Author Topic: What can I do about my financially dependent father?  (Read 14628 times)

Kitties are the best

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 50
What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« on: March 18, 2016, 03:01:06 AM »
Hi guys

I've been following this website for over a year now, even though I post very infrequently. I've learnt a lot and I'm currently wrestling with something that I'd love your collective help with.

I'm originally English and I live in Australia. I'm 34 and single / no kids. I earn decent money (140K pre tax and super last year and added an extra 10K of side income, mostly from renting out my spare room to a friend). I have a too big mortgage mostly because capital city housing in Aus is super expensive (rather than the house being too big). I don't want to sell because I might not be able to get back on the ladder. And owning my own (mortgaged) place gives me a really necessary sense of security and home.

Other than that I do the usual MMM things of biking to work, packing lunch, not buying coffees and watching lifestyle inflation. I'm frustrated by my lack of ability to up my savings rate and I've figured this comes down to two things:

- my mortgage
- my dad.

Background on my dad. Let me start by saying he is a lovely man and I love and care about his happiness and well-being. He is 75 years old and did not financially prepare himself for retirement at all. He had a very good job as an accountant when I was very young but when I was 9 and he was 50, he was laid off and he had a very long period of unemployment after that. He had very good savings at that point so we just lived off his savings for years and years. I remember being 'comfortable' when growing up but even as a very early teenager I remember thinking 'this isn't right' and asking questions about how we were going to survive.

He wasn't looking for work and I guess he considered himself FIRE at that point. But he wasn't. Life dealt us some cards, my parents got divorced, he paid my mum a settlement, my brother was in and out of trouble for years, he had three very serious heart attacks and his savings were whittled away. I stayed with my dad when my folks divorced and he was a stay at home father. I was 11. I got help with the homework, a hot meal on the table and taxi-of-dad to pick me up when i wanted to see school friends at the weekend. As I said before, he was a good dad.

I worked as a teenager and tried to keep expenses down. Things were getting noticeably tight when I left for university at 18. The summer before I moved out, I worked in a factory to save up money for uni. My dad asked how much I was earning (FYI minimum wage) and about a year after I left, he got a job at that factory. The money had finally run out.

He worked at various factories for about 5 years or so before saving up some money and moving to India at the age of 64. He had lived abroad for most of his life and he knew the cost of living there was low. He qualified for a very, very low state pension of £48 a week as he hadn't racked up enough years of employment in the UK to qualify for a full pension.

When I got my first full time job post university at 21, I started sending him money, first £50 a month but creeping up whenever I could afford it. I've done that for the past 13 going on 14 years. He's lived a variety of places all over asia, usually finding a long term guest house and booking a cheap room on an ongoing basis. I've always seen him once or twice a year - a combination of me flying to him for a holiday and me paying for him to stay with me. Overall, it's worked out well. He is in good health, and for years he has enjoyed the lifestyle and the warm weather. He has always disliked England (hence him living abroad for most of his working life) and I haven't minded supplementing him.

However, as I've grown more aware of money, and started tracking my spending and wanting financial freedom and thinking about my goals and ambitions (the biggest one is security and not ending up like my father and brother) I'm becoming more aware of the fact that I'm supporting my dad's life style and it's not sustainable. Not sustainable from the point of view that the cost of living in Asia has gone up heaps, I'm completely at the whim of currency fluctuations and he's going to get older and need more help in the future. Last year, including the flights I bought him to come stay with me for two months, I spent about 17,000 AUD.  He gets just under £2500 a year from his partial state pension.

The choices I think I have are as follows (but here is where I would love you to chip in):

- keep paying for him to live in asia, indefinitely - until he gets too old/sick to continue (this is a possibility, and while I don't love this option, I don't really mind it either - he was a good dad)


- ask him to move back to the UK where he will get a full state pension and subsidised housing. Then I can top up his income to make him more comfortable and also pay for an annual holiday to come see me or even to go to asia for a holiday as he loves it there. (this is my preferred option as it makes him less dependent on me, it gives him access to the NHS, as he is healthy now but who knows for how long. However, he would hate this option as it means he has to live in cold dreary england.)


- move him to australia with me. (this is very expensive - an aged parent visa costs $80,000 AUD so I would take on significant debt to do this. I would also have to fully support him and he would have to live in my spare room. I would also be liable for any medical issues he had here as he isn't a citizen. This is my least favourite option because of the financial stress it would cause, and also, honestly, the impact on my lifestyle. I want to get married eventually and maybe even have a family. Living with an aged father indefinitely would definitely hit my standard of living and honestly, would probably make me less likely to find and keep a life partner. (I haven't asked him but I believe he would be happy with this option as he would be in a warm country and would be near me).

