Author Topic: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her  (Read 2274 times)

mrs sideways

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Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« on: January 08, 2021, 12:17:02 PM »
Background: We're a FatFIRE couple (husband works strictly because he wants to) with a pretty big stash, mostly thanks to lucky stock purchases. Husband's parents are financially set (pension), my dad is set (inheritance), but my mother...

She bought her house late in life, and despite trying to pay it down ahead of schedule, she still owes $350k on what is maybe a $425k house. (Home prices have been stagnant in her area since she bought.) She's always been... sorta okay with money. Not wasteful, but not exactly careful or frugal either. She makes a decent amount at her current job, but she doesn't like it, and it's starting to physically wear on her (she's over 70) especially once she got osteoporosis. Then she caught Covid at work. Her boss thought Covid was a hoax, he didn't take precautions seriously, he let a driver come to work who was visibly sick, and now the majority of her office has tested positive. She's on the mend, thankfully, but she didn't like her job BEFORE her boss wantonly endangered her life.

Which brings me to the titular plan. Husband and I are thinking of buying her house and renting it back to her at the price of property taxes, which would allow her to retire. Her other options would be to either keep working, or sell the house and either buy a mobile home locally or a regular house several hours away where property is cheaper. She's collecting social security, which would be enough to cover all maintenance, utilities, daily expenses, and our break-even rent.

Why we're considering this: It will let her retire from her current job. It would keep the only local grandparent near her only grandkids. It would keep her nearby me, for all that inevitable work kids have to do for their parents when they get older. It would keep a cheap roof over her head later, in case she ever has serious medical expenses that would have forced her to liquidate her assets and lose the house anyway. She would have time to settle her mother's estate (a house and everything in it has to be sold to cover debts, and likely nothing will be left). She could always take a part-time job to earn additional money, something she's done before.

What isn't great, but we're fine with: We could buy her house with cash, which means that while we wouldn't be paying interest on a mortgage, there's an opportunity cost we're paying since money is tied up in a house. Since we're not charging a "market rate" on rent, this would be, for financial and tax purposes, a second home rather than a rental, which means we couldn't deduct any expenses or maintenance, and we'd have to ask her to cover that so we're not actively losing money on this. The house itself is in okay shape but would probably require some retrofitting at some point in the future to fix up the foundation.

What we're afraid of: Worst-case scenario, this is just the first step in supporting her financially and we'll be on the hook for more later. I'm worried that as she ages, her mind and personality will slip, and she'll either start spending more money than she should, or see us a cash register to solve her problems. I'm worried that any contract or document that we draw up, stipulating that she has to cover maintenance and utilities, will be dishonored or discarded later because it's "family". While we can afford this deal going bad, I'm going to feel wretched if MY mom ends up causing my husband problems.

So, am I missing anything to consider? As far as I can tell, this could go great, solving her problems at a manageable cost to us, or it could blow up in our faces. Any thoughts or advice?

Duke03

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2021, 12:28:23 PM »
Gee that's a tough spot.  I understand wanting to help your mom out, but if I was you I'd go into this deal knowing whole heartedly that you will not break even on rent.  This house will end up costing you money maybe alot.... How much depends on how many years your mom will be able to live in this home without any assistance that comes with aging ect.

Alternatepriorities

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2021, 12:57:38 PM »
I've lived a riskier version of this already.

I'd do it again in the same position because it was the right thing to do, but if you do this go into it with your eyes wide open. From your description it sounds like if your mother totally dropped the ball and you were on the hook for the taxes and maintaining the house you'd be okay even if it's far from ideal. That was the position I was in when my bother and I bought our mothers house out of foreclosure before the bank evicted her. (I'm thankful her mortgage was with a small town bank). We knew buying it that she was in foreclosure due to her own choices and unlikely to pay us rent, but we thought it was the right thing to do so we did it. She died of alcoholism ~18 months later. But we went into it prepared for 10 years or more. It was worth it to ensure she and more importantly our teenage sisters were not left homeless.

It sounds like your mother and your relationship with her are in a much better place and your financial risk is probably lower than mine was a the time. Assuming i understand that all correctly, I'd do it again in that position. Maybe we will someday with my MIL...

Frankies Girl

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2021, 01:04:40 PM »
I have never understood the siren song of home ownership when you're not handy or rich enough to pay someone to fix things yourself.

First thing tho: Has she asked you to do any of this? Because if she hasn't invited you to handle her finances/life/living arrangements, you're welcome to ask her if she's okay and needs help (discuss options) but you may be overstepping here and should likely rein things in a bit.


But in any case, I would not do this.

You buying the property is not going to solve anything. You stepping in to parent your parent isn't going to sit well, you mom likely will not appreciate the gesture and you're obviously already expecting the possibility that she'll "slip/see you as a cash register." And then there is the whole poor use of your money tied up in a property that you will own but not feel 100% able to do with as you please since it would be HER house.

And at worst, I would rather add a line item to my own budget - 1K a month for example - to help with expenses, rather than outright buy the property. As long as your mom's house is HERS, she is the one paying for the taxes/upkeep/liability, and in the event (hopefully long in the future) that she passes and the house becomes yours (you don't mention siblings so assume you inherit) the house gets stepped up cost which is WAY better for you financially.

Your thought of having an actual contract isn't worth the paper it would be printed on unless you plan to enforce it, so why bother going through the show of writing one up? Are you prepared to foreclose on your mom or throw her out if she refuses to honor it?

What I would do - if you are concerned or she has expressed interest in you helping her figure out options - is sit down with her look over budget, incoming $ and SocSec and all that stuff and see what realistic options she has that mean she can quit now and either stay in her current home, or downsize and support herself on her Social Security and whatever she has left over from a house sale. Or could she find a friend or roommate that could live WITH her in the current house that could help with expenses so she could easily afford to stay where she is. Would make sure to include as an option that you've examined the available housing and aid in the area (especially anything available for seniors) and check about moving to a small house rental or condo/apartment where all maintenance is someone else's problem and no more worrying over mortgage payments.

Help her to help herself and allow her to maintain her independence with what resources she has available.


« Last Edit: January 08, 2021, 01:10:55 PM by Frankies Girl »

uniwelder

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2021, 01:19:09 PM »
This doesn't help alleviating concerns about your mom's future finances, but something that might be able to happen (someone please doublecheck me) is to charge her full rent and gift back whatever portion you feel inclined to get her monthly payment to whatever you originally thought she could handle.  This would allow you to buy the house as an investment property, she signs the lease as a tenant, then you get the business expenses and deprecation on the house.

