Author Topic: my mom, 73 and terrible with money  (Read 9932 times)

psychomoustache

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my mom, 73 and terrible with money
« on: February 25, 2013, 04:53:02 AM »
My mother has been a spender her whole life. She spent her entire salary she made as a secretary over 25 years or so on manicures, hair cuts, make-up, clothes, and lunches. She was married to a corporate lawyer at the time who refused to give her money for these things she "needed", so she got them herself, as she tells me now, to comfort herself through the days of a lousy job and a lousy marriage. (BTW the man isn't my father, who divorced her in the late 70's). She decided to take her SS checks as soon as she was eligible - I think this is age 62 in the States? Can't remember... in any case they are pretty low today.

She signed a pre-nup back in the 80's with the corporate lawyer that was not contestable (given the man was a lawyer, he made it very tight) when he divorced her in 2008. The pre-nup basically signed her right away to ANYTHING at all, but the man "generously" gave her 50K. His reasoning - my mother had inherited about 400K from my grandmother in 1995. So she was "a wealthy woman" (he said to me).

What happened to the 400K - My mom spent half of it on me and my sister. During the years I wasn't a mustache or even a Dave Ramsey acolyte, she helped us - she came to the rescue with car repairs, kid's education, and trips to Disney in the States (we live in France).

We started only to really take care of our finances in 2007, with DR. Her divorce was a year later. We started to live more reasonably before the divorce - but she still in 2007 brought me and one of my kids to the States for a NYC trip (with shows dinners hotels and the whole catastrophe). She did a lot for my little sister too, who went through her own divorce and has two kids.

So my question for you, and the situation today... mom has her small principle left of about 230K dollars in an account with Merrill Lynch. Her guy is pretty good, because in 2008 she only had 190K. Her aunt, my great-aunt, is 89 years old and lives in the same apartment residence in Florida. My G.A. gives her 1000$ a month, and has some money, but has told my mom that she will only receive 50K at her death - and the 1000$ a month will stop.

The Merrill Lynch broker is very honest with my mom. He has been giving her 1200$ a month, but wants to reduce it to 800$, to save her principle of course, and invest more, and protect her from the consequences of my GA's death. My mom says it's "way too hard" to reduce her spending by 400$ a month.

 My mother recently visited us here (we paid for the plane tickets) and bought herself all kinds of touristy nonsense. This is always par for the course. I was very upset with her, telling her she is compromising our future, and that of my three kids. She has slowed down some things, but continues her hair coloring, manicures, cable TV ("can't live without it, it's all I  have") and lives in a two-bedroom apartment all by herself. I have told her she should move, or at least look into moving into something smaller - she says the moving costs would "cancel out" any financial benefits of moving. For my birthday, she sent me SEVEN bottles of nail polish ( I like nail polish... but no one needs seven bottles of it!!) It just goes on and on...

So my sister and I are now going to be contributing to her having long-term healthcare insurance (it comes to 330$ a month, which she says she can't afford). What I'm very worried about - I'm afraid that this is just the beginning.

I love my mom, but I honestly don't want to support her financially more than this insurance. We are trying to get things in order so that we can retire just at a "normal" age now - in our 60's. In addition we are still supporting 3 children. I am really afraid for her, and for what she might potentially need in the future. But I'm also VERY angry - it's hard not to be - at her CONTINUED irresponsibility. It's one thing to not plan for the future, thinking you will always be married to a very wealthy man (even though the marriage was a freaking horror show from the get-go) (that rhymes). It seems to me to be quite another when you are confronted with a frightening potential reality and STILL can't stop spending on absolute, total BULLSHIT (excuse me.).

Please, thoughts and comments... thank you so much.

jpo

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Re: my mom, 73 and terrible with money
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2013, 07:00:53 AM »
Not trying to offend here, but it sounds like she can continue living this way because you keep bailing her out.

Might be worth reading a bit on Economic Outpatient Care.

psychomoustache

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Re: my mom, 73 and terrible with money
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2013, 07:06:37 AM »
No, no offense taken AT ALL, thank you. I will go take a look at your link.

I actually want to just feel like we're not being selfish and that we shouldn't feel guilty...

psychomoustache

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Re: my mom, 73 and terrible with money
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2013, 07:10:43 AM »
thanks for the link, just read it - it applies to adult children living with their parents though. I suppose the question is, how much do we take care of elderly parents who are in denial?

