Author Topic: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.  (Read 15498 times)

Zalo

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Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« on: August 19, 2013, 05:27:34 PM »
I don't quite know how to put this so I will go ahead and just blurt it out:

My parents are fucking retarded when it comes to money.

Ignorant, and ignorant by choice. They bought a house with a 210k mortgage a few years ago--whose principal has actually increased-- have one leased 2012 Chevy Cruze for a job less than a mile away, and a paid off Jeep Wrangler with off road tires as their second vehicle. Oh, and you can't forget a few thousand in credit card debt. And cable, and AT&T, and Magic Jack. Magic Jack for Christ's Sake!

Their combined total income is 30k.  At least until recently; now my dad is living off of unemployment benefits after being downsized from his previous job more than 10 miles away one-way. The recent replacement of this income with unemployment benefits makes their annual income even less able to pay for their expenses.

At the moment, my dad is trying to start an independent business similar to MMM's; the jobs are sporadic and small, and he's not enjoying it. He's also gotten up at 3 AM in the morning for as long as I can remember (2000) to bake/sell pastries to local restaurants, which has never taken up speed, or likely even turned a profit, and I somehow doubt that it'd get any better considering he's never bothered to improve his business model or product, not to mention that he refuses to account for the venture. As for my mom, she's currently working at BJ's, where she's treated like dirt, and paid similarly.

I tell them that it doesn't matter if they make some extra thousands a year if the mortgage and cars and credit card debt and a bunch of other crap is siphoning all of their money, and that they should sub-lease part of the mortgaged home or move somewhere else, ditch the second car, and ditch the other one when the lease is done, but do they listen? Hell no. In fact, they tell me I'm bat shit insane and constantly remind me that all of their friends are A+ screwed as well.

I leave to college on a full ride in six days (in part because of our financial fiasco), so I'm personally set, especially since I'm more than halfway through ERE and MMM and have read a bunch of other personal finance books--but them, fuck, I don't know what will happen. I imagine my brother (currently in his last year of mechanical engineering) and I will have to bail them out once we start our careers.

Is that fair? Because I genuinely do not know the answer.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2013, 07:57:24 PM by Zalo »

kkbmustang

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2013, 06:02:11 PM »
Sorry to hear about your family's lack of financial prowess. It sounds bad. As for them listening to you, you've got some hurdles to overcome there: a lot of times parents don't think their kids should be telling them how to live and it doesn't sound like they are interested in hearing about it.

But, it sounds like you've got your act together. Full ride scholarship? Congratulations. And, at least you will have your brother to commiserate with.

As for whether you and your brother bailing out your parents is fair? Life isn't fair. How you choose to respond is up to you, but the situation is what it is. You can do your best to help them out with the decision making process, but you can't make them listen to you. Just like they can't make you support them. Would I? Well, my husband and I help support my grandmother. We send her a check every month and are overly generous at Christmas. My parents and my husband's parents are good with money and have made good decisions so it is highly unlikely they will need financial support. But I would if I had to.

Not sure if that makes you feel any better or not.

Daleth

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2013, 06:11:14 PM »
That sucks.

Bear in mind, though, that NO, you and your brother don't "have to bail them out." Remember that if you spend too much of your own money, time and energy on them, you'll be shortchanging not only yourself, but eventually your own spouse and kids. If you spend a lot bailing out your parents, you're just passing the buck--eventually your own kids will have to bail you out, or at least you won't be able to provide for them as you should (e.g. paying for college if they don't get a scholarship), because you spent so much taking care of your parents that you didn't have enough left over to take care of yourself, your spouse and kids! If the situation is really dire--if the parents are beyond reason and keep digging themselves into financial holes--then instead of bailing them out, the higher duty is to make sure that problem STOPS with their generation. You'll be doing your kids, grandkids etc. a great favor.

Personally I think that the only obligation we should feel towards our parents is to literally keep them off the streets and, if they need medical care or something along those lines and aren't able to get it, to help them get it (whether at home or in a nursing home). And I don't primarily mean help them financially by paying medical bills--I mean, for instance, helping them get signed up with Medicare supplemental insurance, helping them find a good doctor who takes their insurance, etc.

What I mean by "keep them off the streets" is that even if you feel obligated to help your parents, you're not obligated to help them maintain their desired lifestyle. If their financial problems are putting them at risk of foreclosure, for instance, it makes no sense to pay their late mortgage payments to bring the house out of foreclosure if in fact they cannot afford that house on their own dime. If that's the situation, then they can't afford that house and need to let go of it, even though letting go will no doubt be painful and embarrassing for them.

Even if they're losing an unaffordable house there no doubt IS something they CAN afford, though, so maybe you help them look at listings for much cheaper houses, maybe you offer $X towards their down payment on a place they can actually afford (and if you do so you should get a lawyer to draw up docs making you an X% owner of the house), maybe you help look at rental listings (and offer to help with the deposit if need be), maybe you help them apply for public housing if they qualify, maybe you pitch in and help them move or offer to provide $X to cover part or all of their moving costs (if they're as money-dumb as you describe, it is WAY safer to say "I'll pay your moving company $2000 towards the cost of your move" than "I'll pay for your entire move" or "I'll give you $2k for your move," for obvious reasons... such as that if you pay them instead of the moving company the money could vanish, and a move that should cost $2k may end up costing twice that if they insist on moving all their crap instead of getting rid of what they don't need before the move).

