Author Topic: Help me save my parents - advice needed.  (Read 4058 times)

Tami1982

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1016
Help me save my parents - advice needed.
« on: May 11, 2017, 09:14:59 AM »
My parents are in huge debt hole.   My dad has been out of work, no pay for six months due to on the job injury.   They are 2 months behind on mortgage.  My mom brings home like $1,200 a month.  He just got his L & I claim denial and we are meeting a lawyer next week. 

Recently, we have been throwing around the idea that they build an ADU on my uncle's property.  My uncle is homebound, and is getting worse.  Disabled and needs more support.  But they had 1,000 reasons not to and the way they get around things (the way they always get away with not making decisions) is lack of information.

I decided that wasn't going to work this time.  I spent the last few days researching everything.  I went to the county.  I have the restrictions/allowances.  I researched their home's value.  I know their debt.   I told them I was coming tonight to give them a 5-10 minute presentation.  I'm trying to figure out how to make it really sink in.

Situation is thus: Uncle needs more support - they are broke.  This will solve everything.

Current debt load:
235,000 mortgage
25,0000 credit cards
25,000 5th wheel.

Repayments approx $3,300 a month on $285,000 debt. 

Sell house for $290,000 (possibly more.  There have been bidding wars in their neighborhood).  Walk away with $50,000.   Pay off CC.  Keep remaining $25,000 for site prep.  Live in the 5th wheel during the building process.  Buy small manufactured home for $60,000 or less. 

Future debt load:
60,000 mortgage
25,000 5th wheel (which they can pay off quickly once $1,300 CC payments are gone).

Saved themselves $200,000.  Help support my aging uncle, which they have to do anyway.  Now the family has one lot to maintain instead of two (good for my brother who ends up doing most of the work).  My uncle's property is set up in a way that is conducive to still feeling independent of each other, so private. 

Can anyone tell me if there are issues with using the money from the home sale for CC/site prep?  Do they have to pay taxes on that? 

How can I make them really *get* this?   My parents are children.  I have been my parent's parent for most of my life.  My uncle has enabled them for years by giving them $ off and on and supporting their horrible spending habits.  My dad is now permanently disabled and is going to be unable to work.  My mom works part time because of her health problems.  They just seem to think they can float along and things will eventually work out - because they ALWAYS have due to enabler's intervention. And maybe my telling them to do this and doing the leg work is another example, but it's TOO STRESSFUL for me to constantly worry about them.  My body is raging in protest (stomach/back problems from stress).   I decided to set limits on what I would do.  Complete the things I wanted, and then I'd leave them be.  I got their CC's transferred to no interest for 20+ month CC's.  I found info on their house, I did adu research, I helped clean out their garage and sell things.  And after this presentation, I'm done.  There is nothing else I can do.  They now can make informed decisions on their own.

Am I being selfish in pushing this fix on them?   I just want them safe and secure.  My mom has no retirement.  My dad has some, but he can't access it and the city is fighting him on his injury because it's cumulative and not like, one incident.  It's really appalling.  My dad walks hunched, can't stand long, can't sit long, can't sleep, and limps, has had unending injections in his spine and is on loads of pain meds, but the "independent" medical exams keep saying he is totally fine.  FINE?  I'm not a doctor, I can see he isn't FINE.

They have no real assets.  They won't sell the 5th wheel because they are afraid they will end up living in it, but their inaction is why they would end up in there.

I just....how to convince the children/parents that they can't have everything they want/think they deserve?  That this isn't a sacrifice, that it's a gain?   Any advice would be appreciated.  I'm so IN it, that  I'm not sure I can present it in the best fashion. 

*I know we'd have to get the house payments caught up to sell, and financing the mobile may not be straightforward with dad's issues right now, but we'd figure that out somehow.  That could be managed in the future, over time.   

Malum Prohibitum

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 699
Re: Help me save my parents - advice needed.
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2017, 09:21:33 AM »
My parents are children.
  No, they're not.