So, there you have it. An unusual situation but it's mine and I have to deal with it. What haven't I thought of? I'm happy to consider the offbeat, as offbeat sums up my family and our choices fairly well.

PS/ my mum and brother are not options for contributing to his up keep. He has one brother who occasionally sends him a few hundred pounds. He has no assets at all, aside from a suitcase full of clothes and a phone and laptop.

Kaikou

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 503
  • Location: United States
  • Kermit is like a box of chocolates
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2016, 03:12:10 AM »
I think you need to speak with your father about what his long-term plans are and let him know that this situation is causing you frustration as well

esq

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 294
  • Location: Humble, TX: World's Biggest Oxymoron
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2016, 11:09:33 AM »
Hi Kitties - Just wanted to say what a lovely and admirable thing it is you've been doing with your dad.  You will get things worked out, and you'll get lots of good advice here.

Best of luck to you!

Mr. Green

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2474
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Wilmington, NC
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2016, 11:42:57 AM »
I'm in a boat similar to you in that I have a dependent father. My wife and I were supporting him completely for a few years before we realized he qualified for disability. I even own the house he lives in, though thankfully it was a great foreclosure buy so we'll make out on that when it's sold. As much as I'm sure you love your Dad you definitely have to consider your financial future first, especially if you have plans to get married some day and share your life with someone else. I only bought the house for him because I knew it was a sound investment. Can your father stay in Asia until he were to get sick and then go back to England, or are there processes that would have to be established in England before he were to get sick that would make care feasible? If that were not an option I would certainly have a talk with him about going back to England, even if it didn't happen right now. I would definitely make sure he knows that you're looking at your financial future and some tough decisions may have to be made somewhere along the line.

mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3289
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2016, 12:09:47 PM »
I agree with the idea of waiting till he gets sick and then tell him you can't support him while he's sick and he needs to move back to England. I would limit trips to once a year and he either visits you or you visit him, whichever is cheaper. It's nice for you to pay for him to stay with you for 2 months, but the choices he made to live somewhere that makes flight expensive is not your responsibility.
Financially you're going to take a hit no matter what. If he does get sick, you might have to move to England for one to two years to manage his care. I hope that he doesn't get sick for at least ten years so you can save up to prepare. If he wants to live in Asia in the meantime that's his choice but I would cut way down on support. You'll need that money later. My dad wants to move to Thailand when he retires so I've thought about this a lot.

okits

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10446
  • Location: Canada
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2016, 12:23:01 PM »
Talk to your dad and see what he has in mind.  If you can come up with a figure ("I can contribute $X a year") that will let him know what he has to work with and can help him evaluate his options.  If he's healthy enough to live abroad maybe he can pick up some part-time work to help cover his expenses.  If he can commit to staying someplace for a while maybe he can find accommodation that costs less than commercial lodging (e.g. rent a room from locals).  If he receives a state pension and subsidized housing in the UK, how many months a year can he be abroad and still qualify for these?  If he can live 50/50 UK/abroad that might be a palatable trade off for the financial resources he'll gain.

Learning his long-term preferences is important.  Maybe he hates England so much he won't return for anything, even if that means lack of medical services abroad as his health fails (and, ultimately, a shorter life).  Maybe he plans to go back, anyway, for the long-term security and health care, in the hopes of many years ahead to enjoy grandchildren.

You're a good kid for all you've done and will continue to do.  It's okay to prioritize your life goals rather than have them be secondary to caring for a parent.  As present and loving a parent as he was while you were growing up it was at the expense of his retirement savings, so supporting him now (and any sacrifices involved) is a joint responsibility, not yours alone.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6655
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2016, 12:25:32 PM »
Option 2 makes the most sense and requires him to be responsible for the choices he has made. Just because he was a good Dad does not mean you have to sacrifice your own financial well being to pay for his mistakes.  I would not expect my kids to support me.

norabird

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8113
  • Location: Brooklyn NY
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2016, 01:17:15 PM »
I also think option two is the best. This doesn't mean saying 'You have to move back to the UK and leave the lifestyle you like', but it does mean raising the possibility and asking about his future plans. It is fine that the financial burden is starting to get to be too much. No need to make drastic moves, but it's certainly time to talk.

Mr. Green

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2474
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Wilmington, NC
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2016, 01:27:50 PM »
I found one of the hardest things was figuring out when to say enough when it feels like what you're doing barely feels like enough as it is. My father was basically penniless. So it took  A LOT, $500-600 a month, from us just to cover the mortgage payment on the house and all the utility bills and he was still getting all his food through food stamps. It took a huge commitment from my wife and I just to get him off the street and to basic poverty.

