Author Topic: MIL won't retire - Help me help her  (Read 7109 times)

MsRichLife

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MIL won't retire - Help me help her
« on: December 16, 2014, 07:48:27 PM »
My MIL is 67. She's a lovely woman with a very strong work ethic. She will put work above almost anything else, but is quite the martyr about it. She's very bitter about all the things she's missed out on because she was working (i.e. not seeing her father before he died etc. etc.)

The thing is, in the scheme of things, the work she does is not that important. She runs a retail store, and from what we can gather she makes about $200 per week profit! Her financial advisor and husband have both told her that they have enough to retire and they've recently had a lady offer to rent the premises where the business currently is. I reckon they'll be able to make about $200 per week just in rent if they accept her offer.

Anyway, quite clearly, my MIL is not psychologically prepared to retire. She can't imagine what she'd do with herself other than work. Also, I suspect that she worries that my FIL's spendypants ways will see them destitute in their retirement, but she won't have that conversation with him.

For quite selfish reasons, we all want her to retire so she no longer has an excuse not to visit her Grandchild or do other things that on her deathbed, she'll probably regret not doing.

Can anyone recommend some resources that I could use to help her see the light? Perhaps a book I can give her for Xmas? Or a way to have this conversation such that I'm not overstepping?

Thanks!

GizmoTX

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Re: MIL won't retire - Help me help her
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2014, 08:28:27 PM »
Do you live far apart?

MsRichLife

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Re: MIL won't retire - Help me help her
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2014, 08:35:49 PM »
Do you live far apart?

Unfortunately yes. About 12 hours drive on a good run.

Exflyboy

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Re: MIL won't retire - Help me help her
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2014, 09:00:56 PM »
Well on the one hand your MIL might be better off financially retiring. I mean she is 67, she can wait till 70 before drawing her Social security and get another 8% per year.. or is she already drawing her SS? If so then the rent she gets will be equal to what she is currently making, and thus not work and make the same money.

Whats more if she has a work ethic.. well then go get a job and add that income to what she is currently making. Seems like there is no good financial reason to not retire.

Whether her Hubby is a spendypants or not is irrelavent.. if she makes more money by retiring.. well then retire its as simple as that.

I think your real battle is to overcome her psychological need to work. she may fear that she will loose her identity, her reason for living in fact.

Of course the other question is... is it that big of a deal for her to keep working? Is her health at risk from stress? How much of her capital is tied up in the business?.. could she loose that?

Frank

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« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2014, 09:26:55 PM »
Can anyone recommend some resources that I could use to help her see the light? Perhaps a book I can give her for Xmas? Or a way to have this conversation such that I'm not overstepping?

I have a very similar problem.

I asked my mother: "If the govt gave you $300k every year forever, would you still choose to go to <workplace> 5 days a week".  (We both know that she has more than enough money for anything.  Approx 100 times annual expenses).

She refused to answer.  I kept asking and she kept refusing.  I asked in different ways and she refused in different ways.   

But she is always too busy to do anything and there is never enough hours in a day.

Eventually I realised that I was poisoning our relationship, and I stopped asking. 

.

Do you absolutely NEED her to retire?  I am guessing, probably not.  Have you considered giving up?

This_Is_My_Username

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Re: MIL won't retire - Help me help her
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2014, 09:28:50 PM »
Well on the one hand your MIL might be better off financially retiring. I mean she is 67, she can wait till 70 before drawing her Social security and get another 8% per year.. or is she already drawing her SS? If so then the rent she gets will be equal to what she is currently making, and thus not work and make the same money.

This is located in Australia, not USA.

acorn

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Re: MIL won't retire - Help me help her
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2014, 10:09:21 PM »
Does she need the money from work? Sounds like a good deal if she can make an equivalent amount by renting out the place to the lady instead of running the retail store. She can channel her time and energy into hobbies.

But on the other hand, unless she hates her job or has health issues, I don't see why she should retire?

My parents also run a store at a market and they've said multiple times that they won't ever want to retire. They'll eventually shorten their hours, or hire people to run the store when they take time off, but they have friends at the market (other storeowners, their customers, etc) so they see it as a place to socialize and meet with their friends. They've also mentioned that they wouldn't know what to do at home.