Dicey

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2021, 01:25:48 PM »
I was going to reply with something like what @uniwelder just wrote, but per usual, @Frankies Girl hits the nail on the head.  Maybe some kind of hybrid that protects your ability to inherit the house with minimal tax consequences. Again, assuming you're an only child.

renata ricotta

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2021, 01:35:56 PM »
I like JLCollins's article on this topic:

https://jlcollinsnh.com/2014/02/20/case-study-10-should-josiah-buy-his-parents-a-house/

He tells the story of doing something really similar with his mom, and failed to appreciate the psychological effect:

Quote
Now here’s where the psychology gets really interesting. My mother was a smart woman. She understood intellectually that I was supporting her to the tune of hundreds of dollars each month, thousands each year. But she never saw that money. What she saw, and felt emotionally, was the $300 check she wrote and mailed to me each month. Wrote and mailed to (cue me twirling one end of my imaginary handlebar mustache) her landlord.

He ended up wishing he had just given her that support in cash and letting her pay her rent/mortgage with it. Less house hassle, plus then it's easier for her to emotionally feel the windfall of support was getting (and his siblings as well).

mrs sideways

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2021, 02:07:29 PM »
Wow, after lurking in this forum and watching Frankies Girl give out so much good advice over the years, it's weird being on the receiving end of it.

First thing tho: Has she asked you to do any of this? Because if she hasn't invited you to handle her finances/life/living arrangements, you're welcome to ask her if she's okay and needs help (discuss options) but you may be overstepping here and should likely rein things in a bit.

That's a good point! She hasn't asked. To be honest, I'd be more hesitant to do the deal if she had, because it meant she was already seeing us as a financial fix.

You stepping in to parent your parent isn't going to sit well.

I mean, we ALL end up parenting our parents eventually, right? If they live long enough, their minds falter and inevitably they get to the point where they can't even handle paying their bills any more because it's too confusing. At least, that's how all my relatives have gone.

Your thought of having an actual contract isn't worth the paper it would be printed on unless you plan to enforce it, so why bother going through the show of writing one up? Are you prepared to foreclose on your mom or throw her out if she refuses to honor it?

Another good point. Woof.

What I would do - if you are concerned or she has expressed interest in you helping her figure out options - is sit down with her look over budget, incoming $ and SocSec and all that stuff and see what realistic options she has that mean she can quit now and either stay in her current home, or downsize and support herself on her Social Security and whatever she has left over from a house sale. Or could she find a friend or roommate that could live WITH her in the current house that could help with expenses so she could easily afford to stay where she is. Would make sure to include as an option that you've examined the available housing and aid in the area (especially anything available for seniors) and check about moving to a small house rental or condo/apartment where all maintenance is someone else's problem and no more worrying over mortgage payments.

(Deep breath.) Okay, yeah. I think you're right, her moving into a smaller place (or sharing a place, maybe with her equally-old cousin) would be a good solution. Unfortunately, that will mean getting rid of (or storing) all the stuff she loves so dearly - the family heirlooms, tons of paintings, piles of books, family furniture, etc. Downsizing and/or moving is a good solution for her, but she'd take it as a defeat, I think. I don't think she'd see giving up everything--the space, her stuff, and the home she's put so much work into--as a necessary step to preserve her financial future. I think she'd be permanently distraught over everything she lost in the process.

So now I have to ask myself... am I considering all this, and risking all this, just to spare her that distress and keep her near the grandkids? Am I pondering this deal just so I'm not the one who has to tell her that she HAS to make some hard choices and give up on some dreams she can't really afford?

I was going to reply with something like what @uniwelder just wrote, but per usual, @Frankies Girl hits the nail on the head.  Maybe some kind of hybrid that protects your ability to inherit the house with minimal tax consequences. Again, assuming you're an only child.

I'm not. I have one brother in the mix, but we figure neither one of us will EVER inherit the house because, unless she keels over from a heart attack, she WILL need assisted living, and at that point the house will have to be sold and her assets drained down to pay for it until welfare steps in.


I like JLCollins's article on this topic:

https://jlcollinsnh.com/2014/02/20/case-study-10-should-josiah-buy-his-parents-a-house/

He tells the story of doing something really similar with his mom, and failed to appreciate the psychological effect:

Quote
Now here’s where the psychology gets really interesting. My mother was a smart woman. She understood intellectually that I was supporting her to the tune of hundreds of dollars each month, thousands each year. But she never saw that money. What she saw, and felt emotionally, was the $300 check she wrote and mailed to me each month. Wrote and mailed to (cue me twirling one end of my imaginary handlebar mustache) her landlord.

He ended up wishing he had just given her that support in cash and letting her pay her rent/mortgage with it. Less house hassle, plus then it's easier for her to emotionally feel the windfall of support was getting (and his siblings as well).

I actually read that post when I was looking this up! Again, the "give them money and plan on inheriting the house" will get blown out of the water if she ever goes into assisted living or needs any kind of welfare, which will be likely. Then the house is sold and any stake we have in it goes up in smoke.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2021, 02:24:27 PM by mrs sideways »

Paul der Krake

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2021, 02:28:02 PM »
What I would do - if you are concerned or she has expressed interest in you helping her figure out options - is sit down with her look over budget, incoming $ and SocSec and all that stuff and see what realistic options she has that mean she can quit now and either stay in her current home, or downsize and support herself on her Social Security and whatever she has left over from a house sale. Or could she find a friend or roommate that could live WITH her in the current house that could help with expenses so she could easily afford to stay where she is. Would make sure to include as an option that you've examined the available housing and aid in the area (especially anything available for seniors) and check about moving to a small house rental or condo/apartment where all maintenance is someone else's problem and no more worrying over mortgage payments.

(Deep breath.) Okay, yeah. I think you're right, her moving into a smaller place (or sharing a place, maybe with her equally-old cousin) would be a good solution. Unfortunately, that will mean getting rid of (or storing) all the stuff she loves so dearly - the family heirlooms, tons of paintings, piles of books, family furniture, etc. Downsizing and/or moving is a good solution for her, but she'd take it as a defeat, I think. I don't think she'd see giving up everything--the space, her stuff, and the home she's put so much work into--as a necessary step to preserve her financial future. I think she'd be permanently distraught over everything she lost in the process.
I mean, your mother is:
- in her 70s with a negligible net worth (unless there is more money elsewhere, maybe in an IRA?)
- holding on to a job she soon won't be able to do anyway

...that is a defeat. Deep down, she must know it's not going to get better, right? The sooner she comes to terms with this, the better.

BTW, One can store a lot of stuff in a well organized apartment.

mrs sideways

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2021, 02:28:18 PM »
I've lived a riskier version of this already.