However, I have always reminded myself that it was the accumulation of his life decisions that put him where he is, and that does not mean I have to pay the price for them. It's hard to remember that some times when someone you care for is in a bad situation. Another thing I always tried to remember was the more of my money he took now, the less of it I might be able to provide if things ever became truly dire in the future, simply by virtue of the fact that that money was spent on him in the past instead of being invested to grow for the future.

yyc-phil

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1059
  • Location: Yellowknife NWT
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2016, 02:07:09 PM »

- ask him to move back to the UK where he will get a full state pension and subsidised housing. Then I can top up his income to make him more comfortable and also pay for an annual holiday to come see me or even to go to asia for a holiday as he loves it there. (this is my preferred option as it makes him less dependent on me, it gives him access to the NHS, as he is healthy now but who knows for how long. However, he would hate this option as it means he has to live in cold dreary england.)


Without going into the pros and cons of all your options and knowing little about your personal family circumstances, I think the answer to your dilemma is in the bolded sentence. At this point in your dad's life, quality of life is the most important consideration. Moving him back to a place he hates may well be the best from a financial point of view but from all other points of view, it might be the worst. If I were in that situation with my dad, I'd keep him in a place he likes, knowing it would keep him healthier and happier for much longer.

I also wonder if moving back to the UK in a seniors home is better from a financial aspect. I don't know about the UK, but in Canada, living on a small government pension of OAS/GIS doesn't take you very far. If you are lucky, you will move into a publicly-funded senior home -if you can find a decent and safe one that doesn't look and feel like a 19th century psychiatric hospital ward. I certainly would not want to spend the rest of my days in one of those. I've checked a few public homes for my mom and I was not very impressed with what I saw, and in the end, we opted to help her pay the $1800/month, no meals included, to live in a nice condo-type senior residence.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6655
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2016, 02:18:54 PM »
In the Us most of the senior housing is nice and rent is only 1/3 of your income. We have so many safety nets: food stamps, senior centers, meals on wheels, medicaid, medicare, etc that people should not be supporting their parents but having them apply for services. I am 61 and would never expect my kids to support me and my parents felt the same way. It is one thing to help with a little $ when needed but every time I see one of these threads tons of kids are supporting parents to their own determent.  I can't even believe that the parents would take their kids $. It truly boggles the mind. Who cares what country he prefers to live in?  what makes him happiest, etc?  He should have thought about that when he decided to not work all those years and go through all the $.

Josiecat

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 309
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2016, 02:52:21 PM »
What an incredible story.  It is probably time for you to decide just how much financial support you can give to your dad.  Let him know this, and let him decide for himself.  Be strong once you decide on the dollar amount and after that you will tell him no.

Is it possible for him to re-establish his 'permanent' residence in England so that he has access to the pension and healthcare, but then spend most of his time in Asia? 
« Last Edit: March 18, 2016, 02:55:40 PM by Josiecat »

dilinger

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 461
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2016, 03:26:05 PM »
He supported your lifestyle for what, 18 years?  You've supported his for 13 years.  I'd probably give him another 5 years of current payments.  But give him a choice; does he want it all in the next 5 years, or does he want to spread it out over the next 10 or 15 years?

If he chooses the former, well, that's life (although a little disappointing regarding his inability to plan for the future).  If he chooses the latter (moving somewhere with a lower COL to make it work), this gives you a mechanism to make lower payments in the short term to build up savings.  As a father, I wouldn't expect my father to support me indefinitely.  Maybe after talking with him, you won't even need to figure out finances; he'll be willing to move somewhere cheaper.

Another option: you move to him.  Could you move to Asia or some other place with a low cost of living to make supporting him easier and cheaper?  Could you earn a similar salary someplace else that wouldn't require such an expensive parental visa, and has a warmer climate?  Would you WANT to, or is there a non-job reason why you'd want to stay in Australia?

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6655
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2016, 03:32:53 PM »
When parents have kids they are expected to support them obviously. The same can not be said of kids since the kids did not have the parents.

wenchsenior

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2650
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2016, 05:43:41 PM »
I have a very similar situation to Mr. Green's. You'll find quite a few people wrestling with this issue.

We've been discussing this on on some other threads, as well. If you haven't seen them, there might be something of interest.

