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Kanin

My mom is retiring, but can't afford it

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3 hours ago, katilac said:

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. 

It does make a difference monthly versus random to me. That’s my entire point. My mental buy-in cannot handle random or a pile of cash building up for them. To be on board, my requirement is to pay set bills. OP’s dh sounds like me, so I am providing a different perspective. My guess, based on his investing comments, is that he also won’t be able to handle money sitting in a bank account waiting for his MIL to need it. 

I understand the math is the same either way. However, situations like this need to be done in a way where both spouses can agree on how to provide support and how much to provide.
 

And, if our financial situation changes, then it will impact the people we support. Such is life. By giving a set amount, they are able to better budget the funds they do have. It’s the poverty mindset with windfalls that I read about - when people are on the edge financially, windfalls don’t help nearly as much as reliable, consistent support. 
 

People do truly retire without having the financial resources to support themselves. Hopefully they find support through various programs, but often family steps in to help as well. 

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15 minutes ago, 2squared said:

It does make a difference monthly versus random to me. That’s my entire point. My mental buy-in cannot handle random or a pile of cash building up for them. To be on board, my requirement is to pay set bills. 

I was trying to agree with you, but obviously doing a very poor job of it 😂

Yes, absolutely, if you are committed to helping them, you do it in whatever way works for you. It does not matter in the sense that you have already made the commitment. Of course it can matter very much to your personal mindset. 

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I'm sorry that she finds herself in these circumstances.  I hope to retire from my full-time job at 67 (I'm 57 now), but expect that I will still have regular part-time employment thereafter - either voluntary or paid.  Could she find work from home that would help with her finances a bit?

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16 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. 

Having a car in the rurals not a ‘lifestyle’.  Good grief. And your last sentence, I can’t even.  There is nothing in what the OP has posted that indicates her mom is asking for a handout. 

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4 hours ago, Laura Corin said:

I'm sorry that she finds herself in these circumstances.  I hope to retire from my full-time job at 67 (I'm 57 now), but expect that I will still have regular part-time employment thereafter - either voluntary or paid.  Could she find work from home that would help with her finances a bit?

I think she said her mom plans to get some part time work. 

DH and I will be in this situation too,. We will have our home paid for before retirement age, but taxes and insurance alone are $300 a month.  We have an apartment on our property we plan to renovate and rent out eventually.  That will help.  If I become widowed I probably could not afford to live here on my ss alone.  But I could get a room mate.....or rent the house out and live in the apartment.  I am not too worried about it.....and I hope those of you who are younger don’t worry either.  Just do your best and know that things can change in an instant for the better or the worse.  

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21 hours 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. 

If this is something you/your mom will be looking into, just know that there can be a long waiting list.  I looked into this for my MIL and the wait to even get ON the list was over 2 years, with an expectation that it would be another 3-5 years before a spot opened up.  No way for that to work; we had to bring her to our house.....

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If my mom was in this situation we would probably have her come live with us.  Which would not be easy because I am an introvert and she is....not.  LOL.  We get along well, but I like going back to my own home.  We don't have the money to  help pay  her bills.....but we do have a decent size house.  So every family will handle this differently.  

As far as the comments about her getting used to you helping her every month and then what if you can't keep it up?  Well, I think that is easy enough to deal with by having an honest conversation up front about how 'this is what we can do unless something changes in our live.'  

And if I had to choose between helping my mom survive and paying for my kids college, mom would win out on that one for sure.  

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Medicare is complicated and iirc there’s a window of time to figure out supplemental insurance.

 I have my mom’s cellphone line on our family cellphone plan.  There may also be lower cost options for low income or age related, and you still might be able to add it to your plan.  (If you mom has one that is.  Mine didn’t and I got her on to using one because of CV19 since I was worried about her ability to communicate, get information etc)

 I also use my Amazon Prime to get her things she needs — this had more to do with my mom needing to be mostly isolating for CV19 and living too far away for me to bring her things, but could be a help for your mom in a financial way. 

I know people who get food help from various food pantries. 

Check with organizations like Catholic Charities in addition to Council on Aging ... and some may have people knowledgeable about negotiating Medicare .  

 

Also, our state has been sending information about food programs etc due to CV19 so even if that’s not relevant to your mom retirement there may be more info and help now than usual 

Edited by Pen
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21 hours 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. 

 

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. 