My mom actually does work, believe it or not, one day a week for a law firm, and makes 10 dollars an hour there. I guess this gives her an extra 150 a month after taxes.

bogart

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Re: my mom, 73 and terrible with money
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2013, 07:39:17 AM »
My quick thoughts (as someone who has dealt with somewhat similar issues for a parent) are these:

You need to decide what you are and are not willing to do for your mom and under what circumstances.  In all honesty in my opinion this isn't so much about what is "right" or "wrong," it's about whether you'll be able to live with yourself if you don't do it (or more simply, will not doing it make you more miserable than doing it?).  If she remains healthy and independent, will you pay for her to come visit your family, and how often?  If (heaven forbid) she were diagnosed with cancer and given a predicted life expectancy of 6 months or 2 years, would you drop everything to go live with her and take care of her?  What if she breaks her hip and needs assistance for 6 months but then is expected to be able to regain her independent way of living?  What if she goes into a gradual decline and can't live independently any more, but will require assistance for an unknown number of years?

If what you are paying for, on behalf of your mom, is long-term care insurance (rather than Medigap insurance, which picks up much of the difference between what Medicare will pay for and what medical services cost), then my guess is (other things equal) she is not a good candidate for this -- given her relatively paltry assets, the typical advice I have seen would be for her not to carry this sort of insurance and instead to accept that if she needs long-term care she will spend down her nest egg and then have to rely on Medicaid to cover her long-term care.  On the other hand, Medicaid will only pay for nursing-home care, not assisted living (but this is true of many long-term care insurance policies too).  The long-term care facilities that accept Medicaid patients in my experience (and my dad is in one, so I have some knowledge of this) are pretty horrid, though there is a bit more flexibility for women than for men (there are more female patients, so it is easier, for example, to find a suitable roommate -- Medicaid pays for a shared room -- for women than it is for men), so if you wouldn't be willing to consign your mother to one if that's what she needs (or, conversely, able to drop everything and provide her with 24/7 care).  Obviously hopefully you won't need to make these decisions, but that is what you are insuring against if I understand correctly the type of policy you are paying for, so those are the kinds of issues you need to consider.

I'm sorry you're facing these decisions, they are tough.  It also sounds like you've accepted considerable generosity from your mother in the past, even if you wouldn't make the same decisions today,  and that may leave you feeling obligated to support her even in light of your newly Mustachian approach.

freelancerNfulltimer

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Re: my mom, 73 and terrible with money
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2013, 08:47:30 AM »
Is there any possibility of her moving in with you or your sister if and when she can no longer afford or manage to live independently?

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Re: my mom, 73 and terrible with money
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2013, 09:03:04 AM »
Any chance she would let you assume responsibility for all her money and then put her on a budget and allowance?

psychomoustache

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Re: my mom, 73 and terrible with money
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2013, 09:50:55 AM »
I haven't lived in the States in a long time, and am learning as I go.

I'd never heard of Medigap insurance. I trusted my mom to go find out what she might need insurance-wise. She told me about the issue with assisted living care, which she would absolutely like to have. She also told me about needing to spend out all her assets to go into a home - and that this would have to happen 5 years (!) before she would foreseeably need to go.

I would be fine with her living with us for a time, but she wouldn't be... we live in a tiny town in Brittany - she speaks no French, she'd be miserable. My sister lives in Las Vegas - she could probably take her in, and I could send a bit of money for her care. When I talk this over with my mom, she gets upset, understandably. She wants to stay in Florida where she's lived since 1997.

The hard part for me to get over, is having to send money to her NOW, all the while seeing how she handles (or doesn't handle) her money today. No, I doubt she'd be willing to have us give her a budget/allowance - she already takes it pretty badly when I tell her to stop getting her hair "done"... that at 73 no one cares if she goes gray. And yes, given how much she spoiled us, I feel like I owe her... and of course if she were very ill we would help her. THat being said, no, I could not and would not drop everything to take care of her. I have three kids and my youngest is just 10 and needs his mom here in France, and I have a practice to run.

thank you so much for your comments, if you have anything else to add - like how to talk to her about this, I'm all ears.

totoro

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Re: my mom, 73 and terrible with money
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2013, 10:00:58 AM »
I have a bit of a different view.  It sounds like she helped you and your sister out a lot.  She, in effect, paid for your own money mistakes/lack of responsibility/cost of living to the tune of at least $100 000 each (non-inflation adjusted), which you both accepted and you were both adults at the time.  This, in my view, is a two-way street. You don't get to leave her behind because you want to retire at 60 and think she may now need support.  It was not all her wasteful ways that led to this predicament.