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/financially-supporting-aging-parents-during-fire/msg1011264/#msg1011264

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/buying-a-cheap-home-for-my-dad-in-houston/

seattlecyclone

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5467
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Seattle, WA
    • My blog
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2016, 05:53:40 PM »
I think asking him to move back to the UK makes a lot of sense. He'll be better taken care of there than in Asia. I think you do have some responsibility to make sure he isn't starving if you can afford to help him, but you don't have a responsibility to enable his expatriate lifestyle.

Kitties are the best

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 50
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #16 on: March 18, 2016, 11:04:50 PM »
Hi Guys

Thanks for all your thoughtful responses.

I agree that I need to start a conversation and to that end I've sent him an email asking him about his future plans and his preferences now and in the future. I mentioned the possibility of the UK as one of those preferences and asked for feedback.

I also mentioned that I would like more of an opportunity to budget my money and also asked for him to have a realistic think about how much he needs me to contribute on an ongoing basis, then I can account for it more efficiently. I don't think this will be a huge surprise to him because there have been a number of unexpected (to me) expenses crop up (a flight back to the UK and his passport renewal).

I'll see what he says to this and let you know.

He has said repeatedly that he doesn't like taking so much money from me so he acknowledges this situation is less that ideal.  I don't feel resentful at all, despite my frustration with my saving rate. I mostly just feel sorry for him to be honest. I would honestly hate to be in the reverse of this situation.

And what I do for him simultaneously feels hard financially, but way too little overall. I also think, he won't be around forever and I'll have to live with the way I treated him for the rest of my life. The point that yyc-phil made is kind of where I'm coming from. Quality of life does matter, so I'll be interested to understand if he still feels as negatively to the UK as he has always done.

Re. a couple of the suggestions - I don't want to move to Asia. I love Australia, and have a home and a life here. Plus my career wouldn't travel. Worth considering though. Thanks for suggesting.

Josiecat - I wish there was a way for him to have a base in England but spend most of his time in Asia. I will ask him if this appeals and is a possibility. I don't know if it is but it is worth absolutely ruling out.

I'll also check out the links, Wenchsenior.

LeRainDrop

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1835
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2016, 11:19:05 PM »
Option 2 makes the most sense and requires him to be responsible for the choices he has made. Just because he was a good Dad does not mean you have to sacrifice your own financial well being to pay for his mistakes.  I would not expect my kids to support me.

In the Us most of the senior housing is nice and rent is only 1/3 of your income. We have so many safety nets: food stamps, senior centers, meals on wheels, medicaid, medicare, etc that people should not be supporting their parents but having them apply for services. I am 61 and would never expect my kids to support me and my parents felt the same way. It is one thing to help with a little $ when needed but every time I see one of these threads tons of kids are supporting parents to their own determent.  I can't even believe that the parents would take their kids $. It truly boggles the mind. Who cares what country he prefers to live in?  what makes him happiest, etc?  He should have thought about that when he decided to not work all those years and go through all the $.

I agree with both of Cassie's comments.  My therapist helped me reach this view in dealing with my own parents' financial woes.  It's one thing to help when they get to be disabled or senile, but while still healthy and capable of working to support themselves, it's just not the child's responsibility at all.  (I realize this may vary by culture and other factors.)

MMMaybe

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 388
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2016, 11:47:52 PM »
Would he have access to his full UK pension if he established himself in a cheaper part of the EU? Its a potential idea, which would give him access to decent healthcare/reasonable standard of living.

Asia is fine as long as he remains healthy. Being sick and poor in Asia is horrible and Western standards of care are $$. I think with a view to the future, he needs to have a home base in the EU or UK.

11ducks

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 575
  • Location: Duckville, Australia
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2016, 02:02:38 AM »

Another option: you move to him.  Could you move to Asia or some other place with a low cost of living to make supporting him easier and cheaper?  Could you earn a similar salary someplace else that wouldn't require such an expensive parental visa, and has a warmer climate?  Would you WANT to, or is there a non-job reason why you'd want to stay in Australia?

There are a million non-job reasons to stay in Australia! I cant think of a reason to leave (Aussie boast coming). Beautiful climate, coastal cities, laid-back lifestyles, mega biodiversity, high safety and liveability and employment, gun control, no tigers. Koalas! Best surfing in the world. I live midway between the beach and the mountains (20mins each way), an hour out of a capital city. The poisonous snakes and spiders and sharks only ever attack tourists, really.  'Straya is sweet mate. :)

dilinger

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 461
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2016, 02:32:51 AM »

Another option: you move to him.  Could you move to Asia or some other place with a low cost of living to make supporting him easier and cheaper?  Could you earn a similar salary someplace else that wouldn't require such an expensive parental visa, and has a warmer climate?  Would you WANT to, or is there a non-job reason why you'd want to stay in Australia?

