Familial assistance

How to explain ERE, arranging family matters
thrifty++
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Familial assistance

Post by thrifty++ »

What are people's thoughts on parental assistance?

To what extent has your family assisted your economic position?

What are your expectations of familial contribution to your economic position? Nothing?

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fiby41
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Re: Familial assistance

Post by fiby41 »

Hi thrifty, welcome back.

100%

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Sclass
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Re: Familial assistance

Post by Sclass »

Oooh boy. I’ve been wondering how you’ve been doing. Intensity increasing? Spoiler alert, it gets worse. Then it gets worse. Then it gets unbearable. Then they die.

I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I was unable to help my mom. For instance if I was barely able to manage my own life and couldn’t jump in to hold my mom’s life together. My wife says “what if you just didn’t exist?” Well, things would have just gone differently. But they still would have gone.

While our folks do a lot for us and we feel we owe them at times, it is a slippery slope if they start getting selfish about just how much you need to pay back. My folks turned out to be incredibly selfish. I can only see it at the end. My dad is still trying to extract what little value the embittered Sclass is willing to further provide. It’s actually disgusting when I look at the big picture. I got used and he still wants to use me.

YMMV. Maybe you want to do this. Fine.

The more I did the more they took. On the spectrum of things I watch the spider in my garage give her body to her hatchlings so they get a meal before they hit the road. Then I have my vampire dad and step mom grooming my half sister to take care of them. They have literally discussed how they want her eggs frozen because so she won’t feel pressured to marry and have kids too soon god forbid. While discouraging her from having a relationship (she’s a 25 yo virgin living at home!) because it takes her attention off of them. Freaking sick and disgusting. Selfish. The next thing I’ll hear is dad wants a kidney.

You have to set your own bounds. Do what you want to do. Don’t get manipulated into this stuff. ERE puts a big target on your back. Don’t be like me and give away the first eight years of retirement thinking you’re helping out your poor old mom. I got manipulated into this through a combination of guilt, love and neediness for approval. If I knew what I know now I would have said fuck off and let them deal with the situation another way. And there were other ways.

Now my dad calls me five times a week to tell me how I had an unsuccessful career and didn’t have any professional achievements like him. It’s just like he and his wife will criticize my half sister for not marrying and starting a family after she’s wasted her life running their fool’s errands.

ZAFCorrection
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Re: Familial assistance

Post by ZAFCorrection »

My folks, being gainfully employed their whole lives, are mid-to-late 60s and without savings. They also have nothing to show for a ~500k inheritance and gave me shit when I was a kid for having an opinion about their spending habits. So my attitude is only two generations' worth of wealth is going to get wasted, not three. Though, I will probably end up adding some small supplement to their social security income. That totals out to much more than I spend on myself and my wife, so I figure they should be fine.

As far as the assistance I got from my parents, I am somewhat grateful they were so communicative about their spending plans and financial struggles when I was a kid. I got a front-row seat to what not to do, which set me on the path of frugality.

Seppia
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Re: Familial assistance

Post by Seppia »

In some way what I became was mostly thanks to my family.
As a kid, I didn’t like to study and got decent grades just because they kinda forced me to :)
Then thanks to them at age 6 I could speak Italian, French (we moved to France Two years for my mom’s job) and English (they took an Australian nanny and told her to only speak English with me - both of them worked full time and were rarely home during the week).
Thanks to them I had the opportunity to go to a good university, and thanks to the fact that I knew I had a potential safety net, I could easily decide to take a first job that gave me less security but had better long term prospects.

While I was always frugal, they for sure led by example. From the outside, they’re the typical Italian upper middle class family, but look closer and they implemented those little tweaks that allow them to have a very stable financial condition (ie: my dad always buys second hand cars and keeps them minimum 10 years, they almost never eat out, holidays are always at the very small apartment in the mountains they bought with a lifetime of savings 15 years ago etc).

I would guesstimate their savings rate to be somewhere between 25 and 50, which for “normal” people is pretty huge.

Unless something catastrophic happens to me, I doubt they’ll have to help me or my family out financially, and I know for certain I will never have to help them either.

My view is simple, I think families have to be there in case of very unlucky events.

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Lemur
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Re: Familial assistance

Post by Lemur »

@ZAFCorrection

Can relate. I think frugality was ingrained in me from watching a prime example of 'what not to do' growing up.

