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Parents are 57/50 with no savings and some debt. New job with good money but still not getting their act together. Do I say something?

I recently helped my father get on at my company and he's making $50k+/year after being jobless for a few months. Before that he worked a part time gig that let him go because he wasn't producing (sales, my father is a mechanical guy).

My mother has little marketable skills because, God bless her, she's been a hell of a homemaker. She has no education and knows nothing more than being married to my dad for 30+ years. Besides that, my father refuses to allow her to work.

My youngest sister, 21, lives with them. No high school diploma and has never been pushed to do anything. They blame her not getting a job on living in a rural area with no transportation.

My grandmother (mom's mom) lives two houses down from them. She's retired and lives on a fixed budget but has done well with what she has. My mother spends most of her free time helping my grandmother keep house and takes her to doctor visits, etc.

I don't know all their financial details but I have a good idea they've been living in or right above poverty for the past decade. They have a little debt (can't be more than $15k). They live an hour and a half away from his job now but are constantly telling me they have no money to move closer (it's been 4 months of $900/week checks, its overtime season at work). And I know they have next to no retirement savings.

I'm stressed out because I hoped that they would use this new found income to get their shit together, but they're not. They cite overwhelming bills for not moving but he just bought a $1500 car from a friend. They have 2 other running vehicles. My wife and I were trying to lead by example, aggressively saving and being wise with our finances, but that doesn't seem to be of any impact. My mother even openly mocked our frugality on Christmas Day.

I feel like I have to have a conversation with them or nothings ever going to change. I don't want to. I'm a naturally confrontational person but this is my father. It feels wrong every time I even think about it.

PF Redditors, what should I do?

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Moving closer sounds like a bad idea if it involves moving from a low cost area to a high cost area. Is the $1500 car a commuter car?

It sounds like the real problem is going to be your younger sister as she may bleed your parents dry and be afraid to enter the real world. Worse is she may have a kid and both end up living with mom and dad.

I think you hit it on the head. A little presumptuous, but rightfully so. The parents are almost too far gone to change but might be able salvageable.

However, the younger sister has plenty of time left to be pointed in the right direction. I would focus more energy on her.

That is absolutely a risk here. My mother is in a similar situation. One of my sisters had 2 children while living with her. For various reasons my mother received guardianship, so now my 61yo mother has a 2 yo and a 7yo. With no plan in place. She thinks that she can just keep working, but when she's 70 ... how well is that going to work? Who's going to take care of her?

Obviously NOT sister.


19 points · 5 months ago

Absolutely focus on getting the younger sister to grow up and move out.

I have a relative who was in her position 10 years ago. Today she is 10 years older, has a kid, a completely worthless husband (doesn't work, doesn't help with the kid, is morbidly obese), and all three are living with her parents.

Nip this in the bud.

197 points · 5 months ago

I don't even need to read this fully to answer. As with all relationships, ask them. If they say they need help, offer help. If they say they're fine, let them be. If they are offended, pull away, or refuse to answer, assume they never wanted your input to begin with.

keep in mind this is OP's parents. for many people caring for their elderly parents is a burden put onto them due to said parents not having any plans for the later years (for whatever reason).

133 points · 5 months ago

Or, alternatively, OP is their retirement plan.

I'm certainly my biological father's 'Plan B'. His first plan is to win the lottery.

13 points · 5 months ago · edited 5 months ago

Oh good, he probably won't have to fall back on you then.

Unfortunately this happens pretty often it seems. My wife and I are preparing for that inevitability. Her parents have very little and were never good with the money they did get, her brothers barely make enough for themselves.

My wife and I are very comfortable and fully preparing to have to take on their expenses, however not to our own detriment. My wife leads those conversations with them as I don't feel comfortable doing it, but it's conversations that have to happen.

The fact OPs father won't let his wife work is a big red flag to me, especially if they are not prepared for retirement.

Personally if I was in that situation offending them would be the last of my worries.

22 points · 5 months ago · edited 5 months ago

I was thinking the same thing. Having "the talk" with (some) people let's them know you're loaded. And puts a big target on your back. Mocking your savings at the dinner table....from someone who has been less than responsible takes it to another level: "well you said you saved/had money".

Just cuz I have it doesn't mean I'm gonna give it to you!

My sister is gonna be one of those people. When she was married, she was pulling in $50K. Hubby wanted to be an architect and a police man, so he did nothing. They got divorced and SHE has to pay him for the 4 kids, and alimony. She lost her job and that asshole wanted more. She lost her car, her apartment and that fucker wanted STILL MORE.
She had like $100K from the sale of the house to him and I have no idea where it all went. As of now she lives with a "fiance" she met in a homeless shelter in an Section 8/low income place in a lousy part of a shitty town. My hubby just retired. I have a full time job and our kid has a full time job. We have a paid off house, 3 paid off cars, and pay our credit card bills each month. And it's only cuz hubby is cheap. Kid and I are both spenders, but since I work in a wrinkle city now, I don't really buy anything any more like when I worked at a craft store and the pet shop.

But when my hubby kicks off, she's gonna be on the doorstep and I'm gonna tell her no. I don't take in thieves and when I had given her a job one time, she wound up stealing from me. So no! Even our dad was like YOU HAVE TO take her in because she's family. No, no I didn't cuz I don't trust her.

I'll put in an alligator filled moat, barbed wire fence and claymore mines all around so she can't get in.

That's just a darn shame; thank you for sharing. That's how I feel about family though: we might be related but I'm only going to bankroll so much foolishness before I leave a little swirl of dust where I was standing.