There are a million non-job reasons to stay in Australia! I cant think of a reason to leave (Aussie boast coming). Beautiful climate, coastal cities, laid-back lifestyles, mega biodiversity, high safety and liveability and employment, gun control, no tigers. Koalas! Best surfing in the world. I live midway between the beach and the mountains (20mins each way), an hour out of a capital city. The poisonous snakes and spiders and sharks only ever attack tourists, really.  'Straya is sweet mate. :)

Yeah, but what about the drop bears? :)




former player

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5796
  • Location: Avalon
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #21 on: March 19, 2016, 03:50:46 AM »
Is your father getting inflation increases on his pension?  The UK has reciprocal agreements with some countries that mean he will get inflation increases even living abroad, but in other places he won't, meaning that he is stuck on the original amount.  The way for him to reset this is to return to the UK to become "habitually resident" - which is about intention rather than time.  Once he has come back (he could come back late spring?) and the pension has reset, he could say "hasn't worked, still hate it here, I'm off again".  You could pay the flights as his annual travel allowance.  Worth a look, anyway, to see if it is doable and financially worthwhile.

The other thing that occurs to me is: he is an educated man with laptop in foreign climes: can he earn money that way?  Start and monetise a blog?  Do on-line piece work?

11ducks

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 575
  • Location: Duckville, Australia
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #22 on: March 19, 2016, 06:08:30 AM »

Another option: you move to him.  Could you move to Asia or some other place with a low cost of living to make supporting him easier and cheaper?  Could you earn a similar salary someplace else that wouldn't require such an expensive parental visa, and has a warmer climate?  Would you WANT to, or is there a non-job reason why you'd want to stay in Australia?

There are a million non-job reasons to stay in Australia! I cant think of a reason to leave (Aussie boast coming). Beautiful climate, coastal cities, laid-back lifestyles, mega biodiversity, high safety and liveability and employment, gun control, no tigers. Koalas! Best surfing in the world. I live midway between the beach and the mountains (20mins each way), an hour out of a capital city. The poisonous snakes and spiders and sharks only ever attack tourists, really.  'Straya is sweet mate. :)

Yeah, but what about the drop bears? :)

As the story goes, drop bears don't bother the locals, because we know their names. Tourists however... Last thing they'll hear is a rustlin' in the trees before the drop bears fall from the trees and gnaw off their faces. I hear covering yourself in human urine before a bushwalk is the only way tourists can keep safe from the dropbears....

Now, if they survive the dropbears, they only need to watch out for the megacrocs and the hoop snakes.....

olderone

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #23 on: March 19, 2016, 12:48:58 PM »
I like option 1 but with a budget.  $500 or $1,000/month then just set it up to auto-transfer and forget it. 

I wouldn't even discuss option 3 with him because it isn't something you want to do.

What is the problem with the mortgage?  Anything you can do there?  You make a good income and if you had a renter on top of that, it seems you should have been able to save a decent amount in spite of sending off $17000 to your dad.

Kitties are the best

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 50
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #24 on: March 21, 2016, 01:16:52 AM »
So, three days after sending the email to my dad I get a reply.

He completely ignores the questions about his future plans and doesn't acknowledge the fact that I said would like to budget his expenses better and can he tell me how much he needs on an ongoing basis.

Instead he says that he's been doing lots of research on flights back to the UK and here is the best one he has found (flight numbers) and please could I book it asap as it leaves in a few days time.

I'll be honest - I found this email annoying. I feel blown off. And a bit annoyed that I haven't had a non-family overseas holiday in a few years but I'm buying an overseas ticket.

The fact that he doesn't want to engage in this conversation is dispiriting and it makes more more keen on a defacto solution like "I can send you $1,000 a month but that's it so if you need more you have to find it elsewhere".

Realistically though, if I do this and he needs a flight or medical treatment and asks me I don't think I will be able to say no. Which leaves me with the same situation I'm already in.

Kitties are the best

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 50
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #25 on: March 21, 2016, 01:26:31 AM »
Formerplayer - no inflationary increases unfortunately.

Olderone - I do save and my networth is growing. It's just really slow. I've worked out that I have 19 years to FIRE. I've cut all the easy things and am facing up to the 17,000 AUD elephant in my finances.

I'll be honest - part the problem is perception. I'm working 60 hour weeks in a job that I don't hate but certainly has it's moments. Life feels pretty tight on the budget that I've set for myself. And I'm seeing a substantial slice of income that could be pure savings, go straight out of the door.