I guess the shortest way to describe this advice is, even if you feel greatly indebted to your parents and even if you want to help save them from themselves, NONE OF THAT includes ANY obligation to help maintain their self-destructive lifestyle (i.e., no obligation to help them keep the baubles they've acquired--fancy house, extra car, whatever). It only includes an obligation to keep them from being literally homeless... in other words, an obligation to help them get a roof over their heads that they can afford, and only IF their situation becomes so bad that if you don't step in with some help, they'll become homeless.

And I'm not some heartless Libertarian or whatever. My sibling and I each pay half of our mom's mortgage every month--but then, the reason she needs that is not because she spent her life making idiotic financial decisions. She spent her life working her ass off but she's been severely physically disabled since we were kids, so there was only ever so much she could do to earn money; she managed to raise us, but not to save for retirement.

And by the way, for everything I said above, I'm talking about non-abusive parents here; to those who were physically or emotionally abusive, you have no duty at all.

Also by the way, none of this will necessarily be possible. If your parents or one of them is alcoholic, or psychotic and won't take their meds, etc., sometimes it's not even possible to keep them off the streets because our country provides very little in the way of legal mechanisms to control how adults choose to live their lives.



« Last Edit: August 19, 2013, 06:15:56 PM by Daleth »

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2013, 06:19:10 PM »
They bought a house with a 210K mortgage with an income of 30K/year?   Who would be dumb enough to loan that kind of money on that low of an income?


Zalo

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2013, 06:35:03 PM »
They bought a house with a 210K mortgage with an income of 30K/year?   Who would be dumb enough to loan that kind of money on that low of an income?

That's a good question. I'd love to know so I can punch them in the face.

The bigger question is how can I reverse this situation and get my parents out of the mortgage--and have them willingly go along with it. It seems they are attached to this suburban cage, frequently citing all of the work they've put into 'their' home. I believe the mortgage is owned by either Chase or Wells Fargo, I can't remember, either way the house is worth about 100k less than when it was first bought, as of this writing.

What I'd like to do is get them to work within a 5 mile radius, in a house worth 1-2 times their annual income, with a bike or scooter and maybe even a used, reliable, high MPG, relatively inexpensive car as transportation, debt free. But perhaps I'm imposing my beliefs upon them, so it might be better just to do nothing..the clock is ticking; my mom's almost 50, my dad 60.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2013, 07:21:37 PM by Zalo »

SavingMon(k)ey

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2013, 06:39:58 PM »
I'm with Daleth. It's almost what you would do if you had a substance addiction in your family, you don't enable their addiction. And in a way your parents ARE addicted to stuff, and cars, and what-not that they can't afford.

SUPER KUDOS to you for getting your financial house in order so early. The full ride should help dramatically. Best of luck to you! What will your major be?

Zalo

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2013, 06:59:29 PM »
I'm with Daleth. It's almost what you would do if you had a substance addiction in your family, you don't enable their addiction. And in a way your parents ARE addicted to stuff, and cars, and what-not that they can't afford.

SUPER KUDOS to you for getting your financial house in order so early. The full ride should help dramatically. Best of luck to you! What will your major be?

The thing is, I don't think they're addicted to stuff, I just plainly think they don't know any better, or want to. Critical thinking, frugal people consciously question each action and try to make it more efficient/fun. The majority of the US, my parents included, simply go through the motions using their nearby peers as a guide. It's not healthy, and it's definitely fiscally destructive. Thankfully they've semi-adopted a holistic plant based diet, so their health is not as compromised compared to the finances.

My major as of now is undecided, but I like money, music, building things, questioning things, and nature; there's a high chance I'll pick a major or two relating to those areas. I declare after the second year. It should be fun. (:
« Last Edit: August 19, 2013, 07:41:00 PM by Zalo »

Peony

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2013, 07:06:09 PM »
As the mom of a son just about your age, I think your job right now is to do your best at school and get yourself in as strong a position as you can for the future. To use an air travel metaphor, put your own oxygen mask on before helping the people around you. It doesn't sound like your folks are ready to make any changes yet in any case. BTW, I sure wish I could get MY kids to read MMM; good for you!

SavingMon(k)ey

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2013, 07:25:01 PM »
I'm with Daleth. It's almost what you would do if you had a substance addiction in your family, you don't enable their addiction. And in a way your parents ARE addicted to stuff, and cars, and what-not that they can't afford.

SUPER KUDOS to you for getting your financial house in order so early. The full ride should help dramatically. Best of luck to you! What will your major be?

The thing is, I don't think they're addicted to stuff, I just plainly think they don't know any better, or want to. Critical thinking, frugal people consciously question each action and try to make it more efficient/fun. The majority of the US, my parents included, simply go through the motions using their nearby peers as a guide. It's not healthy, and it's definitely fiscally destructive. Thankfully they've semi-adopted a holistic plant based diet, so their health is not compromised as compared to the finances.

