Author Topic: Manage My Mom's Finances?  (Read 1665 times)

kenmoremmm

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Manage My Mom's Finances?
« on: March 07, 2019, 09:16:21 PM »
My mom is 65 and is about 11 months away from "retirement". She will be claiming 1/2 of my dad's SS benefits (they're divorced). I think this comes out to maybe $1600-1700/mo. She has virtually no other savings or retirement funds and has lived paycheck to paycheck as long as she's been divorced (15+ years), even though she started with a fully paid off $200k house and no debt (my dad paid it off for her b/c he was a nice guy).

I have no idea how she will possibly make it. I think her rent is $800-1000/mo. It could be $0 and she'd still piss away whatever money she has.

I talked to her about her predicament, but she essentially said:
1. She's not a planner or someone that likes looking at numbers
2. She could die any day, so why bother trying to save (FOMO, a side effect of her mother dying at 48 y.o.)

I explained to her that while she has done an admirable job of never trying to be a burden to me in my adult life (not overbearing, needy, etc), that her lack of retirement planning might possibly land squarely on me and my family. I am the only relative she has besides her sister that could be in a position to support her.

She mentioned that she would be okay if I managed her finances, but at this point, I'm not even sure what that would look like, nor is it something that I actually want to do. I mean, the way I manage my finances is not to spend, and that language isn't in her dictionary. A budget for her would be useless. Having her ask me for permission to spend would be severely uncomfortable, and impractical (she lives in FL, me in WA). Plus, knowing her history, she would just rack up debt on CC's and never pay it off.

I think her ultimate plan is to just die at some point soon, but despite an unhealthy lifestyle, she'll probably make it to 70s or beyond (her father basically drank a bottle of vodka each day for 30 years and smoked 2+ packs a day and made it to 80).

I have no idea what to do, but I can sense the train is nearing the wrecking wall.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Manage My Mom's Finances?
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2019, 09:50:03 PM »
Stay out of it if at all possible. She's a grown adult, and she's making the choice to quit, so paying for things she wants/needs is all on her if she won't save/reduce spending or budget.

If she has SS of that much a month, she technically should be fine. If she can't afford her apartment, she'll have to get a job again or move to a cheaper place. Do not subsidize her. She can't move in with you. And you are not going to pay her bills so she can spend on stupid shit instead of the basics like food/utilities/shelter if she chose to blow through money and not build up any savings to support herself and insists on quitting working besides.

Where does she think the extra money is going to come from to pay for things like food, electricity, gas, insurance? If she knows the SS amount and knows her apartment alone is more than the SS payment, there's a disconnect, so you can begin by asking her how she's planning on paying for everything on SS if it doesn't cover her current expenses.

Tell her what you can and can't do for her: sit down and figure out a cheaper place to live, maybe help her find a roommate or room to rent with utilities paid situation (I see those often on Nextdoor for half the cost of renting an apartment/house and utilities are usually included). She may not be able to quit her job, and you'll need to explain to her that if she comes up short on something to the point where she gets behind on bills, you won't be paying off her credit cards or letting her crash in your spare room or loaning/gifting any significant (or any) amount of money; you'll provide help researching, advise her on money/bills/debts, help her fill out paperwork or make phone calls and be a sympathetic ear, but you are not responsible for her life choices, and she's going to have to do the work or cut expenses if she wants to retire and stay retired.

You need to make sure she understands the amount and type of help you are and are not willing to give her.

If she was doing okay, still working and accidentally got behind due to illness or something else beyond her control I could see helping out, but this isn't that type of situation. She's determined to quit her job? She should have saved up enough to make up the difference to pay for herself. Period, full stop. This isn't your responsibility to make up the difference, and you can tell her that you don't have the money in your budget, so she'll likely need to get a job again to support herself if she didn't plan accordingly.

« Last Edit: March 08, 2019, 01:46:02 AM by Frankies Girl »

Malkynn

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Re: Manage My Mom's Finances?
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2019, 03:57:03 AM »
ďI explained to her that while she has done an admirable job of never trying to be a burden to me in my adult life (not overbearing, needy, etc), that her lack of retirement planning might possibly land squarely on me and my family. I am the only relative she has besides her sister that could be in a position to support her.Ē

Wow, what a shitty perspective about someone who raised you and took care of your needs. Iím all for not being co-dependent but sheesh this just reads horribly. And the rest of what you wrote makes it seem like you just wish your mother would die quickly so she doesnít inconvenience you too badly. Ughhh.