Perhaps you can encourage your MIL to take days off or shorten her hours? Or hire extra help so she can visit her grandkids? If she's self-employed, she can decide her own hours, there's really no need to soldier on everyday.

lakemom

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Re: MIL won't retire - Help me help her
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2014, 06:08:31 AM »
My guess is there is a lot more going on than is seen on the surface.  She may whine and complain about aspects of working but the bottom line may be that her whole identity is wrapped up in being a successful store owner.  Take that away and she can't see what else there is in life (regardless of what "you" see available in her life).  Its hard and its sad watching this and being helpless to change things.  My fil is the same way...he even sold the business to his oldest son...after 3 more years son stopped paying him for the hours he worked (was supposed to speed up retirement)...at 81 he still works 50+ hours per week and my bil despairs of fil ever leaving the business.  His wife (2nd wife, my dh's mother died 28 years ago) was promised he'd retire "in a few years" when they got married.  They celebrate 21 years in January!  We've all given up hope that he'll actually retire before he passes on.  It may be something that you have to give up pushing for if you want to preserve family harmony.

Retired To Win

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Re: MIL won't retire - Help me help her
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2014, 06:21:01 AM »
I am convinced that a lot of people with that resistance to retirement don't fully understand or accept that their lives are limited and finite.  They don't really see their remaining days slipping away.  So, some tough love conversations about your MIL's remaining time and what she is going to want to be able to look back to -- and what she is going to regret -- when she is in that deathbed might be in order.

Zummbot

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Re: MIL won't retire - Help me help her
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2014, 07:06:48 AM »
I am convinced that a lot of people with that resistance to retirement don't fully understand or accept that their lives are limited and finite.  They don't really see their remaining days slipping away.  So, some tough love conversations about your MIL's remaining time and what she is going to want to be able to look back to -- and what she is going to regret -- when she is in that deathbed might be in order.

I don't think that's true. I think their entire identity is wrapped up in work. Mustachians know very well that your work is not who you are. But for many people their work roles are more central to who they are than their roles as parents, spouses, etc. My in-laws are business owners and could retire today if they wanted but probably won't until it's no longer physically possible to work. These are intelligent people who are more than capable of deciding what they want with their lives. It sounds like hell to me, but maybe working until they drop dead is what they want. And they're perfectly free to choose that for themselves.

Louisville

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Re: MIL won't retire - Help me help her
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2014, 07:19:07 AM »
Dealt with this myself with older relatives.

She's happy with what she's doing. Leave her alone.
 
But, you say, " But Louisville, she complains all the time! She can't be happy."

There are lots of people, especially old people (and I know I'm going to get flamed for that), who love complaining - who make it a distracting hobby.  They choose do the things they do of their own volition, and then find some nice juicy complaints to make.    If she really had rather have been at her father's death bed instead of at the store, she would have been there. But that's too much of a dramatic and fun complaint to pass up!

You said yourself she's a martyr. So let her be - she likes it and she's way to old to change now. Set boundaries and continue to support and love her in what ever way you can.

rubybeth

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Re: MIL won't retire - Help me help her
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2014, 07:26:28 AM »
No real suggestions other than what you wrote: tell her that you'd like her to see her grandkids more often and that you want to spend time with her, and that maybe a part-time job while she rents out her store would allow her to still work and feel productive with the same income (or more) than before, plus more free time to spend with grandkids. Just plan the seed of this idea.

But honestly, if she's not ready to retire, you can't do much. You can't make her read a blog post or a book and think that this will change her entire mindset. She may love having her retail shop and it may give her a great sense of pride that spending time with her relatives can't replace.

MsRichLife

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Re: MIL won't retire - Help me help her
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2014, 01:44:39 PM »
Thanks everyone. Just to clarify, we haven't made a big deal of it to her and haven't really spoken about it in detail other than passing conversations over the years. We certainly won't push it to the point of damaging any relationships.

I do think her entire identity and social life is wrapped up in the store. It's a small town and people drop in all the time for a chat. I suppose she thinks that if she isn't in the shop that she'll be stuck at home all day. And if she's at home, she can't just relax, she cooks and cleans all.the.time!

