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Kanin

My mom is retiring, but can't afford it

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My mom is retiring this year at age 67. She has worked her tail off her whole life, as a stay at home mom, then as a single working mom, and THEN as a single working mom with two jobs - 8am-5pm, and then 6-11pm, for years. She finally got her dream job about 15 years ago, and has loved every part of it. Now she's retiring, because it's just become too much with a bad knee, late nights (she works in the arts), and a lot of physical requirements. So she's retiring, and I'm happy for her, because she deserves it. 

HOWEVER, despite working her butt off for her whole life, her social security payment will be so, so small. Like, enough to pay rent (which is REALLY low, thanks to a family friend), and groceries and some basic utilities, if she's very frugal. I'm heartbroken that she has worked so hard and now will basically live just above the poverty line. She can't quite qualify for SNAP benefits, but she would if she made just a smidge less each month. She is resigned to getting a part time job to supplement her income, which will help, but it's just a bummer after all she's been through. 

So I want to help by paying some of her bills, which is not ideal for either of us, but there you go. She definitely needs the supplemental plans in addition to Medicare, but I don't understand it at all. How does a person get dental coverage? There seem to be a million different things to arrange, and I'm so clueless. 

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Look up your local Council on Aging and they should have resources to help (may have a slightly different name). 

If at all possible, I would gift my mom varying amounts of cash throughout the year. This way, she won't come to 100% depend on getting a set amount each month, in case something comes up in your life and you can no longer do it. 

She definitely needs to tell the people she's currently working with, and everyone else in her world, that she will be looking for part-time work. You too, if you're local. Getting the word out there in advance, in every possible way, it increases her chances of finding something good. 

15 years is a lot of experience. Might she enjoy offering workshops in her area of expertise (for pay) to various art organizations, and other non-profits as applicable?

If you're able to share a bit more on what her current job involves, the board might come up with some good ideas for part-time work. 

I haven't delved into it deeply, but AARP has some resources for senior workers and they do virtual job fairs. She might be able to get something from home, particularly if she's open to doing telephone work as a customer service representative. 

 

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Some things:

-if she is willing to move, have her look into state supplemented senior apartments; these aren't nursing homes, but subsidized rent; that's been a life saver for my mom in this situation. Her rent is roughly $250/mo for a very nice one bedroom apartment. If your state has something like that, it could be an option to help. 

-have her ask about senior assist programs with the various utilities companies; many/most offer some level of assistance which she may qualify for

-have her talk to a Medicare person; sometimes at the library they'll have someone give talks/info sessions on this. My mom *just* learned of a plan that includes dental (one of the supplemental plans I guess), and also learned that if she applied for Medicaid, and was denied, it would trigger a thing that pays her supplemental plan premium. I would assume that is nation wide since those are both federal programs. 

I have not helped her figure out Medicare, so not sure how to guide you on that. It seems ridiculously complicated. 

-if she's driving, but not a lot, see if her car insurance will be able to decline based on her new "miles per year" info; that can affect the rate and could be favorable for her since she won't be driving to/from work each day anymore

-also, if she was married to your father for over X number of years, she is actually able to draw on her spouse benefits even though they are no longer married; have her look into that if she's not already filed/claimed her own (my mom had the social security office run the numbers for her on her own benefits, her spouse benefits under my dad's name, and her spouse benefits under my  stepdad's name, to see which one was highest; they then let her claim that one) (I have no idea the ins/outs of how she got them to do that, just that she did); it may be possible that her payment will be more than she thinks if she is able to claim it that way

(I think she had to have been married for 10 yrs to use this)

I hope some of that helps! My mom is in a very similar situation. 

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Call your County Office of the Aging; they can hook you up with resources.

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Do not ever give your mom money. This shows that you are willing to support her and can have a huge effect on her qualifying for things now or in the future. Some states will count your income against her if you open that door.

You can buy her food, pay her electric bill, buy her big ticket items like cars. Do not pay her rent and under no circumstances should you ever pay her medical bills and don't ever give her money. 

This has nothing to do with trusting your mom, there are just legal ways that hospitals etc. can come after you.

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17 minutes ago, Slache said:

You can buy her food, pay her electric bill, buy her big ticket items like cars. Do not pay her rent and under no circumstances should you ever pay her medical bills and don't ever give her money.