I know you are angry for her not changing her ways now, but maybe it is a bit late for her to recover if she is 70 and still working one day a week.  She can definitely move to a smaller place, but she cannot save a lot and she cannot work forever (likely).  She may be worried that no-one will visit her if she does not have the space. Best to check into it further and demonstrate the savings to her on paper. Seven bottles of nail polish is not going to make much of a difference.

I would sit down with your sister and her and work out a budget.  It sounds like she has her SS payments and the hope of an additional inheritance of $50,000 on top of her savings which she can only withdraw $800/month from.  When she inherits the $50,000 perhaps she can withdraw an extra $500/month to compensate somewhat for the $1000/month she will lose.

I would suggest that you try to find a budget that works based on a projected life expectancy of fifteen more years or so.  I think paying for the medical insurance sounds good.  Does she qualify for any additional subsidies because of her low income?

Finally,

psychomoustache

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Re: my mom, 73 and terrible with money
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2013, 11:38:12 AM »
totoro did you want to say something more?
I really appreciate and agree with your point of view. My anger today - I can get over it - I love my mom, and she is who she is. You are right, my wanting to retire at 60 (actually I don't want to retire at 60, but Mr Psychomoustache is making noise about wanting to retire himself in 9 years, when he'll be 62) should be weighed against the roughly 100K she invested in our family and our lack of responsible money management.

I just want us to be okay and comfortable when we do retire, and since we're starting so late, we don't have a perfect time frame set up yet - we will see now that we are squeezing every centime how this will all look as time goes on. We are taking my mom's needs into account in our future plans - what else can we do? I really wish she'd look clearly at her future, but she won't, so my sister and I will have to step in, in some way.

My sister and I have very (very, very) different ideas about money management...she is more like my mother, though not quite as bad thank goodness. She's very "Las Vegas" - think plenty of Botox, hair extensions, expensive everything, car debt... etc. But hey, at least that's not my problem...!!

totoro

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Re: my mom, 73 and terrible with money
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2013, 11:46:45 AM »
Just wanted to leave you hanging :)

I don't want to seem harsh.  I understand the need to vent and it is stressful.  BTW I have a spendthrift younger sister who loves Vegas... and gambling... and has no money... and is currently on disability... and is heading to Vegas anyway.  I love her but wish she'd was better with money but she has all sorts of reasons that make sense to her for doing what she does.

psychomoustache

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Re: my mom, 73 and terrible with money
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2013, 12:59:17 PM »
have talked to her about a budget - she refuses, "hates budgets", i get that.

I know she is not "crazy", she can hear me, she has made some efforts (not going on every senior trip offered in her apartment complex, not going into stores, not going out to eat as much)

I will see my sister this coming summer and hope we can talk about it, even if I'm allergic to Las Vegas and all it stands for  ; ) (hope no one here lives there, take no offense!)

bogart

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Re: my mom, 73 and terrible with money
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2013, 07:15:27 PM »
I haven't lived in the States in a long time, and am learning as I go.


OK.  So with the standard disclaimer (I'm not an eldercare expert, I just play one on the internet ;) ), and apologies for this being pretty basic (and yet also slightly oversimplified, i.e. I'm focusing on the big points), here's an overview:
Medicare is a health-insurance program that most Americans 65 and older qualify for; the costs of coverage are minimal to the insured (e.g. your mom) compared with other policies offering similar benefits; it is standardized across the US.
Medicaid is a means-tested program that, among others, a disabled older adult (someone in need of long-term care, for instance) would qualify for if they met the financial requirements (i.e. were poor).  The details of what Medicaid covers vary state-by-state (it is a state program that is subsidized by the federal government and must meet certain federal requirements -- minimums -- but not every state covers the same stuff beyond the minimums).  By the way the five-year lookback period you mention pertains to money given away to (or spent on) others, but not to expenditures on herself.  So if she blows every penny to take a world tour, has a horrid accident, and requires long-term nursing home care, she is OK (in terms of Medicaid coverage), but if she blows every penny to take herself, you, and the grandkids on that world tour, then you all would have to pay back your share (to Medicaid, basically) before she would qualify.  The point, of course, is to prevent people from qualifying for Medicaid by handing their resources over to family members.