You're welcome. And yep, if you're gonna mooch the Bank of Ammut is closed, buhbye.

So much this. My parents are 72 years old, and have ZERO savings, with the hope my brother and I will save them and coddle them so they can live their retirement years in ease.

Fuck that. I’m moving to the UK in 2 years. Try to see them leaning on me then!

17 points · 5 months ago

No dad, I can't send you any dollars! They use pounds here and UPS charges like $50 a pound to deliver from the U.K. To the US!

The sad thing is that he may fall for that, he watches a certain news network rather religiously.

50s isn't "elderly"!

That's middle aged

Comment deleted5 months ago(4 children)

Erm? My generation (40's) has to work until age 73 to collect maximum social security benefits, and I'm guessing that number will continue to rise.

Possibly anecdotal, but I work in the financial/insurance/banking industry, and all of my immediate bosses are aged 65+, with several in their 70's and not planning on retiring until physical and/or mental debility requires it.

If I had to take a guess it depends on career. Jobs like those aren't physical and generally being of such an age working in those fields age is not looked down upon.

For blue collar workers, being that age and working is brutal.

Nah, they are baby boomers, supposed to already be retired.

That's like saying a 24 year old two years into their first job out of college is a "toddler" because they've only been earning money for two years.

Thank you, but I don't wanna live to 100.

They typically call middle aged your 40s and 50s (sometimes even 60s), as the middle of your adult live. That said, life expectancy for someone who is, say, 40 today probably will be close to 100 if medicine keeps improving

Very likely. At my work there's 5 people that I know of that are 100, one is 103! That's amazing right there.

57/50 is not elderly. It's the new 47/40.

This. I hooked my parents up with my financial advisor simply by asking "Do you have a money guy? Do you want a money guy?"

Then I let money guy do the rest. I've done well for myself, but my parents are still my parents. They don't want their kid telling them how to money.

How did you find this financial advisor? I'm trying to do the same for my parents. How expensive is it? Even though I know the cost may not be worth it because they don't have a lot, I think if my parents can hear from someone objectively that they are not doing too good, it would be a lot better.

13 points · 5 months ago · edited 5 months ago

This situation is tough because my wife and I have the same issue. My parents made a lot of bad decisions in life and wife’s parents have jobs but spend all their money. I try talking with my wife about it but she, like the rest of her family, hates having adult conversations. Anywho, I told her that if we supported our parents, we would be screwing our future children over.

IDK, man. Sometimes you feel like crap but if you love your kids, you should have your own future planned, right?

Edit: TBF to my wife, we’ve both made huge strides in being better with our money but the parental convos are still tough.

100%, some people just get into a set way of living and change scares them. I would however definitely say something to your sister.

Hell, she doesn't even have a HS diploma or a job. Does it sound like she's somebody invested in her own future?

The lack of a diploma is not an excuse for her not contributing. She's a grown ass woman , at the very least, she can start out on a minimum wage job to help offset some bills. Without knowing more, it appears OP's parents are enabling the situation

It's not an excuse. It's an indicator.

Original Poster1 point · 5 months ago

Very much so. They encourage what they call "entrepreneurship". She really just knits generic items and sells a few. She's not turning any profit.

But maybe if she knew what her options were, she'd take advantage of the resources she has. I think nobody wants to be poor.

Nobody wants to be poor, but way too many people don't want to put forth the effort not to be. Again, a 21 year old who didn't finish high school and won't get a job is a good example of that.

8 points · 5 months ago

If they ask for financial help, make it on your terms. I am 56 went through cancer last year and it makes me sick to think about needing my kids help.

Well sorry if this sounds cold.

Personally I say talk to them, and make it clear that you aren’t their retirement plan, if you are at all worried about that. If they don’t want to save, that’s their choice, as long as they aren’t expecting you to bail them out after years of overspending and making fun of you for being frugal.

It would not be fair for your Mother to not work when she can and then expect you to provide in their old age. Again her not working is her/her husband’s choice, but I would make it clear that their lack of financial planning will never be your problem to fix.

I would only bring it up if money comes into the conversation. If you start lecturing them out of the blue, it might cause a strain on your relationship that you hadn’t intended. I’d sure as fuck give it to them straight though, the next time they criticize your savings habits!

The sister, on the other hand? Feel free to start educating her ASAP. I would tell her that you won’t help your parents if she’s still living at home with no job. Obviously the parents love her and have a hard time setting boundaries, but I’d make it clear to her that if she can’t start doing right for herself then that will hurt your parents in their time of need. Tell her that it’s not about penalizing them, it’s about making sure that any money you lend them doesn’t go toward the continual enabling of the sister.

Piss Poor Planning on YOUR part is not an EMERGENCY on MY part.

I made it very clear to my mother, who was vastly overweight and had diabetes, high cholesterol and HBP that if she didn’t make some changes she would have a stroke and I did not want to take care of her. The stroke was eleven years ago and I am still taking care of her. Unless one is willing to disown and walk away from a parent, there is the expectation from doctors, case workers, extended family and the like, that a child will care for their parent. Perhaps it is easier to say you won’t provide money than you won’t provide care...

They're too far gone, as the rest of the thread is saying. If they do ask for help, where I would start is with momsy and Sister Neet both getting jobs. Even rural areas have retail and fast food. Get a job, any job. If they now have 3 running cars, then 3 people should be using them to become gainfully employed.

Edit: if they ask about retirement and have nothing saved, at this point prepare them for the hard fact that they're gonna have to work until they literally can't work anymore. And then hope to God above that SSI is enough to survive on.

Well I keep on thinkin' bout you, Sister Lazy Neet surprise...