Thank you for this - I didn't even think of it. I was actually considering paying some of her supplemental insurance. Would that be bad? Other options are car insurance, utility bills, groceries. 

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40 minutes ago, katilac said:

She definitely needs to tell the people she's currently working with, and everyone else in her world, that she will be looking for part-time work. You too, if you're local. Getting the word out there in advance, in every possible way, it increases her chances of finding something good. 

15 years is a lot of experience. Might she enjoy offering workshops in her area of expertise (for pay) to various art organizations, and other non-profits as applicable?

If you're able to share a bit more on what her current job involves, the board might come up with some good ideas for part-time work. 

I haven't delved into it deeply, but AARP has some resources for senior workers and they do virtual job fairs. She might be able to get something from home, particularly if she's open to doing telephone work as a customer service representative. 

These are great ideas, thank you. She is an expert seamstress (a big part of her job), so teaching classes in that area is a possibility. 

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41 minutes ago, TheReader said:

-if she is willing to move, have her look into state supplemented senior apartments; these aren't nursing homes, but subsidized rent; that's been a life saver for my mom in this situation. Her rent is roughly $250/mo for a very nice one bedroom apartment. If your state has something like that, it could be an option to help. 

 

Yes, she has this option in her town... not sure how nice it is. She can definitely check it out when things calm down. I didn't even think about lowering car insurance, thanks. And yes, she was married for over 10 years, but her SS benefit is actually larger than my father's, go figure. 

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2 minutes ago, Kanin said:

Thank you for this - I didn't even think of it. I was actually considering paying some of her supplemental insurance. Would that be bad? Other options are car insurance, utility bills, groceries. 

I have no idea about the insurance. Sorry. Car insurance is fine.

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1 minute ago, Slache said:

I have no idea about the insurance. Sorry. Car insurance is fine.

In that case, I could contribute to car insurance, cell phone, internet, electricity. Now my DH is all in a fluster about our OWN social security earnings, and how paying for mom's stuff will reduce our own lifetime earnings. Ugh!! He's willing to do it, because he loves my mom, but now he's freaked out, too. 

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9 minutes ago, Kanin said:

Thank you for this - I didn't even think of it. I was actually considering paying some of her supplemental insurance. Would that be bad? Other options are car insurance, utility bills, groceries. 

Do not pay anything directly. Give her cash gifts for her birthday, Christmas, Mother's Day, Grandparents' Day, heck, 4th of July, whatever. But give her random GIFTS of cash and do not pay bills for her. 

 

8 minutes ago, Kanin said:

These are great ideas, thank you. She is an expert seamstress (a big part of her job), so teaching classes in that area is a possibility. 

Oh man, that's a great skill! She can make pretty good money doing stuff as simple as hemming pants and mending tears. Hemming pants is never less than $10 around here and can be quite a bit more, like up to $25. If she enjoys the more elaborate sewing or mending, she can certainly offer that as well. If she's good at ironing, she can probably get as much work as she wants - the person I know who irons on the side is offered way more work than she cares to take. 

 

Edited by katilac
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1 minute ago, katilac said:

If she's good at ironing, she can probably get as much work as she wants - the person I know who irons on the side is offered way more work than she cares to take. 

 

Wow, who knew ironing was so big! 

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1 minute ago, katilac said:

Do not pay anything directly. Give her cash gifts for her birthday, Christmas, Mother's Day, Grandparents' Day, heck, 4th of July, whatever. But give her random GIFTS of cash and do not pay bills for her. 

Will do - I guess that's all around safer, since I don't really understand what I can pay for and what I can't, that would potentially cause trouble. I'm having trouble putting my mom in the "elderly" category... it just doesn't seem to fit yet.

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FWIW, I pay a lot of my dad’s bills and gift him cash.  There have been no assistance related or other averse implications here for me doing so. 

The only way this works long term is moving into a subsidized housing project for seniors or living with family.  She can’t get by if her SS check just covers rent.  My dad lives in such a place.  It’s a small 1bdfm in a desirable area.  His rent is $300 and change.  

The other suggestion I have: if she was married for more than 10 years, it may work out that the spousal benefit on her ex-husband’s SS account is larger than her benefit calculated on her own account.  She should check,  she is eligible to draw whichever one is higher.   

