have grandkids in Canada.

The point is if they don't find a way to support themselves in Canada, they would have to go back home where supporting them is less expensive.  (I'm assuming that wouldn't just mean a big bill from the government for support).  And it would be harder for them to get up in your business.

I have considered this. Staying in Zimbabwe would be much more affordable than Canada. $500 per month should be more than enough. The reason why I want them to come to Canada is so that I don't have to give them that money every month. I want them to be independent and not have to rely on monthly handouts (they want this too, despite them not paying me back). Here they can theoretically work and support themselves, whereas back home, that is not an option due to the economy. If they can't be self-supporting after some years here, I agree that the best option would be for them to go back home. However, Zimbabwe isn't a good place to live if you aren't well off, and it would also be much harder to care for them in their old age if they are so far away. The overall idea is to have my family close, in a country where they can have a decent quality of life. I was just hoping that it wouldn't involve me footing the bill.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: zolotiyeruki on September 22, 2016, 03:25:31 PM
Quote
This is some pretty tough advice. There is no way for me to ensure they sell the house. I (they) have no control over the market and like I said, it's been up for sale for two years.
Yes, we know it's a tough situation.  And it's emotionally difficult to take a loss when selling a property.  But markstache is right--if they're unwilling to sell the house for $685k (or whatever it's worth now), then they're expecting it to appreciate dramatically, i.e. they're speculating.  Or, in other words, they are choosing to invest several hundred thousand dollars in a non-liquid asset.

Yes, there is a way for you to ensure that they encourage them to sell the house before immigrating:  cancel the plane tickets.  I know this sounds really harsh and mean and all sorts of nasty things, but keep in mind that you are doing them a huge service in sponsoring their immigration.  You are also putting yourself at great risk in the process.  I don't think it's unreasonable, given the risk you're taking and the benefit you're providing, that you place conditions on this enormous gift you're giving, simply to protect yourself.

Of course, your parents could buy their own plane tickets and show up on your doorstep, but again, given the history, that situation seems unlikely.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: totoro on September 22, 2016, 06:12:07 PM
Well, to be contrary and having experience with relatives in third world countries, helping your parents in this situation is different than the typical NA scenario, particularly where they have helped you out with school and provided you with a lot of opportunity in the past.  And the failure of business and loss of RE value in Zimbabwe is largely due to external forces if I understand the situation correctly.  Your parents unmet promises are not good but perhaps understandable from a cultural perspective where they still view themselves as undergoing a temporary setback.  If it was your kids you'd be moving heaven and earth to get them to Canada and putting all your resources into trying for a successful launch.  I don't think delaying ER is unreasonable if the purpose is to create a successful transition for your parents if possible.  Unless there is serious dysfunction and lack of caring on the part of the parents I'd tend to view this as a family systems/taking care of each other issue that does not fit the lens of pure financial analysis and loss of advantage/taking advantage of others.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: Goldielocks on September 22, 2016, 06:35:31 PM
I think this will work out.

One of the biggest helps you can give now, is to line up entry level jobs for them, starting two weeks after they arrive. I say entry as it will be hard to get your contacts to pay more than minimum wage, but it is a huge boost-- and they can make their own alternatives after arrival.


Even lining up interviews to get them started would be a 1000x more help than just money.

Get the SIN or work permit number setup the day after they arrive, too.

You don't need to co sign, secondary suites don't all need that here.

Thanks for this. Yes, we'll get their SIN numbers asap, and they don't need work permits as they're arriving as permanent residents. In terms of lining up interviews for them, I'm not sure how to go about that. I don't have any contacts to be honest. I work for a relatively small company and I've never been good at networking (I'm very introverted and struggled for years adapting to Canadian culture). But the plan is to go to immigrant service providers and employment agencies to get them started.

Go to those employment assistance places now and ask questions, then. Find out the consistent employers looking for entry workers, then make an appointment at those employers to describe your situation and ask them for advice or to hold an interview slot.