 I could turn this perception round and say "I'm earning above average income, I'm paying off my own home, still managing to save 30-40% of my income AND send my dad a chunk of change every month to keep him out of the poor house." - Isn't life grand?

I think a few messages ago, I said I don't feel resentful. I think I was kidding myself - I do feel resentful and I also feel bad about feeling resentful.



Kitties are the best

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 50
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #26 on: March 21, 2016, 01:31:54 AM »

There are a million non-job reasons to stay in Australia! I cant think of a reason to leave (Aussie boast coming). Beautiful climate, coastal cities, laid-back lifestyles, mega biodiversity, high safety and liveability and employment, gun control, no tigers. Koalas! Best surfing in the world. I live midway between the beach and the mountains (20mins each way), an hour out of a capital city. The poisonous snakes and spiders and sharks only ever attack tourists, really.  'Straya is sweet mate. :)

Couldn't agree more mate.

I did my citizenship test last week -20 out of 20 btw :) - and I CANNOT wait to attend the ceremony and swear a pledge to this country. I absolutely love living here!

shelivesthedream

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5826
  • Location: London, UK
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #27 on: March 21, 2016, 03:19:28 AM »
If he does want to stay in Asia and you want to stabilise your finances, what about buying him a house outright in Asia to live in and saying that is your contribution? Pick a city with the cheapest flights! He gets a house and a stable living situation, you sell the house when he dies or becomes too ill to live there and hopefully get the purchase price back. I don't know how the numbers add up, but it could be a load off both your minds.

Ozlady

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1323
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #28 on: March 21, 2016, 04:09:07 AM »
1) Google "Malaysia My Second Home Programe"-lots of Poms retiring to Penang for example for the weather and low low cost of living..i am exploring it myself..

2) Have a look at this website :britishexpats.com forum and maybe post your dilemma there....choices of different countries and opinions.

3) My back neighbour is also an only son who migrated to Oz as he married an AUssie girl...his parents followed him from the UK a few years ago...their UK pension followed them from the UK...they could not afford Sydney but settled in the Central Coast still within driving distance to their son and daughter in law though....

4) don't underestimate bonding needed between your (future) kids and their grandfather...something i live to regret myself:(( 

Good Luck and i do think you are a lovely chap!

former player

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5796
  • Location: Avalon
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #29 on: March 21, 2016, 05:11:13 AM »
Your 17000 AUD seems to be about £9,000?  Plus his pension of £2,500.  If you go to this site - http://www.entitledto.co.uk/ - you can work out what your father would be entitled to if he returned to live in the UK.  I put in some sample figures and came up with nearly £10,000 per annum - pension, pension credit, housing benefit, council tax benefit, etc. (pensioners are doing pretty well in the UK at the moment).    It would be a basic existence but safe, secure and with health treatment available.  So your father can go back to the UK and be funded by the State at the same level he is currently getting from you.  If you still sent half your current contribution on top of that he would be sitting pretty.

Which also makes me think, given the lower cost of living, your father is currently living the life of Riley on what you are sending him.

Given that your father effectively retired at 50, I think you should be looking after yourself first to the extent that you could also retire by 50 at the latest.

SwordGuy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7252
  • Location: Fayetteville, NC
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #30 on: March 21, 2016, 05:51:29 AM »
So, three days after sending the email to my dad I get a reply.

He completely ignores the questions about his future plans and doesn't acknowledge the fact that I said would like to budget his expenses better and can he tell me how much he needs on an ongoing basis.

Instead he says that he's been doing lots of research on flights back to the UK and here is the best one he has found (flight numbers) and please could I book it asap as it leaves in a few days time.

I'll be honest - I found this email annoying. I feel blown off. And a bit annoyed that I haven't had a non-family overseas holiday in a few years but I'm buying an overseas ticket.

The fact that he doesn't want to engage in this conversation is dispiriting and it makes more more keen on a defacto solution like "I can send you $1,000 a month but that's it so if you need more you have to find it elsewhere".

Realistically though, if I do this and he needs a flight or medical treatment and asks me I don't think I will be able to say no. Which leaves me with the same situation I'm already in.

No.  I will not book it until I have satisfactory answers to my questions.

norabird

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8113
  • Location: Brooklyn NY
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #31 on: March 21, 2016, 08:08:53 AM »
I think Sword Guy has a good answer. Why the UK trip? You need to make sure he knows that you're serious and not just an ATM.