Spouse & I occasionally have these conversations. Our family has not contributed $1.00 to us. Nor do we expect it. We were hit with a surprise this year with my MIL sudden passing. My FIL is doing well but out of the last 3 (my parents + FIL), he is probably the healthiest (which isn't saying much....as everyone involved is overweight, diabetes, high-blood pressure, and $0.00 in savings). In the case of my Father, roughly $40-$60k in the hole.

I have watched my Mother manipulate my Sister for a few years now...the running joke we've is whoever decides to buy a house first is taking care of Mom. If it is me, which it won't be, I can say goodbye to my marriage.

Still going with the stick head in sand approach. Father will likely have a massive heart attack, stroke, or something. He just doesn't care. Works 2 jobs and still eats like his college wrestling days. He easily weighs over 275 pounds...already lost a few toes due to diabetes out of control.

He doesn't ask anything from us though. My Mother on the other hand ....I can write a novel on the amount of manipulation.

To answer OP's question; my Spouse is from classic Asian culture. Can't fight culture; she will support my FIL. But she makes her own money so there is no conflict. She already assists family financially. My parents....we're just banking on my Dad having a health crisis and passing away similar to my MIL. The guy won't change anyway. My Mother is the big what if.

Sometimes I've internal conflict about parental assistance. Not now but I can see darkness in my future. My older brother and younger brother 'take care' of my still working Mother whom is coming up on social security age. Occasionally, I get the guilt trip for not helping out the family. My response is the usual (1) You'll have never taken my budgeting advice and won't help yourselves (2) I've a family of my own that comes first (3) Giving you money is akin to flushing it down the toilet. When you spend over $700 a month on food and $100s on DVDs and other nonsense - no I don't feel bad when you struggle to pay rent...which is only $1000 a month split between 3 working adults.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Familial assistance

Post by Hristo Botev »

Oh goodness, this is a humdinger of a topic. I'm going to really try and keep this short and directly responsive to OP's questions.
thrifty++ wrote:
Sun Oct 11, 2020 1:29 am
What are people's thoughts on parental assistance?
Not sure if you mean parents assisting you or you assisting parents. Assuming the latter, we're actively looking to buy a second townhome in our complex, that's 1 story, with the understanding that DW's parents can move in there as they get older so we can take care of them and keep them out of a home. We'll rent the house out in the meantime. DW's 2 siblings are good people, but they are hyper focused on their careers and their own kids--often with extended family seen more as an obstacle; whereas both DW and I have a broader sense of family, and we fully expect and want to take care of DW's parents when/if they need it.

As for my parents, my mother died when I was in college, and my dad remarried someone a bit younger than him, so he should be taken care of; that said, my stepmother is in surprisingly poor health for her age, so who knows. DW and I will certainly take care of my father if/when he needs it, if my stepmother can't do it. As for my stepmother, she has a son who can take care of her if/when she needs it.
thrifty++ wrote:
Sun Oct 11, 2020 1:29 am
To what extent has your family assisted your economic position?
My parents generously supported me financially through undergrad, and then after I graduated I was on my own. I always had part-time jobs in high school and college, but that was all just for extra spending money (if ONLY I'd applied a 50% savings rate rule to ALL THOSE TIPS!!!!). I paid for law school on my own (via 6-figure student loans). Same for DW--i.e., parents paid her way through college, though she had a full scholarship for undergrad; so they bought her a car instead.

DW's parents gave us a very generous loan with simple interest so that we could put a down payment on our first house. This was obviously well before our financial enlightenment days (Ramsey to MMM to ERE). In fact, it was the home inspector of our first house who started us (slowly) on the FI tract, as he gifted us a copy of Ramsey's makeover book. We paid the loan back early, and sent along a nice bottle of Scotch with the final check.
thrifty++ wrote:
Sun Oct 11, 2020 1:29 am
What are your expectations of familial contribution to your economic position? Nothing?
I don't expect any additional contributions from my parents. I'm sure there will be inheritances coming from both sets of parents, as they've both been very responsible with their finances; but any such money will either go to the kids or to charitable giving or perhaps to a toy like an Airstream trailer, or likely some combination of all the above.

I expect my kids to be ready to take care of me and/or DW if/when we need it--not financially, but I expect them to be a son and a daughter to us--i.e., I might rewrite our wills now to make it clear that any inheritance is forfeited if either DW or I are living in a nursing home when we die.