Medicare has multiple parts.  Part A covers inpatient care (in a hospital) and there is no premium required to receive it.  Part B covers 80% of outpatient care (the patient pays the rest) and the premium is about $100/month.  Part C isn't what most people use (an alternative to B) and I won't cover it here.  Part D provides prescription drug coverage and also involves a monthly premium and copayments, which can vary.

Feeling glad you moved to France?  Where were we?

Ah yes, Medigap plans, also federally regulated, are private insurance that covers most of the 20% not covered by Part B.  Costs vary; I know my dad's policy runs him about $200/month (although he is on Medicaid, he is allowed to pay for the Medigap policy from his social security because, obviously, on average this saves the state money in the long run).

Medicare covers short-term (up to 3 months, I believe) skilled nursing care (nursing home residence) if a covered person has a medical problem (heart attack, broken hip...) that requires at least a 3-day hospital stay and a need for rehab (physical therapy) so the patient can regain independence.  Other than that, it doesn't cover nursing home care, only Medicaid does.

A month in a nursing home right now costs about $6K.  Long-term care policies help meet those costs; my impression is that some such policies are much more "complete" than others.  Complete doesn't necessarily mean better -- like any insurance, the more you demand, the more you pay.  Taking on more of the risk yourself results in a lower premium and may prove a better value.

So, that's an overview and some numbers.  Where I'd recommend you start, in terms of yourself, is thinking about what you would and wouldn't be willing to do for your mom.  As my original post in this thread hinted, for me I think this is partly a matter of circumstances (medical crisis versus gradual decline, expected recovery versus not) and it helps me to think about particular and plausible circumstances, but really, on some level the issue here is what do you want to insure yourself against.  What kinds of assistance would you feel obligated/motivated to provide your mom yet be unable to do so?  Those are the ones you want to plan for (by saving, by buying insurance, whatever...).  I'd also recommend both that you educate yourself (more) on the US system.  Indeed, I'd guess you might quite likely be well advised to pay for an hour or two of the time of someone familiar with US insurance products for people like your mom and to get their advice on how best to allocate the resources you have available to commit for this purpose (obviously someone who doesn't benefit from selling you something will be the better choice here, and my assumption is that there are any number of certified financial planners who charge hourly fees and don't sell insurance but still advise their clients on what sorts of products to buy).

In terms of talking with your mom, honestly I wouldn't start with anything approximating money or budget.  I'd talk about what she wants her life to be like in the next few decades (realistically "the rest of her life," but you may not want to phrase it that way) and use that as a way to ease in some suggestions about things she may want to consider to make that possible.  Certainly there are ways to bring money, and savings, and so forth into this, but there are lots of other planning issues that relate to the financial without being directly financial.  Has she thought ahead to things like how she would manage if she were unable to drive either for a half a year or for the rest of her life?  How could she plan for that?  Is she connected to social networks within her community that she could turn to for help (church?  canasta club?)?  If she had a medical crisis, who would have access to her information and know what bills to pay and from where? 

As an ice-breaker (for the above conversation), my understanding is that one woman in five will have a broken hip in her lifetime -- pretty amazingly high number, IMO.  So this doesn't need to be all about horrid diseases and death and stuff, it can be "just" about things that are (plausibly) likely and unpleasant, but usually surviveable and manageable with some foresight.

Good luck; this is tough stuff.  I'm sorry you're dealing with it and honestly, believe that you will be doing your mother a favor if you are willing to talk through this stuff with her.  Regardless of how much financial help you do or don't provide, it's good to know what she wants if you may be in a position of needing to make decisions on her behalf.

psychomoustache

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Re: my mom, 73 and terrible with money
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2013, 09:46:08 AM »
Thanks so much for all this info!
I get it now that she is absolutely doing the right thing by getting the long-term care insurance ( that we are splitting three ways- 110$ a month between mom, sister, and me).