You can't fix other people.

If they want advice, you can offer it, but trying to straighten them out or whatever you think you would do without their concurrence can't possibly work very well with two adults.

To add onto that, I think that parents hate being told what they should do by their children; even if it is in their own interest.

37 points · 5 months ago

My friend was in a similar situation, so he spoke to his parents and it turns out they were much better off than what he originally thought.

a few older people tend to have secret savings and work just to buy things they want ect. I'm not saying this is your situation but I'd voice a concern rather then being firm. show that you care and offer to help, even be in charge of their money if that helps.

This could be the case.

If the sister at home is a mooch.... I could understand them not talking about having some hidden savings..... that's just putting a big target on their back for her.

This sounds overly optimistic. OP is pretty sure they have no retirement savings, and the fact that they aren't moving closer to the new job sounds like they're under real financial constraints. And people who are genuinely well-off don't buy $1500 cars.

You ever work with engineers? $1500 cars everywhere...

I got a lot of down votes for this last time but I've actually studied this for decades. Some people just can't. This happened to my mom. She was given 3 houses and over 1/4 Mil and ended up dead broke pretty damn quick.

The part that sucks is that they always lean on others. So if you have 100 Million dollars or 5 grand, they'll just keep leaning on you until you are dead broke.

You should understand that not all brains work the same, some can't see debt the same way. This is why the US keeps going back and forth and keeps getting deeper and deeper into debt.

If there's any way for them to stay on the path they've been on, they'll just keep doing that. That means you have to have some tough love.

It's pretty odd that someone would make fun of someone else's saving money.

I had a coworker do that. She asked me "what happens if you die and you haven't spent all your money?" She had car trouble months later, she needed a battery and a $200 door lock fixed. She couldn't do it without borrowing money. I didn't say anything, but I remember thinking I could write a check for a new car if I wanted to and she was questioning why I save.

You can try shame but that might backfire. They usually change their behavior when they see how bad things can get. This is where the tough love comes in. They are in their 50's, you can try talks over and over, make it sound like the end of the world.

You didn't mention if they own a house or rent. Owning a house and having it paid off or nearly paid off is a huge game changer.

I've witnessed the same thing with my parents too. Instead of learning how to be financially responsible they've learned how to recover from the inevitable financial ruin they inflict on themselves.

It's come to the point that whenever I need to make a financial decision, I call them and ask their opinion. If they're against it, I do it, because they always make the wrong fucking decision.

I have no intention of supporting my parents in retirement, so I hope their Social Security is enough. The last time I helped them (by paying utilities for them), I learned they were tithing all the money they could've used for utilities to a Prosperity Gospel megachurch because "it would come back to them 10 fold." Never. Again.

My mom got involved with some people from a church, it cost her some $40K.

After she lost 3 houses and all the money, she lived in an apartment paycheck to paycheck after that.

People like this find their balance point, it's where they are threatened by being homeless or starving or something like that.

Someone asked me years ago why I didn't manage the property for her, but the problem is people like this have to self destruct. She was gambling, thought there was some magic in numbers, my brother and sisters were taking money left and right.

It's a train wreck, and they'll take you with them.

Thing was, they were just coming back from being homeless when this began. Finally made it into an apartment after losing their home (because the higher earner decided to quit their job during the great recession) and were scraping it together in a relative's a family business. I think somewhere in that desperation they "found Jesus" and have been on this prosperity bullshit kick ever since.

I don't even want to know how much money they've wasted contributing towards pews and planes for this megachurch, to be honest. I'd probably have to drive down to their headquarters and firebomb it if I knew, and I won't let them/fake Jesus torpedo my life.

One trick I found is that if you 'lend' someone a fairly small amount of money, you won't have to 'lend' to them again. My brother 'borrowed' a few hundred some 10 years ago and promised to put a gun up as security, but he forgot to bring the gun over and still needed the money.

Later, he said "I'm not giving you my gun". Years later he was in another spot and asked to borrow money again with the "if you loan me more money, I'll pay you back the other money I owe you"... I didn't loan him any more, and he never paid back any of what I lent him.

The trick is to stop them from borrowing any more money by lending them a small amount. The next trick is to live on the edge. Have your money "tied up" in something. Maybe even as THEM to loan YOU some money, struggle a bit to pay it back. Every time they ask you for money, you say "funny, I was just about to ask YOU to loan ME some money"...

It can be harsh, but you have to understand that some people will never, ever get their money under control. I've seen this go on for decades. My family worked hard to own a few houses. My mom lost 3 houses that were nearly paid off and had great positive cash flow. She pissed away some 1/2 Mil in cash after the divorce. She blamed everyone and anyone, but never once was anything her fault.

The harsh part is that this doesn't make a person good or bad as a person, it just makes them bad at managing things.

My brother in law pissed away $110,000.00 and his dad's business only to end up living on someone's couch. He was given a house and 80K and pissed every bit of it away.

Me, I've never been given anything. I've been supporting myself since 17 and live home free and have a nice collection of cars/truck and motorcycles.

People that see you as a stepping stool, will bleed you dry.

One other trick is to see if the downfall is a one time thing or a pattern.

It's a pattern, they have lost 7+ homes to foreclosure, had the IRS go after them at least 4 times... the constant financial chaos really fucked up my childhood, among other things. I'm just glad my parents never got the idea to steal my identity like others have written about here. They clearly cannot learn, and I don't think it's not my job to teach 60-somethings how to adult because we're related. What few things they gave me (a decent car, paying for college partially) I consider payback for dealing with all their bullshit growing up.

