Welcome to Our Community

Wanting to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today. Already a member? Simply log in above.

Sign Up
  1. Ripped with HiiT Presale

Adult children financially supporting broke parents

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Aquajock, Oct 19, 2008.

  1. Aquajock Cathlete

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 1999
    Messages:
    4,446
    Likes Received:
    0
    I read an online article just now about the fact that there has been a steep uptick in the number of middle-aged adult children supporting one or both parents who are broke or close to it. This article very much hit home for me, as my own mother has been financially irresponsible all her life (sorry - I know that makes me sound like a puppy-kicker but it's true), as well as very indifferent to building a solid work history since our parents' divorce back in 1976. (Yes, 1976.)

    My older sister, who has always kind of been the Martha for my mother's life, has born the brunt of this problem, and it's a problem that does nothing but grow. In addition to being absolutely broke save her Social Security monthly payments, my mother is also morbidly obese due to her love of food and loathing of exercise. It's getting to the point where she has made herself a recluse in her tiny little efficiency apartment because of a combination of embarrassment about her appearance and the difficulties in simply standing up and walking.

    Sometimes, one's parents (one or both) are truly socked with a calamitous event that renders them destitute despite careful earning and savings habits. But increasingly in these post-modern times, I believe we are going to see a tsunami of aging spendsters who have never saved for a rainy day, who have leveraged themselves to the hilt, and their adult children are going to be expected to take care of things in addition to raising their own families and managing their own lives.

    What are the moral obligations here? I confess, I go around and around about it. On the one hand, I deeply resent the possibility that the hat will be passed to yours truly for the sole reason that I have scrimped and saved and gone to the effort of maintaining a stable worklife and lived underneath (well underneath) my means and now with DH have something to show for it. On the other hand . . . this is a parent we're talking about here. It's never easy and it's never clear.

    Is anyone else here facing this dilemma, or anticipating it? I would welcome everyone's comments and insights.

    TIA -

    A-Jock
     
    #1
  2. RapidBreath Cathlete

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2008
    Messages:
    4,520
    Likes Received:
    5
    from the other side of the equation

    For about 18 months now I've been living at home with my parents while I'm creating a new business (great timing I know.) I think the obligation starts and stops at a roof over their head and healthy food in the refrigerator. Thats it. No entertainment. I personally provide home cooked meals and clean the house in exchange for my folks supporting me during this time. I feel sorry for the mother in question, its really hard to get out of obesity once you are in it. A lot of people don't have the gumption and intelligence to do it. Its taken me the 18 months to lose nearly 70 pounds. And it was hard. I had to change my job and the process is emotionally draining. The chemistry that gets dumped into your system when you are losing weight (especially if you have ptsd) is toxic. My mother says I look like I was hit in the face (black dark circles) when I'm losing weight. Putting together a weight loss plan that works is not an easy thing. I was coming off of an injury and a high stress job ( I was working 20 hours a day and 6 days a week.) I had absolutely no confidence that anything would ever work. I heard a radio story about yoga helping people lose weight. I was going to prove that it just couldn't help at all. That it was bogus. I counted my calories, did 1200 calories a day and that night I did 10 min of yoga. The next morning I had lost 4 pounds of fat. I could see the divet in my upper abdominal area. ok. . I'll get down from my soap box. But you get the idea.
     
    #2
  3. Dela Cathlete

    Joined:
    May 29, 2008
    Messages:
    2,081
    Likes Received:
    0
    I worry about this everyday of my life. My father is fine, but my mother, I just don't know what will come. To your point, she's a parent, and no matter how much I don't want to financially support her, and I know I will resent it greatly, I can't let her end up homeless if it comes to that. It just stinks. In addition, my in-laws are not financially sound either, maybe even worse off.

    I'm not proud of it, but the idea of shelling out a couple thousand dollars a month, and reducing my future financial security and curbing my lifestyle to support all of these people makes me angry.
     