I'm fortunate in that my parents have good retirement funds, so the money flows the other way. And they are very generous. But I never ask for them to pay for x and I would always have been happy to account for my spending/choices. Part of why (I hope) the money hasn't been an issue in the relationship is that I don't expect it or feel entitled to it. I know he took care of you, but he still needs to be reasonable and respectful in his expectations now.

Josiecat

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 309
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #32 on: March 21, 2016, 08:37:59 AM »
I don't like this development at all.  Your money, your rules.  He thinks he can just do whatever he wants and you'll finance it.  Nope.

I think you need to decide a number that you feel comfortable with.  $1,000 is a lot.  Communicate that number to him.  If he doesn't like it... tough.  He can get a job. 

He is taking advantage of you.  You're not a bank.


MayDay

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4445
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #33 on: March 21, 2016, 09:27:32 AM »
Please tell us you didn't book the flight.

Mr. Green

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2474
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Wilmington, NC
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #34 on: March 21, 2016, 10:31:05 AM »
So, three days after sending the email to my dad I get a reply.

He completely ignores the questions about his future plans and doesn't acknowledge the fact that I said would like to budget his expenses better and can he tell me how much he needs on an ongoing basis.

Instead he says that he's been doing lots of research on flights back to the UK and here is the best one he has found (flight numbers) and please could I book it asap as it leaves in a few days time.

I'll be honest - I found this email annoying. I feel blown off. And a bit annoyed that I haven't had a non-family overseas holiday in a few years but I'm buying an overseas ticket.

The fact that he doesn't want to engage in this conversation is dispiriting and it makes more more keen on a defacto solution like "I can send you $1,000 a month but that's it so if you need more you have to find it elsewhere".

Realistically though, if I do this and he needs a flight or medical treatment and asks me I don't think I will be able to say no. Which leaves me with the same situation I'm already in.
This is really tough. There have been numerous times that I have questioned whether my father was taking advantage of the fact that I've been helping him out, despite his claim to the contrary. As someone who has been diligent with my money, I expected him to be as careful with my money as I was. However, you would never give him a bunch of money and expect good things from that; he's been terrible with money his whole life. For a long time that was a source of frustration for me until I realized that he isn't me, so expecting him to act like me isn't going to yield positive emotions or results.

Sometimes, I was also frustrated by the fact that it felt like he got comfortable with the situation, and not necessarily respecting the fact that someone was helping as much as we were. I was never willing to ask him straight up because I thought I might hurt his feelings. I had to remember that it took a certain amount of pride swallowing for him to take that kind of money from us on a regular basis and not feel like crap about it. I didn't want to pile on by sounding resentful of a decision that was mine to make, especially when my misgivings were only ever doubts in the back of my mind.

People also tend to get comfortable with situations in general. You've been helping your father much longer than I helped mine. I could see where he'd get comfortable with the way things are. I think most people would; it would become normal to them. That doesn't mean he necessarily expects them to continue. However, you should still have that conversation whether he wants to or not. Perhaps he wasn't ready to respond to your questions yet (because it'll be hard) but the flight offered the opportunity to cost you the least amount of money, so he's jumping on it because he thinks he's helping keep expenses down. I wouldn't make any assumptions, but still make sure that conversation happens.

Axecleaver

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3343
  • Location: New York
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #35 on: March 21, 2016, 11:05:00 AM »
Quote
I think a few messages ago, I said I don't feel resentful. I think I was kidding myself - I do feel resentful and I also feel bad about feeling resentful.
Been there! This is the part you need to come to terms with. Both Mrs Axe and I have parents in need who make suboptimal choices. We get 3-4 "emergency" requests a year from them. Like you, I find it impossible to give enough to stop feeling guilty, but not so much that I feel foolish for being taken advantage of.

The policy that helped us navigate this the best was from another Mustachian here, "Never help someone more than they're willing to help themselves." It's still not perfect, because your Dad will continue to make choices you wouldn't, that put him in a position where he needs your help. And that's going to generate more resentment.

Sibley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4582
  • Location: Northwest Indiana
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #36 on: March 21, 2016, 11:13:41 AM »
OP, first, I love your screen name. Kitties are the best!

You may find some of Captain Awkward's blog to be helpful, specifically about how to set and reset boundaries. I think that's a lot of what you're trying to do here, and the fact that it's your father is just pulling emotions into it. Captain Awkward has a talent for stating the obvious and suggesting solutions.

Also, if your father, though older, is still healthy, then as long as you're sending money you're enabling his retirement. I'm not making a value judgement here, just stating a fact.

Go read Captain Awkward, and pet the kitties I'm sure you have!