I'd do it again in the same position because it was the right thing to do, but if you do this go into it with your eyes wide open. From your description it sounds like if your mother totally dropped the ball and you were on the hook for the taxes and maintaining the house you'd be okay even if it's far from ideal. That was the position I was in when my bother and I bought our mothers house out of foreclosure before the bank evicted her. (I'm thankful her mortgage was with a small town bank). We knew buying it that she was in foreclosure due to her own choices and unlikely to pay us rent, but we thought it was the right thing to do so we did it. She died of alcoholism ~18 months later. But we went into it prepared for 10 years or more. It was worth it to ensure she and more importantly our teenage sisters were not left homeless.

It sounds like your mother and your relationship with her are in a much better place and your financial risk is probably lower than mine was a the time. Assuming i understand that all correctly, I'd do it again in that position. Maybe we will someday with my MIL...

Thanks for your perspective. It sounds like you had a lot of sound reasons for making the move and you were fully prepared for any outcome.

mrs sideways

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2021, 02:37:12 PM »
I mean, your mother is:
- in her 70s with a negligible net worth (unless there is more money elsewhere, maybe in an IRA?)
- holding on to a job she soon won't be able to do anyway

...that is a defeat. Deep down, she must know it's not going to get better, right?

I'm... not sure she does.

Thank you everyone for the replies. I've got even more to consider than I thought.

Edit: Okay, so I've realized that a big motivating factor for me here is guilt. Like, the economic version of survivor's guilt. I'm fine, my mother isn't, and I feel, well... BAD about it. I'm going to be thinking hard about this all weekend. Thanks again, everyone.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2021, 03:14:30 PM by mrs sideways »

MayDay

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2021, 03:25:56 PM »
I would try to reframe not as: it isn't failure or defeat to spend your retirement years in an apartment. She's one person.... A house is just silly and wasteful! She's at the downsizing time of life and that has nothing to do with success or failure.

Keeping a 70 year old in a house she can't afford seems the definition of insanity. Help her, sure. But unless she is independently wealthy enough to hire all the help she would need to stay in a single family home, help her with an apartment that she can actually manage.

mrs sideways

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2021, 10:40:25 AM »
Posting an update, because who among us doesn't like a family drama thread?

TL;DR: my mother is moving from a bad situation to a risky one because it's her new dream. My husband and I did not help her out financially.

So, my mom admitted that she had to sell her home and buy something cheaper somewhere else in order to retire. What really worked out in her favor is that the advent of remote work and "partially remote" offices means that more Bay Area workers are eyeing houses two or even three hours away from work because, sure, they might have to make that crappy commute *some* days, but not *every* day. Her town, like many locations, saw a spike in prices as it became clear remote work and partial remote work isn't going away any time soon, so her $450k house is worth more like $650k now.

That's great, right? Problem solved, right? Wellll...

1) She fell in love with a particular area to move to, and then every other place was a horrible downgrade from her dream town. This area is *cheaper* but not cheap.

2) Despite the fact that she lives alone, she refuses to get a smaller house. She wants a room for painting (her hobby), she wants a workout area, and she *definitely* wants all her friends and family to visit and stay with her, so she NEEDS a guest room, maybe 2. Also, as previously mentioned, she owns a ton of family heirlooms; one time, when I asked if she'd ever considered a 2-bedroom or even a 1-bedroom home, she looked at me and asked if she should throw them all out. (This, incidentally, marked the last day I suggested anything.)

3) Finally, she fell in love with a particular 3-bedroom house, which is in the same development where she wanted to pay for a NEW house.

The bottom line is that my mom decided that she would be happy in retirement if she had a "nice" house in this particular area, and once she decided that, every suggestion my brother and I made was tantamount to making her give up on her dreams. "Hey", you might say, "how about you and your brother butt out of her life?" Well, we would, except that she doesn't have the money. Her actual words to me, as she was looking at this new house, were:

"This house is perfect in every way, except that I can't afford it".

She put in an offer anyway.

When the dust settles from selling her old house and buying this new one, she'll have gone from owing $350k on a mortgage to owing $150k. Social Security will cover regular expenses and taxes, Medicare will cover heath costs, but the loan will force her to either have a part-time job or find some kind of renter/roommate. She's likely to inherit some money in the next 5 years, which will pay off that loan, but even then, she has absolutely no cushion or emergency fund.

Thanks for the advice everyone. You guys helped us put the brakes on our idea. My head and heart hurt over this, but I am REALLY glad we didn't throw money at this situation. My mom has decided what her "dream" is, and she won't compromise on it. This could end really badly for her, and we may very well have to bail her out then, but if we had bought her place and let her stay her stay there for cheap, she wouldn't have been happy, and she might be making the exact same move right now.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2021, 09:52:09 AM by mrs sideways »

PMJL34

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2021, 12:01:33 PM »
Thanks for the update. Life has a funny way of working itself out. With that said....

lol I still don't understand the white people/america way (i'm 50% white). For all the other posters who are cautioning/advising OP to NOT help her own MOTHER. Regardless of everything, this mother gave you birth and raised you. I don't even get along with my mother and she was a flat out bad mother, but guess what, she's still my MOTHER. If I'm fucking FATFire and my 70+ year old mother is fucking working a shitty/dead end job and struggling to make ends meet, why not help? What's the point of being FATfire if you aren't going to better the people's lives you love? It even sounds like you and your mother get along. Yeah, she's not financially savvy at all and is stubborn (as most are), but she's not actively hurting you or even asking for money despite being in a shitty position.

OP, have you considered just paying off her 150K mortgage balance? This would allow your mother to live the last few years of her precious life with some level of comfort as opposed to working a shitty job and waiting another 5 years for potential inheritance. THIS IS YOUR MOTHER. Sorry for the rant.

Best of luck!

EDIT: OR at least to offer to pay her monthly mortgage payments if you prefer to keep your money invested. And OP, you seem very thoughtful and conflicted, my response was not aimed at your particular situation as I know nothing about you. It was just a blanket statement I wanted to rant about regarding caring for aging parents. I do truly wish you and your mother the best.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2021, 12:22:39 PM by PMJL34 »

Malcat

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2021, 12:25:54 PM »
Thanks for the update. Life has a funny way of working itself out. With that said....

lol I still don't understand the white people/amurica way (i'm 50% white). For all the other posters who are cautioning/advising OP to NOT help her own MOTHER. Regardless of everything, this mother gave you birth and raised you. I don't even get along with my mother and she was a flat out bad mother, but guess what, she's still my MOTHER. If I'm fucking FATFire and my 70+ year old mother is fucking working a shitty/dead end job and struggling to make ends meet, why not help? What's the point of being FATfire if you aren't going to better the people's lives you love? It even sounds like you and your mother get along. Yeah, she's not financially savvy at all and is stubborn (as most are), but she's not actively hurting you or even asking for money despite being in a shitty position.