Thanks especially for the heart-felt advice on how to talk about this - I was being Way Too agressive, because of my own anger, disappointment, and fear.

We will have to take it step by step with her, and let her know what we'll be able to reasonably do as time goes on.

This has helped a lot, thnks all...

psychomoustache

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Re: my mom, 73 and terrible with money
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2013, 10:23:16 AM »
Hey again,
Reviving this because after a discussion with another neutral party, I am really feeling resentful and angry again.
I cut all of our hair - my mom goes to a salon for her color and cut. We haven't been to the movies since 2011, I think? my mom goes three times a week.
Ok I sound pretty bad I know - but she recently let me know clearly that she expects us to send her money regularly to the tune of about 200$ a month or so, and that we should start a "fund" for this. She says, to me, "well you like your work, anyway " the idea being of course that I (and the Man) are working for her.
You can slap me if need be, ungrateful bad daughter that I am, but there it is...!

Use it up, wear it out...

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Re: my mom, 73 and terrible with money
« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2013, 10:56:38 AM »
but she recently let me know clearly that she expects us to send her money regularly to the tune of about 200$ a month or so, and that we should start a "fund" for this. She says, to me, "well you like your work, anyway " the idea being of course that I (and the Man) are working for her.

Sounds like you need to reset her expectations, and (re-)set some boundaries. Sit down with your sister, work out what you are both willing and able to do to care for your mother (monetary and non-monetary), then go together (unified front) to your mother and have the talk.

bogart

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Re: my mom, 73 and terrible with money
« Reply #16 on: March 05, 2013, 10:58:14 AM »
I'm sorry you're dealing with this.

What you need are boundaries.  Tell your mother no.  Make up your own mind about what you are and are not willing to help with and are and are not willing to provide her, and then stick by them.  If your experience is like mine that will mean saying no over and over and over again.  It gets easier with practice.

For me, I set (approximate) limits on how much of my time my dad can have (about 2 hours per week at the time I set them; that's gone up a bit since then as he's now living in a nursing home with dementia, needs more, and has no access to other solutions.  Just in general, I never "counted" medical crises against the time limit, but I did otherwise count my time spent on him because, yes, it has value and no, that wasn't how I wanted to be spending it.).  I also figured out that I was willing to help him with the kinds of problems any person, or parent, would reasonably expect help with and not others.  For me the dividing line was whether this was a problem my dad had brought on himself and/or should solve himself, or not.  So for example:  the fact that he drove ancient cars and didn't maintain them made it his problem if they wouldn't start (etc.), though I did give him a (high-end) AAA membership as a Christmas gift.  But when a storm blew a branch down onto his car and he needed help getting groceries while it was out of commission, I picked up groceries for him.  And so on ...  And, again, as I kindness I might have paid for the first time I picked up groceries (in the above example) but not the second, and had the problem persisted for a week, I'd have stopped doing it altogether (i.e. a short term unexpected problem is one thing, but failing to find reasonable ways to address it is another).

Hope there's something in there that's useful to you, and good luck.

totoro

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Re: my mom, 73 and terrible with money
« Reply #17 on: March 05, 2013, 02:12:20 PM »
This does not sound reasonable to me on her part.  She needs to cut back on the non-necessary stuff if she expects your help! That is frustrating.

arrow1963

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Re: my mom, 73 and terrible with money
« Reply #18 on: March 05, 2013, 02:19:00 PM »
Let her eat into her principal, save and invest the money that you think she might need in the future (including what you might have had to pay for her now).  As the numbers in her account dwindle, that easily could be the incentive for her to cut back.

It's a higher risk plan, but if you're a disciplined saver, you should have money set aside to help her out at the end, if it comes to that.  You can pay now, or (hopefully) less later.

psychomoustache

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Re: my mom, 73 and terrible with money
« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2013, 08:53:51 AM »
Thanks for your answers.
I don't think we are going to start any fund(s) for her - I talked about it with her last Sunday - and yes, at that time, said we'd do it - but in thinking about it further (my anger at her continued frivolity) I can't conceive of putting money aside for her when we have three boys to raise, one leaving for school in the fall, and our own financial security to think about.