Edited by LucyStoner
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9 minutes ago, Kanin said:

In that case, I could contribute to car insurance, cell phone, internet, electricity. Now my DH is all in a fluster about our OWN social security earnings, and how paying for mom's stuff will reduce our own lifetime earnings. Ugh!! He's willing to do it, because he loves my mom, but now he's freaked out, too. 

What you give her won't effect your SS. Is that the concern?

Going to be completely callous here. Getting a decent life insurance policy will fix that problem. Sorry.

8 minutes ago, katilac said:

Do not pay anything directly. Give her cash gifts for her birthday, Christmas, Mother's Day, Grandparents' Day, heck, 4th of July, whatever. But give her random GIFTS of cash and do not pay bills for her. 

Why?

Eta: Specifically, why absolutely zero bills?

Edited by Slache
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3 minutes ago, Slache said:

What you give her won't effect your SS. Is that the concern?

 

I'm not concerned at all, but DH has a habit of saying things like, "if we put this $1500 in a high-yield savings account, it'll be X in X years, but if we DON'T, it's a missed opportunity, won't do anything for us," etc. He's currently worried about how much his own job pays, and how that will change his personal SS benefit. Gifting my mom concerns him because of the potential lost income from putting that money towards something that will grow the money.  I see his point, but it drives me a bit bonkers at times. 

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On car insurance....does she need a car?  The young people I know are dropping theirs if they can Uber or use the public transport.   The cost of insurance is so high that they save money..they generally let the car go when it needs the next major repair.  Grocery delivery here is $5, in a rural area.

Don't gift until the financial plan is made.  The seniors have tremendous public resources. Sign her up for Meals on Wheels, etc thru the Office of the Aging. Your husband and you are obligated to plan for your retirement, so use these public resources so you aren't placed between a rock and a hard place at age 57 because you contributed to someone else's lifestyle.

Edited by HeighHo
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I'll just speak to the emotional side and say I have a friend in her 80s who works at the Y. She sits at a desk as a greeter. It sucks to have to work at that age (like your mom she's single), but it gives her good social. I have an older aunt who took part time work when she retired too. In fact, she even added volunteer work, getting trained as a reading tutor. If your mom could get some training like that, she might be able to work less hours. I actually really like older workers for my ds. She might find there's a market for her level of wizened experience if she can find a way to repurpose/retrain. RBT training is under $100 and can get you a reasonable salary and all the hours you want. She could be picky at that point, because she'd be in high demand.

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2 minutes ago, Kanin said:

Gifting my mom concerns him

Sounds like a source of problems if you push it. 

It's ok for her to work at a task she's physically capable of doing. It might even be healthier for her mentally. 

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3 minutes ago, HeighHo said:

On car insurance....does she need a car?  The young people I know are dropping theirs if they can Uber or use the public transport.   The cost of insurance is so high that they save money..they generally let the car go when it needs the next major repair.  Grocery delivery here is $5, in a rural area.

Yes... rural area. Her insurance is low, luckily. 

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1 minute ago, PeterPan said:

Sounds like a source of problems if you push it. 

 

Could be... we have very different worry-about-the-future levels. I think we've got a while to get a handle on things, and are doing pretty fine actually, and he thinks every minute not taking advantage of every opportunity is a mistake. My plan is to somehow make a lot of money so it won't bother either of us 😁

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Just now, Kanin said:

Yes... rural area. Her insurance is low, luckily. 

 

Do the cost-benefit analysis. Most people find they don't need the vehicle.  Include maintenance, gas, and insurance and figure out what's being paid per mile per month.  Then they realize they can't see so well at night and half of what they thought they were going to use the car for isn't there.

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Just now, Kanin said:

My plan is to somehow make a lot of money so it won't bother either of us 😁

That's my plan too! Go us!

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5 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

I'll just speak to the emotional side and say I have a friend in her 80s who works at the Y. She sits at a desk as a greeter. It sucks to have to work at that age (like your mom she's single), but it gives her good social.

Oh yes, I think so. I know she'll miss the social a lot more than the work, when she retires! Luckily... kinda... because of the pandemic, everyone is isolated, so she doesn't feel like the only one out of the loop. 

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Just now, HeighHo said:

Do the cost-benefit analysis. Most people find they don't need the vehicle.  Include maintenance, gas, and insurance and figure out what's being paid per mile per month.  Then they realize they can't see so well at night and half of what they thought they were going to use the car for isn't there.

A rural area means more expensive Uber trips. And if she works several days a week that's going to be a bad idea.