Tami1982

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1016
Re: Help me save my parents - advice needed.
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2017, 09:27:15 AM »
My parents are children.
  No, they're not.


LOL.  True, but emotionally, I swear, they never grew up. 

Frankies Girl

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3015
  • Age: 81
  • Location: The laboratory
  • Typical Ghoul Next Door
Re: Help me save my parents - advice needed.
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2017, 09:31:02 AM »
You can present your plan to them, but you can't make them do it. And if they do? What is to stop them from running up even more debt, neglecting things they should have kept up on and sinking right back into major trouble in a year or so?

I think the real problem is that you complain about your uncle being an enabler and your parents are children... but then go on to say you've always had to take care of them and parent them yourself.

You are also an enabler.

It is a hard thing to realize, but you're stepping in like this and taking over - making plans and trying to prevent them from facing actual consequences? That's classic enabling behavior.

Your parents are grown adults. They may not act like it, but they really don't have a good reason to do so if you do all of the stuff for them means they won't face up to the mess they made, and they likely will make a further mess of it once you move them out of this one. It is a never-ending cycle where you will always feel responsible and unnecessarily involved in your parents' care and upkeep and have a seriously messed up enmeshment/codependent relationship.

I am not meaning to sound cruel or judgemental at all. I get that you love your parents and you absolutely are trying to save them from their mistakes and you're a good person for all of the worry and effort you expend on their issues. I just wonder if you're seeing how much your own involvement has kept them in this state of childlike dependence. So please don't take this as harsh criticism; I'm just hoping you might step back and look at the big picture for a bit and see if this really is as helpful long term as you think it is.

lhamo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9840
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Help me save my parents - advice needed.
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2017, 09:41:57 AM »
I'm sorry you are dealing with this on top of all of the other challenges.

They need to sell the house and reduce their monthly expenses.

If they have lived in their home as a primary residence for at least two of the last five years, they will not owe any capital gains taxes on any profit from the sale of their property -- they would qualify for the full $500k exclusion as a married couple.

There may be excise taxes on the sale, though -- on our title policy, it says the rate for King County is 1.78%.  Not sure what Pierce would be -- probably a bit lower.

I would recommend they live in the 5th wheel on the uncle's property for at least 6 months before establishing something more permanent.   Just in case it proves to be untenable for either side.   Dynamics can change once people get in close quarters.

Retire-Canada

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6728
Re: Help me save my parents - advice needed.
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2017, 09:42:11 AM »
Future debt load:
60,000 mortgage
25,000 5th wheel (which they can pay off quickly once $1,300 CC payments are gone).

Sell the 5th wheel and pay off that loan. They can't afford an RV or better yet live in the 5th wheel and don't build a manufactured home.

plog

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 214
Re: Help me save my parents - advice needed.
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2017, 09:50:10 AM »
Quote
...because they ALWAYS have due to enabler's intervention.

1.  You do realize you're their biggest enabler right?  Your uncle's the easy enabler, throwing money at the problem; you're doing the hard enabling. He's out some cash, you're out sanity and health.

2.  You will not stop.  This the first time you've had this rant about your parents and swore you were done? Good people just don't stop caring about others, no matter what they say.  You will be back.

3. What's the worst case scenario if you don't put on your cape and help out?  I don't think it involves serious phsyical peril for them.  Just emotional peril for you for not being the good child.

4.  Never a mobile home.  Depreciating asset.  Have them rent or live in their 5th wheel.

Tami1982

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1016
Re: Help me save my parents - advice needed.
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2017, 09:56:27 AM »
You can present your plan to them, but you can't make them do it. And if they do? What is to stop them from running up even more debt, neglecting things they should have kept up on and sinking right back into major trouble in a year or so?

I think the real problem is that you complain about your uncle being an enabler and your parents are children... but then go on to say you've always had to take care of them and parent them yourself.

You are also an enabler.

It is a hard thing to realize, but you're stepping in like this and taking over - making plans and trying to prevent them from facing actual consequences? That's classic enabling behavior.