I would also reach out to security guard firms, office cleaning ( large maintenance companies), and others that you see near you that hire new immigrants above board. Ask to meet with HR in person, and just ask everyone you meet. Put a note on your apartment bulletin board. 'New immigrant with PR seeks Work, call...".etc.

It is a LOT of legwork, that your parents will want to put off after they arrive, so if you can start it now, before, do so.


Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: Bicycle_B on September 22, 2016, 08:48:48 PM

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.

I see your logic.  Not covering health care reduces the risk.  And you are giving them an opportunity. 

Good luck with your gamble.  Glad to see in other posts that you are figuring out what to do if doesn't happen.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: dess1313 on September 22, 2016, 11:27:26 PM
This is a great book to consider reading.  she's also canadian as well!
http://www.gailvazoxlade.com/
The book is called "Money Talks" - When to Say Yes and How to Say No.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: Primm on September 23, 2016, 04:37:34 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: ooeei on September 23, 2016, 08:46:27 AM
I think your solution is simple, but not easy.  You have to have tough conversations with your parents, and not roll over to prevent them from experiencing any discomfort. 

You're the one helping them here, it's not unreasonable for you to set a few ground rules.  "My house, my rules" except it's more like "My money, my rules."  It's very reasonable for you to expect them to sell the house before moving, as once they move they lose control of it.  If the country is in as bad of shape as you say it is, I wouldn't be surprised if the tenant just quit paying them, or squatters moved in.  What would they do then?

They think the house is worth $800k or whatever because that's what it was worth a few years ago.  You're going to have to tell them that it's NON NEGOTIABLE to sell the house before they move over here, despite what they think it's worth.  If someone pays $300k for it, that's what they get for it.  If they want to wait for some future price increase, they can wait there, but not in Canada with no money.

You have to be able to put your foot down, unless you want them making your financial decisions for you for the rest of their lives.  What are you going to do when they ask you for food money, but just leased a new car or ate at fancy restaurants the first 2 weeks of the month?
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: Fishindude on September 23, 2016, 09:09:58 AM
It doesn't require a psychic to see that this situation has a very high probability of turning out badly for you.
Kudos for taking care of your folks, but you are at significant risk here, so keep them on a short leash.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato on September 23, 2016, 09:15:11 AM
Well, to be contrary and having experience with relatives in third world countries, helping your parents in this situation is different than the typical NA scenario, particularly where they have helped you out with school and provided you with a lot of opportunity in the past.  And the failure of business and loss of RE value in Zimbabwe is largely due to external forces if I understand the situation correctly.  Your parents unmet promises are not good but perhaps understandable from a cultural perspective where they still view themselves as undergoing a temporary setback.  If it was your kids you'd be moving heaven and earth to get them to Canada and putting all your resources into trying for a successful launch.  I don't think delaying ER is unreasonable if the purpose is to create a successful transition for your parents if possible.  Unless there is serious dysfunction and lack of caring on the part of the parents I'd tend to view this as a family systems/taking care of each other issue that does not fit the lens of pure financial analysis and loss of advantage/taking advantage of others.

+1. I understand that this is more of a cultural/personal issue. I was just hoping to get advice from a mustachian point of view because while I do have a different cultural background, I am still a mustachian and I value FIRE principles (the immigrant dilemma of being too foreign for here and too foreign for home at the same time). Just trying to strike a balance here. I really appreciate your ability to view things from a "third world" perspective as well. Makes me feel a little less crazy!
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato on September 23, 2016, 09:18:23 AM
I think this will work out.

One of the biggest helps you can give now, is to line up entry level jobs for them, starting two weeks after they arrive. I say entry as it will be hard to get your contacts to pay more than minimum wage, but it is a huge boost-- and they can make their own alternatives after arrival.


Even lining up interviews to get them started would be a 1000x more help than just money.

Get the SIN or work permit number setup the day after they arrive, too.

You don't need to co sign, secondary suites don't all need that here.