My major as of now is undecided, but I like money, music, building things, questioning things, and nature; there's a high chance I'll pick a major or two relating to those areas. I declare after the second year. It should be fun. (:

I think our mainstream culture as a whole is "addicted" to stuff. I guess that's what I meant. And so many people just follow along like you described. Even the "having two cars" and all that fits into that model fed through the media.

When you choose your major, choose wisely. Yes, by all means do something you love (and it sounds like you have lots of great interests), but if you can combine that with a major that almost guarantees a well-paying job, you're set. Like "building things + nature = some sort of in-demand engineering like bio-medical" (at least I'm thinking bio-medical is in demand, since I have friends who are making a ton of money doing that), or something like that. You get the idea. I didn't do that and ended up with a degree that doesn't offer much in term of employment and salary. Oh well.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2013, 07:29:10 PM »

The bigger question is how can I reverse this situation and get my parents out of the mortgage--and have them willingly go along with it. It seems they are attached to this suburban cage, frequently citing all of the work they've put into 'their' home. I believe the mortgage is owned by either Chase or Wells Fargo, I can't remember, either way the house is worth about 100k less than when it was first bought, as of this writing.

What I'd like to do is get them to work within a 5 mile radius, in a house worth 1-2 times their annual income, with a bike or scooter and maybe even a used, reliable car as transportation, debt free. But perhaps I'm imposing my beliefs upon them, so it might be better just to do nothing..the clock is ticking; my mom's almost 50, my dad 60.

Short answer is that you can't save them from themselves. The only person you have the power to control is yourself. You could sit them both down and tell them that their spending habits are out of control and that they really need to get their ducks in a row as they are in danger of losing everything and being homeless and without enough money for basic necessities, and that you are very worried about their welfare. Offer to help them figure out how to go about getting back on track.

If they refuse your help, there's not much you can (or should) do. You can't help someone that refuses to see there is a problem, so just set your boundaries (I totally agree with Daleth's entire post about what your level of help) and try to step back and do the best you can to make sure you never end up the same way.  (and I know how incredibly frustrating this will be - so lots of sympathy on that front)

Frugal_in_DC

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2013, 07:34:20 PM »
As the mom of a son just about your age, I think your job right now is to do your best at school and get yourself in as strong a position as you can for the future. To use an air travel metaphor, put your own oxygen mask on before helping the people around you. It doesn't sound like your folks are ready to make any changes yet in any case. BTW, I sure wish I could get MY kids to read MMM; good for you!

Ditto, another parent of older teenagers here.  Go enjoy college and do your best.  In the end, people are responsible for their actions and have to live with the consequences.  All you can do is express your concerns about their future and offer ideas on how to live a frugal yet badass life.  Maybe start by giving them basic budget sheets and ask them to consider keeping track of expenses for a month.  That could be an eye opener. 

kkbmustang

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2013, 07:36:08 PM »
I'd also second the other posters as well. With respect to my grandmother, she took bad advice from other family members after my grandfather's death that put her in an even more precarious financial situation than she was in before he died. It got to where she wasn't buying medication she needed which sent her to the hospital. Unacceptable for her to not be able to afford meds or food.  Especially not when I could alleviate some of the burden. So, we send her enough to cover her groceries from a mustachian perspective.

skyler

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2013, 07:57:43 PM »
So, we send her enough to cover her groceries from a mustachian perspective.

I don't go to church and don't tithe. But like you, I help a family member. It's monthly check that makes a real difference...now I know it's also mustachian :)
 

MountainMan

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2013, 08:59:39 PM »
The best you can do is live by example.  Right now you're probably 18 or 19 and most parents will not consider advice like this from their teenaged kids to be very credible. 

But when you get through school and take care of your own finances, you will be older, and older still, and even older still.  You will no longer be the 18 year old kid in their house all those years ago, in their minds, you'll be 25 - 30 years old, who is successful. 

If they are paying attention, they may notice and you may be in a more credible position to offer advice and assistance.  They may even listen to you and do what you suggest at that point.

Right now, you'd be lucky if they listen to you at your age.

I was about your age when I suggested to my parents that they keep their house and rent it out, instead of selling it.  It would have worked out well in the long run with property value appreciation and rental income from a decent neighborhood in town.  But, they didn't listen to me.

I would guess it's a normal parental response to 18-19 year olds everywhere.

However, if you wanted to have a chance, you'd have to highlight passages in credible books and show that there's an overwhelming preponderance of advice of this sort. 

But they'd probably still not listen.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink it.

Unfortunately.

galliver

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2013, 10:31:06 PM »
Quote
I tell them that it doesn't matter if they make some extra thousands a year if the mortgage and cars and credit card debt and a bunch of other crap is siphoning all of their money, and that they should sub-lease part of the mortgaged home or move somewhere else, ditch the second car, and ditch the other one when the lease is done, but do they listen? Hell no.