 

@Kanin  A word of caution on the freelance seamstress jobs--my mom also had these skills and would take on more elaborate jobs such as costumes for singing groups, bridesmaids dresses, altering wedding gowns, etc. She loved the sewing part but by the time she dealt with all the people aspects, it didn't wind up paying as well per hour as one might expect. Think people losing/gaining weight, not showing up for fittings or my mom traveling some distance to accommodate , changing their minds, etc. She was kindhearted and never could bring herself to charge what her hourly services were worth. Eventually she gave up and did alterations until returning to work full time. 

 

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Another word of caution, and I hate to throw this out there, because it’s a painful topic.(Trigger warning)

Please be cautious on where she moves, and check police reports.  I helped my 78 yr old mother move into a low income senior apartment.  She loved her community, and made good friends.  And then, one night, an unknown assailant somehow opened her front door (did she leave it unlocked accidentally?  We don’t know.).  He sexually assaulted her, and while her new next door neighbor heard screams, she did not call the police.  I found my mom the following day, after she didn’t answer my calls.  She was delirious and hospitalized for 3 days until she came to enough to be able to say that she thought she’d been attacked.  She is my hero for doing the sexual assault exam. My mom has never remembered details, and the DNA test was no help, but it was clear on the exam that she was raped.  At 78.  😨 Our detective has been wonderful, but I think we are at a dead end.  My mom has never fully recovered from this event.

This can happen anywhere, not just low income housing.  So ... if you’re helping your mom through finding a place, I would absolutely check for cameras inside and out, on her hall especially.  I would check police reports.  And I would ask to install a lock on her door that automatically latches when the door is shut.  She can wear her key on a lanyard.  I’d also consider a camera inside her apartment, pointing at her door.  Not to watch all the time, but as a back up. I have more thoughts on this, ideas from the detective who helped us, but you get the idea.

Edited by Spryte
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2 hours ago, Scarlett said:

 

And if I had to choose between helping my mom survive and paying for my kids college, mom would win out on that one for sure.  

That might be an obvious choice for some people but not for others.  Setting your kid up for  a life time of debt isn't the best idea either.  If your kid had an economical path for their goals or was not college bound, that is a different decision.  Unfortunately, the system isn't really designed for parents to be hands off during the college process right now for most students.  People I know that have said all along that they weren't paying for their kid's college at all were in for a rude awakening in realizing how limited their high schooler's higher education options were unless they were willing to pay some or to co-sign for loans (which I tend to think is an awful idea in most cases).  

 

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On 5/27/2020 at 12:57 PM, 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.

It also depends on whether there even is Uber. There certainly isn't in my rural area. There's no way a cost/benefit analysis would ever make living where I live without a vehicle preferable to living here with one. 

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1 hour ago, FuzzyCatz said:

That might be an obvious choice for some people but not for others.  Setting your kid up for  a life time of debt isn't the best idea either.  If your kid had an economical path for their goals or was not college bound, that is a different decision.  Unfortunately, the system isn't really designed for parents to be hands off during the college process right now for most students.  People I know that have said all along that they weren't paying for their kid's college at all were in for a rude awakening in realizing how limited their high schooler's higher education options were unless they were willing to pay some or to co-sign for loans (which I tend to think is an awful idea in most cases).  

 

I would  not go in debt for a kid's college.  And I have strongly discouraged my kids from going in debt.  College is expensive and some kids can't go because of that expense.  Taking care of my elderly mother rather than giving that money to a young adult is not me setting my kid up for a lifetime of debt.  

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1 hour ago, Scarlett said:

I would  not go in debt for a kid's college.  And I have strongly discouraged my kids from going in debt.  College is expensive and some kids can't go because of that expense.  Taking care of my elderly mother rather than giving that money to a young adult is not me setting my kid up for a lifetime of debt.  

I don't disagree.  Parents taking on debt for college is a bad idea themselves in many cases as well.  As well as mindlessly cosigning for astronomical numbers. We aren't taking on debt helping my kid go to college at all.  But some students literally couldn't get through their cheapest options without some parental assistance while sticking to federal loan debt ceilings.  Certainly, not every student needs to go to college.  Families need to balance these things based on their own goals and values.   I wouldn't commit to 20+ years of regular financial obligation without full understanding of how that would affect your own future budget and limitations.  Especially without digging for programs an aging senior might qualify for.  This decision isn't a no brainer for every family.  It took many years of planning to be able to be in the position to help 2 kids with college. 

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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1 hour ago, StellaM said:

Have you actually sat down and seen your mum's budget?

Is there any non-essential she can't cover, even if frugally?