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Just now, Slache said:

That's my plan too! Go us!

Yea!! Now we know we should get started on the plan ASAP 😂

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4 minutes ago, Slache said:

A rural area means more expensive Uber trips. And if she works several days a week that's going to be a bad idea.

I'm rural.  Rural varies.  The county subsidized transportation is restricted to seniors, so there is that option for doctor visits.  Grocer delivers - at $5 per delivery its less than a car trip. Uber is there to get to church or in to town for meeting friends if someone can't pick you up on the way.

If she's working she isn't retired.  I'm answering the original question on being retired. However, f the job doesn't pay enough to support a vehicle, then one of them has to go.

Edited by HeighHo
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30 minutes ago, Slache said:

 Why?

Eta: Specifically, why absolutely zero bills?

I put my main reason in my first post: a gift is a gift, offering to pay bills for her is a commitment. I would not want to be in the position of having someone rely on my money to pay their monthly bills, because I don't know what will happen in the future. Perhaps dh or I get laid off, perhaps someone in our family gets a medical condition that is expensive to treat. I would give cash gifts for holidays if that's the most beneficial, but I'd also vary the amounts, make them a bit random (again, so she doesn't mentally plan that she will have X amount of money because a holiday is coming up). Or it doesn't have to be tied to holidays at all, it might even be better to say that dh had a very good quarter at work and we wanted to give this to you. 

By gifting my parents $300, they can use it however they like, including paying bills if needed. But I think it's a bad idea for someone's retirement plan to include relying on a relative to give them money, because it may not always be possible. If you give specific amounts regularly, it's almost impossible for the recipient to not start counting on getting that money. 

Of course, if my parent were in need, I would do whatever had to be done. But I would also try very hard to not be put in a position where they count on me to pay certain bills. Both because it's pressure on me and my family, and because I could be hit by a bus tomorrow, and then where would they be? 

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28 minutes ago, Kanin said:

 he thinks every minute not taking advantage of every opportunity is a mistake.  

Is he perhaps a touch OCD? 

27 minutes ago, Kanin said:

Oh yes, I think so. I know she'll miss the social a lot more than the work, when she retires! Luckily... kinda... because of the pandemic, everyone is isolated, so she doesn't feel like the only one out of the loop. 

Is she currently working and/or getting paid? 

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3 minutes ago, katilac said:

Is he perhaps a touch OCD? 

 

Hahaha, well, yes. About certain things 🙂

4 minutes ago, katilac said:

Is she currently working and/or getting paid? 

She's working through the summer.

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1 hour ago, Kanin said:

I'm not concerned at all, but DH has a habit of saying things like, "if we put this $1500 in a high-yield savings account, it'll be X in X years, but if we DON'T, it's a missed opportunity, won't do anything for us," etc. He's currently worried about how much his own job pays, and how that will change his personal SS benefit. Gifting my mom concerns him because of the potential lost income from putting that money towards something that will grow the money.  I see his point, but it drives me a bit bonkers at times. 

Well you really need to sit down and see where you are at for emergency funds and retirement, college for kid(s) (assuming since you're on this board).  Intending on earning a bunch is great. But like we're learning this year, you can't always control the economy and earning potential.  And I learned from my father, you can't always control when you're going to retire.  My dad was forced to retire in his 50's due to health issues.    You aren't doing yourself or your own kids any favors if you aren't planning for your own future.  I would walk down every road toward services possible with your mom and it's great if she can find something she enjoys part time that might fulfill some social needs too.  If you don't have a solid planned budget with savings in place, it may be helpful for you to sit down with a financial advisor.  We did that 4-5 years before our oldest went to college and it was extremely helpful for planning.  We paid someone as a consultant, but control our own portfolio based on recommendations.  

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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59 minutes ago, HeighHo said:

I'm rural.  Rural varies.  The county subsidized transportation is restricted to seniors, so there is that option for doctor visits.  Grocer delivers - at $5 per delivery its less than a car trip. Uber is there to get to church or in to town for meeting friends if someone can't pick you up on the way.

If she's working she isn't retired.  I'm answering the original question on being retired. However, f the job doesn't pay enough to support a vehicle, then one of them has to go.