So there's been a lot of focus on the fact that they're your parents and you're 19 and they write off your advice, which may very well be true. But, as a newbie here myself, I wonder if hearing all this, particularly delivered at once, is overwhelming to them. Maybe if you're trying to bring them around, you could try backing off for a decent while, and then suggest one thing at a time in a maximally non-confrontational way. Like "have you considered giving up the leased car? it would give you an extra $xxx per month that you can put toward those credit cards, and you could probably find a way to get by with just one car." And if they don't come around with that, give them some more time. Advertisers know that repeated exposure works; now just advertise something GOOD for them.

Just a thought that's probably influenced by my TA training this morning (talked about breaking down a complicated, intimidating question into more manageable ones that are more likely to get a class response).  On that note, congrats on your full ride, that's fantastic! And good luck in college. I wholeheartedly agree that your primary focus right now needs to be developing YOURSELF. :)

marty998

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2013, 02:17:31 AM »
I hope you're not actually telling your parents that they are fucking retarded :)

It amazes me that (by usual societal definitions) normal people can reach the age of 50 or 60 without realising that either money doesn't grow on trees or that when it comes down do it, when you really truly consider it, the only people who are going to look after you financially before all else are yourself and your spouse.

Thats it. Forget relying on inheritance, kids, the government etc etc, you can't bank on it. You need to provide for yourself.

But if you say things like that invariably the response is heads in the sand.

I'd suggest you approach your parents from a different angle. Gently prod them bit by bit. Ask them about their goals, what they would like to do with the rest of their lives, and how they are going to go about achieving it. Don't even mention money. They really need to be able to put 2 and 2 together and figure out "money is needed to live not to spend" by themselves. I won't say it's a lost cause, but it will take a long time to turn around the ship if they don't get it right away.

It sounds like they need a good role model. Cos at the moment they are modelling their behaviour on the deadbeat useless people around them.

Adventine

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2013, 03:15:38 AM »
Zalo, I sympathize with what you're going through. Not too long ago I was that frugal 19 year old seething with resentment at my parents.

I agree with the others who say to focus on yourself for now. Find a career that will be both intellectually and financially rewarding. And when the time comes that your parents ask for help, please remember that you are under absolutely no obligation to maintain the lifestyle they are used to. If they haven't been phyisically or emotionally abusive, go ahead and help them with (BASIC) food, clothing and shelter. But if they have been abusive, well, you don't need to be guilty about giving them 0 dollars.

onehappypanda

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2013, 06:55:48 AM »
That's a pretty harsh rant but I feel where it's coming from. The good news is that their mistakes can be your motivation to do better - right now, I would worry less about controlling their lifestyle (since that isn't really you job) and work on setting up the kind of lifestyle you want for yourself. Set yourself up for a good career, learn frugal habits, and support yourself as much as possible. Make decisions that would show them that you're not really into "stuff" - for example, asking to skip the Christmas presents this year in lieu of just spending time together (or sub whatever holiday you celebrate). Make it about YOU wanting to save money for YOU, not nagging them about their habits, that's how being an example works.

In time, they may come to realize you have your ish together and take some of the hints you drop. Or they may not. And ultimately, you have to realize that they get to live by their priorities just like you get to live by yours. That's how the world works, sometimes people do dumb stuff and that's their decision.

As far as supporting them goes, I would start thinking now about how much you'd be willing to give and in what form for when that day arises, if it does. It's not a given, but it is a possibility, so be prepared.

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« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2013, 07:28:04 AM »
Did they do their best for you despite their shortcomings?  If so, you may want to help them.

I agree their choices are frustrating.  In particular, I don't understand why your father would get up at 3am to work for no profit.

I have a sister who constantly makes poor financial choices.  I understand the stress this causes.  Best place you can get to is to accept things you can't change and then maybe you can go back to them with some ideas that would be helpful and be calm about it.  You might want to seek out counselling through your school so you can get to a better place.

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2013, 08:20:38 AM »
And I'm not some heartless Libertarian or whatever.

This libertarian isn't heartless at all, so please spare us the stereotypes.

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2013, 08:28:15 AM »
The best you can do is live by example.  Right now you're probably 18 or 19 and most parents will not consider advice like this from their teenaged kids to be very credible. 

Coming from parents who have lived beyond their means, I understand your frustration Zalo, but Mountain Man is right on this. Lead by example and if you are right, time will prove it, and you wont need to say "told you so".

Your parents have been through a lot more life than you. Try to reserve judgement and understand they may not be sharing everything with you on finances.

We live the MMM lifestyle, but not all people do. It's our job to lead by example and walk to walk, not necessarily preach the gospel.

AlanStache

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #21 on: August 20, 2013, 10:42:04 AM »
I have known for my adult life that I would have to help my mom out in retirement, she was never that wasteful with money-mostly just unlucky with jobs (department closures, firms going bankrupt, etc.) 

In the medium term you need to focus on yourself and getting yourself in a position to support yourself.  But always be willing advise and listen to your folks.

You really cant make people help themselves, all you can do is lead by example and be there when they do ask for help (at least emotionally). 

That said maybe you and your folks can each start a mint account?  Tracking what they are spending is a good start.

