Author Topic: Too many cars causing family issues...  (Read 10871 times)

FatCat

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Too many cars causing family issues...
« on: September 05, 2014, 08:24:51 AM »
OK, this will probably sound really crazy and unrelatable to most people but here goes....

This probably could have been posted in Antimustachian Wall of Shame and Comedy but I'm hoping to get some productive feedback.

The current living arrangement I have is that I take care of my mother. We live together and I pay for her expenses. My grandmother was also taken care of by her children. It's normal in my family. I am ok with this arrangement except for some major issues. My mother doesn't really have any money, but spends a lot of money, is a hoarder, and gets her normative cues from those who have more money than us. And so, we argue.

We have been fighting lately because she suddenly decided she wants a new car. We've fought about cars before. I want less cars. But instead of selling any, she wants to buy another now.

"We need new cars," she says.
"You already have 17."
"But I need a newer one."
"You have 17. There might be more than that. Go pick one of those cars if you want another car."
"Those cars aren't new."
"Then get rid of them before getting another one."
"I'll just move the cars so you don't have to look at them if that's the problem."

And so now the cars are being shuffled around the property to various locations of "out-of-sightedness." To specify, they aren't all cars. There are cars, trucks, SUVs, vans. Each vehicle is different. These are all perfectly fine cars. No junkers.... Yet... They're going to turn to junk if they keep sitting around forever.

Now we are fighting about this regularly. I want the cars gone. She just moves them around. Most of them run perfectly fine. Some need batteries. Maintaining all these cars is too expensive. There is no reason to have so many cars. I want at most 2 cars and 2 trucks only. The cars are all in her name so I can't really sell them myself. I'm not paying insurance on all of them because we only pay insurance for what we are driving.

I think her intent is to not deal with selling any cars and just leave them to me to worry about. I pay for all the maintenance because if they just fall apart out there then their value goes to nothing quickly and I'm pretty sure I'm going to end up inheriting them.

This didn't used to be a problem and wasn't part of her lifestyle for most of her life. It's just that in the past few years most of her friends are rich lady hoarders so she just compares herself to them. All her friends have tons of cars. She points out one of her friends has 25-30 cars (or more, not sure). I point out her friend is really rich. Her friend buys new cars outright with cash. Then when they break down or just "have trouble," she just parks them somewhere out of the way and buys a new one. Even if the repair is simple, she doesn't want to deal with it. Plus she gets a new car! (Hooray?)

She doesn't see owning all the cars as a status symbol. It's just something not to worry about.

Is there anything that can be done? I can't sell cars that aren't in my name. She did say she will try to sell some of them, but that never seems to happen. She becomes irate and says she'll do it next week and don't bring it up again until after next week has passed. This conversation happens all the time and she's usually pissed off and yelling at me.

I'm really not sure what to do. I've threatened to cut myself off from her if she won't sell them. She just says she will, but still never does.

briandougherty

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2014, 08:31:34 AM »
Quote
I think her intent is to not deal with selling any cars and just leave them to me to worry about. I pay for all the maintenance because if they just fall apart out there then their value goes to nothing quickly and I'm pretty sure I'm going to end up inheriting them.

So? There are plenty of free junk car towing services that may even pay you $100 to pick it up. Inheriting them shouldn't be your big worry.

You weren't clear either.  You live with your mother but whose property are you on? If you're living on your property and taking care of her expenses then you can remove the cars. If it's her property then you have no leverage.

Quote
I'm really not sure what to do. I've threatened to cut myself off from her if she won't sell them. She just says she will, but still never does.

Is that a threat you'd follow up on? If not, don't make it.


Finally, what's the base of this problem?  Do you feel that your mother wasting money while you support her is unfair? Do you just want to stop her from making stupid decisions?

TreeTired

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2014, 08:32:04 AM »
17 vehicles?   Seriously?   Could you give us a list of make, model, year and mileage on each?     Are they all outside?   I know 2 types of people that own 17 cars (besides car dealers).   One is a collector, and they are very wealthy, and each car is significant and well cared for and stored in a garage, warehouse or museum.   The other is a junk dealer, with cars in various stages of disrepair strewn across a field.   

What you have described sounds like a form of hoarding which is close to some kind of mental illness.   I don't know any wealthy people that keep that many used vehicles around.   If you can't figure out on your own what obviously needs to be done, I don't think we can help you.

Tetsuya Hondo

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2014, 08:34:07 AM »

"We need new cars," she says.
"You already have 17."


Really? Really?

You're trolling, right?

LibrarIan

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2014, 08:43:15 AM »
I really hope this is just a big troll fest, but I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt. It sounds like she is voicing that she wants a new car but has to go through you (that's just the way I interpreted it). Is she unable to go out and car hunt on her own? If not, can she even drive? If not, end of story.

If she is really that crazy about the cars, you have to be really serious with her. Stop giving her any money except what she needs for care. There is no reason to give her any more than she needs. That may sound cruel, but this sounds like a pretty extreme situation. If she doesn't have money, she can't buy a car. She might be mad at you, but so what? Just tell her that you will take car of selling off all the cars that go unused and until she agrees to take care of this you just don't give her any slack in the line.