I’m not picking on you here, just using this to say that the lady is ONLY 67, guys. That’s not elderly, lol. Dh is nearly that age, and there’s no way we’d want to rely on uber. People 65+ don’t just go to the grocery store or church, people that age use vehicles to do what most everyone else uses them for. Shopping, visitingfriends, vacation trips, seeing their kids, taking the dog to the park or vet, restaurants, etc. 

I realize  she said her mom has bad knees, but she’s potentially got 20 years of life left! Finding less expensive housing or deals is great, but I’d never consider going car-less for a rural 67 year old. 

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Because of her age, I am wondering if she qualifies for taking her spousal benefits while letting her own grow until she turns 70? If she was born before January 2, 1954, she can file a restricted application. This would allow her own amount to grow another 24% per month.

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Definitely have her make an appointment with the office of aging. They can find the best fit Medicare plan for her income, they can tell her how much savings she can have and still qualify for any help. There are programs that will pay for part D Medicare, meds, for those that are just above the Medicaid cut-off.

Is there a county senior lunch program? Here they serve lunches for $3, I think. They don’t sound yummy, but there’s usually a lot of cars there so I imagine they’re enjoying the fellowship.

I think a person can receive up to $5,000/year without having to declare it on taxes?? 

I know things are shut down now, but is there a local, indoor pool that offers exercise classes? That would be good for her knees. And again here, there’s a super low cost to people her age for YMCA membership, maybe that would be a nice gift?

And if she needs help with groceries, the rural areas often have mobile food banks once or twice a month. There are several here, combined with church food-banks. The days are listed in our local free paper, and it’s possible to get groceries from them once or twice a week, as most don’t require that you live in the hamlet. During the mid to latesummer they get very popular, I used to think they were carnivals because there’s always a striped tent, but it’s just extra popular because of all the fresh produce being offered.

Edited by Dotwithaperiod
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23 minutes ago, Dotwithaperiod said:

I’m not picking on you here, just using this to say that the lady is ONLY 67, guys. That’s not elderly, lol. Dh is nearly that age, and there’s no way we’d want to rely on uber. People 65+ don’t just go to the grocery store or church, people that age use vehicles to do what most everyone else uses them for. Shopping, visitingfriends, vacation trips, seeing their kids, taking the dog to the park or vet, restaurants, etc. 

I realize  she said her mom has bad knees, but she’s potentially got 20 years of life left! Finding less expensive housing or deals is great, but I’d never consider going car-less for a rural 67 year old. 

 

it doesn't matter what the age, as I said when I noted that young 20s are also in this situation. If you can't afford the lifestyle, you make changes.  You don't make your children into another spouse or parent, asking for handouts so you may live without being inconvenienced while they toil in your service. 

Edited by HeighHo
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1 hour ago, katilac said:

I put my main reason in my first post: a gift is a gift, offering to pay bills for her is a commitment. I would not want to be in the position of having someone rely on my money to pay their monthly bills, because I don't know what will happen in the future. Perhaps dh or I get laid off, perhaps someone in our family gets a medical condition that is expensive to treat. I would give cash gifts for holidays if that's the most beneficial, but I'd also vary the amounts, make them a bit random (again, so she doesn't mentally plan that she will have X amount of money because a holiday is coming up). Or it doesn't have to be tied to holidays at all, it might even be better to say that dh had a very good quarter at work and we wanted to give this to you. 

By gifting my parents $300, they can use it however they like, including paying bills if needed. But I think it's a bad idea for someone's retirement plan to include relying on a relative to give them money, because it may not always be possible. If you give specific amounts regularly, it's almost impossible for the recipient to not start counting on getting that money. 

Of course, if my parent were in need, I would do whatever had to be done. But I would also try very hard to not be put in a position where they count on me to pay certain bills. Both because it's pressure on me and my family, and because I could be hit by a bus tomorrow, and then where would they be? 

OP, in addition to the above, which I agree with, do you have plans for college for your kids and do you plan to support them if they need help as adults? That is a big part of the financial equation given that many families have their adult kids moving back in with them during the Covid pandemic and a lot of young adults need financial help from parents because they are suddenly unemployed.

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3 hours ago, Kanin said:

Oh yes, I think so. I know she'll miss the social a lot more than the work, when she retires! Luckily... kinda... because of the pandemic, everyone is isolated, so she doesn't feel like the only one out of the loop. 

I don't know. My mother is retired, as is her dh and my father. I'm having to do a lot of mental health support because of the isolation. If she can keep working to some degree, it's way better for her mental health.