OP, have you considered just paying off her 150K mortgage balance? This would allow your mother to live the last few years of her precious life with some level of comfort as opposed to working a shitty job and waiting another 5 years for potential inheritance. THIS IS YOUR MOTHER. Sorry for the rant.

Best of luck!

EDIT: OR at least to offer to pay her monthly mortgage payments if you prefer to keep your money invested. And OP, you seem very thoughtful and conflicted, my response was not aimed at your particular situation as I know nothing about you. It was just a blanket statement I wanted to rant about regarding caring for aging parents. I do truly wish you and your mother the best.

I'm so happy for you that your relationship with your mother can be healthy while being able to help her.

I spent my entire life assuming I would financially support my mother, until I fucking tried to.

Again, I'm happy it's simple for you.

mrs sideways

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2021, 02:17:09 PM »

lol I still don't understand the white people/america way (i'm 50% white). For all the other posters who are cautioning/advising OP to NOT help her own MOTHER. Regardless of everything, this mother gave you birth and raised you. I don't even get along with my mother and she was a flat out bad mother, but guess what, she's still my MOTHER. If I'm fucking FATFire and my 70+ year old mother is fucking working a shitty/dead end job and struggling to make ends meet, why not help? What's the point of being FATfire if you aren't going to better the people's lives you love? It even sounds like you and your mother get along. Yeah, she's not financially savvy at all and is stubborn (as most are), but she's not actively hurting you or even asking for money despite being in a shitty position.

OP, have you considered just paying off her 150K mortgage balance? This would allow your mother to live the last few years of her precious life with some level of comfort as opposed to working a shitty job and waiting another 5 years for potential inheritance. THIS IS YOUR MOTHER. Sorry for the rant.

Best of luck!

EDIT: OR at least to offer to pay her monthly mortgage payments if you prefer to keep your money invested. And OP, you seem very thoughtful and conflicted, my response was not aimed at your particular situation as I know nothing about you. It was just a blanket statement I wanted to rant about regarding caring for aging parents. I do truly wish you and your mother the best.

I understand the view but I don't share it. It's a cultural construct to say that kids owe their parents for the rest of their lives, even if they were bad parents. The American cultural construct is more that you pay your parents back by having a successful life of your own and paying it forward with the next generation. I agree that kids owing their parents nothing is, in truth, a raw deal for the parent, but it's the ONLY fair deal for the child. My kids didn't choose to be born and didn't choose me as a mom, so I believe they don't (and shouldn't) owe me anything beyond becoming functional adults.

Now, as for your specific question, which is valid, there's three things holding me back from paying my mother $150,000. 1) Given that her current situation leaves her precariously on the edge, there's a good chance we're going to have to swoop in and take care of something anyway, so I'm just mentally and emotionally preparing for that. 2) I don't want to give her money to "better her life" when she's not even willing to better her OWN life by making more prudent, affordable choices. 3) I really don't want to start another separate discussion here, but while this is my mom, it's my husband's money. I know I'm legally obligated to half blah blah blah but I probably will never, ever feel like the pile we're FatFIREing on is actually mine. (Edit: this is just my personal hangup)
« Last Edit: September 12, 2021, 03:23:50 PM by mrs sideways »

Malcat

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2021, 02:44:11 PM »

lol I still don't understand the white people/america way (i'm 50% white). For all the other posters who are cautioning/advising OP to NOT help her own MOTHER. Regardless of everything, this mother gave you birth and raised you. I don't even get along with my mother and she was a flat out bad mother, but guess what, she's still my MOTHER. If I'm fucking FATFire and my 70+ year old mother is fucking working a shitty/dead end job and struggling to make ends meet, why not help? What's the point of being FATfire if you aren't going to better the people's lives you love? It even sounds like you and your mother get along. Yeah, she's not financially savvy at all and is stubborn (as most are), but she's not actively hurting you or even asking for money despite being in a shitty position.

OP, have you considered just paying off her 150K mortgage balance? This would allow your mother to live the last few years of her precious life with some level of comfort as opposed to working a shitty job and waiting another 5 years for potential inheritance. THIS IS YOUR MOTHER. Sorry for the rant.

Best of luck!

EDIT: OR at least to offer to pay her monthly mortgage payments if you prefer to keep your money invested. And OP, you seem very thoughtful and conflicted, my response was not aimed at your particular situation as I know nothing about you. It was just a blanket statement I wanted to rant about regarding caring for aging parents. I do truly wish you and your mother the best.

I understand the view but I don't share it. It's a cultural construct to say that kids owe their parents for the rest of their lives, even if they were bad parents. The American cultural construct is more that you pay your parents back by having a successful life of your own and paying it forward with the next generation. I agree that kids owing their parents nothing is, in truth, a raw deal for the parent, but it's the ONLY fair deal for the child. My kids didn't choose to be born and didn't choose me as a mom, so I believe they don't (and shouldn't) owe me anything beyond becoming functional adults.

Now, as for your specific question, which is valid, there's three things holding me back from paying my mother $150,000. 1) Given that her current situation leaves her precariously on the edge, there's a good chance we're going to have to swoop in and take care of something anyway, so I'm just mentally and emotionally preparing for that. 2) I don't want to give her money to "better her life" when she's not even willing to better her OWN life by making more prudent, affordable choices. 3) I really don't want to start another separate discussion here, but while this is my mom, it's my husband's money. I know I'm legally obligated to half blah blah blah but I probably will never, ever feel like the pile we're FatFIREing on is actually mine.

I think you have been very sound in your thinking.

I have a similar mother that I tried to help secure safe, comfortable housing because she was on the verge of losing her own.

I tried to give her my own house while I moved somewhere cheaper and smaller, and it wasn't good enough for her.

So yeah, I get it completely.
Boundaries are a wonderful thing.

I'm sure you will step up and help your mother if/when she truly needs it and truly can't improve her circumstances herself. However, if I can give you some advice, make sure you have an excellent therapist to help you work through it if it ever comes to that.

It's very hard to keep your head on straight when your mother is terrified, and her life is falling apart, and you are trying to help, but she's making it difficult to help. 

You will need expert psychological support.

Also, the pp you've quoted may not understand 'white US" children, but they CERTAINLY don't understand just how poorly "white US" parents can be at receiving help.

When parents are not culturally conditioned to graciously accept help from their children, their pride can make them act literally insane. Where the suck their children dry callously like bank machines while simultaneously being angry at them.

I've seen it many times, it's fucking brutal.

No one taught these people how to ask for and receive help. Especially not from their children.

franklin4

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2021, 03:59:55 PM »

lol I still don't understand the white people/america way (i'm 50% white).