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6655
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #37 on: March 21, 2016, 02:19:33 PM »
You would be very foolish to send him any more $ period. You should stop so he can make adult decisions because guess what?  He is an adult. He can make his own choices and then figure out how to pay for them without mooching off of others.  I don't blame you for being resentful. But no one takes advantage of you without your permission.

Kitties are the best

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 50
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #38 on: March 23, 2016, 04:26:05 AM »
Your 17000 AUD seems to be about £9,000?  Plus his pension of £2,500.  If you go to this site - http://www.entitledto.co.uk/ - you can work out what your father would be entitled to if he returned to live in the UK.  .

Former player - this is a really useful site. Thank you for your reply - I will be sending him this link along with other info I've been gathering. Appreciate it.

lemanfan

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 966
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #39 on: March 23, 2016, 04:36:01 AM »
Former player - this is a really useful site. Thank you for your reply - I will be sending him this link along with other info I've been gathering. Appreciate it.

Do you talk on the phone? It's harder to dodge a question over the phone.

happy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6574
  • Location: NSW Australia
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #40 on: March 23, 2016, 05:31:08 AM »
Kitties are the best, your story nearly bought a tear to my eye… its good to see families sticking together.  As others have said though, generally children are not tasked with financially looking after their elderly parents  in Western countries, and usually not until the said parent is too old to care for themselves.

2 thoughts:

1. Have you tried travel hacking miles etc to reduce the travel cost? Its not nearly so lucrative Down under as the US, but it might help the cost of visiting. After all you need to see your Dad.

2. Secondly when I add up 17k AUD and another 2.5k pounds sterling: thats about 21-22k AUD. Thats the equivalent of the Aussie old age pension for a single person. I know some of it is airfares, but still, in Asia he is probably living a pretty good standard of living that would not be replicated in UK/Australia on OAP.   He should be able to live on quite a lot less. Have you tried to sus out his standard of living? Can you do some research on what it costs to live where he is? e.g. travel blogs etc. Maybe you can come up with a figure in your own mind that would give him a basic standard of living…certainly no better than your own.  And break it to him gently that you are going to reduce funding at some future point that you have determined. 

Kitties are the best

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 50
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #41 on: March 23, 2016, 05:49:15 AM »
Thanks everyone for your replies. No one aside from my mother knows the backstory to all of this, so it's a really good experience sharing it with impartial 3rd parties.

I appreciate the time people took to help a stranger.

An update for you - I booked his flight back to the UK today. I also phoned him and raised the topics in my email that he didn't reply to. He told me he is planning on looking into moving back to the UK and claiming the full pension, which he is entitled to, once he is resident. The disadvantage for him is that he can't leave the country for more than 3 months of the year. We didn't discuss this in length but it is clear that he is looking into his options. This is a good thing.

I also re-did my monthly budget and figured out a sum that I feel comfortable sending over monthly. It is less than $17,000AUD but still a decent percentage. I will have a further conversation with him to let him know this is available with no strings but it is fixed sum that won't increase. The reality is I will of course help him further if he has a health emergency or an accident but hopefully this will allow expectations to be set on both sides.

I am also gathering information for him to help him figure out what he is entitled too. I also touched base with his brother, who he will be staying with.  For me this is the start of a longer process.

Your replies have helped me firm up a few realizations:

- He needs an advocate to help him navigate his choices. I need to encourage and support him in deciding how he wants to live as he can be very head in sand about things
- Once I've budgeted how much I can send him, this needs to be set-and-forget. I absolutely have to kill the resentment as I've always known there is no way I would ever cut him off. Therefore, resentment is going to hurt our relationship and hurt me.
- I need to focus on what I have, which is bountiful, and not what I don't have. I've had a bit of angst recently stemming from comparing various situations and positions, which is useless, because they're not mine.

Thanks all. I probably won't update this again but wanted to say that I found responses very useful.

11ducks

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 575
  • Location: Duckville, Australia
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #42 on: March 23, 2016, 06:27:28 AM »
Im glad you have some direction for your situation. Ps- congrats on the citizenship!!!

mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3289
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #43 on: March 23, 2016, 07:33:26 PM »
Quote
The disadvantage for him is that he can't leave the country for more than 3 months of the year.

 I would think of it as a lovely 3 month vacation each year to somewhere warm, which he can fund with his pension.

Josiecat

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 309
Re: What can I do about my financially dependent father?
« Reply #44 on: March 24, 2016, 05:47:57 PM »
It sure would be a shame if he earned his pension by working all these years and then didn't collect it.  Yes, three months vacation is a great way to look at it.