Everything I give them is a gift, because I know I'll never get paid back if I lend them anything. At this point I only give them things like a new Roku for Christmas or my Netflix password... nothing substantial. I didn't anticipate they'd ever pay me back for the utilities, but it still burns a bit to know what was truly going on. I thought they weren't paying bills because they had to eat, not tithe. Lesson learned.

The sad thing is that it can ruin relationships. I haven't seen my brother or brother in law in a long time. Both burned me for a few grand. I should have just said no, but somehow I don't think that would have been much better.

The bottom line is that they put you into this position, and they probably don't even care.

There's a mental condition where some people can't see another's view. Empathy takes some 13 different functions of the brain and some just can't do it. Some even take pleasure from other's pain, it's weird, but it's true. Once you understand that, it's easier to be firm with these people.

Remember, most little kids don't know better, some 'adults' have the brains of little kids. That's not meant to be an insult, it's just like studying math, not every human knows algebra and you can't change that. You have to be firm with them.

Unfortunately, you're their 401(k) plan. My own parents were completely inept with money, even though both were raised in wealthy families. In their 40s, they inherited what today would be $500k. It was gone in three years. Buying crap (depreciating assets), cars and a boat. Mother thought she was a stock market whiz...she wasn't, and my dad tried a new career he had no business being in. Failure across the board. And yes, I tried to talk to them. Years later, I'm still pissed.

So now they're living in a tiny apartment on SS alone. My brother and I will do everything to make sure they don't get evicted (sister is even worse with money)...and not move in with one of us...mother is completely toxic.

It's a shitty and fucked up situation and I feel for you.

My parents, especially my dad, made exceptionally poor financial decisions in his 50s, that ultimately bankrupted them within 10 years.

My advice, if you don’t want them living with you in the future: be aggressive in your financial advice.

You may want to look into your mother becoming a “caregiver” to your grandmother. I’m not certain on all of the financial specifics, but in sum your mother can receive money for doing exactly what she already is for your grandmother from your grandmothers insurance.

It's a state thing.

Depends on the insurance.

My youngest sister, 21, lives with them. No high school diploma and has never been pushed to do anything. They blame her not getting a job on living in a rural area with no transportation.

Yeah, still living at home with no diploma and never being pushed to leave the nest is gonna make your sister go far. /s

I'm stressed out because I hoped that they would use this new found income to get their shit together, but they're not.

You can lead a horse to water and all that.

They cite overwhelming bills for not moving but he just bought a $1500 car from a friend. They have 2 other running vehicles.

Why did they need another car? Is sister leaving?

My mother even openly mocked our frugality on Christmas Day.

To peaches with HER then. YOUZE guys will have something to retire on, a roof over your heads and low debt.

I don't think even if you drilled a hole in their heads and poured the information in, it will register with them. They're set in their ways.

And please don't co-sign ANYTHING with them.

Original Poster3 points · 5 months ago

We wouldn't co-sign on a financially responsible individuals loan. From my understanding he bought the car because it was a "good deal". But we all know it ain't a good deal if you don't need it.

Correct. Glad that you won't co sign.

Your sister if she is capable needs to be pushed to get a GED and work doing something. She should have a drivers license even if she doesn't have a car to drive. She should be contributing in one way or another, even if it's cleaning grandma's house.
Your mother has skills, even though they might not be past job history. Is a cleaning service a possibility? Maybe have it be a business for your mother and sister?

Original Poster2 points · 5 months ago

Her cleaning skills are masterful. I guess that's 33 years of being a homemaker. I have definitely suggested this before.

I am/was in a similar situation. Im 24 and since 16 have been helping with something whether it be bills, rent, groceries or covering unexpected bills or delayed debt/payments. You believe you are helping them but all you are doing is holding yourself back and creating a bigger budget for him/her to fuck around with. Some people dont get it. Instead of hurrying to create a budget they save to go on vacation. Do not have money for an emergency (and an emergency DID happen. Father had hernia needed 4 weeks off work. I covered bills and rent. What did fasha do? Fasha went on vacation.). The best thing you can do is keep trying to talk to them while preparing yourselves for what you KNOW will happen. I don't care how much people talk about "tough love" or "worrying about yourself", you can never abandon the people who made you the man you are. And if your folks were like mine. were supporting, loving and caring. Father did everything possible to support us and never drank. He found a way to put food on the table and spent time with us. He had his dayjob, skilled mechanic on the side and collected scrap to where he would take us to exchange and race us for the money. Memories of my father that money will never buy. And now a tired man, bad financial decisions are not enough to abandon my old man. If you are waiting on THEM to ask you for help, good luck. Your father is like mine and has alot of pride. Dont anger him or insult him. With caring words tell him you see what is happening and that you care (tell your folks you love and appreciate them) and that you have also made horrible financial decisions and wish to aid him because you see similar patterns. Anyone who says to forget them, FUCK THOSE PEOPLE. hopefully you will have a positive reaction like i did. IT TOOK FOREVER THOUGH. Im 24, father 57 and mom 54. Mom got her stylist and beauty certificate 2 years ago and 2 years ago my father and i payed cash for a rundown home which we are fixing for them. We agreed i would continue living with them paying ABSOLUTELY NOTHING and he pay everything while i saved like a madman. Why? Because HE'S a madman with loose money. Literally every decision I have made includes the well-being of my parents, that's just the way it is. Life has a way of working out for people like us though. Because I also have another run down home which I am fixing for myself and I am scheduled to be married within a week or two with my awesome girlfriend. I have the support of my parents and her parents as well as a lot of family who have the skills and ability and want to help me fix my home because caring for your parents isn't just something that you want to do, it is a responsibilities that we have (IF you belive in what the bible says). We just got back from Cancun 2 weeks ago because my father and his vacationing. something that she should really be saving for is retirement but he is doing way better now. I figured I might as well take a vacation with them while I can because you don't have your parents forever. I literally sat down with him yesterday and finally showed them how to organize their books and mail and debt. I spoke with them because I told them even if they get a house with no mortgage like we are planning, any free money he has he is going to spend it the same way. so we need to fix that before they are living free. He is totally on board and is ready to make these changes. I have helped him for about 3 years now trying to force these Financial rules in his head and it is been an uphill battle but thankfully he is really ready to make these changes. Hopefully you read this ridiculously long essay, but I think you are in a similar situation and I hope you get the same results as me just remember to be patient because a person who has lived as long as he has and has been able to get himself to raise kids and have a home it's hard for him to believe he is doing something wrong.