So if it comes to her having nothing, we will pay her rent/mortgage, or have groceries sent to her house - something like that.

I wrote my sister a long e-mail re: this, and don't have an answer yet. My sister is divorced and raising her two sons, but has an excellent real-estate job where she does well. She also is Entirely Non-Mustachian, and tends to sympathize with my mom's need for hair color and the like.

I won't let my mother "starve" (as she said...) but I can't feed her ridiculous habits...


castoriehandley93

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Re: my mom, 73 and terrible with money
« Reply #20 on: October 04, 2014, 01:09:52 AM »
I think that your mother will continue to do the things she used to do because you kept helping out. That move with the long-term care insurance was very smart so you and your sister won't have a double hard time worrying and fixing your mother when dementia hits her (hopefull not). HOld habits die hard, they say right?

kaetana

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Re: my mom, 73 and terrible with money
« Reply #21 on: October 04, 2014, 01:27:55 AM »
I can totally relate to this thread. My parents paid for my university education, and I graduated with absolutely no loans. Now that my father has passed away, my mum (at 61) is seriously struggling for money after having been a big spender most of her life. I helped her out for two years after my father passed away, to help initially with the lack of his income, but she didn't change. I couldn't help making the same comparisons as you-- my husband and I have room in our budget to eat out once a month. She eats out every day. We have one overseas holiday a year. She's gone overseas maybe six times this year. It goes on and on. I finally put a stop to it and told her we don't have money to give her.

It's really hard to make a decision like that. I believe it has somewhat affected my relationship with her. Not from her side; from mine. I can't help but be resentful of all the money I spent on her. At least when she paid for my education, I got straight As and did something with it, whereas she is worse off now than she was before I started giving her money every month. I'm sad that our relationship has suffered, but I think that it's mainly because of my resentment at having let this go on for as long as it has. I wish I had stopped giving her money sooner.

I hope you find a way past this, too.

fb132

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Re: my mom, 73 and terrible with money
« Reply #22 on: October 04, 2014, 06:00:47 AM »
I just want to let you know that you are not alone, my parents have massive debts. I always bail them out when they need the money quick to pay an urgent house bill. Not an easy situation, luckily they don't ask me all the time, they feel bad asking me, but at the sametime they don't do anything to rectify the situation, they believe the damage from the past was done and they simply accept that there is no way out for them.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2014, 06:02:36 AM by fb132 »

SunshineGirl

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Re: my mom, 73 and terrible with money
« Reply #23 on: October 04, 2014, 09:13:58 AM »
Two things:

1. Was she married to the rich guy for at least ten years? Because if so, she is legally entitled to receive social security based on his earnings - I think she'd get half, as the spouse. She doesn't need his permission, and it doesn't lower his payout.

2. Honestly, if she's got $230,000 at this point and she's 73, couldn't she receive $20,000 from that every year for the next 21.5 years? That puts her at 93.5, at which point she will have spent down all her assets and be eligible for Medicaid. If this was the route she chose, I would recommend she keep it in safe savings -- CDs, etc., since she can't afford to have any of it at risk. It might actually help her, as well, to receive it in larger chunks than a monthly allotment, and once it's gone, it's gone. She will likely spend a little less in her later years vs. now.

Another option would be to buy an annuity with the money. 

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Re: my mom, 73 and terrible with money
« Reply #24 on: October 04, 2014, 09:47:03 AM »
SunshinGirls math may be off, but I think she and the others are on to it.

Tell your mom to continue to pull $1200 a month, and you will help her out in 17 years when it is gone.
-- by then her spendy ways will have naturally fallen as she will be a senior senior, not a lifestyle senior.  Better yet, your boys will be grown and your own money will be better able to help.  And you have 17 years to save and plan.

In the meantime, you will continue with the $xx amount per month that you and sister are giving now but no more. 
--add it up for her, I think she has not done the mental math that you are indeed already helping a lot.

Offer to pay moving expenses to a smaller place and come to USA to help with moving when she is ready?

Prepube

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Re: my mom, 73 and terrible with money
« Reply #25 on: October 04, 2014, 12:10:14 PM »
Original post and discussion was over a year ago ( 3/2013).  Their situation is probably a little different now.  If the op is still a reader of the forum, it would be interesting to hear how this turned out.