    #3
  4. DEEDEE2 Cathlete

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    Messages:
    257
    Likes Received:
    0
    A-Jock I so understand the position you are in. My mother (and I love her to death) is basically the same way. I ended up filing chapter 7 a few years ago because I had to struggle to pay for her living as well as mine and I was doing everything in my power to NOT have her come live with me. It is so hard when it is family, you know they need to get off their butts and take care of themselves but still, how do you let them just end up in the street? Especially a parent?

    So basically for a year and a half I was paying the househould expenses for two homes and it killed me. When I had to file, she acted as if that was just too bad so I've learned my lesson. I will never so much a loan her a dollar again. She is on her own, if she needs help due to her health failing I will do what I can but I will never go in to debt for someone else again.
     
    #4
  5. Massaging Mom Cathlete

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    Messages:
    334
    Likes Received:
    0
    Growing up in a tightly knit Asian community in America, it would be considered a great shame if I sent my mother to a nursing home or didn't take care of her. My father is no longer living. Belive me, if it happens, it won't be emotionally easy. My mother can be bossy and demanding. However, I was far from the perfect child when she raised me. I highly doubt that I would be resentful. I might not consider it a blessing at the time. I might not consider it an opportunity for growth either.:eek::D Family is too important to me to not give back to the woman who birthed and raised me to the best of her abilities. My mother is more valuable than money.
     
    #5
  6. dbelden1 Cathlete

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2008
    Messages:
    1,122
    Likes Received:
    0
    You are NOT alone

    A-Jock: Did you get my ESP message??? I have been pondering this point after a recent conversation with my DF who recently borrowed money from us (and another long time friend of his) and in the process of "remodeling" his house has managed to run out of money and can't finish! He has never been known to make sound business decisions, caused major financial stress to his now ex-wife, and now straining our relationship due to financial issues. About a year ago walked away with a just shy of 6 figure divorce settlement from his ex-wife (who was a financial genious apparently), all of which was gone within a few short months... will not divulge what happen to it... which totally pi$$ed me off when he had the guts to ask to borrow money! ...but I did it anyway, with his assurance that he was fixing up his house to sell and would be paying me back shortly... I was STUPID!!! Hind sight is 20/20 I guess.

    I have been blessed with a good head on my shoulders, ambition to work hard, and a great job with great pay and bonuses. I work hard for what I have! Why does that now make me responsible for the rest of my family who do not have these drives? I do what I can, am not a scrooge, but absolutely do not remotely feel the need to be the "go-to girl" when their financial lives fall apart. I can sympathize and truly empathize with their (and your) situation. It is not a warm fuzzy place to be... and only arrive at this decision after finding out that all the money in the world thrown at the problem will NEVER be the answer and in most cases only exaserbates the issue.

    I submitted a thread a month or two ago about my sister who also could be a clone of your mother, who asked me for a "loan" (yeah right, who are you kidding here???) to which I received unanimous support with the cry "HELL NO!"" by everyone on the forum! It is called "ENABLING"... and I have yet to find someone that says "what's wrong with you? You should be throwing money at your family to bail them out if you have the means!" It has been a constant internal struggle because you definately do NOT want to see anyone on your family struggle or be homeless either...

    I do not consider you a puppy-kicker, nor do I believe that the "responsible and financially secure" sibling/child should be responsible for the support of irresponsible family members! I worked HARD to get where I am at this point in my life and I'll be darned if I will reward the bad choices of others and potentially jeopardize my own position in these ever-changing difficult times.

    If that makes me a bad person, then so be it. I guess I would feel very different if it were due to physical limitations (NOT of their own making) or something that they could not do anything about, but I flat out refuse to be sucked into the notion any longer that I am morally obligated to bail out any family member that could actually do something about their situation and do not!