FatCat

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2014, 08:44:20 AM »
We are not wealthy people. They aren't collectables. The cars are not junk. They are worth around $4-5k each. I would rather her sell them and have her money back from then instead of waiting until they are junk and get $100 a piece.

I guess the main problem is I don't want to be paying to support mom while she lets her vehicles depreciate to nothing of what could otherwise be her money. She doesn't care that her money is tied up in cars so long as she can just spend my money. I am spending a lot of money on her cars.

She used to be a car dealer but the car lot went out of business due to family disputes. So now they are parked all over our property for years now. I don't really want to wait until they are junk to get rid of them.

The property is hers. I can move out, but she would have no income at all.


Yes, she would have to go through me to get a new car. She has no money except what I give her and a small amount of social security income.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2014, 08:48:03 AM by FatCat »

briandougherty

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2014, 08:49:40 AM »
With the property being hers you have no power other than to deny her help unless she changes. You can either do it as an ultimatum or as telling her she needs to contribute to the budget more where she'd have to sell cars to do it. I guess you'd find out if she thinks she really needs your help.

It's a sucky situation but with it being her land, her cars, and only your help your leverage isn't great.

LibrarIan

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2014, 08:55:28 AM »
I'm pretty hard line on family affairs. If this were my mother, I'd move out, only give her enough money to cover utilities, rent/mortgage and food. That's it. Nothing else until she agrees to move in the right direction.

Tetsuya Hondo

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2014, 08:56:36 AM »

She used to be a car dealer but the car lot went out of business due to family disputes. So now they are parked all over our property for years now. I don't really want to wait until they are junk to get rid of them.

Ahhhh. Ok, this makes a lot more sense now.

I don't know how to put this more delicately, but how's her state of mind? Is she up there in years and is she still able to make decisions for herself?

ragnathor

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2014, 09:03:04 AM »
I had a relative who was a hoarder, and it is often related to anxiety disorder and may need the help of a psychiatrist. If they are not willing to seek help it makes it very tough. Logical reasoning will often do nothing or just get you roundabout answers.

FatCat

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2014, 09:09:58 AM »
She is fine mentally except in the matter of these cars and general hoarding tendencies.

I would feel very cruel to move out. I'm worried about it financially and emotionally. It's looking like I'm going to have to do something because it is a big drain on me financially paying for repairs of cars that never leave. The other option is to not care and ignore them but I just can't.


Another issue is most of her friends are hoarders and are wealthy. I think somehow she has decided that this behavior is normal now. And no they are not the sort of wealthy people like you see on TV in fancy cars and such. Most of the hoarders I know have inherited a lot of wealth from parents who were very frugal, saved up tons of cash in stocks and bonds and CDs, then left it to their kids who turned it into hoards of cars and clothes and general clutter. I know a lot of wealthy people, but none of them look wealthy. Most of their kids turn into extreme hoarders.

Daleth

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2014, 09:14:32 AM »
How is she spending a lot of money if you guys don't have a lot? Where's she getting it?

FatCat

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2014, 09:23:06 AM »
The money is coming from me. I have a job and I own several rental properties. She gets a small amount of social security.

She is cosigner on my credit cards so she has the ability to buy things and I just pay the card off in full every month. I used to be ok with this since I work all day and I hate shopping. This way she could buy groceries for us. And buy herself what she needs. Her spending used to be small so I didn't really care that much but it kept increasing until now I care about it a great deal.



OK, I am thinking of three options now.

Either I move out and she will have to try to make it on her own. This seems cruel and I'm not sure how it would end up. The cars will turn to junk because she can't afford maintaining them all without me.
The other option is try to get her to seek mental counseling. Maybe someone else can talk some sense into her.
Just give it up and continue to exist like this. When she dies, I can do what I want with what will most likely be junk cars by then.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2014, 09:27:44 AM by FatCat »

okashira

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2014, 09:31:06 AM »
Worst troll ever. The worst part,
"I'd be ok with 2 cars and 2 trucks."

Where is the roll eyes emoticon?

FatCat

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2014, 09:35:38 AM »
I am absolutely not a troll.

I understand that most of the people on here are extremely frugal and would see this as outlandish.

And that is the most vehicles I would want. I want less than that. But for now, I have bigger things to worry about than fine tuning frugality.

briandougherty

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2014, 09:40:24 AM »
The money is coming from me. I have a job and I own several rental properties. She gets a small amount of social security.

She is cosigner on my credit cards so she has the ability to buy things and I just pay the card off in full every month. I used to be ok with this since I work all day and I hate shopping. This way she could buy groceries for us. And buy herself what she needs. Her spending used to be small so I didn't really care that much but it kept increasing until now I care about it a great deal.



OK, I am thinking of three options now.

Either I move out and she will have to try to make it on her own. This seems cruel and I'm not sure how it would end up. The cars will turn to junk because she can't afford maintaining them all without me.
The other option is try to get her to seek mental counseling. Maybe someone else can talk some sense into her.
Just give it up and continue to exist like this. When she dies, I can do what I want with what will most likely be junk cars by then.