I didn't read it that way at all and I find this unnecessarily harsh.

As someone with a financially irresponsible parent whom I love deeply and whose retirement predicament is the single most stressful thing that weighs on me, I completely understand OP's words exactly as written.

He wouldn't have bothered posting here if that's the way he felt.

plog

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Re: Manage My Mom's Finances?
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2019, 09:00:03 AM »
Quote
Wow, what a shitty perspective about someone who raised you and took care of your needs. Iím all for not being co-dependent but sheesh this just reads horribly. And the rest of what you wrote makes it seem like you just wish your mother would die quickly so she doesnít inconvenience you too badly. Ughhh.

Disagree.  Initial post and their statement to their mother was perfectly worded.

Actually, strike that.  It wasn't harsh enough because I don't think it landed.  Of course, I don't think any words will make your mother see the light or understand your concerns.

Agree with Frankies Girl's advice.  Stay out of it and most importantly--don't give a shit.  Caring more for someone than they care for themselves is a pointless endeavor.  Let it play out and it doesn't sound like your mom's health is the cause of her retirement, so in 2 years when she's having money issues, help her look for a job.

Annie101

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Re: Manage My Mom's Finances?
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2019, 09:24:43 AM »
Agree that you should stay out of it.

My dad is terrible with money management also.  If he has it he spends it!  However, he has been ok so far, and it sounds like your mom has also.  She will likely figure out how to support herself given the fixed income.

I did help my dad clear out his house so he could rent out two rooms, which really helped.  Other than that, I have stayed out.

I understand the worry about possibly needing to support in the future.  Not fun, but it's at least not the case right now.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Manage My Mom's Finances?
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2019, 12:20:55 PM »
In these situations it's always great to remember financial guru, Biggie Smalls - "Money and blood don't mix....."

kenmoremmm

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Re: Manage My Mom's Finances?
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2019, 01:09:57 PM »
OP here.

My mom has specifically gone out of her way throughout my adult life to point out that she does not want to be a burden to me. This is not my interpretation; these are her words.

Her blind spot is that her lack of retirement planning may become a huge financial burden. One of my goals in phrasing it this way to her was so that she understood the severity of it and that it might snap her into some kind of corrective cycle.

Would I personally view it as a burden? Yes. Do I realize that raising kids is hard? Yes. But, when you are a parent, it is your duty to not burden your kids; they did not choose to have you; you chose to have them. So while I'm busting ass to take care of my kids and wife, now I would be faced with caretaking for my mom. It could work out okay for awhile (she moves in, takes care of kids, etc), but there comes a point where assisted living kicks in at $4k/mo and then what? Instead of retiring early, I should work until I'm 70 if she's still alive at 95?

robartsd

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Re: Manage My Mom's Finances?
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2019, 02:09:12 PM »
Can you get her to switch to an all cash budget (or at least just using a debit card from a single bank)? If so you can control her spending by controlling her cash flow. I'd try to sell her on the idea of using two bank accounts. You'd run one bank account where you'll receive her pay, pay her bills, and dole out the remaining money to her in the other bank account on a fixed schedule. The other bank account would be her local bank for her to manage her direct spending out of. This eliminates the chance that she'll spend money needed to pay the bills. Make the bank accounts at different banks so that there is no chance of her confusing the accounts.

Unfortunately it sounds like she's not going to have money to pay her own final expenses. You'll probably need to make a plan for paying those yourself.

GizmoTX

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Re: Manage My Mom's Finances?
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2019, 04:12:11 PM »
The OP's concern might be that the parent continues to spend willy nilly, then starts begging for money for the necessities (shelter, utilities, food, medicine) instead of paying those first. I have a single retired sister (68) with very limited fixed income who is currently doing that. She refuses to budget, has no idea where her money goes, eats every meal out, & buys money orders to pay bills. 

robartsd

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Re: Manage My Mom's Finances?
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2019, 05:37:31 PM »
The OP's concern might be that the parent continues to spend willy nilly, then starts begging for money for the necessities (shelter, utilities, food, medicine) instead of paying those first. I have a single retired sister (68) with very limited fixed income who is currently doing that. She refuses to budget, has no idea where her money goes, eats every meal out, & buys money orders to pay bills.
That's why I recommend paying all the bills (shelter, utilities, regular medications) then doling out the remainder weekly (at most 7 days until more money is available for groceries). As long as she's not spending money that she doesn't have, there's not enough leeway left to create a big emergency.