CS
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Re: Familial assistance

Post by CS »

Hristo Botev wrote:
Mon Oct 12, 2020 10:27 am
I expect my kids to be ready to take care of me and/or DW if/when we need it--not financially, but I expect them to be a son and a daughter to us--i.e., I might rewrite our wills now to make it clear that any inheritance is forfeited if either DW or I are living in a nursing home when we die.
That might be unduly harsh. I saw my mother and step father take care of his parents until they died. First it was summers while they wintered south, then it was full time in the inlaw house in the back and then finally, it was in a nursing home where my mother would come and get her mother-in-laws laundry and other things because yeah, apparently those places will destroy or lose the laundry. My parents could not physically take care of them. My step-dad's father would have seizures and fall over - and even though he was a skinny guy, he was physically too difficult to lift. The wife would turn off the old guy's medicine timer because 'it annoyed her' and then he would have even more seizures. And she was a bulldog of stubbornness and meanness which I think they realized later was due to her being in pain.

He would also randomly wander off.

They did everything they could but in the end it was too much for two working adult who were nearly senior citizens themselves.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Familial assistance

Post by Hristo Botev »

CS wrote:
Mon Oct 12, 2020 10:52 am
That might be unduly harsh. . . . They did everything they could but in the end it was too much for two working adult who were nearly senior citizens themselves.
I'm too old and out of touch to know what emoji or acronym is meant to indicate hyperbole, but I'm kidding about taking the kids out of the will. I am however serious that I expect my kids to understand the circle of life, and the give and take that is part of that circle.

There are plenty of scenarios where some sort of "home" makes a lot more sense and is much more humane than a scenario where a kid is taking care of a sick parent at the kids' own home.

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unemployable
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Re: Familial assistance

Post by unemployable »

I have discussed my arrangement with my mom here previously. She is a widow pushing 80 and for the last few years I have spent winters with her. This is partly for me to save money but it has other benefits: I get to be somewhere warm, I'm not interested in living in my "permanent residence" all year anyway and I have things to do inside and outside her house. I pay for part of the house's expenses (although not half) and perform basic maintenance on it. I help her with non-housing things as well, such as her taxes and finances, hauling 42-pound bags of kitty litter home from PetSmart and more seriously, anything requiring driving long distances or at night.

I do believe she enjoys the social aspect of my presence to some extent. She still likes to cook and is naturally more motivated to make something nice with someone else in the house. We have certain "nights", like pizza on Thursdays. That's actually a carryover from when Dad was alive but we've continued the tradition.

I'm her financial adviser. The house is paid off and Social Security seems to be more than what she needs to live off. Beyond that her financial assets are very roughly on the order of mine, but she rarely spends them beyond cashing the dividend checks. She lives comfortably but not extravagantly. She bought a new car earlier this year... a Toyota Corolla. There's your symbolism.

Is this mooching off her? Is it a true symbiotic relationship? I'll leave this for others to decide. I don't get along with my two sisters very well and suspect they think I am. But it sounds like Mom and I get along, doesn't it?

She could die from corona next week or she could live to 100 if her relatives are any indication. For this winter I am more than a bit concerned my presence in the house may contribute to an instance of the former. Haven't addressed this with her yet.

I don't really want this arrangement to continue indefinitely. After a few months we inevitably start annoying each other and I feel like "the kid" again. I've wanted to buy a cheap house somewhere, which thanks to corona is a goal that keeps receding. I would rent the house out while spending my few months with Mom; the advantages of being down there wouldn't go away and she isn't getting any younger. This wouldn't be too different from what I'm doing now (subletting), but I like to think I'd have more control.
thrifty++ wrote:
Sun Oct 11, 2020 1:29 am
To what extent has your family assisted your economic position?
Don't all parents influence their kids' economic position by what they expose them to growing up? I was sent to private schools -- two different high schools; we moved -- and had classmates whose dads owned skyscrapers, sports franchises and department store chains. That certainly affects your interests and aspirations throughout adult life. Financially I was close to the middle of this caste system, definitely not one of the rich kids and definitely not one of the poor kids. We got in our cars to take ski trips, whereas the rich families got on a plane to Vail. (Now I can walk to the slopes, if I ever wanted to ski again.) Put it this way, when it came time to choose a college, I was obligated to take the one that offered me a full scholarship. But at least I was raised with the opportunities that got me that scholarship in the first place. Biggest first world problem ever.

They never paid for anything beyond college though, not for any of us kids. Not that they could. By the time the youngest of us graduated college they were down to nothing -- this included raiding IRAs. None of us had kids ourselves and we're all over 40. At some level we all noped out of the carrying costs Dad tried to maintain after the steel industry evacuated Pittsburgh in the 1980s. Parenting by example, but not in the way he expected.