As I understand it nowadays, society isn't supposed to tolerate racist statements. This sentence/comment would have been just as meaningful without delving into race. Also, is it a stereotype of white people or americans to not support their parents?

cchrissyy

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #18 on: September 12, 2021, 05:48:04 PM »
PMJL34,  I agree with the above, although you surely meant well, it is not safe to say to somebody "that's your mother who RAISED YOU and who you LOVE" unless that person has said so.  It is a pretty safe bet but by no means guaranteed and you might be stepping on a very sore spot.

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2021, 08:05:58 PM »
Posting an update, because who among us doesn't like a family drama thread?

TL;DR: my mother is moving from a bad situation to a risky one because it's her new dream. My husband and I did not help her out financially.

 <snip>


I'm glad she's stable for now. I completely understand and sympathize with the parents who insist on buying a place that is not necessarily the wisest choice. I'm not necessarily thrilled that my parents bought a single family home that needed a new kitchen and new driveway to even move in, never mind the countless hours of labor that I have and will be putting in on that house to get it fixed up and then maintain it. Especially since my mother seems determined to be abrasive and oblivious of the impact of her words.

mrs sideways

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #20 on: September 12, 2021, 08:19:51 PM »
Posting an update, because who among us doesn't like a family drama thread?

TL;DR: my mother is moving from a bad situation to a risky one because it's her new dream. My husband and I did not help her out financially.

 <snip>


I'm glad she's stable for now. I completely understand and sympathize with the parents who insist on buying a place that is not necessarily the wisest choice. I'm not necessarily thrilled that my parents bought a single family home that needed a new kitchen and new driveway to even move in, never mind the countless hours of labor that I have and will be putting in on that house to get it fixed up and then maintain it. Especially since my mother seems determined to be abrasive and oblivious of the impact of her words.

And you have my sympathies in return. Good luck.

Overall, I'm glad my mother is making some kind of progress, but if she were just willing to take an older 2-bedroom in a less scenic area she'd be set for life. Well, it IS her life, and although I think I came off as callous in my initial update, I WILL be helping her out with my time or money eventually, because aging parents are like that. It just won't be with a gifted home.

Malcat

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #21 on: September 12, 2021, 08:31:48 PM »
Posting an update, because who among us doesn't like a family drama thread?

TL;DR: my mother is moving from a bad situation to a risky one because it's her new dream. My husband and I did not help her out financially.

 <snip>


I'm glad she's stable for now. I completely understand and sympathize with the parents who insist on buying a place that is not necessarily the wisest choice. I'm not necessarily thrilled that my parents bought a single family home that needed a new kitchen and new driveway to even move in, never mind the countless hours of labor that I have and will be putting in on that house to get it fixed up and then maintain it. Especially since my mother seems determined to be abrasive and oblivious of the impact of her words.

And you have my sympathies in return. Good luck.

Overall, I'm glad my mother is making some kind of progress, but if she were just willing to take an older 2-bedroom in a less scenic area she'd be set for life. Well, it IS her life, and although I think I came off as callous in my initial update, I WILL be helping her out with my time or money eventually, because aging parents are like that. It just won't be with a gifted home.

You did not, and at no point did I get the impression that you wouldn't step up and help your mother if/when she needs it.

Just that you are not going to prematurely get tangled up in trying to control her finances and housing because it's really not your place to do so.

I saw someone who learned the importance of boundaries *before* things got ugly and complicated, which makes you much wiser than the rest of us who had to learn that the hard way.

I'm actually very impressed with you.

I'm a pretty emotionally savvy person, and I fell face first into the trap of trying to help without appropriate boundaries in place because it felt so urgent to do so.

You've done very well, you get a quiet golf clap from me.

mrs sideways

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #22 on: September 12, 2021, 10:55:42 PM »
You've done very well, you get a quiet golf clap from me.

Aww, I think you're giving me too much credit. Everyone here had some good advice for me. Also, it sounds like you got through a WAY rougher situation than I've had to face.

Malcat

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #23 on: September 13, 2021, 05:22:28 AM »
You've done very well, you get a quiet golf clap from me.

Aww, I think you're giving me too much credit. Everyone here had some good advice for me. Also, it sounds like you got through a WAY rougher situation than I've had to face.

Mine was only worse because I got further down the road than you did. And I had great advice along the way too, that I ignored because "it's my mom! I have to help!"

You deserve the credit. Believe me, our situations are very similar, just that my mom's financial situation was worse, and I got to see how someone can go from deeply grateful for help, to childishly entitled. Because childish entitlement was how she ended up in such bad financial shape in the first place.

I somehow became the villain during the year where I lost a lot of money trying to help her. It's still a touchy subject. Lol.

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #24 on: September 13, 2021, 09:01:49 AM »
Thanks for the update. Life has a funny way of working itself out. With that said....

lol I still don't understand the white people/america way (i'm 50% white). For all the other posters who are cautioning/advising OP to NOT help her own MOTHER. Regardless of everything, this mother gave you birth and raised you. I don't even get along with my mother and she was a flat out bad mother, but guess what, she's still my MOTHER. If I'm fucking FATFire and my 70+ year old mother is fucking working a shitty/dead end job and struggling to make ends meet, why not help? What's the point of being FATfire if you aren't going to better the people's lives you love? It even sounds like you and your mother get along. Yeah, she's not financially savvy at all and is stubborn (as most are), but she's not actively hurting you or even asking for money despite being in a shitty position.

OP, have you considered just paying off her 150K mortgage balance? This would allow your mother to live the last few years of her precious life with some level of comfort as opposed to working a shitty job and waiting another 5 years for potential inheritance. THIS IS YOUR MOTHER. Sorry for the rant.

Best of luck!

EDIT: OR at least to offer to pay her monthly mortgage payments if you prefer to keep your money invested. And OP, you seem very thoughtful and conflicted, my response was not aimed at your particular situation as I know nothing about you. It was just a blanket statement I wanted to rant about regarding caring for aging parents. I do truly wish you and your mother the best.


It seems to me that the question wasn't whether to help but rather "would buying her house be a good way to help". 

The responses were then based on that question. 

PMJL34

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #25 on: September 13, 2021, 09:27:10 AM »
Here's what life has taught me:

1. Every single mother loves their child and will always love them no matter what. Every mother wants a beautiful relationship with their child.
2. Every child is born loving their mother and will love their mother no matter what you claim. Child also wants a beautiful relationship with their mother.
3. Humans are imperfect and our own issues with: expectations, mental health, poor decision making, greed, addiction, and everything else can make this parent-child relationship less than ideal. But it doesn't change the facts of #1 & #2.
3. At a certain point in your life, you realize the limitations of your mother. You have to learn to accept them for who they are and all of the baggage they bring. Expecting something else from them or expecting change is unhealthy for you and the relationship.
4. At a certain point in your life, you realize that when someone gets mad, angry, mean, whatever at you....that's their own issue. It has nothing to do with you. Put up healthy boundaries and move on. Life is short and grudges are harmful to yourself.