Do your parents have siblings that they might better listen to? 

Have you and your brother talked about this together?  Some common understanding and united front might be a good thing to start talking about. Establish what you two are willing to do.

Forcus

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« Reply #22 on: August 20, 2013, 11:05:02 AM »
In a way, your parents are giving you a gift, since you are obviously setting yourself up to live opposite of their chosen lifestyle. Not saying  you "owe" them, especially as others have pointed out, a standard of living they are accustomed to, but you might have to plan on supporting them in some way inthe future. We are definitely going to have to do that with my wife's parents. They have always been money stupid - her's a failing business that was on life support for way too long, his, quitting lucrative jobs to farm, and losing money every year. Then they got in to a bad accident, rear ended by a truck driver, got a large settlement.... and it's nearly gone. Their water bill is 2 months overdue, etc. He is hiding loans from her to buy equipment for another money losing farming operation. I'm sure they will live in our basement.... we watch King of Queens with a grim sense of parallel to our situation :)

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #23 on: August 20, 2013, 01:02:19 PM »
Go have a good time at school, and don't worry about them.  They are adults and have the right to make their own mistakes.  Don't worry about bailing them out - that's for a future so far away you can't see it yet.  Your job right now is becoming an individual, away from your family.  Focus on that.  Don't become sucked into their drama.  I've been a teenager, and I've been a mom to a teenager.  Every body's parents are too stupid to live when you are 19.  My son loves to give me suggestions.  Even when the suggestions are good, I sometimes don't follow them for reasons I do not share with him.

skyler

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #24 on: August 20, 2013, 01:06:32 PM »
Every body's parents are too stupid to live when you are 19.  My son loves to give me suggestions.  Even when the suggestions are good, I sometimes don't follow them for reasons I do not share with him.

Love it.
My DH always tells our 18 year old nephew that he should quit school while he "knows everything" :)

TrulyStashin

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #25 on: August 20, 2013, 07:04:44 PM »
I have 24, 22, and 16 year old "children" and one of the hardest phases of my relationship with all of them was the late teen/ early adult time frame.   Your relationship with your parents is being redefined from adult-child to adult-adult.  It's hard on everyone.   

Among adults, even those I share family ties with and love, there are clear limits on what we say to one another about our life choices.  But this isn't true of the late teen/ early adult years so it's common for both sides to get confused/ frustrated/ annoyed.  When my two older "kids" were leaving their teen years and moving into their adult years they still really needed guidance but they so often refused to hear me.  My 22 year old turned down a full ride to college and has only a HS degree -- can you imagine how I felt as this decision was in process?   My 24 year old passed up an opportunity to be in the Army Reserves.   These are just two examples of life decisions they made that I found to be unwise.  I nearly pulled my hair out in frustration!  I ranted.  I counseled.  I cited facts and studies.  I bit my tongue (though they'd probably say I didn't).

The thing is, it's their life to live and I don't get to tell them how to do it.  In that same vein, you don't get to tell your parents how to live theirs.  It's their journey.  All the mistakes they're making are part of it. 

You have a few choices ahead of you:

1) keep nagging them, which will divert your attention from YOUR needs and also alienate them, straining your relationship
2) stop nagging them and put your energy into your future and into getting peaceful with their decisions (live and let live)
3) a little of both, which will still cause alienation and still divert your attention

Which choice is the best one?

Will they need a bailout someday?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  DO NOT PRE-WORRY about something in the distant future.  You can make decisions about that if and when it's necessary.  There is enough real stuff in life to worry about; pre-worrying is truly wasted energy.

If you can find a way to get peaceful with their choices and focus on yourself, you'll be much happier and your relationship with them will improve.  Trust me, you'll value that relationship in coming years.

Good luck.

ender

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #26 on: August 20, 2013, 08:16:25 PM »
I have 24, 22, and 16 year old "children" and one of the hardest phases of my relationship with all of them was the late teen/ early adult time frame.   Your relationship with your parents is being redefined from adult-child to adult-adult.  It's hard on everyone. 

I appreciate seeing some perspective from the other side.

I'm 25 and find it incredibly frustrating to not be able to have a meaningful adult-adult relationship with my parents.

kendallf

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #27 on: August 20, 2013, 09:17:35 PM »
TrulyStashin and Meadowlark have nicely articulated my feelings, which I was too lazy to write out.  :-)


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« Reply #28 on: August 20, 2013, 10:42:17 PM »
My original plan was to simply leave and cross the old-age bridge when I get there. If anyone has read How to Be Free in an Unfree World by Harry Browne, I agree very well with his individual-centric philosophy.

What worries me is not so much that my parents seem to be making inefficient life choices--they can do whatever makes them happy, like the rest of the world--but that my individual self might end up having to pay for their actions in the future. If I choose to do so anyway; I'll determine that when I am in a better general position.

I imagine it might seem like I'm so extremely angered that I'm not focusing on myself, but this is very far from the truth. I didn't finish 80 college credits while still in high school by focusing on others' actions. (Not that I actually learned much in the school system; most of the knowledge I am actually proud of came from books, how-tos, and blogs I have come to value.)