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Sclass
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Re: Familial assistance

Post by Sclass »

@unemployable that actually sounds pretty good. Good for both of you.

Alphaville
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Re: Familial assistance

Post by Alphaville »

unemployable wrote:
Mon Oct 12, 2020 12:37 pm
Is this mooching off her? Is it a true symbiotic relationship? I'll leave this for others to decide.
i grew up shuttling between a large multigenerational compound and nuclear-family homes. the multigenerational place was so much better—there was an ongoing social flow, there was never a boring moment, and all my grandparents and great-grandparents died at home, cared for by family members.

now we’re all scattered to the four winds, unfortunately, driven by who knows what socioeconomic reasons, and i think we destroyed a good thing.

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unemployable
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Re: Familial assistance

Post by unemployable »

@sclass and @alphaville

It never crossed my mind to live this way before Dad died. And the first year I was only down there for a month or so. Kind of evolved into it -- in the years between moving to Colorado and his passing I still had aspirations about rejoining the working world. His passing was rather liberating, with no more never-stated-but-always-implied expectations to live up to. While he was alive I had an unofficial 72-hour-rule when visiting, back to my days going down for long weekends from Chicago. Their house felt... crowded after much longer than that.

They never expressed any firm expectations or made any explicit demands of us as adults. Now "no expectations" has to include "no expectations to have kids" and "no expectations to stay in the rat race for 40 years", and they they mostly kept their word on that. Sometimes they did let it slide that they would've enjoyed being grandparents or that their kids "listened to them more often" without further explication. When they were footing the bill for school however they absolutely demanded they were getting what they were paying for, at least through high school (can't speak for sisters' college). I sure don't blame them for that. I think we can all second-guess some aspect of how our parents raised us, and Dad made a couple horrendous business decisions, but for the most part mine did the best they could with the resources they had.

I don't want to be Mom's full-time caretaker. I do have other things I want to do and places I want to live. This is a stickier subject, as Mom's mom spent six years in a nursing home. We've lightly discussed the issue of her ability to continue living alone in her house, and she's fine for now, but it's a bit too much house for her alone and she does like having someone around part of the time. A separate issue is disbursing assets prior to going into a home -- if you're on government health insurance they can basically claw back anything you give away in the most recent three years. It's not something I bring up myself as I don't want to look greedy and don't need the money for now anyway, but who would you rather see have your money, your kids or the government?

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Re: Familial assistance

Post by Alphaville »

oh, my family hired nurses when the old folks got sick--we didn't do everything. but they were at home in their own beds and there were always family members around to chat, to check on them, to provide care when the nurses were not around. eg i think you can get medicare to send providers at home yes? but it’s best supervised, than unsupervised and far away, no?

the other thing is that in such a context the burden didn't fall onto a single adult, but everyone pitched in. it was always high traffic.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Familial assistance

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Just for reference, current going rate for home nurse aides from licensed agency is $28/hr. = $4704/wk for somebody who needs round the clock care. During my recent gig as person responsible for arranging this service for multi-millionaire, the cost was not an issue, in fact we were willing to spend more in order to get licensed private nurses, who run more like $50/hr., but they simply were not immediately available. The primary benefit of nursing homes is not having somebody other than family do the work; it is that the people who need the services can be clustered together, so staff can be shared. For instance, home nursing aide for one bed-ridden person might be just sitting there watching videos for several hours until it is time to rotate patient and give medication, whereas in consolidated setting they could be performing services for many more patients. Obviously, a family member could also be doing other things in between active care for invalid, but you can't even carry an infirm elderly person around with you in a pack like a helpless infant, so you are totally stuck at home all the time, which is a situation that often leads to years of health/life lost for any person who is stuck in sole, or near-sole, caretaker role for long period of time.

ZAFCorrection
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Re: Familial assistance

Post by ZAFCorrection »

Coincidental to this thread, my mom just got fired for trying to Erin Brokovich her employers, and now my parents' non-bankruptcy-involving plan is the lawsuit over something petty.

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jennypenny
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Re: Familial assistance

Post by jennypenny »

Some random thoughts ...