Dude, I have been living in the goat rodeo you describe for the last 25 years with my family; and bless yours and your wifes soul for caring. For years I would loan money - or give it away, but nothing has ever changed with any of them. Over the last few years I have learned to say "NO!" about loaning or giving money - will not do it under any circumstances; and they all know it now. I will help them help themselves by offering guidance on financial matters, but that isn't what they usually want. I unfortunately don't have any good advice for you my friend, just thought I would commiserate for a moment. Be strong!!

I'm comforted by knowing I'm not alone with what you've shared. Its infuriating, frustrating, and embarrassing.

I feel like I have to have a conversation with them or nothings ever going to change. I don't want to. I'm a naturally confrontational person but this is my father. It feels wrong every time I even think about it.

How is having a conversation with your parents in which you nudge them in the right direction "wrong"? Parents aren't infallible.

Besides that, my father refuses to allow her to work.

For example, this extremely archaic viewpoint needs to be discussed and rectified. It's fine if your mom doesn't want to work, but that should be her decision, not imposed on her by your dad.

I totally agree with your first point and I would never in a million years tell my spouse they can't work, but I'm not sure that his parents' social views need to be "rectified" so long as his mother is okay with it. And people who grew up in a culture where that was simply what it was often are okay with it, and those views are very unlikely to change into his parents' 50s.

A much better route for OP to take would be to highlight the dire financial needs of the household and put forth the idea that work is necessary for the mom and sister (especially the sister who's 21 and most likely doesn't have obligations to the grandmother, whose state of health we don't know) to stay afloat, regardless of cultural expectations. Changing their cultural perspectives of working wives isn't at all necessary to put them on a better path financially and is likely to backfire.

I agree with you that from a strictly financial perspective, your approach highlighted in the second paragraph is the preferred one and will have a higher chance of actually succeeding.

I was simply trying to offer non-financial advice as well, as I really don't like the idea of any types of inequality (racial, class, gender, etc.), even if they are engrained in one's culture, and thus I think it's helpful and a good thing to have discussions within families that push those boundaries. Even disadvantaged subgroups and people can be "brainwashed" into being okay with having inferior status.

Anyway, I know that this is not what this subreddit is meant to focus on, but I thought I should briefly explain my perspective.

I've been through this with both my wife's elderly mom and my own. I am here to tell you: with aging parents, you HAVE to press to find out their true, total financial situation, even if it's awkward or taboo ground in your family's money culture. It can be like asking them about their sex life or toilet habits, but you HAVE to know. Especially when they are being evasive or deflective, because that usually means there's trouble. And the worst-case scenario is you not knowing a thing until the day they call you while the sheriff is at their door with a foreclosure notice.

When it comes to money a lot of older people start living in a reality-denial universe. They don't have to be financial idiots through and through to run this play. Maybe they made bad decisions, or had a period of unemployment, or simply don't understand what it will cost to stay alive as old people. A lot of magical thinking out there. And some families develop whole cultures of magical thinking, where their entire security play revolves around spending like they have plenty of money while desperately scratching Lotto tickets in search of rescue.

The wiser, more sober next generation ALWAYS gets hit in situations like this -- unless you insist, rudely if necessary, on dragging all your folks' money stuff out into the sunlight. While making absolutely clear that you are not their retirement plan. It's easier to have these terrible conversations and steer them toward their own best case scenario, than stay quiet out of intimidation or embarrassment and have them move in with you one day.

Since I don't see anything in your post where they are asking you intervene financially, you should do nothing. They are grown adults. If you feel the need to do something, proactively offer to help your your Mom take your Grandma to doctor's visits if needed. I'm sure she'd enjoy your company and the help with Grandma.

I have to disagree with this if it's going to come down to her being financially responsible for her parents bills when they are unable to take care of themselves.

I posted above so I won't repeat the whole thing, but my wife's parents are in a similar situation. We know we're going to be holding them up so it's our right to have those conversations and have strict input on how they manage what money they do have. They are bad with money, we know it, they know it, hell, they're parents (my wife's gparents) left the trust for them in my wife's name.

My wife straight up asked who they thought was going to be paying for things when they can't work. They didn't have an answer, that's why it's our right to those conversations.

Regardless of how it his going to turn out, I maintain having financial responsibility is like weight loss and addiction recovery. You simply cannot force another mentally competent adult into it. All OP can do is state his/her position, "Mom, Dad, DearWife and I will not be in a place to significantly support you when you are old" and back up. The parents here are young and OP did not mention mental illness. They're also caring for OP's grandmother, which means they are well aware of the cost of growing older.