I could go on and on about attachment theories and parent child bond therapy yada yada as that's my profession. But I won't bore you.

With that said, who cares if your mother is irresponsible with money? Who cares if your mother said something hurtful or if she put her own needs first? Stop being so fucking judgemental. You are in control of your own feelings. If you are still allowing your mother's actions to hurt you, then that's on you. What I do know is that we as the child love our mother and want what's best for her even if she's imperfect/toxic/helpless.

So yes, imo (and absolutely no pressure to the op), I personally would do what I feel is right at this very moment. Which is, I'm FatFire and my 70s mother is struggling financially, therefore, I'd absolutely volunteer help/support/aid.

If she refuses, gets angry, tries to belittle you, buy a boat, use you as an ATM, . Again, who the fuck cares? You know you tried to help and whatever issue of aggression is on the mother. You put your boundaries as mentioned and say, "mother I love you dearly and I know you love me dearly. I won't be giving you anymore money (or you don't have to accept my money, it's here if you change your mind. I still love you! )". End of story.

My larger world view is that we as humans have been trending towards individualism for centuries due to obvious reasons. There's certainly value to being independent, but humans are extremely social and thrive with love and support. If there is someone we can help, offer the fucking help, no strings attached. The rest is irrelevant.

Car Jack

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #26 on: September 13, 2021, 10:23:57 AM »
The most financially practical thing would be for her to sell the house and rent an apartment.  Storing all her stuff.....it's time to let it go. 

In short, she has a choice...keep living in the house and keep working full time.....forever, or sell the house to free up some money and rent a smaller place to vastly reduce her expenses.

I hear the argument that she loves the house and loves the area and loves her stuff, but I'm sorry...she no longer can afford all that and to stop working.  I might love to live in Beverly Hills.  It's not practical and who's going to take care of the CE-ment pond anyways?

Malcat

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #27 on: September 13, 2021, 06:22:42 PM »
Here's what life has taught me:

1. Every single mother loves their child and will always love them no matter what. Every mother wants a beautiful relationship with their child.
2. Every child is born loving their mother and will love their mother no matter what you claim. Child also wants a beautiful relationship with their mother.

This is patently incorrect. If you genuinely believe this, you are very fortunate not to have been exposed to truly hateful mothers.

Also, there's a huge difference between helping someone and enabling their self destructive behaviours.

So no, sometimes it's not a good idea to just give a parent money, especially if you need to save that money for when they get themselves into deeper shit and need more involved care down the line.

I won't be giving my mother thousands of dollars to stay in her 3200 sqft dream home on an acreage that she can't afford and can't take care of. Because I need to save that money for when her MS gets so bad that she needs nursing care and can't afford it, and then we'll both be grateful that I didn't flush my money down the toilet that is her ridiculous, unaffordable house.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #28 on: September 13, 2021, 09:28:38 PM »
Here's what life has taught me:

1. Every single mother loves their child and will always love them no matter what. Every mother wants a beautiful relationship with their child.
2. Every child is born loving their mother and will love their mother no matter what you claim. Child also wants a beautiful relationship with their mother.

This is patently incorrect. If you genuinely believe this, you are very fortunate not to have been exposed to truly hateful mothers.

Also, there's a huge difference between helping someone and enabling their self destructive behaviours.

So no, sometimes it's not a good idea to just give a parent money, especially if you need to save that money for when they get themselves into deeper shit and need more involved care down the line.

I won't be giving my mother thousands of dollars to stay in her 3200 sqft dream home on an acreage that she can't afford and can't take care of. Because I need to save that money for when her MS gets so bad that she needs nursing care and can't afford it, and then we'll both be grateful that I didn't flush my money down the toilet that is her ridiculous, unaffordable house.



THIS plus a million. Thank you for responding to this and calling out the fallacy in stating opinion as facts.


PMJL34

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #29 on: September 14, 2021, 09:49:46 AM »
Just because a mother does not know how to display/handle love does not mean they don't love the child. Love can manifest in all shapes or forms, even in unhealthy/toxic forms. Mother-child bond is evolutionary biology. I'm not condoning unhealthy displays of love, but to think they don't love, is false. Perhaps we have different definitions. 


 

former player

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #30 on: September 14, 2021, 10:37:03 AM »
Just because a mother does not know how to display/handle love does not mean they don't love the child. Love can manifest in all shapes or forms, even in unhealthy/toxic forms. Mother-child bond is evolutionary biology. I'm not condoning unhealthy displays of love, but to think they don't love, is false. Perhaps we have different definitions.
Possibly it always starts out as mutual love (although "evolutionary biology" has been the excuse for bullshit anti-feminist positions for decades so I am suspicious of the phrase) but it is undeniable that it has to be a very twisted definition of love -in fact so twisted it is impossible to recognise - to apply to some mother/child relationships in later life.

Oh, and I bet there's an "evolutionary biology" reason why it's mothers who always have to love their kids rather than fathers, right?

PMJL34

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #31 on: September 14, 2021, 12:27:01 PM »
I apologize to OP as this is getting very off topic.

Former Player, a mother's bond to the child (and child to mother) is shown through not only biological studies, but neurology, ethology, psychology, anthropology, neurocardiology, and more.

And yes, it is different for a male/father. This is not to say that fathers are somehow excused from parenting responsibilities.

I think what's going on is that people have a positive image/definition of "love." Sort of like "adoption" being a happy word when it's not. It is entirely possible, and common, to love someone AND have an unhealthy relationship with that person you love. A mother wants to provide positive love to their child, but sometimes can't due to addiction, mental health, etc. etc. as mentioned previously. Hope this makes more sense.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2021, 12:29:00 PM by PMJL34 »

former player

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #32 on: September 14, 2021, 01:07:06 PM »
I get where you are coming from.  Where I am coming from is that the fields of study you mention are either based in patriarchal bullshit or unable to separate out the effects of patriarchal bullshit in their results - that is, if they even recognise that patriarchal bullshit is a thing.

As to this being off topic, it's a rabbit hole you have taken us down by telling us we are getting our mother/child relationships wrong and our cultural norms about parent/child relationships wrong.  Which is a potentially interesting discussion but missing the context of OP's dilemma and the helpful responses (as acknowledged by OP) given by forumites.

PMJL34

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #33 on: September 14, 2021, 01:51:09 PM »
I hear you and agree with what you said.