Medicaid, not Medicare, will pay for home care nursing in most states, but only after you draw down your savings and jump through other hoops. I'd suggest looking into the rules in the state where your parents live to see what the rules are. In some cases it might make sense to make some preliminary financial moves early (5 years early) to make sure extended nursing care (at home or in patient) is covered. It also makes sense to downsize/upsize to the max limit for home ownership to protect the max amount of assets.

I don't want to end up in a nursing home, but some problems (like the one we're dealing with now) can't be handled safely at home. Some people wonder off as CS said, and some get belligerent and potentially violent toward people caring for them. I'd never want to be a burden like that to anyone I loved -- better my family arranges for professional care.

Families might have a plan in place but when the time comes to implement the plan, you might find out that some parties are no longer willing to do what they agreed to (whether moving, taking someone in, being primary caregiver, etc). If it's not in writing, don't count on it too much.

Don't count on your children agreeing on how to care for you, even if they agree that they should. That discussion should be had long before it's necessary to find out what everyone involved thinks is 'reasonable'.

Don't expect your children to give up their prime earning and child-rearing years to care for you. Look at them as administers of your plan, not the hired help. Also, don't neglect your health and don't wait until you absolutely need something (chair lift, one floor living, accessible bathroom) to have it installed.

----

My general feeling on support (both ways) is that if you have a strong opinion on it, you should be willing to pay for it. If you want your kids to care for you, you have to accept whatever care they provide. If you have strong opinions about the kind of arrangement you want, you'd better put the money away to pay for it yourself and only rely on them (if they are honorable) to administer it. If you and your kids disagree about what familial responsibility means, then you'd better learn to take care of yourself (and stop giving them any support since that cuts both ways). All this advice also applies to arrangements with nieces, nephews, etc who might care for child-free relatives (my kids intend to support my c-f sister).

tl;dr Discuss things early and revisit whenever there's a life change for anyone involved, make adjustments/plans before they are needed, and support either flows both (all) directions or it's every man for himself. Most importantly IMO, know that when the time comes, some people might renege so have a back up plan.
Last edited by jennypenny on Tue Oct 13, 2020 12:33 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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jennypenny
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Re: Familial assistance

Post by jennypenny »

As far as supporting my own kids ... we decided to bring them into this world so IMO we have an obligation do our best to make sure they launch successfully. I don't mean unlimited financial support (see the kid-related threads for specifics), but I feel obligated to make sure they have the skills and support they need to have a healthy adult life. If they crash because of poor choices after they launch, that's on them. Unfortunately some people never successfully launch, so I only feel you're required to do your best to equip them but then let them live their own life, for better or worse.

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Sclass
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Re: Familial assistance

Post by Sclass »

I hired caregivers from an agency during the last year if my mom’s life. Cost roughly $20,000 a month. Maybe a bit more. My job became more of a manager of the household and finances. Keeping a roof over the operation was a job in itself. Basically I had to maintain a second household. When the plumbing fails at the nursing home they don’t call you.

Then there was inventory. Somebody is hired at the nursing home to stock disposable and non disposable (you use both) bed pads. Diapers. Gloves. Masks. Laundry supplies. Bath soaps and lotions. Prescription drugs and dosing schedules. Wipes. Paper towels. Ensure. Food and meal planning. Mops. Cable TV/internet must be continuously operational. The list goes on. It’s basically stocking an entire home for a person to live comfortably. Nursing home will do all this for you. It is hard for an ERE type because what is good enough for me isn’t good enough for mom’s team. Online delivery was a godsend. Of course somebody always helped themselves to toilet paper, paper towels, small appliances, avocados, chocolate etc. that was delivered and only about 75% gets to mom. I was constantly demanding the return of “borrowed” items like blenders, vacuum cleaners, electric teapots, warming pads.

The personnel problems. Scheduling around holidays and employee emergencies. The ladies fight. They play games like leaving a big dump in mom’s diaper for the shift change. They go for three hour walks while leaving mom in front of the TV. They call internationally on the house phone. There is always at least one thief on the team. They eat mom’s pain meds. I have decide what crap I’m willing to trade off against what crap I need. Again less worries with a nursing home.

In short, the nursing home takes care of a lot of this headache and provides it efficiently for a group of patients.

It all seems like a waste at the end. I went to the house to get the mail this weekend. So depressing. Like an empty hospital now. The neighbors wonder why I don’t want to live there. It’s a pretty nice property down the street from the BH 90210 Brenda Walsh/Dylan McKay homes. So what. Their dream isn’t my dream.

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Re: Familial assistance

Post by jacob »

Old forum thread on filial responsibility laws: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=5429

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