It's quite horrible that many women live in poverty in their older years - I fully anticipate being one of them - but it also is what it is, and if I can cover my rent, electricity, medication and food from my pension (if it's still even a thing when I get to 67), and maybe bus and clothes from p/t tutoring work, then that's how it goes, and I'll be bloody thankful to even do that. If I can't, I guess I'll be looking to keep working (but there is rampant ageism out there, plus a new Depression, so let's hold off on thinking that's the cure-all) or the help of charities. And that's what will happen before I ever ask my children for a cent.

So to me, there is a big difference between 'Mom is going to be homeless or starve without this job that she can medically no longer do' and 'Mom will be in reduced circumstances and it makes me sad.'

It is sad that so many women are in 'reduced circumstances, but that's a systemic problem.

If your mom can meet her basic needs but that only from her retirement, then - as a mom - I'm sure she would appreciate, but not expect, any gifts her children decide to give her to brighten those circumstances. I don't think you should - unless you are rolling in it - have to provide regular maintainance to your mom to brighten her life. 

If she cannot meet her basic needs, I'd help her find everything she is entitled to in terms of government assistance/low income subsidies, and assist her to be able to take on some p/t work if at all possible. Only once those things were done, would I think about ways to help meet her basic needs (shelter, food, warmth/cooling, medical care).

And possibly then direct my sadness that hard-working women end up in these unhappy circumstances towards the systems that enable and profit from that fact.

 

 

 

I agree completely 

It seems like the op mother will be able to pay rent and buy food. Internet and a mobile phone are luxuries and not essential. 

If my spouse started paying for his relatives bills so they can have a better lifestyle I quite frankly would be very upset. 

I have lived not much above the poverty line most of my life. 

 

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6 hours ago, emba56 said:

It also depends on whether there even is Uber. There certainly isn't in my rural area. There's no way a cost/benefit analysis would ever make living where I live without a vehicle preferable to living here with one. 

 

Nor mine.

and some areas don’t have things like trash pick up service, so doing things like getting garbage to county site dump takes driving.  

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17 hours ago, Laura Corin said:

I'm sorry that she finds herself in these circumstances.  I hope to retire from my full-time job at 67 (I'm 57 now), but expect that I will still have regular part-time employment thereafter - either voluntary or paid.  Could she find work from home that would help with her finances a bit?

I'm sure she could, although she's not much of a computer person. She has worked at a call center before, and I bet a lot of those jobs are work-from-home.

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10 hours ago, Scarlett said:

If my mom was in this situation we would probably have her come live with us.  Which would not be easy because I am an introvert and she is....not.  LOL.  We get along well, but I like going back to my own home.  We don't have the money to  help pay  her bills.....but we do have a decent size house.  So every family will handle this differently.  

As far as the comments about her getting used to you helping her every month and then what if you can't keep it up?  Well, I think that is easy enough to deal with by having an honest conversation up front about how 'this is what we can do unless something changes in our live.'  

And if I had to choose between helping my mom survive and paying for my kids college, mom would win out on that one for sure.  

Eventually she'll live with us, I'm sure... I'm the only child and I just think I'll want her near me. Maybe in an in-law apartment or something. I get what you mean about needing your own space though!!

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9 hours ago, Pippen said:

@Kanin  A word of caution on the freelance seamstress jobs--my mom also had these skills and would take on more elaborate jobs such as costumes for singing groups, bridesmaids dresses, altering wedding gowns, etc. She loved the sewing part but by the time she dealt with all the people aspects, it didn't wind up paying as well per hour as one might expect. Think people losing/gaining weight, not showing up for fittings or my mom traveling some distance to accommodate , changing their minds, etc. She was kindhearted and never could bring herself to charge what her hourly services were worth. Eventually she gave up and did alterations until returning to work full time. 

 

Thanks - my mother never charges what her services are worth, either. 

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9 hours ago, Spryte said:

Another word of caution, and I hate to throw this out there, because it’s a painful topic.(Trigger warning)

Please be cautious on where she moves, and check police reports.  I helped my 78 yr old mother move into a low income senior apartment.  She loved her community, and made good friends.  And then, one night, an unknown assailant somehow opened her front door (did she leave it unlocked accidentally?  We don’t know.).  He sexually assaulted her, and while her new next door neighbor heard screams, she did not call the police.  I found my mom the following day, after she didn’t answer my calls.  She was delirious and hospitalized for 3 days until she came to enough to be able to say that she thought she’d been attacked.  She is my hero for doing the sexual assault exam. My mom has never remembered details, and the DNA test was no help, but it was clear on the exam that she was raped.  At 78.  😨 Our detective has been wonderful, but I think we are at a dead end.  My mom has never fully recovered from this event.