Your parents are grown adults. They may not act like it, but they really don't have a good reason to do so if you do all of the stuff for them means they won't face up to the mess they made, and they likely will make a further mess of it once you move them out of this one. It is a never-ending cycle where you will always feel responsible and unnecessarily involved in your parents' care and upkeep and have a seriously messed up enmeshment/codependent relationship.

I am not meaning to sound cruel or judgemental at all. I get that you love your parents and you absolutely are trying to save them from their mistakes and you're a good person for all of the worry and effort you expend on their issues. I just wonder if you're seeing how much your own involvement has kept them in this state of childlike dependence. So please don't take this as harsh criticism; I'm just hoping you might step back and look at the big picture for a bit and see if this really is as helpful long term as you think it is.

No, I fully get what you are saying, and I totally see what I am doing.  I have struggled to set boundaries for years.  That's why I spent so much time thinking about what I was willing, and not willing to do here.  Honestly, they expect way more than I have done and there has been emotional abuse from my mother.   I have also cut them off from other avenues - Made it clear to family not to give them money.   After this sharing of info, I'm done.    This is what I can live with. 

If they choose not to - that is their choice, but there is no excuse after this point of a lack of knowledge or information.  This is where my line is drawn.  This is where my "enabling" ends. 


Future debt load:
60,000 mortgage
25,000 5th wheel (which they can pay off quickly once $1,300 CC payments are gone).

Sell the 5th wheel and pay off that loan. They can't afford an RV or better yet live in the 5th wheel and don't build a manufactured home.

They are so upside down on that.  They couldn't sell it for more than $16,000 if they are lucky.   I have suggested it myself, but they just can't mentally process the idea of taking a loss and losing their "emergency" place to live.  I haven't mentioned that my brother also lives there. 


I appreciate everyone's feedback, but what I'm specifically looking for is a way to present this information.  Family dynamics are complicated.  Clearly ours are not the most healthy.  My only fortune(if you can call it that) is that I am disabled and low income.  I have no money to give them.  I can't help them out that way.  But the stress is really getting to me and causing additional health issues, but I have no experience in presentations, and of course, I'm so in it, I may not present things in the best way and my mom struggles with numbers.  Specific advice towards that aspect would be appreciated. 

mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3007
Re: Help me save my parents - advice needed.
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2017, 10:04:36 AM »
Quote
I'm so IN it, that  I'm not sure I can present it in the best fashion.

You have to stop being in it. My dad's financial situation was similar. He hadn't taken my advice over the years and he got to the point where he was going to lose his house. I told him to stop fighting it and let the foreclosure happen and file for bankruptcy. He can't have a credit card for awhile but otherwise he is doing just fine!

Quote
but what I'm specifically looking for is a way to present this information
I don't think you should present any information. I think you should stop now. Let them come to you if they decide what to do.

Tami1982

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1016
Re: Help me save my parents - advice needed.
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2017, 10:10:15 AM »
I'm sorry you are dealing with this on top of all of the other challenges.

They need to sell the house and reduce their monthly expenses.

If they have lived in their home as a primary residence for at least two of the last five years, they will not owe any capital gains taxes on any profit from the sale of their property -- they would qualify for the full $500k exclusion as a married couple.

There may be excise taxes on the sale, though -- on our title policy, it says the rate for King County is 1.78%.  Not sure what Pierce would be -- probably a bit lower.


Thanks, Lhamo!  That was really helpful info.  I appreciate it.   Yeah, it's a rough time right now.  All of this is not helping my health battles, but I am proud of myself for setting boundaries.  Maybe it's not what others think I should do, but my therapist and I talked through a lot and I came up with what I could live with and I'm sticking to it!   I can't wait for this to be over.  I clearly feel a false sense of responsibility here, but once I've laid it all out, I can walk away with a clear heart. 