If he or she really wants to help the parents, help the younger sister find a job. Given that there are 3 adults in the parent's household and the sister supposedly can't find a job due to transportation, the 3rd $1500 car doesn't seem crazy. Transportation is now available. Time to go to work.

Or at least start GED classes. She can’t get much of a job without a hs diploma

At the end, my FIL was completely incompetent with money. He'd switch between cable every month or 3 to get a better deal. He kept locking himself out of his online banking accounts so at least once a month we'd have to call up the bank and try to get him to make a new password. MIL had money that she had kept and after FIL kicked off she hid it. Because she was infirm the person that came in to help her clean and stuff stole it, rifling through closets, purses, pockets, everything.

Hubby spent way too much time looking for stock certificates to cash out some of the money so that his sister and his mum could have something to live on. Bitch prolly stole em.

My mother too. She kept taking money out of her retirement accounts, so she had nothing left. She died $18,838.48 in debt. Her dad didn't want to sign papers so that she was considered or not considered a dependent or to get some sort of financial help.

My SIL too. Dead end jobs, no health insurance, no retirement. She's 65 years old now. She's screwed.

Good for you man that's the best way to put it. If you are going to be paying for them in the future you have the right to have some conversations. That's awesome man and I hope you know the Sun Shines on bright people like you.

Do you or your parents live in a filial responsibility state? If so, you have an obligation to provide for their retirement/medical expenses. A nursing home can take you to court in such states for failing to pay your parent's living expenses and in some states is even a crime.

This is not necessarily "their problem". Depending upon where you and they live, it could very easily become "your problem .

Woah. Didn't know that was a thing.

I had no idea this was a law either. Do you happen to know if it applies if you live in a state with no filial responsibility but the parents do?

Filial responsibility laws are rarely enforced.

I don't know about other states, but from what I understand Pennsylvania has enforced them relatively recently. In 2012 a court ruled against John Pittas and ordered him to pay his mother's $93,000 nursing home bill when his mother fled to Greece, since he was the only remaining family member still living in the US.

This is one of the few cases where the law actually was enforced. From what I've read about the case, there were some mitigating circumstances that caused the law to be enforced.

At one time as many as 45 states had filial support laws, but most were repealed, abandoned, or fell into obscurity, with the increase in importance for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, she said.

Original Poster3 points · 5 months ago

Nah, not to my knowledge. NC here.

It is, as of 1999. Sorry.

Did not know this was a thing. Thankfully the state my mom is in does not have filial responsibility laws. My dad's state does have these laws, but he's financially well taken care of. You gave me a big scare. WHEW!!

California hasn't enforced filial laws since 1973.

Thank God for that.

If the car purchased is for commuting, it's actually a good idea. It being your parents you should not confront them but rather ask if they need help. If your father is like many, this question alone will be a wake up call that his child is concerned for him, the parent.

Like others have said the sister seems to be the concern here.

It sounds to me like Sis hae access to transportation now.

3 points · 5 months ago

You can't control other people's money. Your dad has worked for many years - he will get a social security check. Hopefully they own their home. Their retirement will be modest.

4 points · 5 months ago

Not your problem. Don't get sucked into getting involved and don't let it upset you. Don't support it by giving them money. They are adults.

Maybe grandma's house is their "retirement" plan?

I would definitely not plan to help them. Your wife works, and it would be her $ helping to support a mother and sister who didn't work? Nope.

Original Poster1 point · 5 months ago

Grandma also rents a trailer. That's a no-go.

If they're open to it, sit down with them (including the sister (who is a very big part of the problem and will be the legacy your parents leave behind)) and have them write out their plan for the future.

It's my belief that there are a lot of us (I'm this way) that need to see the current status and future plan written on paper. Without it, we have some foggy notion that our current income will last indefinitely and our deficit spending will be fine until we pass away.

Besides that, my father refuses to allow her to work.

Your folks should just patent their time machine. Do help them choose good lawyers and accountants, though, they'll need quite a team!

If they don’t get their shit together, you, as the responsible child, are going to get stuck with taking care of them financially when they’re older. I’d talk to them about it ASAP, but come at them with proposals and suggestions instead of just criticisms

This is typical boomer behavior. Go through life without saving anything and retire at 67 and take from the young.

Not me. My goal is to leave as much as I can to my kids without living like a spinster. I do live a little.

Might get some hate for this; but your parents are only human. They are adults and have been so for quite some years. They are old enough and ugly enough to look after themselves.

If I were you, I would sit them down, and tell them straight. 'Your both adults, I have already gotten you a good job with decent pay. i dont need to keep propping you up'

At the end of the day, you shouldn't feel the need to parent your parents. They can look after themselves. Leave them be and let them get on with it. If you say no helping them out, then eventually they'll stop asking.

They have choosen to live like this, so let them live like it. Live your life, you only live once.

3 points · 5 months ago

It depends on your relationship with them. There are a lot of people out there that need applicable advice. Most of them would start hating me for nagging or making them feel stupid/inferior long before they ever took my advice. It's not worth making an enemy to try helping someone that doesn't want it. For example, my parents are frugal, but lazy and completely inept with personal finance. I can only make small suggestions here and there without them getting pissy. The suggestions can't require much effort on there part either or it will never happen. Please don't give them money. It would be like throwing fuel on a spending bonfire

PF Redditors, what should I do?

I think you've done all that you can. They are going to have to want to change in order to do so, and I'm honestly not seeing that motivation at this point.

Don’t wait. You don’t want to find out you are their retirement plan.

Do you have a financial advisor? Even if you don't, you can pretend your FA asked about your parents plans. Blame the FA for making you talk to your parents about their finances. If you do have an FA, maybe you can pay the FA to give your parents a "free" check up.