    RapidBreath: I would not exactly consider you on the opposite side of this issue.. I say this because I have read some of your other posts and this one here, and the difference I see is that you are contributing and working towards being independent! that says LOADS about you! There is no EXPECTATION of someone else taking "care" of you, nor do you allow your parents to do everything for you! Herein lies the difference. In my family, with my sister especially, she is totally CAPABLE of working, but has excuse after excuse, of why she can't keep a job, pay her rent each month, etc... It's called taking responsiblity for your actions... if something isn't working the way you are doing something, QUIT DOING IT THE SAME WAY! It's not a difficult concept for the majority of us, but oh so difficult for those in the "ME generation" and era of entitlement.

    DELA: I feel your pain, and loathe the day that I will be forced to deal with my father. The day WILL come... and sooner than I could ever imagine I'm sure...

    There definately is no easy answer to this but more and more people in this unstable financial time will be in the same boat...
     
    #6
  7. Sunshine1528 Cathlete

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2008
    Messages:
    1,923
    Likes Received:
    2
    I have no parents that are living and my father taught me well how to be financially sound. My brother and I are doing well compared to most our age. If all continues pretty stabily, we will be comfortable when we retire.

    And my in laws have done well also. We may someday be helping out with them but there are 6 children so we won't bear the entire brunt.

    That being said, I cannot relate at this time - but deep in my heart would agree that I would do what needed to be done. However, I would most likely be regretful and angry if I had to help someone who has never helped themself and continues to refuse to do so. That doesn't sit right with me.

    Then again, my kids are not totally self sufficient either and only put in part of the effort they need to in order to succeed. That is almost parallel to what you are speaking of.

    I feel for all of you who will have that decision to make.
     
    #7
  8. melanalyus Cathlete

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 1999
    Messages:
    4,253
    Likes Received:
    0
    Although I am currently not supporting my parents, I have watched them repeatedly make bad money decisons. They have no desire, at this point, to be out of debt. They make statements like, "We'll never be able to pay off the house anyway, we owe more than it's worth" or "Dad would like to retire, but we have nothing saved".

    It's difficult to watch, but they have been so irresponsible....and they did not help me at ALL the 9+ years I went to college, or when DH & I had no money for mortgage or food.

    With that said, I will do all I can to help them withough putting my immediate family in danger. I owe $150K in student loans, and have my own 3 children to help with college. I also want to be financially responsible so I can survive at retirement!!
     
    #8
  9. sparrow13 Cathlete

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Messages:
    1,335
    Likes Received:
    0
    My parents live with me, or rather, in the cottage on my property. They do pay rent, and I don't financially support them per se, but their financial situation is not that great, due to a series of circumstances, including poor financial planning on their part. My parents have always been there for me, and while there are days, mostly I am glad to be able to repay that debt by offering them a cute, inexpensive place to live. You do what you have to do. Plus my mom sends food over. :D

    We had this conversation here a few years back, and I said then that my goal in dealing with my parents as they age is to look back and not be ashamed of my own behavior. Keeping that in mind makes me more patient and compassionate.

    Sparrow
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2008
    #9
  10. Aquajock Cathlete

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 1999
    Messages:
    4,446
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for everyone's responses! I do hope more will contribute, as I still roller-coaster with this issue. I must admit that, usually, my mental mode is that my mother has created her own reality and she must live with it. My sister in earlier years used to pressure me a lot more to "help Mom out", seldom acknowledging how damned often Mom needed "helping out". Sis has pulled back from that somewhat. (One of the dysfunctional dynamics of my own family of origin is its financial cripples' habit of relying on my older sister to pass the hat on their behalf, rather than they themselves sucking it up and asking me themselves. And my sister not only participates in this, I think she fosters it.)

    I think this is such an uber-hot-button topic with me because usually the popular journalism points to the selfish younger set that is creating the "full-nest syndrome" for beleagured mature parents; the selfish younger set moving back home after college (that Mom/Dad paid for) because they aren't willing to go without the creature comforts a mature home provides. Articles like the one I read that sparked me original post are much rarer, and they shouldn't be. Financial loserdom is a pan-generational phenomenon, but parents in general and mothers in particular seem to get a free pass in terms of THEIR moral and fiscal obligation.