Laura33

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2322
  • Location: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Help me save my parents - advice needed.
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2017, 12:23:14 PM »
Good for you for setting boundaries.  And good luck sticking to it when they don't listen. :-)

Question for you:  why are you so focused on persuading them to build an accessory structure, when they already have a fifth wheel that they can't even sell, and an ADU would cost even more money that they don't have?  I would think the simplest answer is sell the house and move into the RV -- which also seems to be what your parents have landed on.  Why is that not acceptable to you?

I mean that as a legit question to look at your own motivations here -- to an outsider, it sounds like even while part of you is trying to draw some boundaries, the other part of you is still very, very much invested in persuading them do to things exactly as you think they should (ADU, efforts to cut off funds from other family members, etc.).  Why not just lay out the available options for them, including the pros and cons of each, and asking them what they think?  They will quibble and obfuscate and refuse to commit, and then you can just leave the information with them to consider as they choose.

FWIW, my mother has a very strong personality and was very particular about How Certain Things Must Be Done.  So I can tell you from personal experience:  when you don't like what is being forced down your throat, but you don't feel like you have the power to say no, the only available response is passive-aggressive fault-finding, dithering, and refusal to take action.  Sound familiar?

Tl;dr:  Maybe one way to persuade them to stop acting like obstreperous children is to stop acting quite so much like their parent.  And then just remind yourself that this is not your problem and not something you can fix for them.

MayDay

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4019
Re: Help me save my parents - advice needed.
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2017, 12:37:37 PM »
I would make a PowerPoint presentation because that's how we roll in my family.

4-5 slides. One with total debt. One with total payments compared to actual current income. One with profit from selling the house and paying off the CC. One with a list of reasons why they should love with Uncle (caring for him, no lot rent, etc). One with relevant city code info and the phone number of a realtor.

Lady SA

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 465
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Midwest
Re: Help me save my parents - advice needed.
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2017, 01:09:13 PM »
I'd show them their expenses and their income/assets and show them that if they continue on their path, they will run out of money in xyz months.

Then I'd try to lay out ALL of the options with pros and cons separately.

ie
do nothing, stay in the house, etc -- pros: can continue to pretend everything is fine until things blow up. Cons: you will run out of money in x months, creditors will be after you in x months.

Sell the house, live in rv, build a ADU on uncles land, live there -- pros: can take care of uncle, remove a liability. Cons: adding on more liability with ADU

sell the house and live in rv now -- pros: mobile, can take care of uncle, remove a liability. Cons: don't have a "house" anymore (emotional attachment?)

Just be unemotional about it. "Here are the facts, if you continue as you have been you will run out of money in less than a year (or whatever). Here are your options. Gotta go, bye!"
I'd do it with paper because then they can peruse the info/options after you leave and you don't have to be around while they dither and argue.


Either that, or I'd lay out the current financial landscape (debt, income, expenses).
"Hey parents, here is what you currently have."
"I am nervous because that means you will be bankrupt and out of money in xyz years."
"What do you think? Do you see a problem?"

Then simply put it back on them and ask them to brainstorm THEIR OWN ideas:
"What do you want to be different?"
"Do you have any ideas on how to make this better?"
"What else could work?"
"How do you think things would be better if you tried that?"

Then you can put the accountability of follow through on them.
"What will you do first?"
"What about after that?"
"When will you do it?"

And then your parents will have come up with their own action plan, which significantly increases the likelihood of following through. Dictating or managing or ordering or doing problem solving for them doesn't make it more likely that they will do what is necessary and can backfire if they are stubborn.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2017, 01:17:33 PM by LadyLB »

Tami1982

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1016
Re: Help me save my parents - advice needed.
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2017, 03:41:03 PM »
Good for you for setting boundaries.  And good luck sticking to it when they don't listen. :-)

Question for you:  why are you so focused on persuading them to build an accessory structure, when they already have a fifth wheel that they can't even sell, and an ADU would cost even more money that they don't have?  I would think the simplest answer is sell the house and move into the RV -- which also seems to be what your parents have landed on.  Why is that not acceptable to you?