You forgot the option where you don't just give her unlimited control of your money. Cut her off of the card completely and maybe give her a small budget that she has to spend on food for the house.

Is there a reason you can't move out but still look in on her? You can give her a little bit of money if you really are worried about her survival. You can pay for her to seek counseling but I think the issues are more than just the cars.  She expects and can get what she wants from you so why should she listen about the cars.

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2014, 09:51:29 AM »
Here's a link of how to get on the show Hoarders: Buried Alive.

http://www.tlc.com/tv-shows/hoarding-buried-alive/about-the-show/hoarding-casting.htm

As with all hoarders, y'all are going to need counseling.  Your mom- to deal with her hoarding issues, and you- to learn how to set boundaries and not be codependent.  That is beyond crazy-town and I'm sure your neighbors would appreciate the clean up.

alsoknownasDean

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Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2014, 09:57:35 AM »
Could just say "I have a friend after a car, would you be interested in selling xxxx to them?"

Maybe she can't be bothered selling cars, but might be convinced by someone (preferably someone known to you of course) with the cash, talking to her. If it's a success, repeat fifteen more times.

That or lock down the finances and speak to a professional about her hoarding (is it just cars?).
« Last Edit: September 05, 2014, 09:59:21 AM by alsoknownasDean »

Rezdent

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #18 on: September 05, 2014, 10:07:38 AM »
So, if I am reading this correctly...
Your mom's behavior is out of character for her but only in this 1 situation plus you are having the same situation come up as if it were a new topic?

Talk to her doctor and ask if you should be concerned.  If nothing else they will be aware and watch her for signs of other stuff.   They should also have tips on what to watch for at home.

My father's senility began with buying unneeded vehicles and progressed from there.  Reasoning with him was not effective.

Also, it sounds like you want to keep her ability to use the card, but limit possible damage.  If you could get the CC company to be the enforcer then she won't blame you. Could you check with the credit card company and ask that any purchase over $X require a verification or send an alert?
If that's not possible can you set her up a debit card with a reasonable amount to back it?

FatCat

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #19 on: September 05, 2014, 10:08:35 AM »
I almost don't want to answer this truthfully because I feel I'll be called troll again....


I have been on that show before. They are really only interested in garbage filled houses.  I helped clear out a friend's house. His hoard was completely different from our car problem. He likes throwing garbage everywhere. He inherited a lot of money from his family. They cleared his hoard out, and one year later it's all right back. I swear it's worse than before. They will clear the hoard, but not provide real mental help. If they had provided mental help for my friend I would have confessed our problem to the show producer's too, but it's all just, "Look at this mess! Look at this weirdo! Listen to sad story about why this weirdo made such a hoard! Lets clean it up! Bye now!"

They would most likely just haul all the cars away and we would not get any value. They like to clear out the hoard quickly for TV. It's not real help. And if you do have something of value they try to talk you into chucking it anyway. That's why most of the hoards you see on there are houses filled with garbage. Hoarders with nicer things won't agree to be on a show that just chucks your things without asking about most of them.


It's not just cars. The cars have the highest value of the hoarded things and take up the most space.

Argyle

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #20 on: September 05, 2014, 10:33:35 AM »
You are in a challenging situation. 

Your mother is a hoarder, and most particularly a hoarder of cars.  Very often people who live around hoarders, or other compulsive people or addicts, lose sight of what is normal behavior.  The hoarder/compulsive/addict behaves as if their behavior is completely normal, and this can "gaslight" us into accepting a lot of strange behavior.

But also some of your beliefs are feeding into the situation.  And this is good news, because it means by changing your own decisions you can have an effect on things.

I'm afraid that typically counseling doesn't make much headway on hoarders.  It is especially ineffective on hoarders who don't want to change, and it sounds as if your mother is in that category.

The way hoarders and other people with compulsive behaviors change is that they fully experience the consequences of their behavior.  They have to have the bad effects to have the motivation to change.  But often their loved ones go to an enormous amount of trouble to shelter them from the bad effects.  This is known as enabling, because it enables them to do the same behavior without changing.

As I see it, you're saying "I want my mother to stop doing this, but I don't want her to suffer any problems from her decisions."  Unfortunately these two things are incompatible.

I see several ways in which natural consequences might come from her behavior.  You might get so exasperated by her hoarding that you do move out.  And it's not true that she has no resources to take care of herself.  She has 17 cars and trucks worth at least $4000 each.  That's $68,000 she has "in the bank."  She's refusing to contribute any of this to her upkeep, instead relying on her child for her support. That's the behavior of a leech, not a mother.  I'm sure she doesn't see it this way.  Nevertheless it is true.  She has $68,000 "saved," losing money rather than gaining it as it would in an account or investment, and yet she's refusing to contribute to her expenses.  That's the truth of it.

You could also remove her name from your credit cards, and I would advocate this no matter what other action you take.  She is a woman with an emotional overspending problem, and credit cards are like crack cocaine for people like that.  You can't expect her to behave responsibly with them.  You have to be realistic here.  Find some other way to order things when you can't take the time ó maybe recurring Amazon orders or something.  If she wants her own spending money for frivolous things, she can sell some cars.  If she wants to buy new cars, she can sell some of the old cars and use that money.