In short, this discussion about parents is a fringe topic that might affect my life in the future if I do not do something to curve it in the 'right' direction. I was just about to give up altogether and let the dice fall where they may, until I decided to come here and ask your thoughts.

I can't say I am delighted to find the "you're only a 19 year old" idea here as well. As Thoreau said, old age doesn't necessarily determine how wise you are. Being wise is subjective besides. That said, perhaps I'll feel differently in a few years. Time will tell.

For now, I continue my life.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2013, 10:50:29 PM by Zalo »

TrulyStashin

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #29 on: August 21, 2013, 08:02:12 AM »
Zalo, you're not alone.  Here's a thread for you to check out.  http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/antimustachian-wall-of-shame-and-comedy/firends-and-family-financial-trainwrecks/

Also, no matter how wise a young person is, he is still young and his cumulative life experience is less than someone who is older.  That's just a matter of simple math.  So, the "he's just 19" issue is not about your comparative wisdom.  It's about the simple truth that you haven't been around as long and haven't seen/ experienced as much as us older folks (and geez, I'm only 44 -- a mere yute!).  Think of life experiences as a bank vault.  Those of us who have been around for a few more decades have more in the vault and we can draw on that to make decisions.

Yes, you will feel differently in years to come.

Peony

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #30 on: August 21, 2013, 08:53:40 AM »
Zalo, regarding the "you're only a 19-year-old" idea, as I see it it's not necessarily a question of your *being* too young to be wise and offer helpful advice; it's more a question of whether you are *perceived* by the people you want to help as having some knowledge that they want. Unfortunately, your age works against you in that regard, no matter how together you are. In fact, I'd imagine that the more out of control financially your folks are, the less they are likely to be able to recognize a better way (if they could see clearly, they'd probably be doing things differently). So your ability to influence the situation, at this point, seems kind of limited. But you're on a good path, so my advice would be to keep on keepin' on. And while it's good to be aware of what may be coming down the pike, a lot can change between now and the time when your help will be needed, so if I were you I'd try not to worry too much about it right now, as that stress will not do you any good. I wish you the best at college -- it sounds as if your potential for success is unlimited.

Cinder

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #31 on: August 21, 2013, 12:51:34 PM »
I can't say I am delighted to find the "you're only a 19 year old" idea here as well.

Dave Ramsey calls this 'powdered butt syndrome'.  Where most times if you have powdered someone's butt, you will never take any advice from them on anything.

Getting them exposed to Dave Ramsey may be a way to help them see how perilous their situation is, and that they can make their way out in the end.  His philosophy is a lot more of 'save/clean up your mess now so you can live later' as opposed to the MMM philosophy of 'Live on only what you need so you won't need as much to live on later' (super simplified of course!)

Even if you can get them to listen to his radio show/podcast, it may help them change their ways.  He is pretty well known for being able to help people get out of debt.  I read his Total Money Makeover book and kept thinking it wasn't for me.. I didn't have any huge debt and I wasn't living paycheck to paycheck, but it started me on my financial journey which eventually led me here!

Lentils5eva

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #32 on: August 22, 2013, 10:18:29 AM »
I can't say I am delighted to find the "you're only a 19 year old" idea here as well. As Thoreau said, old age doesn't necessarily determine how wise you are. Being wise is subjective besides. That said, perhaps I'll feel differently in a few years. Time will tell.

As a person who is almost 30 who sometimes feels similar frustration with my parents, I think mentions of your age are not relevant to whether your feelings are valid or your thoughts about your parents situation factually incorrect.  However, I think it's hard for parents, who see themselves as the people who raised, clothed, protected and formed you, to hear where you're coming from when you make suggestions about something like money.  There's a lot of ego bound up in how we manage money, and it sounds like that might be a driving factor for your parents - they want to feel or seem prosperous (leased car), industrious (3am wakeup? yikes), etc.  I am conscious of the fact that it is very difficult for my parents to take advice from their child.  Like you, I was lucky to get a full scholarship, and I've built a 10 year track record of good, independent financial decisions.  You have other choices besides either addressing things NOW OR NEVER, or keeping mum until you have to sweep in to save their financial asses in 30 years.  The longer you model mustachian living, the more credibility you'll have when you try to discuss the behavioral models you've been following on your path to FI.

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #33 on: August 22, 2013, 10:27:29 AM »
I can't say I am delighted to find the "you're only a 19 year old" idea here as well.

Dave Ramsey calls this 'powdered butt syndrome'.  Where most times if you have powdered someone's butt, you will never take any advice from them on anything.

Does he endorse this, or just merely recognize it as such?

Anyone who endorsed that idea is just too proud for their own good. Kids can be the ultimate reflection of truth and too many times parents either don't want to hear or are too proud to take advice from them.

Cinder

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #34 on: August 22, 2013, 01:11:42 PM »
Does he endorse this, or just merely recognize it as such?

He just recognizes it as a 'fact' that most people would be perfectly happy to take the same advice from a financial planner or stranger, but hearing it from someone whose butt they powdered makes it go in one ear and out the other!