I'll also add this (as if I haven't stirred the pot enough already): almost all mother-child conflict is power struggle. Specifically, changes in independence and role reversals. It's hard for both parties, but much harder on the mother. I see a lot of damaged relationships and it's almost always lack of communication (as is the root of all other conflicts). All this to say, love never leaves/left, it just turned ugly in its expression. Yes, relationships are hard, but if people can try to remember this, life is much easier. And yes, sometimes you do need to put strict boundaries and love from afar (people also confuse boundaries with lack of love as well which is false).

Full disclosure, this is coming from someone who believes all people are inherently good and want to do good. So take everything I say with a grain of salt. I am strictly expressing my research and am not an authority on your relationship w your mother.

« Last Edit: September 14, 2021, 01:56:31 PM by PMJL34 »

cchrissyy

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #34 on: September 14, 2021, 02:06:37 PM »
PMJ, please just be careful asserting things that aren't in the OP

For example, one part of your quote i reacted to was
"Regardless of everything, this mother gave you birth and raised you."

but nowhere in the thread did the OP say that this is their biological/birth mother and nowhere does the OP say if this person had much of a role in raising them.

you assumed both those things, and they are commonly true so most of the time you will be correct but sometimes you will be wrong and cause somebody real pain.


PS - to the OP you absolutely don't owe us those details!
« Last Edit: September 14, 2021, 02:13:01 PM by cchrissyy »

Malcat

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #35 on: September 14, 2021, 02:22:15 PM »
Just because a mother does not know how to display/handle love does not mean they don't love the child. Love can manifest in all shapes or forms, even in unhealthy/toxic forms. Mother-child bond is evolutionary biology. I'm not condoning unhealthy displays of love, but to think they don't love, is false. Perhaps we have different definitions.

I'm going to stick with what I said, you are lucky to have never been exposed to truly hateful mothers. They exist.

It is far more comfortable to believe that they don't, but they do.

Malcat

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #36 on: September 14, 2021, 02:24:45 PM »
I apologize to OP as this is getting very off topic.

Former Player, a mother's bond to the child (and child to mother) is shown through not only biological studies, but neurology, ethology, psychology, anthropology, neurocardiology, and more.

And yes, it is different for a male/father. This is not to say that fathers are somehow excused from parenting responsibilities.

I think what's going on is that people have a positive image/definition of "love." Sort of like "adoption" being a happy word when it's not. It is entirely possible, and common, to love someone AND have an unhealthy relationship with that person you love. A mother wants to provide positive love to their child, but sometimes can't due to addiction, mental health, etc. etc. as mentioned previously. Hope this makes more sense.

No, what I have is a background in psychology, medicine, clinical counselling, neuroscience, and decades of working with women and children in shelters.

I don't have an idealized vision of "love" nor do I lack knowledge of the biological aspects of motherhood, since I have lectured on the neurobiology of it at the university level.

former player

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #37 on: September 14, 2021, 03:25:08 PM »
I hear you and agree with what you said.

I'll also add this (as if I haven't stirred the pot enough already): almost all mother-child conflict is power struggle. Specifically, changes in independence and role reversals. It's hard for both parties, but much harder on the mother. I see a lot of damaged relationships and it's almost always lack of communication (as is the root of all other conflicts). All this to say, love never leaves/left, it just turned ugly in its expression. Yes, relationships are hard, but if people can try to remember this, life is much easier. And yes, sometimes you do need to put strict boundaries and love from afar (people also confuse boundaries with lack of love as well which is false).

Full disclosure, this is coming from someone who believes all people are inherently good and want to do good. So take everything I say with a grain of salt. I am strictly expressing my research and am not an authority on your relationship w your mother.

You seem to be using the word "love" to include any emotion between mother and child, which makes the word basically meaningless.


PMJL34

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #38 on: September 14, 2021, 07:51:51 PM »
I think it's safe to say that we can conclude this discussion as it's going nowhere fast.

Malcat, I won't go into details but I speak from practice, research, and from the very personal experience you seem to mistakenly imply I lack.

Formerplayer, you are just putting up a brick wall now lol. First science is no good. Now you are putting words in my mouth. I never said or implied that love is any emotion between mother and child. If a mother belittles you, she belittled you. If she hit you, she hit you. None of that is love. However, a mother can belittle, hit, or whatever you AND still love you. It's a very basic concept.
       
« Last Edit: September 14, 2021, 08:20:27 PM by PMJL34 »

Malcat

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #39 on: September 15, 2021, 06:20:50 AM »
I think it's safe to say that we can conclude this discussion as it's going nowhere fast.

Malcat, I won't go into details but I speak from practice, research, and from the very personal experience you seem to mistakenly imply I lack.

Formerplayer, you are just putting up a brick wall now lol. First science is no good. Now you are putting words in my mouth. I never said or implied that love is any emotion between mother and child. If a mother belittles you, she belittled you. If she hit you, she hit you. None of that is love. However, a mother can belittle, hit, or whatever you AND still love you. It's a very basic concept.
     

100% agree.

You are entitled to your perceptions and beliefs from your experiences, and I have absolutely no need to discuss any further.

former player

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #40 on: September 15, 2021, 06:44:54 AM »
Agree that this is going nowhere, but I do want to record that I find the idea that loving someone while being violent to them can co-exist is incredibly dangerous and one of the things that keeps women in abusive relationships.

PMJL34

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #41 on: September 15, 2021, 09:19:02 AM »
I agree that I could do better not speaking in absolute terms. You can find anomalies in life anywhere. But for example, focusing on the .00001% of cardiac arrest due to covid vaccine is not helpful. The logical scientific conclusion is that vaccines are safe, period. Anything else sends mixed messages to the public.

If I state that most/majority of mothers love their child, that is factually incorrect as well because "always" is percentage wise infinitely closer than "most" or "majority" to what science finds. Plus if we are playing the exception game, then the discussion is pointless imo. Again, scientifically speaking, mother's hormones and brain chemistry change when pregnant and when they give birth and so forth. If we can find a mother who scientifically doesn't show any change in mind and body during pregnancy, that would be world-newsworthy. I don't know how else to say that mother's love their children even if they don't know how to show it.

Former player, none of us are talking about DV. But yes, there are similarities, without healthy boundaries, relationships can become abusive. And yes, DV is unhealthy and dangerous. That's a whole another discussion with very different implications.

Let's all take a step back to OPs situation. As far as I know, this is a typical mother-child relationship in this FIRE community where our parent is not financially responsible as we would like. There is nothing stated about abuse or trauma in the relationship. That is why I as an internet stranger responded with what I would do. If this mother was an addict and the OP had already been burned multiple times or refusing to leave a mansion like malcats mother, then no, don't throw more money at the problem. But this does not appear to be the case (I could be wrong).