Perhaps the best approach is to encourage her to reduce her hours/days and to start finding other activities to fill her time; to give her something to 'run to' in retirement.

aj_yooper

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Re: MIL won't retire - Help me help her
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2014, 01:55:09 PM »
My dad had this conversation with my grandpa.  "How much do you make per month?  This is what you will get from Social Security and your pension ___. "  It worked.  My grandpa said it wasn't worth the expense (gas, lunch) to work.  Then he did some serious fishing and hunting.

I did the same with a colleague.  She realized she was donating 75% of her salary per year by working.  Diane retired, but decided to work part time.  So she ended up working part-time and made nearly the same amount of money. 

Might be worth a try.

feelingroovy

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Re: MIL won't retire - Help me help her
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2014, 05:46:28 PM »
There is a great book by Ernie Zelinski called "The Joy of Not Working: A guide for the retired, unemployed, and overworked."  The whole book  is about reimagining you life without work.

http://www.thejoyofnotworking.com/

happy

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Re: MIL won't retire - Help me help her
« Reply #15 on: December 18, 2014, 01:22:21 AM »
Dealt with this myself with older relatives.

She's happy with what she's doing. Leave her alone.
 
But, you say, " But Louisville, she complains all the time! She can't be happy."

There are lots of people, especially old people (and I know I'm going to get flamed for that), who love complaining - who make it a distracting hobby.  They choose do the things they do of their own volition, and then find some nice juicy complaints to make.    If she really had rather have been at her father's death bed instead of at the store, she would have been there. But that's too much of a dramatic and fun complaint to pass up!

You said yourself she's a martyr. So let her be - she likes it and she's way to old to change now. Set boundaries and continue to support and love her in what ever way you can.

and this
Quote
I do think her entire identity and social life is wrapped up in the store. It's a small town and people drop in all the time for a chat. I suppose she thinks that if she isn't in the shop that she'll be stuck at home all day. And if she's at home, she can't just relax, she cooks and cleans all.the.time!

I reckon these two just about cover it.

Next time she complains you could just gently say "you know you don't have to do this", and follow it up with the simple financial facts if she looks like she's listening. But be prepared that she totally doesn't listen, and let her be.

agent_clone

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Re: MIL won't retire - Help me help her
« Reply #16 on: December 18, 2014, 02:03:11 AM »
I don't think retiring is necessarily for everyone.  You need to have something to do with your time when you retire and the transition is difficult for some people.

My mother retired fully at the age of 69, but was working part time for the last several years of her career.  She also worked at a work place that was happy to have her and she perhaps took more time off than the usual person (yearly month long holidays overseas, and time off in January).  My mother did not need the money from her job. I would say that she needs to have something to do with her retirement, and perhaps working part time would help with a transition allowing her to build up other things that she is doing.

If she is enjoying working however I see nothing wrong with her continuing to work... I note that other people are talking about making a financial case however money is not what everyone works for (probably most yes, but not everyone).

YoungInvestor

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Re: MIL won't retire - Help me help her
« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2014, 06:22:00 AM »
She's old enough to decide what she wants to be doing with her life.

Have you considered how offensive it would be to you if your son/daughter-in-law came up to tell you how to live your life?

Seņora Savings

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Re: MIL won't retire - Help me help her
« Reply #18 on: December 18, 2014, 03:05:11 PM »
She's old enough to decide what she wants to be doing with her life.

Have you considered how offensive it would be to you if your son/daughter-in-law came up to tell you how to live your life?

+1

MsRichLife

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Re: MIL won't retire - Help me help her
« Reply #19 on: December 18, 2014, 04:06:11 PM »
Have you considered how offensive it would be to you if your son/daughter-in-law came up to tell you how to live your life?

When did I say I wanted to tell her how to live her life?

Goldielocks

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Re: MIL won't retire - Help me help her
« Reply #20 on: December 18, 2014, 04:33:35 PM »
Oh, it seems so easy from the outside.

Have her rent the place to the other person, then stay on to help the other set up and get going -- at part time hours, for an "honorarium" or token amount.
Also have her check out local volunteer opportunities, like the community policing department, or ??

Eventually she will tire of the work (for someone else).