I mean that as a legit question to look at your own motivations here -- to an outsider, it sounds like even while part of you is trying to draw some boundaries, the other part of you is still very, very much invested in persuading them do to things exactly as you think they should (ADU, efforts to cut off funds from other family members, etc.).  Why not just lay out the available options for them, including the pros and cons of each, and asking them what they think?  They will quibble and obfuscate and refuse to commit, and then you can just leave the information with them to consider as they choose.

FWIW, my mother has a very strong personality and was very particular about How Certain Things Must Be Done.  So I can tell you from personal experience:  when you don't like what is being forced down your throat, but you don't feel like you have the power to say no, the only available response is passive-aggressive fault-finding, dithering, and refusal to take action.  Sound familiar?

Tl;dr:  Maybe one way to persuade them to stop acting like obstreperous children is to stop acting quite so much like their parent.  And then just remind yourself that this is not your problem and not something you can fix for them.

I think part of this is a misunderstanding, so I apologize for that.  They wont' live in the 5th wheel.  They won't have a choice if everything goes to shit, but what will actually end up happening is that my mom will end up in it, alone, and my dad will end up in a spare room at my uncle's house.  My dad snores badly.  Mom won't stand for that.  My Uncle smokes in his house, and my mother and I are asthmatic, so she can't live in there.   

Things are far more complicated than my little sum up could encompass, but I appreciate your time and thoughts. 
I would make a PowerPoint presentation because that's how we roll in my family.

4-5 slides. One with total debt. One with total payments compared to actual current income. One with profit from selling the house and paying off the CC. One with a list of reasons why they should love with Uncle (caring for him, no lot rent, etc). One with relevant city code info and the phone number of a realtor.


Thank you so much for these  suggestions - I really appreciate it!

Tami1982

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1016
Re: Help me save my parents - advice needed.
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2017, 03:42:41 PM »
@LadyLB
Wow, thank you so much.  Awesome suggestions and I really appreciate the time you put into your response.  I'm definitely going to work some of these in. 

Well, time to wrap this up.  I'm heading off in a couple hours.  Wish me luck!  Or send good vibes, or whatever floats your boat:)

Thank you everyone for your thoughts and input.  I appreciate it very much.

lhamo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9840
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Help me save my parents - advice needed.
« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2017, 05:06:42 PM »
Good luck, dude....

GoConfidently

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 208
Re: Help me save my parents - advice needed.
« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2017, 07:29:23 PM »
Is it possible that your mother doesn't want to move to your uncle's property because she's afraid she'll get stuck taking care of two people by herself? Being a caretaker is hard and it sounds like your dad is already in a lot of pain, maybe not actually able to care for someone else. I would also be wary of that situation. Is some sort of assisted living or retirement housing an option if they sell the house and the RV? Maybe an income based housing situation that would give them some independence and reduced expenses/responsibility?

Dmy0013

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 100
  • Location: Central Canada
Re: Help me save my parents - advice needed.
« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2017, 12:46:09 AM »
How did the talk go?

Tami1982

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1016
Re: Help me save my parents - advice needed.
« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2017, 09:11:04 AM »
I feel like I properly conveyed everything. All I wanted was to be able to walk away and know that they understood everything. They are free to make whatever decision they choose today but I did not want them to make a decision based on ignorance. I laid everything out very clearly and walked away feeling like they knew and understood everything.

Things have gotten a lot more complicated recently and I am checking out of the process. I have made myself sick from stress and anxiety. I can't help but have feelings about everything, but I did the things that I told myself I would do and I am working to enforce boundaries. I have my own stuff going on that is stressful enough comma by trying to own their stuff I have basically crippled myself emotionally and physically.

I really appreciate the kind thoughts and the time and effort people put into their responses. I know it was super hard with such little information to really understand what was happening and to not put two cents in about interpersonal Dynamics. Although some of you had some really good thoughts that I have taken to Heart. Any good vibes our prayers are appreciated during this difficult time. Thank you again for being a wonderful community.