I am more concerned about the sister than your parents. I would have a conversation about her with them and advise them they are not helping her by letting her slide. Has she ever worked? Why did she drop out?

Why not talk to the sister?

I didn't say he can't talk to the sister but he needs to talk to the parents first, they are enabling her.

Yes please! My parents are in their 60s with no savings and only one works... It's scary shit

3 points · 5 months ago

There is probably nothing you can say that will convince them to change

Just protect yourself so they can't burn through your money. Explain to them that you won't have a way of taking care of them when they "get to where Granma is now"

If they are able to live on what your dad is making, your mom could get a job and put 100% of that into retirement savings. Just saying. I'm hoping their house is paid for, at least? Have your mom start listening to Dave Ramsey. Not even kidding.

Original Poster2 points · 5 months ago

Ironically, they hear Dave, but they don't listen. And no house, they live in a trailer park.

I suppose they have high lot rent too. Well, they can always live in subsidized housing and such.

Original Poster1 point · 5 months ago

Just rent. They don't own the trailer either.

Could you send them to FPU? Maybe they'd do better with structure and other people to talk to about it.

Ask you sister how she plans to survive after both of your parents are dead.

Doubt if that would work. If she ends up caring for her parents in later life she would do well to take some classes in how to do this and if her parents die young then she would be prepared for the growth job sector of elder care. If no one else in the family wants to step up then I would suggest if there are other siblings who don't want to provide this service then I would suggest you get together and figure out how to support the younger sister. For instance she could be paid out of a portion of her parents social security. There are also certain programs that will pay a family to be an in home care giver. With some help in budgeting she could work toward saving for her own retirement.

look at the cost of caretakers in home or assisted living and you can see the advantages of supporting a family member willing to take that role.

None of your business unless they ask for your help. Butt out.

You better say something, because there problem will be passed onto you, because they'll be mooching from you when things go wrong, from them getting old.

Just leave parents alone. They know and will manage with their life experiences even if not the best decisions. You aren’t responsible but can help a little bit but VERY limited. Finances and family create problems and careful opening that floodgate. Sister needs to learn to get on a path to get out, grow up and learn to live on her own and not become a product of a support system and welfare by parents. Sister on the other hand is very likely on path to long term problems due to no basic education, no work ethics or skills, no knowledge of handling finances, hopefully does not start leaning on you and others for support when mom/dad can’t do it anymore for one reason or another

Honestly they are adults, their children are adults, they are in their twilight years. They are the ones making these poor decision not you. And since they are your parents I'd say nothing. I believe the respecting your elders extends to respecting their right to make shitty choices you would never make, by silently allowing it to happen. I think that they raised you well,so mission accomplished. As far as the Christmas thing I got flack as well for trying to limit the purchase of gifts. I'd just let it slide, life's too short and it sounds like your previous coaching is falling on deaf ears

Sister needs to move out to a big city and given some support. She could try to build some skills at a place like General Assembly while waitressing or bartending (good money). But honestly location means a lot.

As for the parents, they might consider a loan to help them move closer. It's just to cover the cost of moving. Maybe with the sister out, they can look for a smaller place. Mom needs to take up a hobby which she can profit from. Like selling granola or food. She might want to start that by making friends at church or some other congregation. Or she can help clean houses which again, there needs to be q market for in the first place.

Most importantly, all parties need to want to change. You're well within your rights to tell them that you cannot support them if they don't have the same willingness to improve their situation.

Best of luck

Sounds like you have/will have powdered butt syndrome. Aka since your parents changed your diapers and powdered your butt, you cannot give them advice on finances. I agree with your mindset that you want the best for your parents. Most people hate to see their parents struggle. You may want to try more subtle approaches to make it think it is their idea. Like find one of the finance personalities like Dave Ramsey or Suzy Orman books and leave it at their house. Or find a friend of theirs or a pastor/priest if they attend their local church to talk to them. Hopefully others here have some good advice. I hope it all eventually works out for you.

Besides that, my father refuses to allow her to work.

How, and why?

Original Poster1 point · 5 months ago

They met when she was 14/15 and married when she was 17. My grandfather died when she was 12. While I think she's a great woman, it's obvious that my dad plays somewhat of a fatherly role and I think she'd be lost without him.

Your family is functioning. You aren't responsible for them and they seem to be helping each other. I mentioned before that there are programs that pay family members to care for older or disabled family to stay in home rather than assisted living facilities. If you could find out what is available and how to apply your mother might be eligible to receive income for what she does for grandmother. And this type of employment may be acceptable to your father as women's work. He would still be the breadwinner.

From my experience with aging men of a certain background, I doubt if you would change him. I would encourage you to keep good borders but stay in communication.

I've probably been harsh in letting my encroaching relatives know thatI won't give them money but I would help them problem solve. Both of my parents are dead now but they wouldn't take money from me anyway, much too proud. Two generations on there are a couple of family members who are now proud at all-- mainly just disappointed.

I'm not in the least distressed by the way they choose to live their lives. When I get peeved at them I sit down and come up with some other horrible thing to do to them in my estate plan. If they thought I was a tightfisted bitch alive, just wait until I'm dead.

It might be a cultural thing. In some Greek cultures for example it is considered an insult to your wife if she works.

Say something, but remember that delivery is everything. Play through the conversation in your head several times, pick the least abrasive language you can find and keep it short enough to not sound like a speech.

But say something.

My parents are 60/65 and I didn’t say something when I should have. The financial burden has shifted more to my wife and I and some of it could have been prevented if I had broken through to them.