Spork

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« Reply #35 on: August 22, 2013, 03:00:04 PM »
Yep.  I was going to point out the "powdered butt syndrome" but you guys beat me to it.

I'm almost 50.  My parents have not made the same financial hardships that the OP describes... but nonetheless, have made their share. 

It was when my wife pointed out the PB syndrome that I really started seeing it.  I'm used to getting advice (mostly good) from them.  But it "feels wrong" when it goes the other way.

olivia

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #36 on: August 22, 2013, 03:10:39 PM »
Yeah, I was just going to say that although you may have a lot of good information, you're still a child in their eyes.  It's not about you being "only 19."  You haven't  finished college, owned a house, etc., so it's highly unlikely they'll listen to a thing you say.  And telling them you read it on the internet isn't going to convince them.  It takes several years after graduation for your parents to treat you like a true adult, at least in my experience with my parents and my friends' experiences with their parents. 

And aside from your parents' perception of you, you can't make other people change, and the sooner you accept that, the easier all of your relationships will be.  The older I get, the easier it is to not care about what doesn't affect me.  Sister's dating a loser-not my problem, best to zip it!  Brother doesn't discipline his kids at all-I don't live with them, keeping my trap shut!

If/when it gets to a point where your parents are expecting you to pay for their poor financial decisions, then feel free to offer all the opinions you want.  But until then, live your life and let them live theirs.

SavingMon(k)ey

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #37 on: August 27, 2013, 12:41:13 PM »
It takes several years after graduation for your parents to treat you like a true adult, at least in my experience with my parents and my friends' experiences with their parents. 

Or they may never treat you like an adult... Personal experience.

Kira

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #38 on: August 27, 2013, 08:20:58 PM »
I agree with much of what was said above, but would also like to add... please be kind towards them. When we look at others' lives, people who have made a lot of mistakes, we think, "I'd never have done it that way and how could they have been so stupid to do that?" But they didn't do it all in one day - especially in this situation, it took years of one bad decision piling on another. And so to get out of it is going to take years of one good decision piling on another, and doing things differently is very hard for most of us.

It may also feel for them like there isn't any point in trying, because a lot of people think there is either the "normal way" to live your life, or the "dumpster dive, clip coupons, eat ramen" way of being frugal. You can indeed set a good example for them, but also remember that you have no millstones round your neck and you haven't spent the last 20 years spending your money this way. It's a lot easier for you to say what they should do than it is for them to do it. So I do think that contributes to why they aren't going to see your advice as valuable - you literally don't have it as hard as they do and you aren't in a similar situation to them.

As for the future, I do agree with the sentiment that while it is a loving thing to do to want to support your parents, you don't have any obligation to support them in this kind of lifestyle. But if they've gotten along in this lifestyle for this long, they'll figure something out and I don't think you need to worry about this for quite some time.

Inquizator

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #39 on: September 02, 2013, 07:19:41 AM »
I can't say I am delighted to find the "you're only a 19 year old" idea here as well. As Thoreau said, old age doesn't necessarily determine how wise you are. Being wise is subjective besides. That said, perhaps I'll feel differently in a few years. Time will tell.

Zalo, regarding the "you're only a 19-year-old" idea, as I see it it's not necessarily a question of your *being* too young to be wise and offer helpful advice; it's more a question of whether you are *perceived* by the people you want to help as having some knowledge that they want. Unfortunately, your age works against you in that regard, no matter how together you are.

I think this is an interesting topic, so I'll go ahead and comment:

I'm 26 and have dealt with this sort of thing all my adult life so far. However, with more age and experience now (though still not a lot by most standards), I have come to realize that it's not so unjust as it seems. We all have our methods for weighing people's opinions. Age/experience is just the most common metric people use to determine how much weight they give your opinions. Without age/experience to indicate to people that you're worth listening to, you have to show it with actions and thoughtful/mature discourse. This means (as others have said) to live as you 'preach'. It means to maturely drop things when it's not the right time (and the right time could take years to come up!). It means to patiently wait for opportunities to give small helpful advice that leads people along a better path rather than consistent unwanted comments/suggestions that make people feel badgered. It also means to show respect for age/experience even if you're convinced your ideas are better.

Once you consistently show your maturity/wisdom/capability day in and day out, suddenly one day you'll realize that people twice your age are thoughtfully listening to you and giving weight to your ideas, because you've earned it.


mustacheme

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #40 on: September 03, 2013, 12:51:46 PM »
It's frustrating when those we love don't do what we think is best for them. It's also frustrating when those decisions in turn can have an effect on us.  However, if your attempts at advice have fallen on deaf ears so far, that probably won't change until something else sparks the change.Try to focus instead on what you can learn from their mistakes while appreciating the good that you have learned from them as well.

It sounds like both you and your brother are on good paths. My guess is your parents played a role in encouraging that outcome in some way. So don't  forget the good they've given you as well. No one is perfect.

StarryNight

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #41 on: September 05, 2013, 03:18:29 AM »
I'm a lurker but had to register to reply to this.