    Again, I do hope to read more contributions. One thing I'm trying to stay away from is only focusing on those responses that echo my own mindset. This is a reality that ain't goin' away anytime soon, and I value the input of my fellow Cathe-ites.

    A-Jock
     
    #10
  11. Travisli Cathlete

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2008
    Messages:
    401
    Likes Received:
    0
    My parents are divorced - my mother is responsible with her money, my father is not. I have "loaned" my father money in the past and would do it again if it meant food and/or shelter for him. Anything else, I would have to say no.

    My husband's parents are not very responsible either and recently moved from Oregon to Palm Springs, on kind of a whim. My brother in law that lives in San Francisco also has a house in Palm Springs. The in-laws went to Palm Springs to visit and decided to just move. The house they lived in in Oregon was bought by my brother in law, he also bought the house they now live in in Palm Springs. The first 6 months they lived down there my BIL subsidized their income by $2,000 a month so they could meet their bills, eat, etc. They both still kind of work selling real estate, however they were established in Oregon and have literally had to start all over in Palm Springs. For the past 6 months my BIL's subsidization has increased to $5,000 a month.

    I resent the situation for him. He's a good guy but he bears the burden in the family as the "go to guy" because he is so financially well off. I find that offensive and appaling and have verbally voiced my opinion multiple times over the course of my 22 years as a part of the family. Still it doesn't change.

    I do understand helping our parents, they raised us and sacrificed what they did when they did it. I would never deny my parents or my husbands parents help if it meant food, shelter or health -- but unnecessary things done on a whim don't fall into that category.

    My BIL has mixed feelings about it, but ultimately he will always help his parents because he is able. I just question how much is enough.

    Travis
     
    #11
  12. nancy324 Cathlete

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 1999
    Messages:
    12,519
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have an aunt like this. She and her husband always lived beyond their means, owning big showy houses to impress the neighbors. They got in trouble for tax fraud or something and are now destitute. It was a very dysfunctional family, but one of the two kids had a good job and was able to save some money. They took him for every penny he had. He lost his credit rating, and had to bail himself out of debt. I generally refer to people like this as "eating their young".

    As far as I'm concerned, you do not bring children into this world to benefit you. Everyone has the obligation to plan for their own future. Parents should support kids, but it should not be the other way around. I may be the worst puppy-kicker of all, but I think it's part of the responsibility of parenthood.

    Eating your young is for fish. Not for humans.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2008
    #12
  13. beth6395 Cathlete

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2006
    Messages:
    1,276
    Likes Received:
    0
    Amazing I could have wrote this myself. My hubby mails his mom large amounts of money and come to find out his brother sends little to nothing and now her brother is too. She is also morbidly overweight, health issues, and no exercise.

    This is a big problem and my husband can not understand why I am so upset, we have no health ins and no dental come on we are living in Florida to work.

    His mom in law was so he!! bent on getting even with my hubbys step-dad because he wanted a divorce and look where it got her he doesn't want anything to do with the boys and now my children are suffering he doesn't want to meet them and she is getting nothing from him and spent all the settlement money.

    I could go on and on but I am in it and live it. He doesn't understand she wants to live the life she use to and if everyone gives ger money why go get a job live off your kids and the state. She had to stop watching my kids while I was in school and I had to quit because she had to go get a job. Thats been one year now.
     
    #13
  14. Farmer Cathlete

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2006
    Messages:
    293
    Likes Received:
    0
    Aquajock don't feel like a puppy kicker. I am in the same boat as you. My parents could be financially responsible and make good decisions but they don't. In the height of the real estate boom, they should have sold the family house and made a profit of at least $300,000. Did they do it? No! Now they can barely afford the house, have very little money for extras and drive a car that was given to them.