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I don’t agree with the advice of gifting random cash. We help support my in-laws, and I mentally could not handle gifting cash. I need to pay specific bills so I know our contribution is going where it’s needed, and they need to know how much they have to live on. If I gifted random cash, I would always be on edge and irritated like OP’s dh. By paying specific bills, I can easily budget the money and reduce my mental load about the entire situation. My in-laws can, hopefully, make smart financial plans with their resources. 
 

I’m not convinced my in-laws have budgeted their money well. I don’t know that they overspend either, but I don’t think anyone knows how short they truly are. We are all contributing money to a black hole, and I’m always waiting for the next problem to arise. At least by paying specific bills, I feel like our obligation is set. I know dh wants to give more, but I just can’t do that without seeing a complete budget and knowing if they have already explored senior programs (which they haven’t). So, dh and I are at a stand still. I want more data before increasing our commitment, and he doesn’t want to obtain the data. 
 

This situation can easily go south between spouses. My best recommendation is to jointly agree on how much OP’s family is willing to contribute to supporting MIL, and budget/set aside that amount every month. 

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She's only 67.  If she has the mental capacity, I would let her sort some of this stuff out and adjust to living to a lower budget for a time before helping in any way. There will be many more opportunities to help as she ages and needs more care....if you want to start setting aside money in a private fund she doesn't know about, go for it.  

Depending on her policies, there will be dental, medical copays, etc. that will all need covered. I'd wait until there is a crisis and help out as a gift rather than committing to do something now...especially while she still has the ability to work some.

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17 minutes ago, 2squared said:

I don’t agree with the advice of gifting random cash. We help support my in-laws, and I mentally could not handle gifting cash. I need to pay specific bills so I know our contribution is going where it’s needed, and they need to know how much they have to live on. If I gifted random cash, I would always be on edge and irritated like OP’s dh. By paying specific bills, I can easily budget the money and reduce my mental load about the entire situation. My in-laws can, hopefully, make smart financial plans with their resources. 
 

I’m not convinced my in-laws have budgeted their money well. I don’t know that they overspend either, but I don’t think anyone knows how short they truly are. We are all contributing money to a black hole, and I’m always waiting for the next problem to arise. At least by paying specific bills, I feel like our obligation is set. I know dh wants to give more, but I just can’t do that without seeing a complete budget and knowing if they have already explored senior programs (which they haven’t). So, dh and I are at a stand still. I want more data before increasing our commitment, and he doesn’t want to obtain the data. 
 

This situation can easily go south between spouses. My best recommendation is to jointly agree on how much OP’s family is willing to contribute to supporting MIL, and budget/set aside that amount every month. 

Well, it's random to the recipient, not necessarily the giver. The giver could still budget so much per month. They might give the entire budgeted amount over the course of a year, or they might choose to hold some back in case the next year brings an expensive repair or something. 

If I were going to commit to a monthly amount, then yep, I'd need to see that overall budget and I'd want to explore all the senior programs. It's not that I'd insist on them participating in every program they are eligible for before helping, but certainly I'd want an idea of what's available and what makes sense. 

If you don't have any idea of their budget, how did you know they needed help to begin with? Did they ask - if so, how? If dh thinks they need help just because they grumble about the cost of things and talk about not being able to afford this or that extra, well, let me just say that he might be very surprised if he did take a look at their bank account. Sometimes the people with the biggest bank accounts have the poorest mouths. 

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7 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

She's only 67.  If she has the mental capacity, I would let her sort some of this stuff out and adjust to living to a lower budget for a time before helping in any way. There will be many more opportunities to help as she ages and needs more care....if you want to start setting aside money in a private fund she doesn't know about, go for it.  

Depending on her policies, there will be dental, medical copays, etc. that will all need covered. I'd wait until there is a crisis and help out as a gift rather than committing to do something now...especially while she still has the ability to work some.

+1 to everything in this post. 

I won't lie and say that I'd be thrilled to have to work at 67, but plenty of people do and plenty of them are full time for long after that. It sounds like her current job is very strenuous, so even a full-time job with better hours and lower physical requirements would be a huge improvement. It just seems like a fact that she will have to work. 