I think it would be helpful to accept that you cannot talk her out of her compulsion.  Part of the syndrome is that people with these disorders do not think they are thinking oddly, and cannot see "reason."  So you can't expect her to stop wanting to buy them and keep them.  You can only get out of the way and let her experience the consequences.  Sometimes the consequences are that the family member moves out.  Because you have no obligation to keep on living there and dealing with it if it drives you crazy.  There are also many other consequences that might happen if you clear the way, many of them smaller.  But as to "How to convince her?" -- it cannot be done with words.  Her anxiety at letting go of the cars will be too great for her just to flip a switch and make the decision because someone else feels she needs to ó however much she does need to.

I would advocate getting her name off those cards as soon as you can.  The rest can unfold as you think best over time.


mm1970

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #21 on: September 05, 2014, 10:46:15 AM »
Yes, you need to cut her off so that she doesn't have money.

So, remove her from your credit cards, ASAP.

Get her her own pre-paid cards.  And tell her that her money is going to come from selling the cars.

You are enabling her. 

I think it would be cruel to move out.  But you are giving her access to YOUR money when SHE has HER OWN MONEY (albeit, in cars).

CommonCents

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #22 on: September 05, 2014, 10:58:52 AM »
Schedule a visit with a counselor
Cut her off from your cards
Tally up what you spent maintaining the cars in the past year.  Present the bill, request a car in lieu of payment.  Sell that car.
Next time she agrees to talk about it next week, tell her what you've done - posted a craigslist ad with 3 people coming over to look at the car *today*.
Maybe bring in someone who will appraise/make an offer for all of the cars (and ask what the ballpark offer would be one year from now, assuming kept outside and not driven).

And if she needs you to buy another car - just don't.  That's in your hands.

Also consider if keeping them maintained is actually throwing good money after bad.  Maybe just consider the money in the cars already to be a sunk cost and walk away from them...

Argyle

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #23 on: September 05, 2014, 11:04:00 AM »
I meant to say that part too.  You don't need to maintain them.  They're not your responsibility.  They will decrease in value if not maintained, but they are decreasing in value anyway.  And no way should you pay to maintain her cars, doubly so because she is perfectly capable of paying to maintain them herself, by selling some and using that money.  That she chooses not to maintain them puts zero responsibility on you.  The unfortunate truth is that if you put money into maintaining them, you are rewarding her behavior, and there's absolutely no reason for her to make different decisions.

In addition, the way things are going, it's extremely unlikely that she's going to sell any of the cars.  So it matters not one bit one kind of shape they're in.  It's like paying to maintain a junk yard.

Dalmuti

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #24 on: September 05, 2014, 11:39:11 AM »
Lots of extreme ideas from you and from others.  And that makes sense since it is an extreme problem.  But there may be some less extreme things to try to being with.  First of all, I like the idea of getting a buyer lined up with cash, and then bringing her into the picture.  I have a brother and SIL who kept a truck for years that they never drove.  They intended to sell but just "never got around to it".  Once I finally did the legwork and found a buyer for them, they had no problem selling.  They weren't really hoarders, they just didn't want to do the leg work of finding a buyer.

Just drawing a hard line on the "new car" issue may also gradually fix the problem.  If you insist that she only gets a new car off the proceeds of selling old one's, then she may eventually give in without you giving ultimatums about moving out.  I'm sure you could find a used car place willing to take 5 $4000 cars for a $18,000 one.  It might not address her root problems, but it would at least lower your maintenance costs.

Failing that, I like the idea of having her sign cars over to you in lieu of payment for maintenance or other expenses.  If she is planning on leaving the cars to you anyway, she's not likely to raise a fuss over signing one over to you.  Then you repeat periodically.   

okashira

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #25 on: September 05, 2014, 11:54:12 AM »
I am absolutely not a troll.

I understand that most of the people on here are extremely frugal and would see this as outlandish.

And that is the most vehicles I would want. I want less than that. But for now, I have bigger things to worry about than fine tuning frugality.

So why are you posting here? I mean, you're not interested in frugality, you think owning two trucks and two cars is reasonable.
I'm not even touching on your mom's case. My brain refuses to accept it as truth.

Look. Your problem is simple. You are just making it out to be complicated because it has evolved so slowly from your perspective.
Hire a shrink and psychologist.
Tell your mom, "you can have a new car, right after you sell 16 of your cars. Then, after we buy the new car, we sell the 17th." Done deal.
If she says no, then say "sorry Mom, I have to move out. I cannot continue to support you until you make this decision for both of our futures. Goodbye. Call me when you're ready for help."
If she gets to the point where she will not sell cars in order to feed herself or pay her basic living needs, then she needs to be in an institution anyway.
Done deal.

scrubbyfish

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #26 on: September 05, 2014, 12:24:41 PM »
My heart goes out to those with the severe mental illness manifesting in hoarding. It is so painful for them to let go of things, regardless of rationality, folks showing up with big cash, etc. I used to be a home support worker to several clients with hoarding, and I disagree that they should automatically be institutionalized. They are often lovely, very intelligent people who simply crave to stay in their homes and to feel safe via collections. I'm okay with that.