    I am afraid that since I am the oldest that I will be called on for help. If necessary, I will help them find subsidized housing and help them with food and utilities. It makes me angry that I am more responsible than they are. You have to find your level of comfort with this situation and not let anyone make you feel bad about your decision.
     
    #14
  15. EricaH Cathlete

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 1999
    Messages:
    1,280
    Likes Received:
    0
     
    #15
  16. nancy324 Cathlete

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 1999
    Messages:
    12,519
    Likes Received:
    0
    I can only imagine how hard it must be, Erica. Your dad sounds like he can easily qualify for Medicaid for his medical expenses. If he can't live on his social security, then offer him an air mattress on the living room floor and let him dine with the family. You'll be giving him a roof over his head and 3 squares a day. Honestly, I wouldn't give him any money though. You just don't have it to give.
     
    #16
  17. dragonf1y Cathlete

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2008
    Messages:
    243
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am also in the position of parents who I love, but who do not make wise financial decisions. I am a big believer that those who pay the money make the rules. It bothers me to read articles that say that when adult children move back in with their parents, because they are adult the parents are 'required' to respect their space and decisions. When you live off of your parents hard work, they make the rules. I believe the reverse applies as well. When parents look for financial support to their kids, the kids get to make the rules.
    I know that when my parents need help, I will require them to do for themselves first, sell the big house, sell the boat and the extra furniture needed for a big house. Then if they still need help after downsizing their house, I will likely only provide things, not money. Example: I will probably add them to my health insurance, and pay a percentage of the rent IF they are working to contribute. My parents have raised and loved me my whole live, to make me the responsible person that I am (often by showing me what NOT to do with my money). I pray that I will be able to lovingly help them when they need it without enabling dependency.
     
    #17
  18. sparrow13 Cathlete

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Messages:
    1,335
    Likes Received:
    0
    This I completely agree with. My mom is used to being the Queen Bee in her own house and yard, so I have had to make it really clear that this is *our* property, and while we want them to be happy and content living in the cottage, what we say goes.

    What I find frustrating is that my folks cry poverty but continue to buy stuff that they don't really need. And then my mom makes comments to me like, "I wish I could afford to buy organic/fair trade/local like YOU do." She doesn't get it that I have food dollars to put towards that stuff because I budget it that way; I'd rather spend my $8.00 on a lb on fair trade organic coffee than spend it on 2 boxes of Wheat Thins. My mom, on the other hand, always has 6 or 7 different boxes of pretzels, crackers, sesame snacks, kettle corn etc. in the cabinet, not to mention the prepackaged stuff in the freezer that she loves for convenience.

    Sparrow
     
    #18
  19. carrie123 Cathlete

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    Messages:
    772
    Likes Received:
    0
    Wow, talk about hitting close to home...

    I am 35 years old, my mother is 56, I have supported my mother on and off for the last 10, yes TEN years, all except 2 years when she tried living on her own, became obsese and got drunk almost every night. It was so destructive.

    It started after I told her I could never visit her again when I caught my uncle, (who she was staying with),her brother , sexually molesting my 3 year baby girl.

    <Social services, police and doctors were all contacted on my part for my baby>

    A few months later before I even knew what had happened, my father (they're divorced) was helping my mother move in with me, my dh and my two kids on base housing.

    It's been extremely hard. And yes, resentful feelings are there. She works seasonally as a laundry worker, and doesn't feel the need to pay rent. Although this last year I've really had to put my foot down. I'm still trying to get her to get her GED, and get a better, year round job. It'd be nice if she found a guy friend she could share her life with. She is on medication for depression, Lexapro. (Now I am too:(:()

    I have gone through every possible emotion over this. If you need more insight, I'd be glad to illuminate.

    It's been very hard, and I'm not sure why I do it, because I really don't remember her being a good mother growing up. She did some pretty sadistic things. We get along alright, but the question of "WHY", always comes to mind.

    Carrie
     
    #19

Share This Page