We helped out my in-laws financially when they faced bankruptcy and it was the worst financial decision ever. It took all our savings, including shares that we had to sell for less than we'd bought them (they were supposed to be a long-term thing). We're only just recovering from it 3 years later (there's a bigger story than the one I'm giving you but the story's too long to go into here).

Your parents will not change and they will not take your advice. When we helped the in-laws the one stipulation we gave was that they take out life insurance that would cover the mortgage (they didn't have any!) but they didn't do it because it was too expensive. Less than a year late Step-father in-law had died from cancer and his estate went bankrupt anyway and Mother in-law lost her house. If they'd got the life insurance that would have covered it.

During this time when he was too ill to work we were supporting them financially, as well as the thousands we had already given them.

Mother in-law then lived with a relative for a year and saved up every penny she could (she has good pensions) and we thought she'd turned herself around but she got back with her ex- husband, they got a place together and she spent all her money refurbishing the house. And then she left him. And walked away from all that money.

Aaaaarrgghh!

She then moved back in with the relative and saved up for a while again, got herself a housing association flat (so cheap rent) and used all her savings doing that place up.

Now she lives within her means because she has no other choice.

I should add that she was in debt in the first place because she was constantly refurbishing her house and buying new furniture.

That turned out a bit longer than expected, but it feels good to write it all down!

My two points are:

1. You are not obliged to help your parents financially, and by doing so you probably won't change anything. Their bad habits will continue and they'll just spend any extra you give them.

2. Your parents won't listen to your advice and it's nothing to do with your age. The in-laws didn't listen to us and we're in our 30's and work in finance. People in general don't want advice unless they come asking for it. The in-laws came to us asking for money and they weren't interested in anything else.

Sorry for any typos, I'm on the iPad and have fat fingers!

chasesfish

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #42 on: September 05, 2013, 05:39:04 AM »
Your observations at 19 are very impressive.  I knew something was wrong at that age, but hadn't quite figured it all out.

The first thing to remember - you do not HAVE to bail them out, you're under no obligation to support their poor decisions.  That being said, I also completely understand if you do.

I have a similar predicament:  My in-laws are not far off from your parents situation, but probably 10-15 years older.  My wife and I have already decided that when it comes time, we'll buy them a single level house in the $125,000 range and they can use the proceeds of their current house and any SS/Pension to live on.  We can afford the cost without pain and they've were overly generous to my wife when she was growing up, to the detriment of their retirement.

On my side of the family it gets interesting.  My parents are divorced and divorced again.  I'd take care of my step-dad in some manner, but his family is fine on money and he'll end up moving back to a family farm.  I have no idea if I'd do anything for my mother, she's been detached for years and continues to make bad decisions, financially and otherwise. 

SJS

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« Reply #43 on: September 06, 2013, 03:24:33 PM »
Why, yes, I'd have to agree with you - they have a "retarded" mentality with money management.  Maybe they are just "ignorant" and really don't know any better.  Sometimes it's just a cycle - their parents were bad with money, too?  I'm glad that YOU are already reading about financial responsibility and management.  Like the others said - let this be your motivation to do your best in school - so that you can get out and get a job you like that will pay you enough to live and save.  (You already know the sooner you start saving, the better!!)  Unfortunately, you can't make people change who don't want to - or see the need to.  Have you ever asked them what their plans for retirement are?  Might just get them thinking that it's something they should be planning/saving for.  I agree with the others - you should not risk your own financial health to help them out of their dark hole - they dug it, they will have to try and climb out of it.  You are trying to explain things to them, but if they refuse to listen or at least educate themselves, there's really not much you can do.  STUDY HARD and make yourself PROUD!!  (and us, of course! )  :-) 

Dee 72013

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Re: Sometimes Things Can Get...Frustrating. Expect a Rant.
« Reply #44 on: September 06, 2013, 07:52:49 PM »
I'm sorry that you're already worried.. it does twist your guts all up in knots. I have to be honest with you that it does get worse and trust me the best thing you can do is not tell family members that you have any extra $ because someone will want it. It's scary because you want ..no need to not worry about your parents because that worry should be reserved for any kids you might have in the future.
When your parents come to you telling you they have no money, food for ten days before a retirement check comes in it twists your guts in knots.
You send them money knowing full well that when their check arrives they will spend that week eating out and I not talking just fast food.
They go out, eat out and do whatever the hell they want and then cry crocodile tears when it's all gone. You can count on hearing from them the same time every month because that is usually the only time you do and when you send money you usually don't even know if it's been received unless you call and ask. They act like they resent asking you for money and act jealous that you have it to offer. It's a hard road to hoe when your parents aren't grown up. If you resent it now and you haven't started helping out yet it will unfortunately affect the relationship you have with them. Just remember once you start helping it's hard to stop. I think you should make a decision on what you are willing to do before they need help and stick with that decision. Also take into consideration you will eventually have a spouse and will they want to bail out your parents and do you want to jeopardize that relationship when your family is being irresponsible.
I wish you all the best and right now try to enjoy your life and your success earning your full ride. Don't dwell to much on this because it does eat at you.