My heart also goes out to the family members who have to look at it, and feel agitated or depressed by it or whose finances are affected.

Two additional ideas:

1. It may be cheaper for you to hire a part time housekeeper than to maintain the vehicles, as you are currently doing. So, would it meet everyone's needs if you were to cut her off the credit and hire a part time worker to get the groceries, pay the bills, do whatever your mum is currently doing for you (the things you can't stand doing/feel overwhelmed by)? This may meet some other needs too: someone to keep an eye on how your mum's mental health is doing, increasing your mum's sense of safety and calm via some hours of human contact, an additional relationship of trust for your mum, which may help down the line in releasing some or all of the vehicles, etc.

2. Does the region have a law about how many vehicles on a property? If so, what if you called in a complaint on your own property and let the legal process and professionals see how far they can get with it? Personally, I only believe in this kind of move where there is actual danger to other people (minor children in the home, fire spreading to neighbhours, etc)?

I can't stand looking at crap/clutter/hoards, so if it were me, I'd be moving out. (Well, I say this, but I am living with my landlord's son-in-law's hoard -though not generally visible to me- because the place is cheaper than anything else I can get right now. So, I know it doesn't always feel as simple as that.) If your mum is more invested in the sense of security/mental calm she feels keeping the hoard than she is in maintaining a relationship with you, and you are more invested in your own sense of calm than in maintaining a live-together form of relationship with you, a move-out seems entirely reasonable.

FatCat

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #27 on: September 05, 2014, 12:30:17 PM »
I am here because I am interested in FIRE. I am interested in frugality as a means to FIRE. And cutting down from 17 to 4 vehicles is a HUGE step in the right direction. I can better re-evaluate what is reasonable once I get it down to some level of almost normal.

I am here because of the conversation I had with my mother which I quoted in the opening post. It felt like a stop sign appearing out of nowhere and smacking me in the face. Almost literally a sensation of face punch. I see everyone around me doing the same crazy stuff. I want off this train to Crazyville now. I want to save my money for my retirement instead of letting mom use it now for hers while her retirement funds are tied up in cars that are depreciating in value.

Why did I post this here?
When you are trapped in your own reality sometimes you can't see the solution that is obvious to others. I can look at other people's problems and see what appears to be obvious solutions. So I post to strangers online for some suggestions which may be obvious which I don't see. Currently trying to get help from close friends has resulted in just asking other hoarders for advice on what to do about hoarding. I have a strong drive to retire early. I feel I can do this if I stop enabling my mother. I don't want to fund her retirement with what should be saved for mine. I was drawn to this site because it aligns with my goal of early retirement. I am posting this here because there is an active forum of people who I am hoping can see the situation clearly since they aren't involved in it. I felt that since most of the people here are heavily into frugality that I can get some answers coming from a better mindset than the spendy money blowing people I talk to.


I appreciate all the suggestions. I will talk to mom about putting the cars in my name so I can handle it. I'll try calling some dealers to see if they will just make an offer. I really didn't think about just going around her on this. I think she would sell if someone made an offer. I'm starting to see that even if I wait forever she'll not sell those cars on her own. Especially if she can get all her living expenses paid by me. If we free this money up, she can retire on her own money. I will try to work around her and get some offers before just cutting her off and making her have to do it.

I understand that I am being an enabler. I need to work on that problem. At least a ridiculous conversation snapped me out of this zombie like state of just agreeing with her.


EDIT: Also if I were to come in here posting about living paycheck to paycheck while paying the minimum on my super high credit card balances and out of control spending on fancy coffee, overpriced lunches, and designer handbags while driving around in my leased BMWs and living in my over-mortgaged super house, I would be more believable. Maybe not, but it just seems that way...
« Last Edit: September 05, 2014, 12:38:56 PM by FatCat »

CommonCents

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #28 on: September 05, 2014, 12:43:42 PM »
EDIT: Also if I were to come in here posting about living paycheck to paycheck while paying the minimum on my super high credit card balances and out of control spending on fancy coffee, overpriced lunches, and designer handbags while driving around in my leased BMWs and living in my over-mortgaged super house, I would be more believable. Maybe not, but it just seems that way...

It's likely because people see that situation often, but never have I ever seen someone with 17 cars.  (No place to put them in Boston!)  I didn't call you a troll though, but I can see why people might have skepticism.

FatCat, go talk to Carmax and get a quote from them.  It's valid for 7 days I think.  You don't need to sell, but at least you both will know how much the cars are worth.  It will not be the highest amount you can get for each car, but it would be something and it'd be a starting place.

And seriously, tally up how much you spent maintaining them and have that be part of the conversation - that it's worth X, it cost 20% to maintain, and it'll depreciate more next year.  But, again, at some point if she won't help herself or let you help her, you may need to walk away.

ambimammular

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #29 on: September 05, 2014, 12:51:22 PM »
+1 on taking her off the credit cards.
She's not going to change until she has to, why would she?
Put her on a bare bones budget. Any extras she wants will need to come out of her car selling profits.