This can happen anywhere, not just low income housing.  So ... if you’re helping your mom through finding a place, I would absolutely check for cameras inside and out, on her hall especially.  I would check police reports.  And I would ask to install a lock on her door that automatically latches when the door is shut.  She can wear her key on a lanyard.  I’d also consider a camera inside her apartment, pointing at her door.  Not to watch all the time, but as a back up. I have more thoughts on this, ideas from the detective who helped us, but you get the idea.

Oh goodness. That's awful. I'm so incredibly sorry for your mom (and you!). I do worry often about her living alone, for reasons like this. 

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It might make sense to try to build on an in law area now if you can, and could help in later circumstances that might come up too.  If no one needs it in future maybe it could be rented out for extra income. 

If she can live with you in a way that both can live with it may give some consolidation of expenses and work which would be helpful both ways. 

 

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4 hours ago, StellaM said:

So to me, there is a big difference between 'Mom is going to be homeless or starve without this job that she can medically no longer do' and 'Mom will be in reduced circumstances and it makes me sad.'

It is sad that so many women are in 'reduced circumstances, but that's a systemic problem.

If your mom can meet her basic needs but that only from her retirement, then - as a mom - I'm sure she would appreciate, but not expect, any gifts her children decide to give her to brighten those circumstances. I don't think you should - unless you are rolling in it - have to provide regular maintainance to your mom to brighten her life. 

If she cannot meet her basic needs, I'd help her find everything she is entitled to in terms of government assistance/low income subsidies, and assist her to be able to take on some p/t work if at all possible. Only once those things were done, would I think about ways to help meet her basic needs (shelter, food, warmth/cooling, medical care).

Good questions. No, we haven't sat down to look at the budget, but we will. I know her basic income now, and what she spends on utilities, but not on things like eating out, clothes, etc. I think it's probably somewhere between reduced circumstances and not affording basic needs, tilted closer to the not meeting basic needs side. 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Melissa in Australia said:

It seems like the op mother will be able to pay rent and buy food. Internet and a mobile phone are luxuries and not essential. 

 

I know what you mean, but truly, for her living alone I do think internet and mobile phone are necessary from a mental health standpoint. Perhaps not, but I think I'd rather pay for that stuff - if necessary - instead of her not having them. 

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Thank you everyone, so much. You've given me a lot to think about, and research! I'm feeling a bit calmer now.

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6 minutes ago, Kanin said:

I know what you mean, but truly, for her living alone I do think internet and mobile phone are necessary from a mental health standpoint. Perhaps not, but I think I'd rather pay for that stuff - if necessary - instead of her not having them. 

 

I am an only child of a mom (who raised me after a bad divorce ) .  I pushed my mom to start using a cellphone for CV19 because of my ***own*** peace of mind.   She used to go to library a lot, but with CV19 that was no longer an option and she had very limited information sources. And if she needed to be in a hospital I was not sure she would have phone access nowadays if she did not have her own. 

 

Right now we are in a messy process of switch to “post paid” more expensive plan, but initially adding her to my plan was $25 per month for prepaid with family and other discounts — my line being the primary is most expensive, each additional got a discount.  My mom isn’t as bad off financially as yours, and while I have her on my cellphone plan, she has been able to include me on some other group or family plans sometimes.  Especially when we have lived at same address. 

I have a feeling only children of only parents may sometimes be in a different relationship with parents than some others with siblings and two parents.  😉

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18 minutes ago, Kanin said:

Thank you everyone, so much. You've given me a lot to think about, and research! I'm feeling a bit calmer now.

I have learned a lot and would appreciate any information you find.

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States with filial responsibility laws are: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota,  Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.
To look up the actual language of the statutes, here are the

 

...

State laws vary. however, law student Shannon Edelstone, in her award-winning essay (cited below), studied all of the state laws and found that most agree that children have a duty to provide necessities for parents who cannot do so for themselves. The states' legislation also gives guidelines to the courts, telling judges to use a number of factors when weighing the adult child's ability to pay against the indigent parent's needs. Judges, accordingly, have considered such variables as the adult child's financing of their child's college education, as well as his/her personal needs for savings and retirement.
 

 

 
 
Example:
 
Duty of support. Parents are bound to maintain their children who are poor and unable to work to maintain themselves; and children are bound to maintain their parents in like circumstances.
 
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