EDIT: Malcat and Former Player and whoever else...what do you want me to say? That your mothers do not love you, never did and never will? Oh and American cultural as it relates to parent-child relationship is identical to Asian, Latino, African, and European cultures, and to say otherwise is racist? Let's move on and lock this thread. I apologize to anyone I offended. I take full responsibility. Hope we can have more productive discussions in the future. 
« Last Edit: September 15, 2021, 10:59:12 AM by PMJL34 »

Malcat

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #42 on: September 16, 2021, 06:46:12 AM »
We don't need to lock this thread. I'm happy not to debate this anymore despite being named in a direct challenge. Forum members are allowed to have very different perspectives. Some debates end in better alignment and agreement and some don't.

OP, it's your thread, if you would like to talk further, you are welcome to. I'm also available by pm if you ever need. I've talked a lot of people through similar struggles.

former player

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #43 on: September 16, 2021, 06:53:03 AM »
Just for the record, I'm perfectly sure that my mother loved me and I loved her, and that there was no abuse in either direction.

It is possible to challenge perceived wrongs from a point of principle rather than personal experience.

mrs sideways

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #44 on: September 16, 2021, 06:07:27 PM »
We don't need to lock this thread. I'm happy not to debate this anymore despite being named in a direct challenge. Forum members are allowed to have very different perspectives. Some debates end in better alignment and agreement and some don't.

OP, it's your thread, if you would like to talk further, you are welcome to. I'm also available by pm if you ever need. I've talked a lot of people through similar struggles.

Well, at this point I don't want to say anything that might start another argument, but for the record my mother and I have an okay-but-not-great relationship. I don't dislike her, but if we weren't related I wouldn't hang out with her, because she is a Catagory 3 Drama Storm most of the time. BUT she's never abused me, physically or emotionally, so I'd have no justification in cutting her out of my life, and I don't have the scars that many people here are dealing with.

As for my original question, should we buy her house to set her up financially, the answer turned out to be no, because she has decided that she wants a large home in a scenic area, even if it means she still has money problems as a result. At some point, she will genuinely need help: physical help, financial help, something; older relatives always do. We'll step in then, as we will for my husband's parents, but right now she doesn't *need* the help, so I'm just going to step back from my mom's choices and let her live with her decisions.

Malcat

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #45 on: September 16, 2021, 07:09:20 PM »
We don't need to lock this thread. I'm happy not to debate this anymore despite being named in a direct challenge. Forum members are allowed to have very different perspectives. Some debates end in better alignment and agreement and some don't.

OP, it's your thread, if you would like to talk further, you are welcome to. I'm also available by pm if you ever need. I've talked a lot of people through similar struggles.

Well, at this point I don't want to say anything that might start another argument, but for the record my mother and I have an okay-but-not-great relationship. I don't dislike her, but if we weren't related I wouldn't hang out with her, because she is a Catagory 3 Drama Storm most of the time. BUT she's never abused me, physically or emotionally, so I'd have no justification in cutting her out of my life, and I don't have the scars that many people here are dealing with.

As for my original question, should we buy her house to set her up financially, the answer turned out to be no, because she has decided that she wants a large home in a scenic area, even if it means she still has money problems as a result. At some point, she will genuinely need help: physical help, financial help, something; older relatives always do. We'll step in then, as we will for my husband's parents, but right now she doesn't *need* the help, so I'm just going to step back from my mom's choices and let her live with her decisions.

I think your reasoning and plan is incredibly sound. I think it's great to preserve your money for when she really needs help from you.

I personally have a great relationship with my mother despite her drama. Sure, she sometimes pisses me off, but that's not new. And thankfully, because I've stopped trying to help her financially before she's really ready, she's gradually making many baby steps in understanding and managing her own financial situation. 

Her cognitive function is starting to slip though, so I'm very aware of that evolving situation. That said, she's moved in a friend as a roommate at an absurdly discounted rent, and said friend is committed to them dying on the property and keeps claiming that whatever care my mom needs, she'll provide it.
There are also two brothers who can't financially help at all, but have very strong opinions that the acreage should never be sold, but have no plan as to how it will be paid for long term...

Whatever, we'll see what happens.

Right now, it's not my circus, not my monkeys.

NaN

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #46 on: September 16, 2021, 10:44:29 PM »
@mrs sideways - thank you for the update on the story! I was reading the first part from January, and I can relate with your position. I am so happy that you are happy with the choice you made.

Also, there's a huge difference between helping someone and enabling their self destructive behaviours.

This is so true. And I have been in this boat, not just with my mother, but also with my sister. I was guilted for not providing my sister, a pre-K teacher, about $10k for half a down payment for a $100k house. While that amount was not even an issue with me - it was the fact my sister behaves like spending every dime and never thought to save for a house for over a decade. I was adamantly against paying anything because of this. But, when I told her this summer I would help out with her refinancing her mortgage to save on the tune of $30k over the entire mortgage she just ignores the advice. She still is paying a high interest rate on a 30 year mortgage. There is no financial literacy there, and my help would not have changed that back then and barely moves the needle now. She now gets to experience the aspects of financing heater replacements and any other major improvement. In the end she will be alright, but enabling her behavior is exactly what my other siblings and grandparents do. I decided I would just be generous on her birthday once a year and tie no strings to my gift.

@mrs sideways: My mom though, ugh, I feel your mental struggles with helping out a struggling mom that makes bad choices. I think my sister takes on from her.

iris lily

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Re: Buying my mother's house and renting it back to her
« Reply #47 on: September 17, 2021, 09:18:12 AM »
I hear you and agree with what you said.

I'll also add this (as if I haven't stirred the pot enough already): almost all mother-child conflict is power struggle. Specifically, changes in independence and role reversals. It's hard for both parties, but much harder on the mother. I see a lot of damaged relationships and it's almost always lack of communication (as is the root of all other conflicts). All this to say, love never leaves/left, it just turned ugly in its expression. Yes, relationships are hard, but if people can try to remember this, life is much easier. And yes, sometimes you do need to put strict boundaries and love from afar (people also confuse boundaries with lack of love as well which is false).

Full disclosure, this is coming from someone who believes all people are inherently good and want to do good. So take everything I say with a grain of salt. I am strictly expressing my research and am not an authority on your relationship w your mother.

You seem to be using the word "love" to include any emotion between mother and child, which makes the word basically meaningless.

Well, I do think most mean, hurtful people feel what they consider “love” for their children even when they are treating them badly including beating them. We all know that isnt loving behavior, but when “love” is described only as an emotion, that pretty much removes our ability to assess it in any one person.

Certainly there are plenty of parents who openly show hostility and will even admit they hate their children. I suppose that is a refreshing honesty.