My guess is her internet/craigslist skills are low and she doesn't know how to find buyers now that they're not coming to her. You'll have to advertise for her. After a month of beans and rice (ala Dave Ramsey) a little spending cash might hold greater value for her than a car parked in the bushes.

Come up with some incentives. Isn't there somewhere she's always wanted to visit? Is there a wedding coming up she'd like to attend? A grandbaby she hasn't seen in a while? After she sells her first 10k, she should use a teeny percentage of that and go. Let's get her doing something other than rusting with all these hoarder friends.

Argyle

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #30 on: September 05, 2014, 12:54:44 PM »
Presenting her with buyers will be a way of finding out whether she's just been overcome by inertia, or whether she really has a can't-let-go mentality.

The fact that she wants to buy more cars, in her situation, suggests to me that it might be more than inertia.  But it's definitely worth finding out.  If she hedges and stalls and finally puts her foot down ("They'll be worth more if we wait till the economy recovers ... I know I can find a better buyer if you give me time ... we shouldn't sell them for that pathetic price ... I have a better idea, just leave it to me..."), then you have your answer.

okashira

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #31 on: September 05, 2014, 12:55:40 PM »
+1 on taking her off the credit cards.
She's not going to change until she has to, why would she?
Put her on a bare bones budget. Any extras she wants will need to come out of her car selling profits.

My guess is her internet/craigslist skills are low and she doesn't know how to find buyers now that they're not coming to her. You'll have to advertise for her. After a month of beans and rice (ala Dave Ramsey) a little spending cash might hold greater value for her than a car parked in the bushes.

Come up with some incentives. Isn't there somewhere she's always wanted to visit? Is there a wedding coming up she'd like to attend? A grandbaby she hasn't seen in a while? After she sells her first 10k, she should use a teeny percentage of that and go. Let's get her doing something other than rusting with all these hoarder friends.

Carmax looks like the way to go.
They normally want you to bring the car to them, but with 17, they might make an exception.

Daleth

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #32 on: September 20, 2014, 11:48:38 AM »
The money is coming from me. I have a job and I own several rental properties. She gets a small amount of social security.

She is cosigner on my credit cards so she has the ability to buy things and I just pay the card off in full every month. I used to be ok with this since I work all day and I hate shopping. This way she could buy groceries for us. And buy herself what she needs. Her spending used to be small so I didn't really care that much but it kept increasing until now I care about it a great deal.



OK, I am thinking of three options now.

Either I move out and she will have to try to make it on her own. This seems cruel and I'm not sure how it would end up. The cars will turn to junk because she can't afford maintaining them all without me.
The other option is try to get her to seek mental counseling. Maybe someone else can talk some sense into her.
Just give it up and continue to exist like this. When she dies, I can do what I want with what will most likely be junk cars by then.

Moving out is not the central issue, IMHO. The central issue is what you're paying for:
- Random excessive credit card spending; and
- Repairs to cars you don't need (because to stop doing that you would have to stop caring and, quote, you "just can't").

Those are the problems: you're letting her spend your money, you're spending your money on crap (cars), and you "care" too much to stop. Candidly, it sounds like you could make better use of therapy than she could at the moment. If you can locate and enforce normal human boundaries, then it wouldn't matter whether you lived with her or not. And likewise, as long as you can't locate and enforce normal human boundaries, it doesn't matter where you live.

Normal boundaries = taking her off your credit cards and stopping your bad habit of paying for repairs of the cars.


Greg

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #33 on: September 20, 2014, 03:58:06 PM »
As a car enthusiast I can somewhat understand this situation, in a way.  I have a work vehicle and a collector car.  Recently another car of the same country of origin was gifted to me and at first I thought it was neat, but then realized I was spending a lot of mental and physical energy fixing it.  I finally decided to pass it on to another enthusiast and regain my sanity in this small way.

I think you need to be firm about allowing her to have/use so much money.  It's often easy to say yes, but in the long run not useful.  Try to get her off of the cards.  Explain there's no money for a new car, but with so many older cars around you think you could sell them and buy a new car.  Offer to have a used car lot come and make an offer on them as a lot.  This may not be at all easy given her former business, since they likely have more value to her than anyone else. 

Good luck.

Spork

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #34 on: September 20, 2014, 05:19:42 PM »
I have some amount of empathy here, too.  We have 2x as many cars as drivers (and, to be honest, wifey will be quick to tell you 3 of them are "mine.")

But, like most have said: you have to quit enabling her.  I'd be willing to offer all sorts of dollars if they were for counseling or cleanup or ... anything helpful.  But I'd be pretty stingy on anything else.

17 cars (even at only $4k each) is creeping up to $70k.  $70k would go a ways towards cleanup, counseling... or funding a nice index fund.

HattyT

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #35 on: September 20, 2014, 05:36:28 PM »
Oh boy. This must be tough to live with.  I am so sorry.
Letís be clear, wanting an 18th car, that causes argument with her son (and meal ticket) is not her best thinking.  You need to be clear and convinced and unwavering on this point with yourself.  You love your mother.  You can attempt to find ways to communicate this in love.   