Are you absolutely, positively sure that she does not qualify for benefits of any kind? Because a person whose income can barely pay a very low rent and basic utilities sounds like a person who should get benefits. SNAP is usually around 130% above the poverty line, but you can't just look at the quick table and know for sure, especially for a senior. There are certain deductions and such that can be made. So she really, really needs to connect with the council on aging ASAP. 

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4 hours ago, FuzzyCatz said:

Well you really need to sit down and see where you are at for emergency funds and retirement, college for kid(s) (assuming since you're on this board).  Intending on earning a bunch is great. But like we're learning this year, you can't always control the economy and earning potential.  And I learned from my father, you can't always control when you're going to retire.  My dad was forced to retire in his 50's due to health issues.    You aren't doing yourself or your own kids any favors if you aren't planning for your own future.  I would walk down every road toward services possible with your mom and it's great if she can find something she enjoys part time that might fulfill some social needs too.  If you don't have a solid planned budget with savings in place, it may be helpful for you to sit down with a financial advisor.  We did that 4-5 years before our oldest went to college and it was extremely helpful for planning.  We paid someone as a consultant, but control our own portfolio based on recommendations.  

I agree with this.  Your dh is seeing first hand that you cannot rely on SS.  He is right to be concerned that you want to take on the bills of another person.  This is a very big deal.  I know you want to help and that she needs help and you’re going to help, but he is wise to be concerned.  And if he hears you saying, even joking, the plan is to make a lot of money somehow, that’s just going to make him more concerned, because this is serious and without a plan, you could be your mother in a few years.  

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57 minutes ago, katilac said:

Well, it's random to the recipient, not necessarily the giver. The giver could still budget so much per month. They might give the entire budgeted amount over the course of a year, or they might choose to hold some back in case the next year brings an expensive repair or something. 

If I were going to commit to a monthly amount, then yep, I'd need to see that overall budget and I'd want to explore all the senior programs. It's not that I'd insist on them participating in every program they are eligible for before helping, but certainly I'd want an idea of what's available and what makes sense. 

If you don't have any idea of their budget, how did you know they needed help to begin with? Did they ask - if so, how? If dh thinks they need help just because they grumble about the cost of things and talk about not being able to afford this or that extra, well, let me just say that he might be very surprised if he did take a look at their bank account. Sometimes the people with the biggest bank accounts have the poorest mouths. 

It’s not hard to see when people are short money. We know how much they retired on, and we know it was all in a savings account (so losing purchasing power every year). They asked dh’s brother to buy their house, and when he declined, they made an appointment with a realtor to sell. They love their property dearly, and they wouldn’t willingly leave. They have extended all the credit available to them. They don’t maintain their house because they can’t pay for someone to do the work. They skip medical and dental appts because they can’t pay the bills. They don’t grumble about bills or money ever. In fact, they never talk about money. 
 

They were behind in their property insurance before we took over the bill. They were days from of being uninsured, which would have caused their mortgage company to foreclose. None of this was shared with their kids until the last possible moment. 

They are hard working, honest, salt of the earth people who raised nine kids on a small single income. They aren’t faking their situation, but they aren’t my parents so I don’t know the entire situation. All nine kids and spouses cannot provide input or nothing would get done. We have way too many opinions to allow everyone a voice. I, however, do have a voice in how much we are willing to give. 
 

Whether it makes sense or not, I need to pay a steady bill. If we have a pot of cash to randomly distribute, I would be resentful if the situation. Right or wrong, thats how I would feel and my requirement for supporting their household. Some of my BIL and SIL give straight cash, which obviously works for them. It doesn’t work for me, and I’m guessing I’m more like OP’s dh. 

Edited by 2squared
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5 hours ago, Dotwithaperiod said:

’m not picking on you here, just using this to say that the lady is ONLY 67, guys. That’s not elderly, lol.

Thanks - she is way more social than me and does a lot more than me! 🙂

 

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5 hours ago, Calm37 said:

Because of her age, I am wondering if she qualifies for taking her spousal benefits while letting her own grow until she turns 70? If she was born before January 2, 1954, she can file a restricted application. This would allow her own amount to grow another 24% per month.

This is interesting - will investigate. Thanks!

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5 hours ago, HeighHo said:

 

it doesn't matter what the age, as I said when I noted that young 20s are also in this situation. If you can't afford the lifestyle, you make changes.  You don't make your children into another spouse or parent, asking for handouts so you may live without being inconvenienced while they toil in your service. 