Thanks for this. Yes, we'll get their SIN numbers asap, and they don't need work permits as they're arriving as permanent residents. In terms of lining up interviews for them, I'm not sure how to go about that. I don't have any contacts to be honest. I work for a relatively small company and I've never been good at networking (I'm very introverted and struggled for years adapting to Canadian culture). But the plan is to go to immigrant service providers and employment agencies to get them started.

Go to those employment assistance places now and ask questions, then. Find out the consistent employers looking for entry workers, then make an appointment at those employers to describe your situation and ask them for advice or to hold an interview slot.

I would also reach out to security guard firms, office cleaning ( large maintenance companies), and others that you see near you that hire new immigrants above board. Ask to meet with HR in person, and just ask everyone you meet. Put a note on your apartment bulletin board. 'New immigrant with PR seeks Work, call...".etc.

It is a LOT of legwork, that your parents will want to put off after they arrive, so if you can start it now, before, do so.

Thanks very much!
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato on September 23, 2016, 09:19:14 AM
This is a great book to consider reading.  she's also canadian as well!
http://www.gailvazoxlade.com/
The book is called "Money Talks" - When to Say Yes and How to Say No.

Thanks! Much appreciated!
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: Captain FIRE 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: zolotiyeruki 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: dougules 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. 
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: Cassie 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: LeRainDrop 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?
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: LeRainDrop 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!
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: calimom 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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.

Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: zolotiyeruki 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: Goldielocks 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: totoro 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. 
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: dougules 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. 
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: dess1313 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!

Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: elaine amj 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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?
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: frugaldrummer 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: milliemchi 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: milliemchi 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!
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: elaine amj 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: Playing with Fire UK 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: Cpa Cat 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: SKL-HOU 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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!
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: Bicycle_B 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: Rimu05 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: SwordGuy 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!

Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: Bicycle_B 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!
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: elaine amj 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: Cassie 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: elaine amj 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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Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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?
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: elaine amj 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: Cassie 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. 
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: Cassie 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:))
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: MrsPotato 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 :-)
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: Bicycle_B 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. 
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: SwordGuy 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.
Title: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: elaine amj 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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Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: Letj 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.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: Letj on March 04, 2017, 07:01:31 AM
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.

Also in many countries the topography is very mountainous and a wheel chair would be useless. I know this gentleman that lives in such a country. He has a wheel chair provided by some good friends abroad but he can't wheel himself because he lives on a steep hill, like most of the population, and has to have someone to push him. There are no sidewalks and narrow streets so he is pushed in the middle of traffic and has to contend with all the cars.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: SKL-HOU on March 04, 2017, 08:45:10 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.

I don't agree with this. There is a huge difference. There are plenty of Americans who have the means to pay for their kids' college education but they don't pay for it for various reasons. In other countries (3rd world or similar), the parents always pay for full education including college if they have the means (with maybe a few exceptions) and often even if they are not financially well off they continue to help support their kids. And not all other cultures who pay for their kids education expect their kids to take care of them.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: Cassie on March 05, 2017, 05:15:43 PM
That story of what the beggar had to go through is horrible. My Grandparents had to take in their father when he could no longer work at age 70 because there was no SS at that time. At least in the states there is some minimal amount that old people get and I realize that poor countries do not have that safety  net.  Just really a sad situation.
Title: Re: HELP!!! Dealing with Financially Irresponsible/Dependent Parents
Post by: Rimu05 on March 13, 2017, 08:14:27 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.

This. Like my mom had to put herself through school here in the U.S because she couldn't take out student loans as an international student yet she also had to not only support two kids but also somehow send money back home.

I mean we're talking helping pay tuition for her siblings. My mom is very mustachian too and if it wasn't for this culture, she would probably be a millionaire right now.

The fortunate thing for us is that now most of my nuclear family is in the U.S and everyone has gotten a good taste for the struggles of the first world so very few people still ask for money. Also, our standard of living has come a VERY long way. We laugh at how 5 cent sweets were so expensive and how I used to want this 10 cent toy but we could never afford it.

On this note though, poverty sucks no matter where you are. Those who have money live even better lives than us here. Like some of my mom's friends ended up getting good jobs with the growing economy and they live like kings.