Malkynn

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Re: Manage My Mom's Finances?
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2019, 06:31:32 PM »
OP here.

My mom has specifically gone out of her way throughout my adult life to point out that she does not want to be a burden to me. This is not my interpretation; these are her words.

Her blind spot is that her lack of retirement planning may become a huge financial burden. One of my goals in phrasing it this way to her was so that she understood the severity of it and that it might snap her into some kind of corrective cycle.

Would I personally view it as a burden? Yes. Do I realize that raising kids is hard? Yes. But, when you are a parent, it is your duty to not burden your kids; they did not choose to have you; you chose to have them. So while I'm busting ass to take care of my kids and wife, now I would be faced with caretaking for my mom. It could work out okay for awhile (she moves in, takes care of kids, etc), but there comes a point where assisted living kicks in at $4k/mo and then what? Instead of retiring early, I should work until I'm 70 if she's still alive at 95?

Iím not going to battle with you dude, youíve got your mindset and you hav every right to think that way. I choose to not see it as the parent/child thing but once you hit true adulthood itís viewing things as a family. Children look after their parents in their elderly years, thatís a part of many societies (Japanese for example) and itís not unreasonable. And I get your dilemma, as mentioned my mother is similar and up until recently has refused to listen to any advice regarding her finances. Sheís recently started saying maybe I could help her but sheís going to hate my advice.

My issue with what youíre writing is, whether youíre being blunt or not, the coldness of it. You seem to be lamenting that she could possibly live longer than you want if it means you supporting her so you kinda wish either she dies earlier or I donít know, wins the lottery or marries someone rich? Like, I have no idea what you think is going to happen here? Either she can work out a way to live off her money or she keeps working or what? If you want to not help her at all, then donít. You donít have to. You also donít have to hope she goes early to save you the obligation. What would she do if you die before her? Does the state take care of her?

How would you feel if you were in an accident and was paralyzed from the waist down and your kids said to you, Dad, we love you but we wonít be able to do much if we have to keep looking after you so itíd kinda be good if you didnít live as long as possible, please donít burden us. Thanks, love, the cherubs.

I hope youíre able to find some solution better than Mom, donít live too long ok.

I've reread the OP mutilple times and don't see where you are getting this. I see that his mom's "plan" is to die young, but I don't see a single word where the OP is hoping that his mom will die young. In fact, I see him saying that the family history is that she will survive, so he feels that he needs to account for that because she refuses to.

Honestly dude, I don't see what you are seeing.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Manage My Mom's Finances?
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2019, 06:59:59 PM »
OP here.

My mom has specifically gone out of her way throughout my adult life to point out that she does not want to be a burden to me. This is not my interpretation; these are her words.

Her blind spot is that her lack of retirement planning may become a huge financial burden. One of my goals in phrasing it this way to her was so that she understood the severity of it and that it might snap her into some kind of corrective cycle.

Would I personally view it as a burden? Yes. Do I realize that raising kids is hard? Yes. But, when you are a parent, it is your duty to not burden your kids; they did not choose to have you; you chose to have them. So while I'm busting ass to take care of my kids and wife, now I would be faced with caretaking for my mom. It could work out okay for awhile (she moves in, takes care of kids, etc), but there comes a point where assisted living kicks in at $4k/mo and then what? Instead of retiring early, I should work until I'm 70 if she's still alive at 95?

Iím not going to battle with you dude, youíve got your mindset and you hav every right to think that way. I choose to not see it as the parent/child thing but once you hit true adulthood itís viewing things as a family. Children look after their parents in their elderly years, thatís a part of many societies (Japanese for example) and itís not unreasonable. And I get your dilemma, as mentioned my mother is similar and up until recently has refused to listen to any advice regarding her finances. Sheís recently started saying maybe I could help her but sheís going to hate my advice.

My issue with what youíre writing is, whether youíre being blunt or not, the coldness of it. You seem to be lamenting that she could possibly live longer than you want if it means you supporting her so you kinda wish either she dies earlier or I donít know, wins the lottery or marries someone rich? Like, I have no idea what you think is going to happen here? Either she can work out a way to live off her money or she keeps working or what? If you want to not help her at all, then donít. You donít have to. You also donít have to hope she goes early to save you the obligation. What would she do if you die before her? Does the state take care of her?