The financial burden has shifted more to my wife and I and some of it could have been prevented if I had broken through to them.

For what it's worth, I've been the financially responsible one in my family since I was 23 years old and they were in their early 50's. I have tried. For years. Every which way. Some people...there is just no 'breaking through' to them. Even if you had said something earlier, there is no guarantee it would have made a bit of difference. I doubt it would have, tbh.

This sounds a lot like my wife’s parents. They both passed away within the last decade, and it was financially disastrous. Neither had life insurance, so their funerals were really draining on the family when they each passed. Also, my wife’s sister had been living rent free in the second floor apartment of their 2 family house, for 20 years, and they really needed that rental income. Their house had 2 mortgages on it. They were horrible with managing money, and it still has an effect on my wife to this day. Her sister continues to have money management problems as well. Fortunately, I’ve helped my wife learn better habits of financial responsibility.

Yes, by all means discuss this,persistently with them. Have separate conversations with your little sister.

15k is a lot of debt on their income. Have the hard conversation with them. Calculate what they are paying in cc interest and go over the numbers with them. Hopefully it's a wake up call. If not you did what you could.

I don't know that there is anything you can do. Their mindset is just that. Set.

Do they live anywhere near an affluent suburb? Mom and Sister could provide in-home child care for up to 4 kids without a permit/license in most areas.

Its not an ideal fix, but at least it would generate some income. If they're stuck in the mindset that women don't work outside the home, it may be where you are.

I feel your pain. My Mom is in her mid 70's, and does her best, but will never fully support herself. I end up subsidizing every month. Thankfully I'm in the position to be able to, but I feel bad for those that can't.

-2 points · 5 months ago · edited 5 months ago

Sometimes you can only do so much. The most important thing to remember is that your parents lived in a different generation, and their kids are all grown up. Your parents are more than likely waiting for social security to come in(more than likely when they hit a higher tier if your dad’s average income is $50k an year with your mother making nothing). Saving money is a mentality, and some people are either just too giving to save money or they just don’t know how. Personally, I was/still am horrible at saving money, but now I just throw all of my available money into my IRA account($1400 a month max), 401k, and investment/property accounts. The great thing about that is I am still riding that “I am broke” feeling, while being able to say my future is setup for success if I stick to my current plan. One thing to note: stock markets are a bit of a gamble.. I made $100,000 on WRES(Warren resources) in one day, then I lost $300,000 the next day when the stock crumbled because I didn’t have a minimum price before sale tracker set. Stuff like that can devastate a household(left a mental scar even with the tax deductions/benefits I received because of the loss in income). Long story short, it might be best to let them do their thing, and you do yours... when they need help or when they are ready to retire they may need your help which is where part of your savings will come into play if you let them move into your house. Old habits are hard to break which is why they say, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

24 points · 5 months ago

stock markets are a bit of a gamble.. I made $100,000 on WRES(Warren resources) in one day, then I lost $300,000 the next day when the stock crumbled because I didn’t have a minimum price before sale tracker set.

That is literally gambling. The film the Wolf of Wall Street is about these kinds of stocks. You shouldn't generalize your experience gambling on penny stocks to trading on the stock market as a whole. There are plenty of real businesses with real revenues but if you're going for the bottom of the barrel, you'll probably get scammed.

Even with a stop loss order, the order book might not have been deep enough to avoid your losing money.

-6 points · 5 months ago(5 children)
11 points · 5 months ago

Strongly consider only investing in low cost, diversified funds with a long term investment plan and appropriate risk tolerance.

Your day job likely doesn’t involve investing in the stock market, so you’re competing against professional traders when you gamble in the stock market.

Your comment suggests to me that you enjoy gambling with stocks, so you may want to consider budgeting a small separate portion of your new investment funds to these short term bets. For example, 10% of new funds can be used to gamble on these companies. However, if you do end up losing those funds, you shouldn’t invest more into them until you put away a larger portion of your funds into longer term investments.

Personally, I have a long term investment plan with a portfolio of low cost funds (mostly index funds) which I rebalance regularly to match my risk tolerance. I’m satisfied with the market return and I can invest the time and energy that I would have spent investigating individual stokcs into earning more money at my job.

I rely on CDs(1.4%apr on 18 months) and gold as ways to diversify my holdings. Bonds in my opinion are a rip off... My IRA is maxed every month as well. I wouldn’t say I was gambling vs making a high reward short term investment. I figured in February last year that Raytheon would be a good company to invest in because Yemen was sending ballistic missiles towards Saudi Arabia and they would more than likely invest hundreds of billions of dollars into missile defense(I was right). The alibaba @ ipo was in my opinion a safe investment because it was a well established ecommerce giant in China, and Jack Ma has said that he would like to make alibaba international. I would honestly have kept my money in alibaba for a long term investment, but a valued source recently told me that I should sell all and invest in twitter in the short term. It isn’t like I walk around without a financial advisor... I know how to manage and budget my money, but with my current income I doubt I will need to invest much to be “comfortable.” My day job is a tier 3 owner(4,000 legal plants).A lot of people try to make a “safe” investment, but I like to look for the facebooks of tomorrow. It is like finding a needle in a haystack, but I’m hoping that with research I can turn that issue into finding a needle in a haystack while using a big magnet.

Why would your financial advisor tell you to sell alibaba and buy Twitter of all stocks?

Not a financial advisor. Someone whose information I value more than a financial advisor

a valued source recently told me that I should sell all and invest in twitter in the short term.

uh huh. interesting.

Comment deleted5 months ago(0 children)
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