Yep, I went for about 7 years without a car for just this reason. I adjusted!

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2 hours ago, 2squared said:

This situation can easily go south between spouses. My best recommendation is to jointly agree on how much OP’s family is willing to contribute to supporting MIL, and budget/set aside that amount every month. 

Yes, absolutely! We are going to be completely transparent about this. My mom is very independent, but lately she has been completely free about telling me how much specific bills are. She knows it's very important to me. 

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20 minutes ago, 2squared said:

It’s not hard to see when people are short money. We know how much they retired on, and we know it was all in a savings account (so losing purchasing power every year). They asked dh’s brother to buy their house, and when he declined, they made an appointment with a realtor to sell. They love their property dearly, and they wouldn’t willingly leave. They have extended all the credit available to them. They don’t maintain their house because they can’t pay for someone to do the work. They skip medical and dental appts because they can’t pay the bills. They don’t grumble about bills or money ever. In fact, they never talk about money. 
 

They were behind in their property insurance before we took over the bill. They were days from of being uninsured, which would have caused their mortgage company to foreclose. None of this was shared with their kids until the last possible moment. 

They are hard working, honest, salt of the earth people who raised nine kids on a small single income. They aren’t faking their situation, but they aren’t my parents so I don’t know the entire situation. All nine kids and spouses cannot provide input or nothing would get done. We have way too many opinions to allow everyone a voice. I, however, do have a voice in how much we are willing to give. 
 

Whether it makes sense or not, I need to pay a steady bill. If we have a pot of cash to randomly distribute, I would be resentful if the situation. Right or wrong, thats how I would feel and my requirement for supporting their household. Some of my BIL and SIL give straight cash, which obviously works for them. It doesn’t work for me, and I’m guessing I’m more like OP’s dh. 

Well, it's certainly harder to see if someone's short on money if you don't have any of their financial info. I have a relative who has a small but sufficient monthly income. She often declines outings or vacations as too expensive, so most thought she was indeed short on money - until discovering that she also had some decent investments she could cash in, but she wants to not touch that and leave it for her grandkids. That's all well and good, it's her choice, but I'm not going to subsidize that, kwim? 

Random vs monthly doesn't matter in the least if you've already made the commitment to help them. My point was that you had better be committed for the long-term if you start giving monthly money or paying monthly bills, then they're making decisions based on that. OP's mom is only 67, so that's potentially 20+ years of giving her X amount of money per month. Giving more randomly only does one thing, which is to keep them from expecting a certain amount and from budgeting with that monthly amount in mind. If you're confident they need the money to get by, and are committed to giving it, then it makes no difference whatsoever to give it monthly. 

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1 hour ago, katilac said:

+1 to everything in this post. 

I won't lie and say that I'd be thrilled to have to work at 67, but plenty of people do and plenty of them are full time for long after that. It sounds like her current job is very strenuous, so even a full-time job with better hours and lower physical requirements would be a huge improvement. It just seems like a fact that she will have to work. 

Are you absolutely, positively sure that she does not qualify for benefits of any kind? Because a person whose income can barely pay a very low rent and basic utilities sounds like a person who should get benefits. SNAP is usually around 130% above the poverty line, but you can't just look at the quick table and know for sure, especially for a senior. There are certain deductions and such that can be made. So she really, really needs to connect with the council on aging ASAP. 

Good points here. I'm not 100% sure she won't qualify. She's been busy with arranging medicare stuff - that's finally resolved today, yay! - and after that, we'll start working on SNAP and other options. Even if she doesn't need them right away, she will eventually when she can't work someday.

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51 minutes ago, Garga said:

I agree with this.  Your dh is seeing first hand that you cannot rely on SS.  He is right to be concerned that you want to take on the bills of another person.  This is a very big deal.  I know you want to help and that she needs help and you’re going to help, but he is wise to be concerned.  And if he hears you saying, even joking, the plan is to make a lot of money somehow, that’s just going to make him more concerned, because this is serious and without a plan, you could be your mother in a few years.  

Yes, I hear you. I have been joking about hitting the big time for a long while, but the truth is, it's mostly just a joke. And it does make DH more concerned, because it seems like I'm not taking things seriously. He correct to think about these things, and I am very grateful he is around to make sure we cover our bases. We have a financial advisor that manages a retirement account, but we haven't done any actual financial planning beyond that. 

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