I say be clear about the circumstances under which you would buy her a new car.  Say she sell, get rid of 5 of the current ones.  Put this in writing to her.  Keep your circumstances simple, clear.  Expect to have to repeat them alot.  You donít want to sound as if you are changing or waffling or increasing your demands.  You want your demands to be stable.

Expect that she will not accept this and will continue nagging, perhaps triangulating others to bully you too.  Your response to her and others; you are willing to buy her a car based on the circumstances youíve made clear to her.  Stick to your guns.  When she continues to press you, tell her you will discuss it again once she has sold a car or two or moved on whatever conditions you have set.  Maybe, maybe, but please donít, consider negotiating a reasonable compromise (an outside mediator of some sort) if there is something you want from her as badly as she wants this car.  But the research on hoarders is they encroach on boundaries  (Have you read Stuff by Randy Frost?).  Expect her to say that this one thing will be enough.  Do not believe this.  Sheíll want more.  More stuff makes her feel safe, relieves her anxiety, appears to solve problems to her.  Her problem now, as she likely sees it, is that you are standing between her and her solution.  Expect her to get hostile and manipulative.  Any chance you could distract her with a hobby?  Knitting, perhaps?

About her intent.  She is not thinking clearly.  She may be clinically disordered.  As frustrating as it is, it is likely not personal.

You could get her grocery/Walmart gift cards to her to spend.  Take her to the bank to get credit cards in her own name.  Get her off your cards.
You may also want to make some mustachian decisions about how much good money you are willing to throw after bad (paying to maintain cars you donít want, and canít see and donít use?). 

You may also want to start thinking about whether you need this kind of stress in your living arrangements. 
You will feel much better if you can find ways to detach, if only mentally, from other peoples choices.
This is no picnic.  Hugs.

Chrissy

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #36 on: September 21, 2014, 10:48:43 AM »
It's been awhile, FatCat, any update?

If you live on your mother's property, do you pay rent to her?  How much per month is she spending of your money?  Why does she feel entitled to your money?  Did she pay for your education or something?  How did you end up living with your mother, or have you always lived with her? 

Was she married to your father (or anyone) for 10 years or more?  If so, she would be able to claim spousal benefits on Social Security, which might be more than her own.

Moving out is not cruel.  It's just you deciding to live your own life.  It has nothing to do with her.  She will be free to do as she pleases as well, without your judgement or permission.  Now, doesn't that sound nice?

If she has a spending/hoarding addiction, the worst thing you can do is give her access to cash and credit.  If you want to help her with living expenses, pay her utilities, mobile phone, property taxes, etc. directly.  Do not give her the cash, and expect her to use it for its intended purposes.

neophyte

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #37 on: September 21, 2014, 11:56:04 AM »
It seems to me like this could be considered 'family issues cause too many cars.'  Your mom has a problem and, at least until recently, you've been enabling that.  My SO and I have been dealing with trying to quit enabling a parent. It's hard. If you can deal with the underlying problems, the car issue will hopefully get resolved while those do.

gooki

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #38 on: September 22, 2014, 03:30:23 AM »
Stop giving her any money. If she needs money she has $80,000 worth of cars she can sell. That should see her through for the next four years.

chasesfish

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #39 on: September 22, 2014, 05:31:06 AM »
I think the thread should be titled:  I support my mom financially, then she makes bad spending decisions.

This topic comes up one every month or two and is always an interesting read.  My conclusion is both you and your mom are people of free will.  You have a choice to make, support her financially or not support her AND if that support will have any strings on it.

She will take the money and spend it the way she chooses, sometimes even if you specifically say what the money can be used for.  Note here that past spending habits are likely an indicator of where your money is going.


A friend of mine just had to say no to financially supporting a parent last week - Her mom needed money to fix her car, but still is paying for expensive Cable TV.

MrsPete

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #40 on: September 22, 2014, 06:32:27 AM »
17 cars -- I assume you, yourself need one, and your mom needs one.  So 15 cars are just sitting around depreciating.  You say most are worth 4-5K.  So if you sold 15 cars, you'd have 60-75K.  Plenty to buy her ONE nice, new car and make her happy.  But the "price" of that one nice, new car is to sell the others. 

I do believe you're dealing with mental illness, and that's tough because she THINKS she's being reasonable.  Since she used to be a car dealer, she must understand the concept of depreciation.  Can you come at it from the point of, "This car is worth 5k today, but if we let it sit another year it'll drop to only 4K? 

Things that might help:

- The Hoarders show really might be a good idea.  Yes, they do provide money for follow-up services.  Some people take advantage of them, and others don't.  In most cases, I'd agree with you that lack of follow up = you might as well have done nothing, but your case seems different:  Most of those people can go buy more clothes, more food, more junk without anyone's help, but since your mom hoards cars (and she'd need your help to obtain more cars), she literally could not continue to accumulate. 