How would you feel if you were in an accident and was paralyzed from the waist down and your kids said to you, Dad, we love you but we wonít be able to do much if we have to keep looking after you so itíd kinda be good if you didnít live as long as possible, please donít burden us. Thanks, love, the cherubs.

I hope youíre able to find some solution better than Mom, donít live too long ok.

I've reread the OP mutilple times and don't see where you are getting this. I see that his mom's "plan" is to die young, but I don't see a single word where the OP is hoping that his mom will die young. In fact, I see him saying that the family history is that she will survive, so he feels that he needs to account for that because she refuses to.

Honestly dude, I don't see what you are seeing.

LOL, so sorry OP, I was reading too fast.

ďI think her ultimate plan is to just die at some point soon, but despite an unhealthy lifestyle, she'll probably make it to 70s or beyond (her father basically drank a bottle of vodka each day for 30 years and smoked 2+ packs a day and made it to 80).Ē

I read her as the and thought you were saying it was your plan not hers. Malkyn caused me to re-read. Sincerest apologies. No wonder I couldnít understand how you were being so mean.

Sibley

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Re: Manage My Mom's Finances?
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2019, 07:41:05 PM »
Unless she's incompetent (legally), or disabled and thus unable to manage her own affairs, it's her problem. There are things like senior housing assistance, food stamps, etc. These programs exist for a reason. She may not have any money for fun stuff, but that's her problem. She's 65 and sounds relatively healthy? She can get a job later when she finds that she doesn't have enough to buy what she wants.

If she goes into debt, just make sure that you're not entangled with it at all. In general, debt isn't inheritable. Keep it that way.

kenmoremmm

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Re: Manage My Mom's Finances?
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2019, 09:10:35 PM »
no worries.

reeshau

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Re: Manage My Mom's Finances?
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2019, 06:44:11 AM »
OP, I do empathize with this difficult situation.  What exactly is leading your mom to retire?  Is she burned out?  Bored?  It seems she could do a lot to help herself.

Where she is now, it seems that she would qualify for Medicaid in FL, and possibly other government assistance.  What do you think her reaction would be to this news?  One way to help her help herself would be to assist her (Or find assistance) in applying for / navigating the bureaucracy to receive such benefits.  With this in mind, she would have access to the basics.  Would that be enough for you?  For her?  Would discussing those services possibly spur her into action, out of pride?

My mom faced a similar dilemma with her older sister.  She hd a number of health and other issues, and while she was not suicidal, she just didn't seem to care as much as her sisters did.  My mom was also in no position to help in ways other than her time.  So, she did get signed up for Medicaid, and had to be put on an allowance, so that her basic nursing home and other regular expenses didn't go to cigarettes and phone scams.  It was tough to see my aunt in those conditions, but that was from the perspective of her earlier life.  While she had some frustrating behavior, I think she actually was happy with her smaller, simpler life--it was what she could handle.

Good luck with a difficult situation.

Fishindude

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Re: Manage My Mom's Finances?
« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2019, 09:43:19 AM »
My mother in law lives on considerably less and does just fine.   She's in one of those income based apartment complexes which is really nice, so here housing costs are very low.   Her social security covers everything, but she doesn't need much; utilities, food, TV cable, etc.     We bought her a car that she puts about 1000 miles per year on and gave her a cell phone.

 

mozar

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Re: Manage My Mom's Finances?
« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2019, 06:52:36 PM »
Quote
Can you get her to switch to an all cash budget (or at least just using a debit card from a single bank)? If so you can control her spending by controlling her cash flow. I'd try to sell her on the idea of using two bank accounts. You'd run one bank account where you'll receive her pay, pay her bills, and dole out the remaining money to her in the other bank account on a fixed schedule. The other bank account would be her local bank for her to manage her direct spending out of. This eliminates the chance that she'll spend money needed to pay the bills. Make the bank accounts at different banks so that there is no chance of her confusing the accounts.

Unfortunately it sounds like she's not going to have money to pay her own final expenses. You'll probably need to make a plan for paying those yourself.

This is basically what my uncle did for my grandmother. Except she got a credit card with a limit. Then my uncle would pay off the credit card and all her bills with the bank account. She was pissed about it, but she could no longer  remember to pay her bills.