- You say she sees this behavior as "normal" because her friends do it.  Could you widen her circle of friends?  Look around for senior citizens groups.  Our church has an active senior citizens group that gets together for pot-luck lunches, does service projects, takes bus trips up to the mountains to see the fall leaves, etc.  We also get a flyer once a month from our city that offers various programs:  Kids' tennis lessons, etc.  Lots of those offerings are for senior citizens:  Walking for exercise groups, teach kids to knit groups, learn digital photography sessions.  If you could get her involved with some other people, perhaps she'd see that other ways to live exist. 

- Take her off your credit cards, and instead start giving her a cash allowance -- and if it runs out, don't bale her out.  Let her have nothing 'til next payday (or whatever date you've agreed upon).  Yes, it means you  might have to do the grocery shopping, but you're not happy with what's happening now, so changing that detail wouldn't be too bad. 

- I'd be concerned about her getting credit cards in her own name, even with limited income. 

- Giving her an ultimatum (reduce to two cars -- I'll even help you do it) by the end of the year, or I'm moving out . . . is an okay thing to do, but it will come with its own set of issues.  First, you have to be willing to follow through.  Are you?  Second, she'll be angry, and you'll probably fuss about this for the rest of your life -- few adults like to be told what to do. 


apfroggy0408

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #41 on: September 22, 2014, 06:58:49 AM »
where you at? i need a new car

HairyUpperLip

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #42 on: September 22, 2014, 07:10:36 AM »
Are they cool cars at least?

AH013

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #43 on: September 22, 2014, 10:23:30 AM »
I guess I don't see how this is a difficult issue / discussion.

Mom: "I want a new car"
You:  "I have a car and you have 16 cars , isn't that enough?"
Mom: "No, those are old.  I want another new one"
You:  "Then go buy a new one"
Mom:  "I don't have any money..."
You:  "Well, if you are driving a new car, we could sell some of these 16 old cars you won't be driving to get some money so you can buy a new one."
Mom:  "No, I want all 16 old ones plus a new one"
You:  "Yet you don't have money for one..."
Mom:  "Buy me one"
You: "No"

Done.  Ultimately she has the means (16 extra cars worth ~$64k), and as an adult can spend her money as she sees fit.  You can either financially enable her to continue car hoarding, or force her to use her available means by choosing not to use your money for something you don't want.  If the new car for her isn't worth her using her own money, it shouldn't be worth you using your money.

The hoarding of 16/17 cars is a separate issue.  I'd tell her you'll stop maintaining all but 1 for each of you by the end of the year and follow through with it, and you'll help put them on Craigslist or AutoTrader or Carmax or whatever.  If she's unwilling to sell them, stop maintaining them.  Yes, they'll lose value.  How much do oil changes, gas additives, batteries, and other maintenance & repairs cost you?  5-6 years of that will erase whatever value you're holding onto by keeping them in working condition versus getting $300-$500 in scrap value for them.

Again, ultimately you're an adult and if you think maintaining 16/17 cars that just sit idle on your property is the best use of your money, then go ahead.  If it isn't, then stop doing it.

okashira

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #44 on: September 22, 2014, 12:54:43 PM »
I guess I don't see how this is a difficult issue / discussion.

Mom: "I want a new car"
You:  "I have a car and you have 16 cars , isn't that enough?"
Mom: "No, those are old.  I want another new one"
You:  "Then go buy a new one"
Mom:  "I don't have any money..."
You:  "Well, if you are driving a new car, we could sell some of these 16 old cars you won't be driving to get some money so you can buy a new one."
Mom:  "No, I want all 16 old ones plus a new one"
You:  "Yet you don't have money for one..."
Mom:  "Buy me one"
You: "No"

Done.  Ultimately she has the means (16 extra cars worth ~$64k), and as an adult can spend her money as she sees fit.  You can either financially enable her to continue car hoarding, or force her to use her available means by choosing not to use your money for something you don't want.  If the new car for her isn't worth her using her own money, it shouldn't be worth you using your money.

The hoarding of 16/17 cars is a separate issue.  I'd tell her you'll stop maintaining all but 1 for each of you by the end of the year and follow through with it, and you'll help put them on Craigslist or AutoTrader or Carmax or whatever.  If she's unwilling to sell them, stop maintaining them.  Yes, they'll lose value.  How much do oil changes, gas additives, batteries, and other maintenance & repairs cost you?  5-6 years of that will erase whatever value you're holding onto by keeping them in working condition versus getting $300-$500 in scrap value for them.

Again, ultimately you're an adult and if you think maintaining 16/17 cars that just sit idle on your property is the best use of your money, then go ahead.  If it isn't, then stop doing it.

Mental illness can really complicate things, can't it? ;-)

unpolloloco

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Re: Too many cars causing family issues...
« Reply #45 on: September 22, 2014, 02:10:14 PM »
I'd think any dealer on the face of the planet would make a deal with multiple vehicle trade-ins.  This could mean that the new car will be "free" with enough vehicles being traded in.  Might mean you'd get less than if you sold them private party, but then you'd have to worry less about maintenance (and since the cars won't be sold otherwise, that maintenance cost will continue pretty much indefinitely).  Now...there's also a need to address the underlying issues, but this could be a good first step!